When first responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) for documents related to the infamous tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the FBI told the ACLJ there weren’t any records of that meeting.
However, that excuse was debunked recently when the ACLJ obtained, as the result of a lawsuit, documents from the Justice Department containing numerous records relating to that meeting on the tarmac of the Phoenix Airport. However, much of the content was blacked out.
The documents contained correspondence between the Justice Department and the FBI, along with the Obama White House, including redacted “talking points,” all about the tarmac meeting scandal.
Now, the FBI has “reopened” its search for the requested records. This time the department will be led under Director Christopher Wray.
In an interview Wednesday on “Fox & Friends,” American Center for Law and Justice president Jay Sekulow said the FBI has sent him a letter, confirming they have reopened his Freedom of Information Act request for those records.
Sekulow said the ACLJ is prepared to go back to federal court to get the original, unredacted documents, if necessary.
In a written statement, Sekulow stated, “While we appreciate that the FBI has ‘reopened’ the case file and is now ‘searching’ for documents responsive to our duly submitted FOIA request from more than a year ago, it stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that the FBI bureaucracy just discovered that ‘potentially responsive’ records ‘may exist’ on its own accord.”
Sekulow asks, “What else is the FBI hiding?” and said, “It is unbelievable that the FBI bureaucracy still only admits that some documents ‘may exist.’”
“We know they exist,” he writes, as he outlines several documents they are already aware of that James Comey’s FBI was keeping hidden:
The documents we received . . . from the Department of Justice include several emails from the FBI to DOJ officials concerning the meeting. One with the subject line “FLAG” was correspondence between FBI officials (Richard Quinn, FBI Media/Investigative Publicity, and Michael Kortan) and DOJ officials concerning “flag[ing] a story . . . about a casual, unscheduled meeting between former president Bill Clinton and the AG.” The DOJ official instructs the FBI to “let me know if you get any questions about this” and provides “[o]ur talkers [DOJ talking points] on this.” The talking points, however are redacted.
Another email to the FBI contains the subject line “security details coordinate between Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton?”
On July 1, 2016 – just days before our FOIA request – a DOJ email chain under the subject line, “FBI just called,” indicates that the “FBI . . . is looking for guidance” in responding to media inquiries about news reports that the FBI had prevented the press from taking pictures of the Clinton Lynch meeting. The discussion then went off email to several phone calls (of which we are not able to obtain records). An hour later, Carolyn Pokomy of the Office of the Attorney General stated, “I will let Rybicki know.” Jim Rybicki was the Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to FBI Director Jim Comey. The information that was to be provided to Rybicki is redacted.
Also of note several of the documents contain redactions that are requested “per FBI.”
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