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The battle between former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and the Trump administration continues. While he filed a lawsuit last month against the FBI for firing him in 2018, the Justice Department on Thursday informed him that his appeal was rejected, and prosecutors were authorized to charge him for lying to investigators.
He was the deputy FBI director when Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey, leaving him as acting director. He launched an investigation into whether Trump was secretly working for Russia and a second one for his alleged obstruction of justice when he fired Comey. McCabe has also admitted that around that time former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire to trap Trump and have a basis for invoking the 25th Amendment.
Comey had been investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her use of her private email server, and McCabe allowed two bureau officials to make announcements to the press about that investigation as well as a separate one of the Clinton family foundation. He is accused of lying to the inspector general's team about his actions.
Trump has insisted McCabe was influenced by his wife Jill's unsuccessful campaign as a Democrat for Virginia state senate that same year. The president insists she got money from a Clinton source.
McCabe was fired in March 2018, just hours before he was set to retire and collect retirement benefits.
At the time he was fired, he said it was politically motivated as a way to taint the FBI and special counsel investigations of Trump. His lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare his termination a "legal nullity."
In April 2018 the Justice Department's inspector general referred the investigation to the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia and released his report. An assistant U.S. attorney left the office at some point over concerns of how the case was being handled, according to people familiar with the matter.
Despite the Justice Department prosecutors getting the go-ahead to indict McCabe on Thursday, a grand jury was summoned back to court after a months-long break to consider the case, and no public charges were filed.
They were sent home, leaving McCabe to wait to see whether he'll be officially charged. It is possible that the grand jury hesitated to charge him, while it is also possible they filed a determination under seal. Additionally, they could be asked to return at a later date.
McCabe's team was notified around noon that his appeal to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen had failed.
"The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney's Office's decision in this matter," wrote a top official from Rosen's office, according to a person familiar with the matter.
"Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney's Office."
McCabe had initially been told last month that prosecutors recommended charges against him and later that U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District of Columbia had agreed. His team appealed to Rosen to not seek an indictment from a grand jury.
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