DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer pursue criminal charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeFree Roger Stone Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr Top Republicans back Barr amid criticism over controversial DOJ decisions MORE, closing a high-profile case against the former official whose conduct during the 2016 election came under intense scrutiny.

"We write to inform you that, after careful consideration, the Government has decided not to pursue criminal charges against your client, Andrew G. McCabe, arising from the referral by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to our Office of conduct,” wrote two officials from the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office. "Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the Government at this time, we consider the matter closed."

Lawyers for McCabe — Michael Bromwich and David Schertler — celebrated the news, saying that McCabe and his family "can go on with their lives without this cloud hanging over them.”

“We learned this morning through a phone call from the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office that was followed by a letter that the Justice Department's criminal investigation of Andrew McCabe has been closed," they said.

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"This means that no charges will be brought against him based on the facts underlying the Office of the Inspector General’s April 2018 report. At long last, justice has been done in this matter. We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought."

McCabe was fired from the FBI by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz provided a recommendation to an internal FBI office that said McCabe was not forthcoming during interviews with federal investigators and that he "lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions."

DOJ’s announcement comes amid public debate over whether the White House has exerted undue influence over the department’s decisionmaking in politically sensitive cases.

It is unclear if the decision to drop the case against McCabe, who Trump has long considered a political enemy, was timed to tamp down the controversy that erupted this week when top DOJ officials overruled career prosecutors to seek a lighter sentence for longtime Trump aide Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneIf Roger Stone were a narco, he'd be in the clear Free Roger Stone The Hill's Morning Report - In Nevada, bets on Sanders, eyes on Bloomberg MORE.

DOJ’s reversal in Stone’s case, which came hours after Trump took to Twitter to rail against the initial sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years behind bars, raised new questions about potential White House interference at the agency.

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Barr on Thursday denied the White House had influenced the DOJ decision, telling ABC News that Trump "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case,” and in a rare break with the president, adding that he should "stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases."

The department’s withdrawal from McCabe’s case on Friday may be seen as a concrete demonstration of DOJ independence from Trump’s influence.

McCabe in August sought to challenge the basis of his firing, alleging in a lawsuit against the FBI and DOJ that his termination from the bureau was a “politically motivated” move that stemmed from Trump's attacks against him and other DOJ officials.

In court documents, McCabe alleged Trump was behind his firing, claiming he forced the hands of other officials at the DOJ, including Sessions, Horowitz and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinGraham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts MORE, to remove him. McCabe argued that the actions caused harm to his “reputation, professional standing and dramatically reduced his retirement benefits” after “two decades of unblemished and non-partisan public service.”

McCabe's lawsuit against DOJ for wrongful termination is pending before a federal district court in Washington.
 
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 
--Updated at 1:30 p.m.