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Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe loses effort to avoid potential criminal charges from Justice Department

Key Points
  • Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has lost a bid to avoid being criminally charged by the Justice Department with lying to federal agents.
  • Lawyers for McCabe, who has not yet been charged in the case, met last month with a top Justice official.
  • The Washington Post reported last week that federal prosecutors for months have been using a grand jury to investigate McCabe, a critic of President Donald Trump.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Getty Images

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has failed in his efforts to convince the Justice Department not to file potential criminal charges against him for allegedly lying to federal agents, NBC News reported Thursday.

Lawyers for McCabe, who has not yet been charged in the case, reportedly met last month with a top Justice official and the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia in what were believed to be talks seeking to dissuade them from filing criminal charges.

The Washington Post reported last week that federal prosecutors for months have been using a grand jury to investigate McCabe, a critic of President Donald Trump.

McCabe, 51, had served as acting director of the FBI after Trump fired James Comey in 2017.

McCabe himself was fired by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March 2018, a day before his planned retirement. His termination denied him a full pension.

The Justice Department has said he was fired because he broke FBI rules by improperly disclosing information to journalists related to an investigation into Hillary Clinton.

A Justice Department inspector general report later found McCabe had "lacked candor, including under oath" in describing those disclosures to investigators. McCabe has disputed the report's conclusions.

The Justice Department and a lawyer for McCabe did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment Thursday.

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McCabe last month sued the Justice Department over his firing, claiming it was "politically motivated and retaliatory."

Trump has repeatedly criticized McCabe, whom he has blamed, along with Comey, for what he has called a baseless investigation into whether Trump's campaign conspired with Russians to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

In late August, McCabe joined CNN as a contributor to the cable news network.

CNN did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on Thursday.

Also last month, the Justice Department inspector general's office said Comey violated department and FBI policies, as well as his employment agreement, in his handling of memos documenting conversations with Trump.

But Comey — who the president fired in May 2017 after allegedly pressuring the FBI chief to drop an investigation into Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn — is not being prosecuted for the alleged violations detailed in the scathing IG report.

The report focused on Comey's "disclosure of sensitive investigative information and handling of certain memoranda," which included how he created, stored and handled seven memos detailing "one-to-one" interactions with Trump between January and April 2017.