Archive for the ‘Freedom of Information Act’ category

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More!

December 7, 2017

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More! Judicial Watch via YouTube, December 5, 2017

 

Judicial Watch: Justice Department Argues Comey’s Leak of ‘Flynn’ Memo to New York Times was Unauthorized, Compares Comey to Wikileaks

November 9, 2017

Judicial Watch: Justice Department Argues Comey’s Leak of ‘Flynn’ Memo to New York Times was Unauthorized, Compares Comey to Wikileaks, November 8, 2018

Judicial Watch argues that if disclosure of the “Flynn” memo would harm the Russia investigation, then the Justice Department should have taken steps to “address Ex-Director Comey’s removal of the memo from the FBI, leaking of the memo to the media, and subsequent testimony about the memo, to the extent that testimony was unauthorized and not coordinated with [the Justice Department], the FBI, and/or Special Counsel Mueller. Removal of government records is a federal offense.” While the Justice Department compares Comey to WikiLeaks, it makes no claim to have addressed Comey’s misconduct. Judicial Watch points out that its “failure to do so further undercuts any claim of harm” to an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

“We now have Justice Department confirmation that Comey was wrong to have leaked records to the media to settle a score with President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “How can this Justice Department defend its position that memos written for pernicious purposes to target a sitting president with a criminal investigation should remain secret? Mr. Mueller may have an interest in protecting Comey, but the public’s interest demands transparency about Comey’s vendetta against President Trump.”

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Justice Department is now comparing former FBI Director James Comey to WikiLeaks. After Comey was fired by President Trump on May 9, 2017, he gave the New York Times a February 14, 2017, memorandum written about a one-on-one conversation he had with President Trump regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Judicial Watch is asking a federal court to order the release of all Comey’s unclassified memoranda about his one-on-one conversations with the president.

Comey testified under oath before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that he authored as many as nine such memos about his one-on-one conversations with President Trump. He also admitted, regarding the “Flynn” memo, “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter [for The New York Times] … I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” The New York Times published a report about the memo on May 16, 2017. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed the following day.

On June 16, 2017, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Department of Justice failed to respond to a May 16 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01189)). Judicial Watch seeks:

FBI Director James Comey’s February 14, 2017 memorandum…memorializing an Oval Office conversation he had with the President on that date regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

In its lawsuit Judicial Watch refutes the Justice Department’s claim of exemption for law enforcement purposes:

Ex-Director Comey plainly did not use the February 14 Memo for any recognized or legitimate law enforcement purpose. He used it to settle a score with the President, who had just fired him.

Judicial Watch argues that if disclosure of the “Flynn” memo would harm the Russia investigation, then the Justice Department should have taken steps to “address Ex-Director Comey’s removal of the memo from the FBI, leaking of the memo to the media, and subsequent testimony about the memo, to the extent that testimony was unauthorized and not coordinated with [the Justice Department], the FBI, and/or Special Counsel Mueller. Removal of government records is a federal offense.” While the Justice Department compares Comey to WikiLeaks, it makes no claim to have addressed Comey’s misconduct. Judicial Watch points out that its “failure to do so further undercuts any claim of harm” to an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

On September 7, 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation after the Department of Justice failed to respond to a June 9 FOIA request (Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01830)). The lawsuit seeks:

All unclassified memoranda authored by former FBI Director James Comey that contemporaneously memorialized his discussions with President Donald Trump and his aides [during] the time frame…November 8, 2016 to May 9, 2017.

In the Daily Caller News Foundation suit Judicial Watch argues that neither the FBI nor the Justice Department prevented Comey from testifying, nor do they dispute anything he said. Comey is not under investigation for violating any non-disclosure agreements or removing records from the FBI when he was fired. “Their silence and inaction speak volumes,” Judicial Watch argues.

Judicial Watch further debunks the notion that Comey wrote the memos for law enforcement purposes:

[Director Comey] explained, “I knew that there might come a day when I would need a record of what happened, not just to defend myself, but to defend the FBI and – and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our investigation.” … He authored the records not for law enforcement purposes but for administrative and institutional purposes. His testimony could not be clearer.

Judicial Watch argues in both filings against withholding the memoranda under the guise of a national security exemption. The FBI fails to demonstrate that material contained in the memoranda was classified through proper procedures.

In its court filing opposing the release, the Justice Department also asserts that some of the Comey memos contain classified material.

“The Freedom of Information Act was designed to give the American people access to the records its government keeps,” said Neil Patel, publisher and CEO of the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This access is fundamental in a democracy like ours. Today, when so many Americans feel detached from a government that they feel often doesn’t serve their interests, this sort of access is more important than ever. When the Daily Caller News Foundation made a reasonable request for access to FBI Director Comey’s memos we were completely stonewalled. Our request is legally sound and completely within the public interest so with the help of our friends at Judicial Watch we are fighting in court to see it through.”

“We now have Justice Department confirmation that Comey was wrong to have leaked records to the media to settle a score with President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “How can this Justice Department defend its position that memos written for pernicious purposes to target a sitting president with a criminal investigation should remain secret? Mr. Mueller may have an interest in protecting Comey, but the public’s interest demands transparency about Comey’s vendetta against President Trump.”

Both cases have been consolidated in Cable News Network, Inc., v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (No. 1:17-cv-01167).

Tom Fitton on Clinton/Russia Scandal, FBI Coverup of Clinton/Lynch Meeting, & Abedin/Weiner Laptop

October 20, 2017

Tom Fitton on Clinton/Russia Scandal, FBI Coverup of Clinton/Lynch Meeting, & Abedin/Weiner Laptop, Judicial Watch via YouTube, October 20, 2017

(Please see also, How Corrupt Are American Institutions? — DM)

Judicial Watch Presents: ‘Exposing the Deep State’

September 16, 2017

Judicial Watch Presents: ‘Exposing the Deep State’ via YouTube, September 15, 2017

The blurb beneath the video states,

Judicial Watch hosted a special educational panel on Friday, September 15, 2017, discussing “Exposing the Deep State.” The expert panelists include: Dr. Sebastian Gorka Former Deputy Assistant to the President Author of New York Times best seller Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War Diana West Journalist and Author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character Todd Shepherd Investigative Reporter Washington Examiner James Peterson Senior Attorney Judicial Watch Moderated by Christopher J. Farrell Director of Investigations and Research Judicial Watch.

FBI Reopens Conservative Group’s FOIA Case on Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton Meeting

August 16, 2017

FBI Reopens Conservative Group’s FOIA Case on Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton Meeting, Washington Free Beacon, August 16, 2017

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch / Getty Images

The FBI has reopened a conservative organization’s request for information about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s meeting with President Bill Clinton after denying last year that there were any relevant records to disclose.

The American Center for Law and Justice’s Jordan Sekulow said Wednesday he has received a letter this week from the FBI’s chief of records management saying that the agency had determined that there may be “responsive” FBI records to the group’s Freedom of Information Act request last July and so he had reopened the case.

The agency told the ACLJ in October of last year, when the FBI was still under the direction of James Comey, that it had no records related to the infamous meeting between Lynch and Clinton on the Phoenix tarmac.

The letter reopening the FOIA dated Aug. 10 came after Sekulaw pointed out in an appearance on Fox and on the ACLJ’s website that it had recently received documents from the Department of Justice (DOJ) showing that FBI emails and other agency documents exist about the tarmac meeting.

Critics of Comey’s handling of the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email abuses point to the tarmac meeting as a turning point in the probe. After the late June meeting created a media firestorm questioning whether Lynch could remain impartial in the probe, Lynch announced that she would accept Comey’s determination on whether or not to indict Clinton based on the FBI’s email findings.

Just days later, Comey held a press conference announcing that the investigation determined that Clinton had been grossly negligent but her actions were not criminal.

“It is clear that there were multiple records with the FBI responsive to our request and that discussions regarding the surreptitious meeting between then-AG Lynch and the husband of the subject of an ongoing of an ongoing FBI criminal investigation reached the highest levels of the FBI,” Sekulow wrote on this website.

He also said the FBI’s claim last year that no responsive documents existed is a “direct contravention to the law” and the group will continue its legal fight to “hold the FBI’s feet to the fire and demand an expeditious and thorough search for all documents responsive to our request.”

“We know they exist, and we’re willing to go to court to get them if necessary,” he said.

The Justice Department documents the group received include several emails from the FBI to the DOJ officials concerning the tarmac meeting. One with the subject line “FLAG” is a conversation between FBI officials and DOJ officials concerning a media report about a “casual, unscheduled meeting between former President Bill Clinton and the AG.”

In the email string, the DOJ official tells an FBI press official to “let me know if you get any questions about this” and provides “[o]ur talkers [DOJ talking points] on this.”

The talking points are redacted.

Another email to the FBI contains the subject line: “security details coordinate between Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton?”

Additionally, on July 1, 2016, a DOJ email chain under the subject line, “FBI just called,” indicates that the FBI is looking for guidance in responding to media inquiries about news reports that the FBI had prevented the press from taking photos of the Clinton-Lynch meeting.

An hour later, Carolyn Pokorny, Lynch’s deputy chief of staff, said in one email, “I will let Rybicki know.” Jim Rybicki was Comey’s chief of staff. The information in the email that was provided to him was redacted, along with several other documents in the DOJ email cache the ACLJ received with notes that the redactions were requested “per FBI.”

Report: Obama Holdovers Slow-Roll Release of Clinton Emails, Officials Cite ‘Diminished Public Interest

July 24, 2017

Report: Obama Holdovers Slow-Roll Release of Clinton Emails, Officials Cite ‘Diminished Public Interest, BreitbartKristina Wong, July 24, 2017

AP/Cliff Owen

Officials from the State and Justice Departments argue a hiring freeze and lack of public interest are responsible for its inability to process and release the 100,000 Hillary Clinton emails as ordered under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, according to a report.

A U.S. official familiar with the case told Circa “there are still holdovers” within the State and Justice Departments who don’t want to see the emails released, and are slow-rolling the process. But the report also said the president’s own Justice Department attorneys are citing “diminished public interest” in the emails, and that the president should demand the agencies abide.

According to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, the FBI turned over to the State Department a new disk of emails belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were discovered on a laptop owned by her husband, Anthony Weiner.

State and Justice Department lawyers say they can’t release them until they judge whether they are personal or government, and can be shared publicly. Fitton said there are apparently 7,000 emails on the laptop.

State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala told Circa that the Department “takes its records management responsibilities seriously and is working diligently to process FOIA requests and to balance the demands of the many requests we have received.”

“We are devoting significant resources to meeting our litigation obligations,” she said.

Fitton argued they are moving too slowly. The State Department was ordered in November to process 500 pages per month, but he said it would take until 2020 for the bulk to be made public.

“President Trump needs to direct his agencies to follow the the law but right now they are making a mockery of it by saying they won’t finish releasing it until 2020,” he said.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, released 448 pages of documents the State Department did turn over from Abedin last week. The group said the emails describe preferential treatment “to major donors to the Clinton Foundation and political campaigns.”

“The documents included six Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 439 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, ‘as far as she knew,’ all of her government emails had been turned over to the State Department,” the group said in a July 14 press release.

Tom Fitton discussing Comey Lawlessness, Smoking Gun Clinton Email, & New JW Lawsuits

June 9, 2017

Tom Fitton discussing Comey Lawlessness, Smoking Gun Clinton Email, & New JW Lawsuits, Judicial Watch via YouTube, June 9, 2017