Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, is seeking immunity in order to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to documents released Tuesday.
“This is a textbook case for granting use immunity,” Michael Bromwich, an attorney for McCabe, wrote Monday in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the judiciary panel.
“Mr. McCabe is willing to testify, but because of the criminal referral, he must be afforded suitable legal protection,” Bromwich said. “Accordingly, we hereby request that the Judiciary Committee authorize a grant of use immunity to Mr. McCabe.”
Grassley invited McCabe and other FBI officials to a hearing tentatively scheduled for July after the expected release of a Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
McCabe was fired in March, two days before his retirement, for a “lack of candor” during interviews with the Office of the Inspector General and the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility about his role in authorizing FBI contacts with the media about the Clinton probe.
The Office of the Inspector General found McCabe gave misleading statements in three interviews when asked whether he authorized former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to talk to The Wall Street Journal about the investigation in October 2016. McCabe also falsely claimed he told then-FBI Director James Comey, his boss, about the media outreach.
Comey has gone on the record disputing McCabe’s claims.
In his letter to Grassley, Bromwich decried “a stream of leaks” from the Justice Department about McCabe’s case. He said leaks from the agency revealed the Office of the Inspector General made a criminal referral on McCabe to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.
“Even though Mr. McCabe committed no crime, these leaks have forced us to acknowledge the criminal referral,” said Bromwich, who added that he and McCabe “are outraged by these leaks.”
Bromwich issued the complaint despite the leak allegations against his client. The Inspector General’s Office found McCabe attempted to blame other FBI officials for the very same media contacts that he authorized Page to make with The Wall Street Journal, according to a preliminary report released on April 13.
Bromwich noted the Senate Judiciary Committee is “eager to hear Mr. McCabe’s testimony” in his immunity pitch.
Immunity is warranted because “Mr. McCabe is eager to give such testimony; he has a legitimate fear of criminal prosecution based on the criminal referral that has already been made, the irregularities in the process by which he was terminated, and the improper command influence that continues to be exercised by the President of the United States.”
Bromwich has accused President Donald Trump of improperly targeting McCabe in a series of tweets about political donations that McCabe’s wife received in 2015 from then-Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a longtime Clinton ally.
Grassley said he plans to consult with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the judiciary panel, to consider the immunity request.
He noted an immunity order would require a two-thirds majority vote and that “even if that were to occur, the Justice Department would then have a formal opportunity to delay any testimony and attempt to persuade the Committee not to proceed.”
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