CBSN

Andrew McCabe's lawyer accuses IG of rushing process "to be able to terminate McCabe"

Fired FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe's lawyer told reporters Friday that the FBI and Justice Department "got it horribly wrong" when they fired McCabe hours before his retirement, in late March. McCabe attorney Michael Bromwich claimed that the process was too rushed. It was "absolutely clear this process was accelerated to be able to terminate McCabe," he said.

Bromwich said he and other lawyers are looking at the next plausible legal steps – which could include alleging defamation or wrongful termination. A Go Fund me account started after McCabe was fired was closed when it reached $550,000 – and McCabe's team is now establishing a more formal Legal Defense Fund. 

The DOJ inspector general found McCabe lacked candor on as many as four occasions about FBI interaction with a Wall Street Journal reporter working on stories concerning a bureau investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe was terminated hours before he was to retire, putting his pension and benefits at risk. Browmwich said McCabe and his family have no health care as a result of his firing.

Browmwich also said he hoped the decision to terminate McCabe was not made based on some "White House enemies list," adding "we've never seen anything like this before."

The IG has made a criminal referral to the U.S. attorney regarding McCabe, CBS News learned Thursday.

One of the people the IG report says McCabe was not forthcoming with is former FBI Director Jim Comey, to whom McCabe reported at the time. Comey has not defended McCabe in recent interviews. On ABC's "The View" Tuesday, Comey said he himself had ordered the investigation, and he has read the IG's report. 

"I ordered that investigation. We investigate and hold people accountable," he said. "Good people lie....I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person, but the inspector general found that he lied, and there are severe consequences, as there should be throughout the government."

McCabe is said to be "upset and disappointed" at some of the things Comey has said. Bromwich said McCabe's "memory is quite clear that he did inform Jim (Comey)," about the issue. "Andy didn't leak," according to Browmwich.  Bromwich said there is telephonic and email evidence that McCabe told Comey about the contact with the WSJ, but DOJ is not allowing him to share the emails. 

Comey told NPR earlier this week that McCabe "thinks he told me he had done it (authorized the disclosure of the call to the WSJ) after he had done it." 

"I'm quite confident that didn't happen, as is the inspector general," Comey said.