Russian Interference & Trump Administration Actions

We know that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election to support the Trump campaign, and we know that law enforcement and security agencies of the U.S. government have opened investigations into that interference. A special counsel has been appointed to investigate, but it is time for the administration to start telling the truth.

American Oversight launched an investigation to get straight answers to some of the most pressing, non-classified questions about how the Trump administration has conducted itself in the face of these Russia allegations.

Trump Tower Wiretapping Allegations

On September 1, 2017, the Department of Justice and the FBI officially confirmed that President Trump had lied when he tweeted that former President Obama had “wiretapped” him at Trump Tower. The admission came in a DOJ filing in response to American Oversight’s FOIA lawsuit seeking any records related to the alleged wiretapping.

The controversy began when President Trump tweeted on March 4, 2017 that former President Obama had placed wiretaps on Mr. Trump and entities or associates in Trump Tower for improper purposes during the course of the 2016 presidential campaign.

When asked about the basis for Mr. Trump’s assertions, the White House stated, “He’s the president of the United States. He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Russian Contacts & Recusal

American Oversight sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation to obtain the page of Sessions’s security clearance application on which he was required to list any foreign government contacts. The form showed that Sessions failed to disclose his contacts with the Russian government – and that he signed the form attesting that he understood the penalty for making false statements.

Separately, American Oversight is seeking documents related to Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from matters related to the 2016 campaign. On March 2, 2017, the Washington Post reported that Sessions would recuse himself from investigations related the campaign, but apart from Sessions’s initial statement to the press, we don’t know exactly what this recusal includes because the formal document has never been released to the public.

Firing of FBI Director James Comey

On May 9, 2017, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, ostensibly over Comey’s actions during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump administration officials gave multiple, conflicting explanations for the firing – culminating with President Trump explicitly stating that he made the decision to fire Comey because the FBI was continuing to investigate connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Political Interference at the FBI

According to news reports, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had contacted the FBI in February to ask the agency “to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign.” Such contact would be in violation of longstanding principles preventing political interference with law enforcement proceedings – and American Oversight has sued the DOJ and FBI to release any records of Priebus’s communications regarding this issue.

Blocking Congressional Testimony of former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

On March 28, 2017, it was reported that DOJ officials had attempted to prevent former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying at a House hearing on the grounds that all of her testimony would have been covered by the presidential communications privilege and/or the deliberative process privilege. As questions continue to arise about the ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, the American people deserve to know whether administration officials sought to impede the Congressional investigation.

American Oversight is seeking records related to the decision to fire Comey – including whether Attorney General Sessions violated his recusal by taking part in the decision.

Updates

New Lawsuit: Did the FBI Really Advise Sessions to Omit Russian Contacts?

September 12, 2017
On behalf of People For the American Way, American Oversight sued DOJ and FBI over Sessions’ failure to disclose Russian contacts on his security clearance application.

DOJ Confirms Trump Lied in “Wiretap” Tweets

September 2, 2017
The Department of Justice confirmed in a court filing on Friday evening that neither the DOJ nor the FBI have any records supporting President Trump's tweeted assertion that Trump Tower was "wiretapped."

American Oversight Obtains Attorney General Sessions SF-86 Signature Page

August 1, 2017
American Oversight has obtained and released the page of Attorney General Sessions's security clearance application on which he signed his name below a certification that a "knowing and willful false statement on this form can be punished by fine or imprisonment or both."
Show all updates

Related Documents

September 12, 2017

People For the American Way v. FBI and DOJ

Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Litigation
September 12, 2017

Final Response From DOJ Regarding Sessions

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
September 11, 2017

DOJ Records Withheld Reply

Agency Reply
September 1, 2017

DOJ Motion for Summary Judgment – Wiretapping Lawsuit

Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Litigation
August 29, 2017

Minute Order – Russian Investigation FOIA Requests

Department of Justice
Litigation
August 11, 2017

DOJ Internal Communications Regarding AG Session’s Recusal

Department of Justice
Agency Record
August 11, 2017

White House Communications and the Trump Campaign

Department of Justice
Agency Record
August 8, 2017

Order: Extension of Deadline

Department of Justice
Litigation
August 1, 2017

Attorney General Sessions’s SF-86 Signature Page

Department of Justice
Agency Record
July 28, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Records about Possibility of Removing Mueller

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
July 28, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Russian Interference and Appointment of Special Counsel

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
July 28, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Sessions Recusal

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
July 13, 2017

Redacted Page of Attorney General Sessions’s SF-86

Department of Justice
Agency Record
July 12, 2017

Notice of Production – Sessions SF-86 Lawsuit

Department of Justice
Litigation
July 6, 2017

Order: Vaughn Index

Department of Justice
Litigation
July 6, 2017

Court Order in American Oversight’s Wiretap Lawsuit

Department of Justice
Litigation
June 20, 2017

DOJ FBI Response Neither Confirms Nor Denies Comey Briefing Book

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
June 16, 2017

DOJ Records Exempt Response to Request for Comey Memos

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
June 12, 2017

Minute Order – Sessions and Priebus Lawsuit

Department of Justice
Litigation
May 25, 2017

Government Response to American Oversight v. DOJ and FBI

Department of Justice
Litigation
May 22, 2017

DOJ No Responsive Records about Sessions Recusal Terms

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
May 16, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications Regarding Firing of Comey

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 16, 2017

FOIA Request to FBI Comey Memos Memorializing Trump Conversations

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 16, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications Between Rosenstein and Comey regarding conversations with Trump

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 12, 2017

FOIA Request to FBI Meetings Between Comey and White House

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 11, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications from Rosenstein about firing Comey

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 11, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Sessions and Rosenstein Records April 30 through May 11 2017

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 10, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications About Decision to Fire Comey

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 10, 2017

FOIA Request to FBI Communications with DOJ and Media Regarding Comey Firing

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
May 10, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Sessions Involvement in Comey Firing Terms of His Recusal

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
April 21, 2017

DOJ Acknowledgement of FOIA Request

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
April 19, 2017

American Oversight v. DOJ and FBI – Wiretapping

Department of Justice
Litigation
April 19, 2017

American Oversight v. DOJ and FBI – Sessions and Priebus

Department of Justice
Litigation
April 12, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications with Congress Regarding Sessions Contact with Russian Officials

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
April 12, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications with DC US Attorney’s Office Regarding Sessions Contact with Russian Officials

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
April 12, 2017

FOIA Request to FBI Communications with Congress Regarding Jeff Sessions’ contact with Russian officials

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 31, 2017

FOIA Request to DOD Communications between Michael Flynn and Russian Govt or RT Officials

Department of Defense
FOIA Request
March 29, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Sessions Communications about Sally Yates Testimony

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 29, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Legal Analysis Provided to the White House about Sally Yates Testimony

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 29, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications with White House about Potential Sally Yates Testimony

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 29, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications about Potential Testimony of Sally Yates to Congress

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 29, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Sessions Communications about Sally Yates Testimony

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 24, 2017

FOIA Request Seeking Information Related to Communications Between Sessions and Russian Ambassador

Department of Justice
Agency Record
March 20, 2017

FOIA Request to FBI Background Investigation Materials for Sessions Russian Contacts

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 20, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications about Allegations of Trump Tower Wiretapping

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 20, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Warrants or Court Orders Regarding Intercepts of Communications of Trump Campaign or Trump Tower

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 14, 2017

DOJ No Responsive Records Communications between Sessions and Ambassador Kislyak

Department of Justice
Agency Record
March 13, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Regarding Sessions’ Formal Recusal Document for 2016 Presidential Campaign

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 9, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Communications between Reince Priebus and the FBI Regarding Investigation into Trump Campaign

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 8, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Correspondence with News Media Regarding Any Communications Between Sessions and Russian Ambassador

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 8, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Seeking Communications Between Sessions and Russian Ambassador

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 8, 2017

FOIA Request to DOJ Seeking Records Relating to Any Communications Between Sessions and Russian Ambassador

Department of Justice
FOIA Request