The Washington Post reports that the Department of Justice inspector general has started to prepare a report on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that accuses him of misleading inspectors and approving media leaks.

From The Washington Post:

The report is a part of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s broad review of the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

During that work, inspector general’s investigators found that McCabe had authorized the disclosure of information to the Wall Street Journal for an October 2016 story that examined feuding inside the FBI and Justice Department around the handling of a separate investigation into Clinton’s family foundation, two people familiar with the case said.

Those probing the matter believe that McCabe, who stepped down in January, misled them when they initially inquired about the subject, though one person familiar with the forthcoming report said McCabe disputes that he intentionally misled investigators.

The New York Times provided the leaked story:

In October 2016, The Wall Street Journal revealed a dispute between F.B.I. and Justice Department officials over how to proceed in an investigation into the financial dealings of the Clinton family’s foundation. The article revealed a closed-door meeting during which senior Justice Department officials were dismissive of the evidence and declined to authorize subpoenas or grand jury activity. Some F.B.I. agents, the article said, believed that Mr. McCabe had put the brakes on the investigation.

Others rejected that notion. The Journal, citing sources including “one person close to Mr. McCabe,” revealed a tense conversation with a senior Justice Department official in which Mr. McCabe insisted that the F.B.I. had the authority to press ahead with the investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

The four people who spoke to the Times said that the IG “concluded that Mr. McCabe authorized F.B.I. officials to provide information for the article.” They also said that the public affairs office arranged the phone call and in his position, McCabe had authority to engage with the media. As you can tell, the story made McCabe look good while portraying the DOJ in a less than positive light.

Even though McCabe had the authority, the DOJ has rules that “prohibit the dissemination of confidential information.” More than likely the IG report will criticize McCabe “for disclosing the existence of a continuing investigation” to the WSJ.

When the DOJ learns these rules have been violated, the IG hands the matter to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

WSJ published the story a few days before the FBI reopened its investigation into Hillary’s email investigation after investigators found emails stored on a shared laptop with her top aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. They seized the laptop while investigating Weiner for sexting with an underage girl.

The Times and WaPo did not expand on how McCabe misled investigators. I wonder if he’ll face scrutiny and an investigation like former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

This report may help explain why McCabe stepped down in January.

Back in January, Kemberlee blogged about a report that suggested the IG report had something to do with McCabe’s resignation. The IG did brief FBI Director Christopher Wray, who then met with McCabe right after. Wray then sent out an email to all FBI employees that stated McCabe’s early retirement related to the IG report. From NBC News:

“Wray alluded to having seen aspects of the IG’s report into the way the FBI handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server,” reported NBC News.

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment on specific aspects of the IG’s review right now,” Wray said in the message. “But I can assure you that I remain staunchly committed to doing this job, in every respect, ‘by the book.’ I will not be swayed by political or other pressure in my decision making.”

In the very next paragraph, Wray explained that McCabe had submitted his intention to retire, suggesting a connection between the findings of the IG report and McCabe’s decision.

Media outlets predict Trump will use the IG report as ammunition to up his attacks on intelligence leaks and McCabe. I have no doubt he will.

The IG plans to release the full report in March or April.