WASHINGTON (AP) — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is “very upset and disappointed” by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday.
“Andy has at all times attempted to, and believes he’s been successful in, playing it straight with Jim,” Bromwich told reporters as he again attacked an internal investigation process that led to McCabe’s firing from the FBI last month and a criminal referral to federal prosecutors.
The disagreement stems from conflicting recollections about a conversation the two men had following an October 2016 Wall Street Journal story about an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
McCabe says he told Comey after the article was published that he had authorized FBI officials to share information with the reporter — specifically, details of a heated phone conversation with a senior Justice Department official — in order to push back against a story he felt was going to be unfair to the bureau.
Comey, however, has said McCabe did not acknowledge having done so and left the impression that he didn’t know who had shared that information with the journalist.
The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that McCabe misled officials under oath about authorizing the disclosure. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him last month, and the inspector general’s office in recent weeks referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington for a possible criminal investigation.
Bromwich said Friday that the threshold for criminal referrals is very low, and that he did not expect the case to result in prosecution. He said the investigation that led to McCabe’s firing was “unprecedented” in its speed and accelerated so that he could be terminated without being allowed to retire with full pension benefits.
The disagreement and contrasting memories have burst into public view this week, as Comey has insisted in television interviews that he stands by his account and that the FBI and Justice Department cannot tolerate lack of candor. He has said that he feels conflicted about McCabe’s legal problems given that the two men worked closely together.
“I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do,” Comey said in an interview with CNN on Thursday.
Bromwich also suggested that the disagreement was not personal, though he did note that McCabe feels “very upset and disappointed” by some of Comey’s comments.
“Andy McCabe and Jim Comey had an excellent relationship,” Bromwich said. “Andy McCabe looked up to Jim Comey. We are not for a moment suggesting that Jim Comey is making things up or lying.”
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(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)