Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for records ordered declassified and released by President Trump the day before he left office. The records relate to “Crossfire Hurricane,” the controversial spy operation against President Trump, his 2016 presidential campaign, and other Trump associates, and have yet to be made public by the Biden administration (Judicial Watch, Inc. v U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:22-cv-02264)).
The lawsuit was filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a February 17, 2022, FOIA request for:
All records regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation that were provided to the White House by the Department of Justice on or about December 30, 2020. For purposes of clarification, the records sought are those described in a January 19, 2021 Presidential Memorandum (see https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/presidential-actions/memorandum-declassification-certain-materials-related-fbis-crossfire-hurricane-investigation/ ).
All records of communication between any official or employee of the Department of Justice and any official or employee of any other branch, department, agency, or office of the federal government regarding the declassification and release of the records described in part one of this request.
Trump’s memo authorized the declassification and release of the records:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Declassification and Release. At my request, on December 30, 2020, the Department of Justice provided the White House with a binder of materials related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Portions of the documents in the binder have remained classified and have not been released to the Congress or the public. I requested the documents so that a declassification review could be performed and so I could determine to what extent materials in the binder should be released in unclassified form.
I determined that the materials in that binder should be declassified to the maximum extent possible. In response, and as part of the iterative process of the declassification review, under a cover letter dated January 17, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted its continuing objection to any further declassification of the materials in the binder and also, on the basis of a review that included Intelligence Community equities, identified the passages that it believed it was most crucial to keep from public disclosure. I have determined to accept the redactions proposed for continued classification by the FBI in that January 17 submission.
I hereby declassify the remaining materials in the binder. This is my final determination under the declassification review and I have directed the Attorney General to implement the redactions proposed in the FBI’s January 17 submission and return to the White House an appropriately redacted copy.
My decision to declassify materials within the binder is subject to the limits identified above and does not extend to materials that must be protected from disclosure pursuant to orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and does not require the disclosure of certain personally identifiable information or any other materials that must be protected from disclosure under applicable law. Accordingly, at my direction, the Attorney General has conducted an appropriate review to ensure that materials provided in the binder may be disclosed by the White House in accordance with applicable law.
A Just the News report details that the documents include “transcripts of intercepts made by the FBI of Trump aides, a declassified copy of the final FISA warrant approved by an intelligence court, and the tasking orders and debriefings of the two main confidential human sources, Christopher Steele and Stefan Halper, the bureau used to investigate whether Trump had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.”
“The Obama-Biden Administration and Deep State spying on Trump and his associates is the worst government corruption scandal in American history,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And to make matters worse, the Biden DOJ simply refuses to release smoking gun documents about this corruption that the American people have an absolute right to see!”
Judicial Watch has taken a leading role in uncovering the Obama/Deep State spying and other abuses targeting Trump world.
In May 2020, Judicial Watch litigation uncovered the “electronic communication” (EC) that officially launched the counterintelligence investigation, termed “Crossfire Hurricane,” of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The document was written by Strzok.
In March 2019 Judicial Watch released heavily redacted records from the DOJ that reveal Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.
In August 2019, Judicial Watch uncovered “302” report material from FBI interviews with Bruce Ohr, showing that in November 2016, Ohr said that “reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign” and “Jon Winer at the U.S. State Department and the FBI.” The documents also showed that Ohr knew that Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson and others were “talking to Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department.” (A Form 302 is used by FBI agents to summarize the interviews that they conduct and contains information from the notes taken during the interview.)
In August 2018, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants. Judicial Watch litigation also uncovered the secret FISA warrants that confirmed the FBI and DOJ misled the courts in withholding the material information that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were behind the “intelligence” used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.
Also, in August of that year, Judicial Watch discovered FBI records about Christopher Steele, the former British spy, hired with Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funds, who authored the infamous dossier targeting President Trump during the presidential campaign. The documents show that Steele was cut off as a “Confidential Human Source” (CHS) after he disclosed his relationship with the FBI to a third party. The documents show at least 11 FBI payments to Steele in 2016 and document that he was admonished for unspecified reasons in February 2016.