Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz just released a long-awaited watchdog report reviewing former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s conduct before the 2016 presidential election.
The report reviews McCabe’s decisions to leak internal deliberations about an investigation to the Clinton Foundation investigation. The Justice Department cited Horowitz’s findings in explaining why they fired McCabe one day before his retirement in March.
Though the IG report is being dropped in the context of a feud between President Donald Trump and his own FBI and Justice Department, it long predates that feud. Horowitz was appointed DOJ’s inspector general back in 2012, under President Barack Obama. He has a good reputation, and IGs traditionally operate with a good amount of independence from their department leaders, serving as watchdogs of sorts.
He opened this review about a week before Trump was sworn in, and many of the complaints he announced he’d look into were loudly voiced by Democrats at the time. (The report has no connection to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Further installments of the report will likely examine Comey’s own conduct in 2016.)
So the IG report isn’t just a plot by Trump to delegitimize the FBI — though the president will likely try to use it for that end. Its release comes after Trump has fired Comey, publicly campaigned for McCabe’s firing, publicly berated Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and tried to co-opt the Justice Department more broadly.
It also comes as Comey has embarked on a nationwide tour to promote his new book. You can read the full report below, or at this link.