WASHINGTON >> Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s wrath, faces the prospect of an indictment after his attorneys were unable to persuade senior Justice Department officials not to pursue charges.
Two people familiar with the matter said today that the deputy attorney general declined an appeal from McCabe’s lawyers aimed at preventing a prosecution.
The people weren’t authorized to discuss the issue by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Still, it wasn’t immediately clear when or even whether the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, which has been leading the investigation, might announce charges.
McCabe’s attorneys have argued that he should not face charges on accusations that he lied to internal investigators about whether he had authorized a news media leak in the fall of 2016. McCabe has denied intentionally misleading anyone.
An indictment of McCabe would refocus public attention on the chaotic months of 2016 when the FBI was entangled in presidential politics through investigations touching both main contenders — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, her Republican opponent.
And while prosecutors are likely to try to keep a narrow focus on whether McCabe lied to investigators on particular dates, McCabe’s attorneys are expected to argue that the prosecution is part of a political vendetta driven by the president.
They are likely to highlight the personal enmity between the two men, with Trump criticizing McCabe even before he took office and McCabe describing the president as a “deliberate liar.”
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