WASHINGTON (CN) – A nonprofit government watchdog wants the feds to turn over a litany of records tied to any ongoing investigation of former national-security adviser Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russian officials during and immediately after the 2016 presidential campaign.
Flynn resigned in February, just weeks after he was named President Donald Trump named him to the national security post.
In his resignation letter, Flynn admitted to giving Vice President Mike Pence and other administrative officials “incomplete information” about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The complaint singles out the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice.
Specifically, the organization wants “any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the investigation of retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak between October 1, 2016, and the present,” the complaint says.
The lawsuit requests access to warrants, affidavits, declarations or other “similar records” regarding the investigation.
Judicial Watch said the basis of its request was a CNN report that said intelligence and law enforcement officials captured Flynn’s questionable conversations during “routine U.S. eavesdropping” targeting Russian diplomats.
According to CNN, the FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama administration before President Barack Obama left office in January.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, issued a statement on Monday connecting his organization’s FOIA lawsuit to President Donald Trump’s recent claims that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower.
“President Trump is on to something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal,” Fitton said. “Judicial Watch aims to get to the truth about these crimes and we hope the Trump administration stands with us in the fight for transparency.”
In his statement, Fitton also emphasized that Judicial Watch wants the court to order a search for all records “responsive to its FOIA requests and demonstrate [that] they employed reasonable search methods; [as well as] order the agencies to produce by a specific date all non-exempt records and a Vaughn index of all withheld records; and instruct the agencies to cease withholding all non-exempt records.”
The Trump administration’s accounts of Flynn’s interaction with the Russian ambassador have been relatively fluid, with details varying with each telling.
The Justice Department reportedly warned the administration that Flynn was in a potentially compromising position due to contradictions between the accounts and what intelligence officials were able to confirm from recordings.
The Washington Post was the first to report that Flynn spoke of sanctions with the Russian ambassador and that he may have offered assurances about the new administration’s approach to Russian-U.S. relations. The conversation would have breached various diplomatic protocols, including the Logan Act which keeps citizens from conducting diplomacy.
Attorney James Petersen represents Judicial Watch.