The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) says it will ask the Department of Justice Inspector General to investigate what it says appears to be collusion between the FBI and Department of Justice to withhold information from the public regarding the June 2016 meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton. The ACLJ says it will also ask the Inspector General investigate whether there was coordination between the FBI and DOJ with regard to the meeting, based on the onslaught of emails the group obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, Circa has learned.
ACLJ President Jay Sekulow, who is also a member of President Trump’s legal team, said his non-profit watch-dog group is vowing to get to the truth and plans to turn over all the documentation once it is received by their office. The ACLJ says it has already turned over all documents the group has received about the meeting to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is conducting its own investigation and has posted more than 400 full documents it has received on their website.
"When we get the complete documentation...we’re going to put it forward to the Inspector General’s office," Sekulow told Circa.
Last week, the FBI sent a letter to the ACLJ saying the bureau has reopened the Freedom of Information Act request related to the Lynch and Bill Clinton meeting in June 2016.
Originally, the FBI said it did not have any communications or documents pertaining to that meeting, which Sekulow says he "found odd and frankly, unbelievable."
Sekulow says The Department of Justice originally did not respond to the watchdog group's request for documentation which he says opened the door for a lawsuit. That lawsuit led to the discovery of more than 400 documents, including communications with the FBI, related to the tarmac meeting.
THE FBI LIED
Sekulow said the "FBI lied" when it first sent a letter to the ACLJ writing it had "no records responsive to your request were located.” The ACLJ said it requested all communications between the bureau and the DOJ with regard to the tarmac meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton last year.
Last week, after the documents from the Justice Department went public by the group, the FBI sent another letter to the ACLJ saying it was re-opening the FOIA request.
"They told us there was no documents related to the inquiry but there were," said Sekulow. "These documents show it went to the chief of staff of James Comey and he gets out there and acts like he was shocked and appalled by this but he knew about it. And didn't decide to do anything about it, except he decides to go public on that statement he made about Hillary Clinton and the investigation where he clears her."
In early July, 2016 Comey went before national media in Washington, D.C, rebuking Clinton as being “extremely careless” in using a private email address and server but decided not to pursue charges. Sekulow said the former FBI director "overstepped his bounds as FBI director."
Comey told Congress in testimony that his decision to go public and skirt the Justice Department was based on the appearance of impropriety between the Lynch and Bill Clinton meeting. He also told Congress that Lynch asked him to refer to the Hillary Clinton investigation as a "matter" not an investigation. Clinton contends she never mishandled classified information, although it has been reported that a number of classified emails were located on her off-site servers and personal account.
Comey told lawmakers, “I don’t know whether it was intentional or not, but it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate. That gave me a queasy feeling."
WHAT DO THE EMAILS SAY?
According to the emails obtained by the ACLJ, Comey was aware from the beginning about the issues surrounding the tarmac meeting and that the FBI was working with the Justice Department on ways to handle the media inquiries when the information that a meeting took place was revealed by a local Phoenix reporter who happened to catch it on film.
"They were in crisis management control, doing their best to really spin it and they were not successful," said Sekulow.
Several emails obtained by the ACLJ through their FOIA request are between the bureau and DOJ officials. One of the emails contains the subject line “FLAG” which was correspondence between FBI officials Richard Quinn, FBI Media/Investigative Publicity, and Michael Kortan and included DOJ officials concerning “flag[ing] a story . . . about a casual, unscheduled meeting between former president Bill Clinton and the AG,” according to the emails and ACLJ.
In one of the emails a DOJ official instructs the FBI to “let me know if you get any questions about this” and provides it to “[o]ur talkers [DOJ talking points] on this."
But the talking points are redacted and now the ACLJ says it is suing to get the un-redacted talking points. After reporters began inquiring into the tarmac meeting, Lynch told CNN that she regretted the meeting.
"And when it came to the talking points this is what they gave us three pages of redacted documents," said Sekulow, who held up an email that had been completely redacted. "We’re going back into court to get those." In another email," the FBI contains the subject line 'security details coordinate between Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton?" according to the ACLJ website.
The ACLJ is expecting to receive the documents pertaining to the FBI FOIA requests in two weeks, said Sekulow. He has also asked that the Senate Judiciary remove Paige Herwig, who is now the new counsel for ranking member Diane Feinstein to be recused from the investigation pertaining to Lynch. Herwig, was senior counsel for Lynch during the time the former attorney general met with Bill Clinton on the Phoenix airport tarmac, Sekulow said.
Neither Herwig, or Feinstein's office could be immediately reached for comment.
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