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Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Fired FBI deputy chief facing criminal referral

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s inspector general has sent a criminal referral about fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe to federal prosecutors in Washington, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The referral to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia does not mean McCabe will ever be charged, but it does raise the possibility that the longtime law enforcement official could face a criminal investigation into whether he intentionally made false statements.

The person who described the referral was not authorized to discuss a confidential process publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.

A report from the watchdog office released last week concluded that McCabe had misled investigators and his own boss, then-Director James Comey, about his role in a news media disclosure in October 2016.

The report said McCabe authorized FBI officials to share non-public information with a Wall Street Journal reporter for a story about an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe told the inspector general’s office that he told Comey after the article was published that he permitted the officials to share the information, but Comey is quoted in the report as saying that McCabe said he did not know where the information had come from.

McCabe and his lawyer have said he never misled anyone.

Justice Department officials declined to comment Thursday.

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