On Friday, former FBI Director James Comey revealed during his congressional testimony that right before he was fired by President Trump, he had opened an investigation into leaks from the FBI’s New York City office to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Today, a government and ethics watchdog group just sued the bureau for failing to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request for FBI records related to that investigation, according to an article on The Hill.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed their suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington DC stating that the FBI was in violation of the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to “turn over documents related to the FBI’s investigation into the leak of information to Rudy Giuliani in October 2016 that then-FBI Director James Comey was going to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system,” as stated in their press release.
The fact that Giuliani actually received insider info about the reopening of the Clinton probe is not in doubt since the notoriously loose-lipped former NYC Mayor bragged about it on Fox News.
“Did I hear about it? You’re darn right I heard about it. And I can’t even repeat the language that I heard,” Giuliani revealed at the time.
The loyal Trump acolyte invited questioning from the FBI with his subsequent prediction of an imminent “surprise or two” in the last weeks before the 2016 presidential election. He told the agents who questioned him earlier this year about the statement that he denied receiving any leaked material from the FBI itself.
With the Giuliani incident back in the news after Comey’s congressional grilling, CREW’s lawsuit has become particularly timely.
The FBI legally has to give us these records or explain why they cannot,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in the press release divulging the lawsuit. “It is important for the public to have all of the information that the law requires be made available.”
The only legitimate reason for the FBI to withhold any files they may have on the investigation into the leak of sensitive political information immediately before an election would be if there is still an open investigation into the matter as part of the overall probe of the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
However, if that is indeed the case, the FBI owes it to CREW to inform them and the rest of the public about that fact.
With a lawsuit now filed, it should only be a matter of time before we either get to see the FBI notes or find out that Giuliani is in almost as much trouble in the Mueller investigation as his client.
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Original reporting by Owen Daugherty at The Hill.