CNN's Toobin defends 'colleague and friend' McCabe as DOJ moves toward charges

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin defended former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeMcCabe says he would 'absolutely not' cut a deal with prosecutors We've lost sight of the real scandal Former Obama officials willing to testify on McCabe's behalf: report MORE on Thursday as the Justice Department moves forward with pressing charges against him. 

Toobin, who described McCabe as a "colleague and friend," said on CNN the case is "complicated" and an "extremely unusual prosecution" after a U.S. attorney recommended moving forward with charges against McCabe, who was recently brought on as a CNN contributor.

"Lying to an inspector general is very rarely prosecuted," Toobin said. "Lying in these very esoteric circumstances where it's about this conversation, that conversation is rare."

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The comments follow the Department of Justice's (DOJ) rejection of McCabe's appeal to avert criminal charges for lacking "candor" with federal investigators. He was fired in March 2018, two days before his scheduled retirement, for allegedly not being forthcoming in investigations.

The FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General found McCabe revealed unauthorized information to the media about investigations into the Clinton Foundation.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz had said that McCabe "lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions."

McCabe has filed suit against DOJ and the FBI over his ouster, alleging that it was a "politically motivated" move that stemmed from President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE's attacks against him and other DOJ officials.

Toobin said McCabe had every right to speak to reporters as the No. 2 in the FBI.

"You spoke to the reporters — months later, describe what was in the conversation that you already, that you had every right to have, at a time when he's being interviewed about a different subject," Toobin said.

He defended McCabe's record as "impeccable," describing him as "one of the most honored and successful FBI agents of his generation" and criticized the president for going on a crusade to "disparage" McCabe.

"It looks like he's going to be indicted, but good luck to the government," Toobin said.