Judicial Watch (JW) says that the FBI may have deleted the text messages of James Comey and Andrew McCabe. But, in case they didn’t, JW is suing the FBI for their possession. The FBI claims that they are not obligated to turn them over to anyone. That may change after the election. Trump will fire Sessions and replace him with someone willing to enforce the law.
If he does, a whole loads of documents will suddenly become available. Especially, it could be done by whoever President Trump makes a temporary replacement. That person wouldn’t have to worry about a confirmation hearing. It may even make it easier to get Trump’s nominee confirmed, because until they do, t6he temp remains at the helm.
Via Judicial Watch:
After the FBI claimed that text messages are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Judicial Watch filed suit to ensure that text messages are being preserved. The new Administrative Procedure Act lawsuit against the FBI challenges the FBI failure to preserve FBI text messages as required by the Federal Records Act. (Judicial Watch v. FBI (No.1:18-cv-02316)).
In its lawsuit Judicial Watch points to a related case in which Michael G. Seidel, the assistant section chief of the Record/Information Dissemination Section in the FBI’s Information Management Division, stated: “text messages on [FBI]-issued devices are not automatically integrated into an FBI records system.” (Danik v. U.S. Department of Justice, (No. 1:17-cv-01792)).
Judicial Watch argued that the FBI “does not have a record keeping program in place that provides effective controls over the maintenance of electronic messages, including text messages.” Moreover, “The FBI relies upon its personnel to incorporate their text messages into a record keeping system. If FBI personnel do not actively incorporate their text messages into a record keeping system, the text messages are not preserved.”
Judicial Watch asked the court to declare the FBI’s failure to have a record keeping program for electronic messages to be “not in accordance with law” and that the court order the FBI “to establish and maintain a record keeping program that provides effective controls over the maintenance of electronic messages.”
If text messages are not preserved, then they may be deleted and never produced to Congress, criminal investigators, and to the American people under FOIA.
Judicial Watch also filed suit against the Justice Department after the DOJ failed to respond to an August 27, 2018, FOIA request seeking the FBI’s audit records of McCabe’s communications (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02283)).