Lawyers for ex-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote to federal prosecutors late Thursday, urging them not to keep pursuing charges amid what they say are rumors circulating in Washington that he would not be indicted.
“If the grand jury voted not to approve the charges, it did not find probable cause. Therefore, it is simply not reasonable to believe that a trial jury would find Mr. McCabe guilty of any charges,” McCabe’s lawyers said in an email to federal prosecutors, noting they did not know the basis for the rumors.
It was widely expected Thursday that a federal grand jury would hand up an indictment on McCabe, allowing prosecutors to move forward with a trial on charges related to lying to federal agents about a disclosure he made to the media in 2016.
But when no such indictment was publicly released after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia closed on Thursday, many suspected the grand jury had decided not to indict him.
If prosecutors fail to convince 12 out of 23 members of a grand jury to indict, what is known as a “no true bill,” it would be a rare occurrence. A vote of no true bill is considered to be a sign that prosecutors would have a hard time getting a conviction at a trial, where the standard of proof is higher, the jury must be unanimous, and the defense can attack the government’s case.
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With no word from the Justice Department on where things stand, McCabe’s lawyers cited media reports that speculated the grand jury had failed to indict him.
If a grand jury does not indict, prosecutors may ask to convene another grand jury. But it is also a long-standing Justice Department rule that no U.S. attorney should move forward with a case unless prosecutors have a reasonable chance of getting a conviction.
McCabe’s lawyers cited that policy in their email:
“We believe that given the length of this investigation, and the resources devoted to it, this is not a case where authorizing resubmission of the case to a grand jury is consistent with this standard. If the evidence presented by your office was insufficient to convince 12 members of the grand jury to find probable cause to believe that Mr. McCabe had committed any crimes, no attorney can reasonably believe that ‘the admissible evidence is sufficient to obtain a guilty verdict by an unbiased trier of fact,'” they said.
Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told McCabe on Thursday that his appeal against possible criminal charges against him have been rejected, according to a person familiar with the decision.
McCabe authorized the discussion of the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation to the Wall Street Journal in order to rebut a story that he was impartial in the investigation. The Wall Street Journal reporter had previously written about McCabe’s wife, who took campaign donations from Hillary Clinton’s close political ally Terry McAuliffe for her run in a state election in Virginia.
While McCabe had the authority to release such information to the media, a 2018 report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General concluded that he did so to “advance his personal interest” and “violated” the FBI’s media policy. The report also said McCabe contradicted his statements about his involvement in the disclosure to the newspaper when questioned by investigators in 2017.
The report led to McCabe’s firing without a pension in March 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The investigation’s critics and McCabe supporters have said he has been treated unfairly by those who wish to retaliate against him for his role in the the Justice Department’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
McCabe sued the FBI and the Justice Department in August, claiming that his firing from the FBI was part of the Trump’s “unconstitutional plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him.”
AOC, Omar set to endorse Bernie Sanders for president
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is feeling the Bern.
The freshman congresswoman plans to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president at a rally in New York on Saturday, the Sanders campaign told NBC News.
The endorsement was first reported by The Washington Post.
Another member of “the squad,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, announced on Tuesday night that she is endorsing Sanders. The other two members are Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Sanders mentioned he’d have a “special guest” at his “Bernie’s Back” rally in Queens during Tuesday’s debate, and the campaign later acknowledged that guest is “Green New Deal” champion and democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez.
The sought-after endorsement is a blow to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s teamed with Ocasio-Cortez on various causes over the past year.
Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders have some history. She was a volunteer organizer for Sanders’ 2016 campaign, and he hailed her long-shot win in the Democratic primary last year. “What she did is talk about the real issues,” he said then.
They also paired on legislation to cap credit card rates this year.
George Kent tells lawmakers he was told to ‘lay low’ after raising concerns about Giuliani
WASHINGTON — State Department official George Kent told lawmakers in a closed-door deposition Tuesday that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney appointed three other Trump administration officials to spearhead the president’s efforts in Ukraine.
According to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who was present for the deposition, Kent testified that Mulvaney oversaw a meeting where he sidelined State Department officials and tapped three political appointees — Energy Secretary Rick Perry, European Ambassador Gordon Sondland and special envoy Kurt Volker — to oversee Ukraine policy for the United States.
Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state who worked on Ukraine and five other countries, told congressional investigators that the trio called themselves “the three amigos” and elbowed all the other officials at State out of the way, according to Connolly.
This not the first time Mulvaney was mentioned in depositions as part of the impeachment inquiry. President Donald Trump’s former Russia adviser Fiona Hill testified that then-national security adviser John Bolton said he wanted nothing to do with Mulvaney and Giuliani’s objectives in Ukraine, which Bolton said amounted to a “drug deal.”
Just weeks before the May 23 meeting, Marie Yovanovich was told that she was being recalled as the ambassador to Ukraine despite being told that she had done nothing wrong, according to her congressional testimony last week.
According to Connolly, Kent also testified that after the May 23 meeting, he was told to “lay low” by a superior when he raised concerns about Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was working to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
“The way I took it,” Connolly told NBC News, was that Kent “had just finished describing how he had told people that this is wrong, that Giuliani is out of control.”
Kent also said, according to Connolly, that the Trump allies who pushed for Ukraine to investigate corruption made it clear that “POTUS” wanted cooperation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian government.
Kent, who attended meetings and receptions with Zelenskiy and his advisers, said that Sondland and Volker floated the idea of a meeting with Trump, according to Connolly. Text messages between Volker and Sondland released this month also show that Zeleneskiy’s cooperation was expected in order to meet with Trump.
Volker testified behind closed doors last week that Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to investigate corruption in Ukraine but that there was “no quid pro quo” for military and security aid, which the administration had put on hold for nearly four months. Sondland is expected to testify under subpoena on Thursday.
During his nearly 10 hours of testimony, Kent also told members of Congress and their staff that Burisma, the energy company where Hunter Biden was a board member, was corrupt, according to a separate person who was present in the room. Kent said he told the Obama administration in 2016 that they should not hold an event with Burisma because of the company’s extensive corruption in Ukraine.
Kent was called in to testify because he raised the alarm about the disinformation campaign that Giuliani and his associates pushed regarding Ukraine, according to a emails included in the packet that the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General Michael Atkinson provided to Congress, obtained by NBC News. He sent a series of emails to colleagues alerting them of the “fake news driven smear out of Ukraine.”
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