Wait, What? DOJ Claims It Never Received Order From President Trump to Declassify Carter Page FISA Docs
The hits just keep on coming.
Justice Department lawyers argued in a federal court on Friday that the DOJ never received an order from President Trump to declassify the Carter Page FISA documents.
The Trump White House said in a public statement in May that the president had given US Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to declassify the Carter Page FISA documents, however, DOJ lawyers “subsequently confirmed with the White House that there was and is no order to declassify.”
The 10-page court filing also showed DOJ lawyers argued that they shouldn’t have to answer any questions to clear up the discrepency. Discovery would “involve obviously privileged information and high level officials.”
“As set forth in the renewed motion and the Weinsheimer Declaration, DOJ did not receive a declassification order, and following the press secretary statement that the President had directed DOJ “to provide for” declassification, DOJ followed up with the White House to confirm that there was no order requiring immediate declassification or disclosure. ECF No. 52 (“Def’s Renewed MSJ”). This declaration is entitled to a presumption of good faith,” the court filing stated.
“Plaintiffs argue that the Court already found that the President’s “intentions” were clear and that “the Government does not address whether the Order was treated by DOJ as a declassification order from the outset.” ECF No. 53 (“Pls.’ Opp’n”) at 3. That is incorrect. In fact, the declaration plainly states: “DOJ did not receive at any time a declassification order related to the materials remaining at issue in this case.” Declaration of G. Bradley Weinsheimer, ECF No. 53-1, ¶ 4 (“Weinsheimer Decl.”). See also id. ¶ 5 (“DOJ also did not receive any order to declassify the materials . . . during the meeting the President referenced in his tweet, or at any time.”). Accordingly, DOJ never believed that the press release was a declassification order or treated it as one,” the DOJ lawyers added according to the court filing.
Via Brad Heath, reporter for Reuters and a plaintiff in the case:
DOJ: When the White House said President Trump had ordered the government to "provide for the immediate declassification" of Carter Page FISA documents, that wasn't true. Its lawyers "subsequently confirmed with the White House that there was and is no order to declassify." pic.twitter.com/LO7vC22t4d
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) September 27, 2019
Judicial Watch boss Tom Fitton wondered if the DOJ ignored Trump’s declassification order, in response to the court filing.
“DOJ confirms that it ignored Donald Trump’s order to declassify Spygate docs?” Fitton said in a tweet.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) September 27, 2019