Gabe Kaminsky, DCNF
A watchdog is suing President Joe Biden’s Justice Department (DOJ) for not releasing records related to the FBI’s defunct probe into ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government — even though the former president declassified the records.
Judicial Watch is suing the DOJ to obtain the records, as well as communications between DOJ officials and government employees on the declassification of the records. The lawsuit, which was filed on Aug. 1, comes after the conservative watchdog submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in February.
“The Obama-Biden Administration and Deep State spying on Trump and his associates is the worst government corruption scandal in American history,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement Monday. “And to make matters worse, the Biden DOJ simply refuses to release smoking gun documents about this corruption that the American people have an absolute right to see!”
Trump issued a memo on Jan. 19, 2021 declassifying materials in a binder that the DOJ gave to the White House in December 2020 on the “Crossfire Hurricane” probe. However, the binder’s materials never saw the light of day after the DOJ sought to issue redactions over privacy concerns, as detailed in a memo on Jan. 21, 2021 authored by then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who told the DOJ he would return the records.
Crossfire Hurricane was opened on July 31, 2016 and ended in May 17, 2017. Then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded in 2019 that the Trump campaign did not coordinate with Russia, as did other investigations.
Meadows said in his 2021 memo, which was first obtained by Just the News in July, that the DOJ’s issues with releasing the records were unwarranted since the executive office of the president is exempt from the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act was enacted in 1974 and bars agencies from disclosing records “to any person, or to another agency” without “the prior written consent of the individual to whom the record pertains.”
“Well, you know, the swamp is pretty deep,” said Meadows in a July interview on the records. “But when we look at this, this particular president was all about draining the swamp. When he was running, that was more of a campaign slogan. When he got there, he realized that not only was the swamp very deep, but they would fight back.”
Judicial Watch is asking the DOJ to pay its attorneys’ fees and other litigation records while also producing the records in relation to its FOIA request.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the FBI. A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond.
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