Just how much did the Department of Justice abuse the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) when it decided to go after Donald Trump? And what is the DOJ hiding from Congress (and the American people) about this scandal that is worse than Watergate? Judicial Watch is determined to find out.
Judicial Watch just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for all records of communications between both the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding the FISA warrants against foreign policy adviser Carter Page and other members of Trump campaign (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01088)).
Judicial Watch sued after both the Justice Department and the FBI, a division of the DOJ, failed to respond to separate February 9, 2018, FOIA requests seeking:
- Any records of communications between DOJ officials and Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (“USSCJ”) and/or their staff members regarding USSCJ’s attempts to acquire the applications and renewals for FISA warrants against Carter Page and any other members of President Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as any records relating to or forming the basis of those FISA warrant applications/renewals from June 1, 2016 to the present.
- Any records of communications between DOJ officials and Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”) and/or their staff members, regarding HPSCI’s attempts to acquire the applications and renewals for FISA warrants against Carter Page and any other members of President Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as any records relating to or forming the basis of those FISA warrant applications and renewals from June 1, 2016 to the present.
Over the last year, the DOJ and FBI have withheld or stonewalled on documents about the FISA court warrants targeting of the Trump campaign, Spygate documents, the Clinton-DNC anti-Trump dossier, the genesis of the Obama’s Trump-Russia investigation, the Clinton email investigation, and anti-Trump FBI text messages.
Judicial Watch’s latest federal FOIA lawsuit aims to uncover details of the DOJ/FBI obstruction and contempt of Congress on Spygate. The Deep State doesn’t want Congress, Judicial Watch, or the American people to see the full extent of its abuses targeting the Trump campaign and now President Trump.
The lawsuit is the latest of more than two dozen active suits we have filed relating to the DOJ cover-up of the abuses and the stonewalling of Congress related to the year-long Mueller investigation into alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Judicial Watch’s work is impressive and shows how Judicial Watch is really the only game in town on Spygate and the Deep State anti-Trump targeting scandal oversight.
On February 2, 2018, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo detailing government surveillance abuse during the 2016 campaign. This document points out that the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s application for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.
On February 7, 2018, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes wrote a letter to Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, the presiding judge at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), requesting transcripts of “any relevant FISC hearings associated with the initial FISA application or subsequent renewals related to electronic surveillance of Carter Page.” On February 15, Judge Collyer replied that the FBI and DOJ “possess most, if not all, of the responsive materials the Court might possess, and we have previously made clear to the Department, both formally and informally, that we do not object to any decision by the Executive Branch to release any such FISA materials to Congress.”
On April 6, 2018, The Hill reported that the Justice Department “agreed to allow additional access by the House Intelligence Committee to view four surveillance applications” against Page, “calling it an ‘extraordinary accommodation.’” The public has still not been told what was contained in those applications.
On May 3, 2018, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ for copies of all transcripts of hearings before the FISC regarding applications for or renewals of FISA warrants relating to Page and/or Michael Flynn.
In February 2018, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ for FBI documents regarding the FISA warrant application submitted to – and responses from – the FISC related to alleged collusion between Russia and Trump campaign associates (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00245)).
In January 2018, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ for text messages and other records of FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Strzok reportedly oversaw the FBI’s interviews of former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn, changed former FBI Director James Comey’s language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her illicit email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” played a lead role in the FBI’s interview of Clinton, and is suspected of being responsible for using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant in order to spy on President Trump’s campaign.
In May 2017, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ for records of communications and payments between the FBI and former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and his private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-00916)).
And last month, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ for records about top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr’s involvement in the Trump dossier authored by Christopher Steele (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No.1:18-cv-00490)) and (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No.1:18-cv-00491)).
Judicial Watch is doing this on behalf of the American people, because they simply can’t trust the Justice Department (or Congress, for that matter) to deliver justice, accountability and transparency in this scandal of all scandals.
Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch.