Lawsuits Focus on President Trump’s Wiretap Claims, Sessions’ Foreign Contacts & Priebus-FBI Communications
American Oversight, a non-partisan ethics watchdog group, today sued the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for the release of records related to any wiretaps of Trump Tower and for other documents related to the investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia.
“Nearly 100 days into President Trump’s term, there are more questions than answers about the president and his associates’ contacts with Russia. It’s time for the administration to come clean with the American people,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “As congressional inquiries seem to be getting us nowhere, American Oversight is suing the government for information.”
American Oversight filed two separate lawsuits today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to enforce requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records related to the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The first lawsuit seeks the release of records – including warrant applications and court orders – for surveillance of Trump Tower or associates of the Trump campaign. Even though the president had already publicly acknowledged the “wiretaps” in a series of tweets beginning on March 4, 2017, and FBI Director James Comey had testified publicly that there was no such wiretap, DOJ denied American Oversight’s FOIA request for information, claiming it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any such records.
“It’s ludicrous for the Justice Department to claim it can’t confirm or deny the existence of records given that the president has declared they exist and the FBI director has denied it. Well, which is it? The American people have a right to the truth,” added Evers.
The second lawsuit seeks two sets of documents from the FBI: information about White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus’s attempt to persuade the bureau to rebut media reports about the investigation into the Trump campaign, and the vetting form – the SF-86 – on which Attorney General Jeff Sessions should have disclosed any contacts with foreign government officials.