Sessions, Comey, and Clinton: New FOIAs and Lawsuits Seek Answers

In the last few weeks, American Oversight filed a series of lawsuits and FOIA requests to uncover records of questionable actions in the Trump administration.

Did a Trump Donor Get Special Treatment?

The CEO of mail-order pillow company MyPillow CEO donated a significant amount of money to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee. He also appeared on the campaign trail in support of Trump a number of times. On July 19, 2017 of last year, MyPillow was featured at a “Made in America” roundtable at the White House, where President Trump personally endorsed the product. Just days after the White House event, on July 26, the General Services Administration (GSA) modified MyPillow’s contract award.

American Oversight sued GSA in order to obtain records related to changes that had been made to MyPillow’s contract with the agency. Follow-up FOIAs were also filed in order to find out more about any communications and records related to the contract modification.

Did Sessions Ask Congress for “Dirt” on Comey?

On May 9, 2017, President Trump fired then-Director of the FBI, James Comey.
Recently, The New York Times reported that a few days prior to Comey’s firing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ aide contacted a congressional staffer seeking any damaging information about Comey, potentially to justify Comey’s eventual firing.

American Oversight submitted a new FOIA request seeking records to better understand Sessions’ possible role in Comey’s firing.

Did Trump’s Tweets Pressure DOJ into Investigating Clinton?

On January 4, 2018, The Daily Beast reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) officials would be reopening an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. This followed a tweet by President Donald Trump stating that Ms. Clinton’s top aide, Ms. Huma Abedin, had “been accused of disregarding basic security protocols” and suggesting that she be jailed.

In July and September of 2017, Representative Bob Goodlatte and other Republican members of the House Committee on the Judiciary urged DOJ to appoint a second special counsel to investigate several matters connected to the 2016 election, including issues relating to Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server. In DOJ’s response, it was stated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had directed federal prosecutors to evaluate “certain issues” raised in letters from Rep. Goodlatte.

American Oversight is seeking more information on DOJ’s decision to re-open the investigation against Hillary Clinton, especially since it was spurred by a Tweet by President Trump and Republican members of the House Committee on the Judiciary. We submitted FOIAs to find related communications and records to better understand the motive and we’ve been investigating whether or not DOJ has become politicized by President Trump.