DOJ Hounded for Records in Lead-Up to Election

     WASHINGTON (CN) — With Election Day around the corner, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the focus of two court demands for federal records, filed by evangelicals and researchers, respectively.
     The American Center for Law and Justice filed its complaint with a federal judge in Washington on Nov. 2, clamoring for records related to a meeting Attorney General Loretta Lynch held with President Bill Clinton on her plane.
     Days after this June 27, 2016, meeting at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, the FBI interviewed Hillary Clinton about her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
     The Justice Department closed its investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee’s emails on July 7, though FBI Director James Comey has since ignited controversy in the case.
     On Oct. 28, Comey wrote a letter to Congress that announced the FBI was reopening its investigation based on the discovery of purportedly new emails in an unrelated case.
     Comey, a Republican, made the announcement against the Justice Department’s advice, despite not knowing what the emails contained or even whether Clinton wrote or received them.
     On Nov. 4, one of Donald Trump’s most high-profile surrogates compounded speculation that Comey abused the powers of his office on to manipulate the election.
     Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, boasted on a Fox News program this morning that he knew the investigation of Clinton was being reopened before Comey made his announcement.
     “Did I hear about it?” Giuliani asked. “You’re darn right I heard about it, and I can’t even repeat the language that I heard from the former FBI agents.”
     This week’s lawsuit about the June 27 Lynch meeting comes from a legal advocacy group for the Christian Right. Among other outlandish positions the group has taken in the past is that destigmatizing homosexuality causes “the human toll … to mount.”
     David French, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said this in a column for Patheos after a gay teenager named Tyler Clementi killed himself.
     In its lawsuit, the center claims that the Justice Department has not answered its demand under the Freedom of Information Act.
     The group wants to see agency communications about the Lynch meeting both before and after it took place, whether any DOJ officials gave former president Clinton permission to board Lynch’s plane, and the names of anyone who participated in discussions about the meeting.
     According to the 12-page complaint, the FBI said it found no relevant records, while the DOJ has given no response.
     Jay Sekulow, a member of the center’s house counsel, described the results as “hard to believe” in a statement on the lawsuit.
     Sekulow has previously called for Lynch’s resignation over the June meeting. He said in the statement the lawsuit was filed “to ensure true justice.”
     “General Lynch has disqualified herself from this critical investigation,” Sekulow said. “She has no business having any involvement in an FBI investigation of this magnitude. We will do, and are doing, everything we can to hold her accountable.”
     The center otherwise declined to comment on the lawsuit, as did a representative for the Justice Department.
     
     Vice News
     The Justice Department also would not comment on a Nov. 1 lawsuit it faces from Vice News reporter Jason Leopold and researcher Ryan Noah Shapiro. Also filing suit under FOIA, Leopold and Shapiro seek FBI records related to Trump’s business enterprises.
     “Various Trump entities, including Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., Trump Organization, Trump University and Trump Foundation have been the subject of media coverage and investigation for various activities that may have violated federal law,” the 6-page lawsuit states.
     “Violations of federal law by these Trump entities are of urgent public interest due to his current campaign for President of the United States,” the complaint continues.
     Leopold and Shapiro asked for expedited processing of their request and claim the agency overran its 10-day deadline to determine whether it will expedite it.
     The men are represented in their lawsuit by Joseph Creed Kelly. The D.C.-bsaed attorney has not returned an emailed seeking comment.

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