Lawsuit Demands Any Communications with CNN
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Washington, DC – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for records of the planning and preparation of the raid of the home of former Trump campaign aide Roger Stone, as well as any communications between Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Office (SCO), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and CNN about the raid (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00795)).
The suit was filed after the Special Counsel’s Office failed to respond to a FOIA request dated January 25, 2019, and the FBI failed to respond to two separate FOIA requests on January 25, 2019, and February 1, 2019.
The January 2019 FOIA request to the Special Counsel’s Office sought all records of communications between SCO officials – and representatives CNN – regarding the January 25, 2019, arrest of Stone. Judicial Watch also asked for all records of communications between SCO officials or people acting on their behalf communicating with CNN regarding the arrest of Stone.
The January 2019 FOIA request to the FBI sought all records of communications from government or commercial sources between officials in the offices of the FBI Director, FBI Deputy Director, Office of General Counsel, Office of Public Affairs, and/or the FBI Miami Field Office – and representatives of CNN – regarding Stone’s arrest.
The February 2019 FOIA request to the FBI sought all planning materials used in preparation arrest and raid, as well as communications between the FBI Director, Deputy Director, Director’s Chief of Staff, and Executive Assistant Director for the Criminal Division. Judicial Watch also asked for all records of communications between the Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office regarding the arrest and/or raid on the home of Roger Stone.
The Judicial Watch FOIA request and subsequent lawsuit were in part prompted by the extraordinary and exclusive video access to the raid and arrest of Stone obtained by CNN on January 25, 2019. Questioned about the extraordinary early morning access, CNN claimed it was “the product of good instincts, some key clues, more than a year of observing comings at the DC federal courthouse and the special counsel’s office – and a little luck on the timing.”
Later in the day, however, Stone told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that CNN was aware of his arrest even before his own lawyer, “It’s disconcerting that CNN was aware that I would be arrested before my lawyers were informed. So, that’s disturbing.” And during his February 8, 2019, testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said, “It was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that.”
On January 25, 2019, Fox News reported that the Stone indictment “does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published emails of Democrats during the 2016 campaign, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of lying about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release during probes by Congress and Mueller’s team.”
“This was a simple request for information about any leaks to CNN regarding the controversial raid and arrest of Roger Stone. That we’re being stonewalled suggests that someone has something to hide,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch is investigating the investigators, and it’s time for them to come clean.”
Judicial Watch recently sent an official complaint to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG) calling for investigations into leaks of information about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The complaint asks for an investigation of any leaks to CNN about the controversial raid on the home of Roger Stone and for leaks to BuzzFeed suggesting that President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
Source Judicial Watch, Inc.