Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch attended a hearing in federal court this week after the Justice Department failed to respond to a December 12, 2017, FOIA request seeking records on oppo research firm Fusion GPS.
The Justice Department argued that it is unable to produce the requested records due to “technical issues.”
Where else have we heard this before?
Judicial Watch is seeking the following from the DOJ:
- All records of contact or communication, including but not limited to emails, text messages, and instant chats, between DOJ officials in the Attorney General’s Office and Fusion GPS employee or contractor Nellie Ohr.
The time frame for the requested records is January 1, 2015, to the present.
On June 14, 2018, Judge Walton ordered the Justice Department, which had been resisting Judicial Watch’s FOIA request, to “immediately commence its search for responsive records and produce responsive records…”
Additionally, Judge Walton previously criticized the Justice Department, saying:
I think if it’s been almost, since December when the initial request was made more should have been done by now. And it seems to me if you have someone who’s going to come into office and they say they’re going to be a disrupter, that they should appreciate there’s going to be a lot of FOIA requests and therefore, should gear up to deal with those requests. So I’m not real sympathetic to the position that you have limited staff and therefore, you can’t comply with these requests. So I think you’re going to have to get some more people.
On August 14, the DOJ wrote a letter to Judicial Watch claiming that searches were conducted up through December 2017, and no responsive records were located. The DOJ also claims that it has experienced “technical issues which may have affected the searches.”
While at this time we have no indication that records responsive to your request will be located, we cannot provide you with a final response to your request until the technical issues are resolved. [Office of Information Policy] has been working closely with our electronic search support team to resolve these issues and to re-run searches as appropriate to ensure that no records were missed in the original searches. We anticipate issuing an additional response to you in one month.
President of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton said he’s suspicious after the DOJ blamed a glitch.
The FBI previously blamed a glitch for ‘lost’ text messages between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
The DOJ also previously claimed a “glitch” was to blame for the missing documents related to the Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting.
Uh-oh! DOJ tells court it ran into "glitch" searching for Fusion GPS records. Color me suspicious. Another email gap? @JudicialWatch @RealDonaldTrump https://t.co/hWYXqNROb8 pic.twitter.com/rSnWGEcTEx
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) August 23, 2018