McCabe lawyer says criminal referral unjustified

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies during a Judiciary Committee hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S

Top News: Trump claims Comey threw McCabe 'below the bus' after prison referral

The referral does not automatically mean charges will be filed, and it would be up to the US attorney's office to evaluate the referral and decide whether to prosecute McCabe. Prosecutors could try to prove that McCabe broke the law, or they could do nothing.

In his statement, Bromwich says the standard for an inspector general referral "is very low".

McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, issued a statement on Wednesday casting doubt on Comey and the OIG's report, which was released April 13.

When exactly the referral was made to the USA attorney's office was not immediately clear, and prosecutors there may decline to prosecute. "We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the U.S. Attorney's Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute".

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office and the inspector general declined to comment Thursday.

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In an interview with National Public Radio on Tuesday, former FBI Director James Comey said he had no recollection that McCabe had said he authorized officials to communicate with a Wall Street Journal reporter, as McCabe said he had.

Legal experts said Thursday that if the USA attorney's office in Washington opens a criminal investigation into McCabe and he is charged with a crime, the likely charge would be lying to the FBI.

Separately this week, 11 House Republicans asked Sessions, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to explore whether McCabe - along with a host of other Justice Department officials - committed crimes in their handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server, the probe into Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election and other matters.

McCabe has been a longstanding political target of President Trump, both in public comments and in newly declassified memos by former FBI Director James Comey.

"I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn't do", Comey said. "I ordered that investigation".

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That leak confirmed the existence of the probe into the Clinton Foundation, which Comey, who led the bureau at the time, refused to do. However Comey is quoted within the report as saying McCabe did not inform him he had permitted sharing particulars of the decision and, actually, had left him with the alternative impression.

The IG referral, however, could represent a more serious problem for McCabe. I think that it is accountability mechanics working and they really should work because it's not okay at the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Justice Department for people to deficiency candor.

But McCabe's legal counsel, Michael Bromwich, has blasted the inspector general report and has criticized Comey.

Comey wrote in his book that as he weighed whether to charge Martha Stewart with such an offense in the early 2000s, he asked his deputy how many people in the United States had been indicted on charges of lying to federal investigators in the previous year.

Trump's attacks were based on information in a separate Journal article published one week before the one on October 30 and written by Barrett focusing on an unsuccessful 2015 run for a Virginia Senate seat by McCabe's wife, Jill McCabe.

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