The Justice Department’s inspector general has been investigating whether former FBI Director Andrew McCabe tried to delay an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails until after the 2016 election, according to a new report.
The Washington Post reports that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is looking into why McCabe appears to have waited three weeks to inspect a laptop owned by Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide.
In a surprise move, McCabe stepped down from his position as FBI No. 2 on Monday. He will remain on leave until March when he can retire with a full pension.
McCabe’s sudden decision prompted widespread speculation that he had been forced out by President Trump. Trump has publicly criticized McCabe and other FBI officials over the past year.
McCabe, 49, has also become a prime target for Republican lawmakers in the wake of a scandal involving politically-biased text messages exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Page, an FBI lawyer, worked under McCabe during the Clinton email investigation and Russia probe.
In one Aug. 15, 2016 exchange, Strzok referred to a meeting that had taken place in McCabe’s office where Trump’s election chances were discussed. Strzok told Page that an “insurance policy” needed to be taken out in the event of a Trump win.
After McCabe stepped down, The New York Times reported that FBI Director Christopher Wray had forced McCabe out because of findings by Horowitz.
According to The Post, Horowitz’s investigators have been asking witnesses in FBI leadership about the timeline of the investigation into Weiner’s laptop. The Post reports:
A key question of the internal investigation is whether McCabe or anyone else at the FBI wanted to avoid taking action on the laptop findings until after the Nov. 8 election, these people said. It is unclear whether the inspector general has reached any conclusions on that point.
McCabe first learned of the Clinton emails in late September or early Oct. 2016. They were discovered by FBI agents in the New York field office during their investigation into Weiner’s interactions with an underage girl.
In late Oct. 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey informed Congress of the newly-discovered emails and said that the Clinton investigation was being re-opened. Comey announced the end of the Clinton email investigation in July 2016.
Comey closed the investigation again on Nov. 6, two days before the election.
The investigation into McCabe is ironic for two reasons.
Had McCabe acted quickly to investigate Weiner’s laptop, investigators seemingly would have been able to clear Clinton well before Election Day.
The entire investigation was also taken on because of congressional Democrats’ allegations that the FBI mishandled the email investigation. Democrats have blamed Comey and the FBI’s decision to re-open the investigation for Clinton’s loss to Trump.