WASHINGTON ― FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s Twitter tirades, did not have any role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation while his wife was running for Virginia state senator, according to documents disclosed Friday.
Trump and congressional Republicans have alleged that the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state was tainted because the campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe received nearly half a million dollars from a political action committee tied to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of the Clintons.
The FBI documents made public Friday show that McCabe had no oversight of the Clinton email investigation when it began in July 2015. At that time, McCabe was in the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Clinton inquiry was being run out of FBI headquarters. His wife lost her election in November 2015. McCabe didn’t begin overseeing the Clinton investigation until months later, when he became deputy FBI director in February 2016.
The newly disclosed records indicate an effort to do things by the book. An April 2015 memo indicated that McCabe “consulted with individuals within [the Washington Field Office] and FBIHQ to identify limitations on his participation in her campaign and to identify areas where Dr. McCabe’s campaign may present potential conflicts of interest” for [McCabe] in the field office investigations or operations before his wife’s candidacy was publicly announced.
Out of an “abundance of caution,” McCabe was excluded from “all public corruption investigations arising out of or otherwise connected to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” according to the documents.
The documents were posted Friday on the FBI’s Vault website, which publishes high-profile records released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. As USA Today noted, the documents support what the FBI has long publicly asserted about McCabe’s role in the Clinton investigation.
McCabe served as acting FBI director after Trump fired James Comey, and he contradicted the White House claim that Comey had lost the faith of the FBI’s rank-and-file. McCabe told members of Congress in May that Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI, and still does to this day.”
Trump interviewed McCabe for the position of FBI director after he fired Comey, but he has lashed out against the deputy director in recent months as he has pushed back on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. Trump continued going after McCabe after reports emerged that the deputy director planned to retire in the coming months once he fully qualifies for pension benefits.
Read the memos below.
Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, covering criminal justice, federal law enforcement and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Signal at (202) 527-9261.