DOJ Records of Emails Between Stephen Miller and Gene Hamilton, Jeff Sessions

Records released by the U.S. Department of Justice in response to a FOIA lawsuit brought by American Oversight. The records contain emails between White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller and senior DOJ official Gene Hamilton, as well as between Miller and the office of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Among the communications are a number of messages setting up calls as well as multiple exchanges regarding immigration policy issues. Details on the contents of the second set of records received in response to this FOIA request are below; those records begin on page 302.

In the Documents

On Jan. 28, Miller’s assistant invited DOJ White House Liaison Mary Blanche Hankey to an “Immigration Executive Order Implementation Meeting with Stephen Miller.”

On Feb. 10, an assistant to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon reached out to the Justice Department to schedule a meeting for Bannon, Miller, Attorney General Sessions, “and potentially [DHS] Secretary Kelly.” 

On Feb. 14, and again the next day, Miller asked to talk with Sessions’ chief of staff, Jody Hunt.

On Feb. 19, Miller urged Hunt to make sure that Sessions “reads the latest draft of the EO,” and the two discussed a possibly related “public rollout.” While the executive order they are discussing isn’t named in the unredacted texts of the emails, about two weeks later Trump issued a revised travel ban blocking people from six majority Muslim nations from entering the U.S.

Two days later, Miller wrote to Hunt: “Thanks for helping to push this through. Greatly appreciated.” Hunt responded, “Let’s hope we get it to the finish line in the right shape,” to which Miller replied, “We must do everything we can.” The next day, Hunt confirmed with Miller and Deputy White House Counsel Greg Katsas that the order would be delayed until the following week.

On Feb. 20, Miller, Bannon, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer exchanged emails about the shooting of a police officer in California. The suspect had reportedly been released from prison early under a new California law. Miller wrote, “We need to get the facts on what happened here” and forwarded the exchange to Hunt.

Miller forwarded an email from Maria Espinoza, leader of the anti-immigrant group the Remembrance Project, to Hunt on Feb. 27.

That same day, Hunt gathered statistics for Miller on the immigration status of people convicted of “international terrorism” since 2001. “So what is aliens plus naturalized citizens?” Miller asked. “Obvi a huge percentage.” The next day, Trump cited the data in his speech to a joint session of Congress.

On March 5, Miller, Hunt, Katsas, and others exchanged emails about Justice Department data on terrorism cases, including a statistic about refugees under investigation by the FBI that was cited in the next day’s travel ban executive order.

On March 6, Miller sent Hunt an article on overburdened immigration courts, asking “What can we do here?”

On March 10, Hunt asked a group of Justice Department officials to meet to discuss “marching orders” he had received from Miller and Bannon regarding sanctuary cities.

On March 27, Miller sent “corrections” to a draft of remarks Sessions was set to deliver threatening to withhold some federal funding from sanctuary cities.

On April 11, Miller asked to set up a call with Hunt.

On April 17, a White House official told Hunt that Miller had had a conversation with Sessions that afternoon “about reaching out to appropriators about the agency’s budget.”

On April 20, Miller contacted Sessions about “Touching base on the border.” Later that day, he asked Hunt to chat about “2 questions from POTUS.” Miller wrote to Sessions two days later, saying, “Great talking with you and your team.” On April 27, Miller set up another call with Sessions.

On May 1, Miller set up a call with Hunt.

On May 18, Miller asked Sessions to call him.

On July 14, Sessions’ assistant told a colleague that Sessions had just taken a call from Miller, who was calling “from Air Force One returning from France.”

On Aug. 6, Miller contacted Sessions staffer Danielle Cutrona and Chad Mizelle, then a counsel to the deputy attorney general, to talk about sanctuary cities. On Aug. 16, Miller wrote to Mizelle on Aug. 16: “Incredible job. You should be very proud.” While it’s unclear to what Miller’s comment referred, Sessions had delivered a speech that day attacking sanctuary cities.

On Aug. 25, Miller asked to talk with Justice Department Chief of Staff Hunt.

Sessions told Miller he was available for a call on Sept. 5.

On Sept. 16, Miller asked to talk with the Justice Department’s Mizelle.

Late in the evening of Sept. 21, Miller tried to reach Mizelle.

On Oct. 7, White House Cabinet Secretary William McGinley asked Justice Department Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker to join a call with him and Miller. The next day, Miller wrote to Sessions that “we will have to figure out how to engage the cabinet on explaining the priorities to the public and the Congress.”

On Oct. 16, Miller forwarded to Sessions aide Cutrona an email from a staffer for Rep. Mo Brooks asking for White House help on a bill requiring the FBI to include the immigration status of arrestees in its annual crime reports, in order to “put together as much information on the criminal tendencies of immigrants to effectively counter mainstream narratives.”

On Oct. 21, Miller’s assistant set up a call for Miller with Whitaker, Danielle Cutrona, and White House associate counsel John Bash. The next day, Miller emailed Whitaker, Cutrona, White House counsel John Walk, and Justice Department official Rachael Tucker with the subject line “Re: Refugee report.”

On Nov. 2, Miller asked Hamilton to call him. Two days later, Miller and White House assistant Julia Hahn asked Hamilton for information on “terrorists who came in on DV [diversity visa] program.”

On Nov. 28, Miller added his “full immigration team” to an email reply to Hamilton on the subject of “GCM,” possibly the Global Compact on Migration. The White House immigration team on the email included Andrew Bremberg, Andrew Veprek, Zina Bash, John Zadrozny, David Wetmore, and Trevor Whetstone.

On Dec. 1, Mizelle asked Miller for a meeting.

On Dec. 6, Miller asked Hamilton and others to talk about the efforts of some U.S. cities to join the migration talks.

On Dec. 11, Miller asked to talk with Mizelle.

In response to a Dec. 18 Justice Department press release about an immigration fraud case against a North Carolina man who had admitted to taking part in human rights abuses in Bosnia, Miller suggested that Hamilton talk with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. That same day, Hamilton sent Miller a press release on an “Iraqi refugee sentenced for attempting to provide material support to ISIL.” Miller replied, “Add to list.”

On Jan. 2, Miller and Hamilton arranged a call for the next day.

On Jan. 9, Miller emailed with Hamilton, Zadrozny, and the White House’s John Walk about the administration’s response to a federal judge’s preliminary injunction preventing the Trump administration from rolling back DACA.

On Jan. 15, Miller and Hamilton discussed a joint DHS/DOJ report, to be released the following day, on “foreign-born terrorists.” After Sessions appeared on Fox News the next day to discuss the report and promote immigration restrictions, Miller wrote to congratulate him. “Thanks. We have an unassailable message,” Sessions replied.

On Jan. 17, Miller wrote to Hamilton: “Need to talk ASAP.” The next day, the two emailed about statistics related to the DACA program. They talked again the next day.

On Feb. 6, Miller asked Hahn to “amplify” a press release, sent to them by Hamilton, about charges brought against an undocumented immigrant involved in a fatal car crash. A few days later, Miller sent Hamilton a news story about a shooting suspect who was reportedly a DACA recipient. On Feb. 14, Miller asked Hamilton to call him.