Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would recuse himself from any investigation into President Donald Trump’s election campaign. That was the right decision to make. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) must remain clear of all appearances of impropriety. All DOJ investigations should be, and be seen to be, fair and impartial.
Unfortunately, in the waning days of the Obama Administration, certain Justice officials refused to recuse themselves when facing circumstances similar to Mr. Sessions. On October 25, 2016, we wrote to the DOJ Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) requesting an investigation into the failure of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to recuse himself from investigations of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, even though Mr. McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, received over $675,000 in money and in-kind contributions from Governor McAuliffe’s political action committee and the Democratic Party of Virginia. Equally noteworthy, Governor McAuliffe met with Dr. McCabe to urge her to run for office as a Democrat on March 7, 2015, just five days after The New York Times broke the story on former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email system.
Just this week, on February 23, the DOJ OIG wrote back, informing us that it has opened an investigation into Mr. McCabe’s failure to recuse himself. This letter came on the heels of a public notice in late January announcing a broader investigation in response to inquiries from Congress and other outside groups. We are pleased to hear that the DOJ OIG took our allegations seriously and look forward to the result of the investigation.
Eric Bolinder is counsel at Cause of Action Institute