Justice Dept inspector asks US attorney to consider criminal charges for McCabe

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has issued a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. related to fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Attorney General Barr is in a mess — and has no one to blame but himself Barr to attend Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday MORE, a lawyer for McCabe confirmed on Thursday

McCabe was informed of the referral "within the past few weeks," according to the lawyer, Michael Bromwich, who called it "unjustified" and noted that "the standard for an [inspector general] referral is very low." 
 
It is not clear whether the U.S. attorney's office has acted on the referral, which came after the inspector general concluded that McCabe had lied to internal investigators and former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Trump punts on Stone pardon decision after sentencing Trump decries lack of 'fairness' in Stone trial ahead of sentencing MORE over his contacts with the media during the 2016 election.
 
Referrals don't guarantee charges will be brought or require prosecutors to act in any way. McCabe and his lawyers have met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Bromwich said.
 
Spokesmen for Horowitz's office, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Justice Department all declined to comment.
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Horowitz last week issued a scathing report of McCabe's conduct at the FBI, alleging that he authorized a leak to the media in order to "advance his personal interests" and then misled internal investigators and Comey about the matter.

Lying to federal investigators is a federal crime and the report was seen by some analysts as a roadmap for federal charges against McCabe.

McCabe has disputed the charges as politically motivated and said he did not intentionally mislead anyone. His attorney responded immediately on Friday, saying the report “utterly failed to support the decision to terminate Mr. McCabe."

According to the report, McCabe led Comey to believe that he had not authorized the disclosures that lead to the media story in question and did not know who did. He allegedly made the same statement to internal investigators when questioned under oath months later — only to later correct his statement to the inspector general's investigators.

“We found it extremely unlikely, as McCabe now claims, that he not only told Comey about his decision to authorize the disclosure, but that Comey thought it was a ‘good’ idea for McCabe to have taken that action,” the report states.

The report was met with glee by conservatives as well as President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE, who tweeted that the report was a "disaster" that showed McCabe "lied! lied! lied!" and that "McCabe is Comey!"

A group of 11 House conservatives recently issued their own referral on McCabe — among other Obama-era officials — asking for an investigation into whether he committed perjury and other crimes. That referral was made to Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOn the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Trump looms as flashpoint in Alabama Senate battle Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr MORE, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber.

McCabe has been a target on the right following the revelation that his wife, Jill McCabe, received political donations from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Judge dismisses Nunes' lawsuit against Fusion GPS The Hill's Campaign Report: What to watch for in Nevada MORE ally and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in a failed state Senate campaign.

The campaign predated McCabe's stint as deputy director of the FBI, when he had a leadership role in the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server and the Clinton Foundation.

The inspector general report reveals that he recused himself from the two investigations just days before the election.

Updated at 4:42 p.m.