Government watchdog Judicial Watch is threatening the FBI with a lawsuit if the bureau does not comply with their request for Acting Director Andrew McCabe to recover and release federal records and memos it contends were “unlawfully” removed by former Director James Comey.
On June 14, president of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton sent a letter to McCabe warning of a potential violation of the Federal Records Act, which lays out the federal government’s policies regarding the “creating, maintaining, and disposing” of federal records.
“As you may be aware, the Federal Records Act imposes a direct responsibility on you to take steps to recover any records unlawfully removed from the FBI,” Fitton wrote in the letter, contending that Comey unlawfully removed memos that could contain information regarding the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. “Upon learning that records have been unlawfully removed from the FBI, you then are required to initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records.”
Fitton told Fox News, “We’re looking to get action on the records that Comey unlawfully took from the FBI, and we know initially there are memos, but depending on what the nature of the documents are, there could be liabilities for Mr. Comey.”
At issue are the memos which Comey claims to have written himself. Judicial Watch insists that they are official records although it is unclear how a court would classify them.
In recent testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey admitted that he gave one of his memos regarding a meeting with President Trump to a friend, Columbia University Professor Daniel Richman, who then leaked the memo’s contents the New York Times.
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter—I thought that might prompt the appointment of special counsel,” Comey said in his testimony.
Fitton declared that the case of Comey removing memos from the FBI is “the Hillary Clinton email scandal all over again.”
John Iannarelli, a retired FBI special agent and former national FBI spokesman, told Fox News that did not see “the case.”
“The things Comey allegedly took are not classified,” Iannarelli said. “The issue is not him taking documents, but the matter of how he released them—classified or not, there is a procedure in doing that which he did not follow.”
The letter sent to McCabe by Judicial Watch requests a response by June 26. Otherwise, the group will file a lawsuit in district court “seeking that you be compelled to comply with the law.”
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