We’re once again taking on the deep state over both the sham Clinton investigation and the Uranium One scandal.
Yesterday, in response to what has become an all-too-familiar pattern and practice of failure by several federal bureaucratic agencies to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements and answer the ACLJ’s FOIA requests as the law requires, we filed two new FOIA lawsuits in which we are asking a federal court to order the agencies to issue determinations and produce documents responsive to the ACLJ’s FOIA request.
The first lawsuit is against four agencies: the Department of State, Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and U.S. Treasury Department. In this suit, we are seeking to obtain documents concerning a decision by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) to transfer the U.S.’s controlling interest in Uranium One to the Russian state-owned ARMZ – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian nuclear giant, Rosatom.
As we reported last November, the U.S. transfer is highly suspect. Why would the Obama Administration approve a deal that would result in making Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and bring Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain? It is further reported that at the time CFIUS approved the deal:
The ACLJ’s FOIA, and now the resulting lawsuit, seeks information that would shed light on this ill-advised—and, frankly, foolish—deal approved by CFIUS. Specifically, the information the ACLJ has demanded in its FOIA request will reveal just how much information the Obama FBI/DOJ provided to members of the CFIUS before its approval of the deal, as well as the validity of reports that Russia tried to bribe Hillary Clinton.
Just last week, an FBI informant involved in the controversial Uranium One deal (silenced under the Obama Administration and threatened with prosecution for sharing details regarding the Uranium One deal) gave a 10-page statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Intelligence Committee, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that APCO Worldwide – a global public affairs consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. – was hired by Russia in an effort to influence the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton. According to the informant, Russian nuclear officials “told [him] at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of its funds received from Russia to provide in-kind support for the Clintons’ Global Initiative.” Specifically, in exchange for Russia’s payment of more than $3 million dollars, “APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the US-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement.”
In light of this newly released information, the immediate release of the information sought by the ACLJ in its FOIA request is more important than ever – a fact that even the DOJ and the FBI have acknowledged. In an initial response to our FOIA request, the DOJ and FBI conceded that the information the ACLJ seeks is “a matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity which affect public confidence,” and should be released as soon as possible. The DOJ’s National Security Division further reiterated that there “is a particular urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal government activity.” Despite these acknowledgments, the government – after more than three months’ time – has yet to produce any documents.
The ACLJ’s new lawsuit, because it will proceed under the supervision of a federal court, will prevent further delay by these agencies in responding to our FOIA request.
In our second lawsuit, the ACLJ demands documents long-overdue from the DOJ and FBI relating to the FBI’s investigation – under fired FBI Director James Comey – into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers and treatment of classified information.
As you might recall, late last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained information, including the transcripts of FBI interviews of multiple witnesses in the investigation, which calls into question the objectivity of the FBI’s investigation. As the interviews revealed, Comey drafted his statement clearing Clinton as early as April or May – months before the FBI interviewed several key witnesses, including Clinton herself (who wasn’t interviewed until July 2 – days before Comey publicly announced his decision not to pursue criminal charges). In addition, the DOJ entered into “highly unusual” immunity agreements with key witnesses in the investigation, including Cheryl Mills (Clinton’s top aide) and Heather Samuelson (the aide tasked with going through the Clinton emails and deciding which should be made public and which deleted). It is reported that Mills and Samuelson agreed to allow the agency access to their computers in exchange for immunity – i.e. DOJ’s assurances that the findings of those searches would not be used against them.
We now know that early drafts of Comey’s statement announcing his decision not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton strongly indicated she had violated federal law by hosting and sharing top secret information on a private server.
To shed light on what appears – more and more – to be a sham investigation by the Comey-led FBI, the ACLJ’s FOIA request seeks several distinct categories of records, including:
While the FBI responded to the ACLJ’s request in October 2017 in what purported to be a final and complete response to the ACLJ’s request (simply directing the ACLJ to the FBI’s FOIA Library (The Vault) on the FBI’s public website), the ACLJ quickly determined that the FBI’s response was woefully inadequate. In fact, the documents on The Vault were responsive – at best – to only one category of documents requested (prior drafts of Comey’s statement). In addition, the documents contained inappropriate redactions by the FBI. Two of the three emails from then-Director Comey posted on the Vault were entirely redacted. Dozens of other pages presumably relating to Comey’s draft statement were withheld in their entirety. Thus, the ACLJ appealed the FBI’s determination, but, predictably, the FBI/DOJ never responded to the ACLJ’s appeal.
In the lawsuit filed yesterday against the FBI and DOJ, the ACLJ challenges the adequacy of the FBI’s search for documents and asks the court, among other things, to (1) direct the FBI to perform an expedited, adequate search and produce all responsive records in its possession and (2) order that DOJ immediately respond to the ACLJ’s appeal.
We will continue to hold the deep state bureaucracy accountable.
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