Oversight Project Sues DOJ and National Archives for Communications on Trump Raid

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Oversight Project Sues DOJ and National Archives for Communications on Trump Raid

Sep 2, 2022 3 min read

WASHINGTON—The Oversight Project announced Friday it has filed lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), following the agencies’ refusal to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted last month. The request to NARA seeks all communications between senior NARA officials and the Biden White House, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and former President Trump’s staff at Bedminster, Mar-a-Lago, or Trump Tower.   

In light of the continued leaks to liberal media outlets, the DOJ request seeks all communications with entities external to the government.  

The lawsuits come after the agencies refused to grant the Oversight Project’s request for expedited processing of the request. Given the intense public interest in the FBI raid on the former president’s home, and the need for maximum transparency about what communications took place between NARA and the Biden administration, the Oversight Project argued such a request was imminently reasonable.  

U.S. Rep. James Comer, House Oversight Committee ranking member, recently sent a letter to NARA demanding more information on the agency’s role, if any, in the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, and requesting an immediate briefing from NARA officials and preservation of all documents and communications relevant to the raid.  

Mike Howell, director of the Oversight Project, released the following statement upon filing of the lawsuit against the DOJ and NARA:  

“Biden’s DOJ and FBI raided Mar-a-Lago over a document dispute. Now, they have a document dispute with us. Let’s see if the law is truly applied evenly, or if these agencies continue to stonewall our efforts while selectively leaking information to liberal media outlets to advance the narrative Merrick Garland and Joe Biden want.   

 

“The DOJ is conducting this investigation in an overtly partisan and corrupt manner. The authorized leaks and selective disclosures discredit their entire basis for withholding other information from valid requests such as ours. There is simply no valid ongoing investigation exemption for the communications we are seeking. The American people have a right to these communications, and the administration must turn them over. 

 

“Since Biden’s administration is ripping the fabric of this country apart at the seams over a document retention issue, let’s be clear—leaks from government officials to media are communications that must be retained and turned over to us. If these leaks occur outside government systems and are not returned to government systems, then they are violating document retention laws. Failure to obtain and turn over these materials is an unacceptable double standard and another reason Americans across the political spectrum are losing trust in the Department of Justice. 

 

“It is unfortunate that private citizens must take their government to court to obtain documents that belong to the people. This is more evidence of a two-tier justice system, where the Washington Post and other liberal media outlets are afforded more rights than ordinary Americans outside the Beltway.” 

Just after news of the unprecedented federal raid on the home of a former president, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts released a statement, which said in part:   

“The raid on Mar-a-Lago represents yet another example of the federal government weaponizing law enforcement to punish political enemies, silence critics, and send a message to those whom it views as enemies. The Biden administration and the D.C. swamp are making it very clear that they will use all the power of the state to intimidate anyone who stands in their way.” 

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