Watchdog Group Sues Obama Library for White House Records on the 2016 ‘Russia Collusion Hoax’

Lauren Shank | November 11, 2022 | 10:06am EST
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Former US President Barack Obama participates in a rally in support of Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 5, 2022. (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US President Barack Obama participates in a rally in support of Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 5, 2022. (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Judicial Watch sued the Barack Obama Presidential Library after it failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records regarding alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 9 after the silence that followed the March 4 FOIA request, which included releasing records of former Obama White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice. 

The records dealt with “alleged efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 presidential election and collude the Trump campaign and the alleged hacking of Democratic National Committee and/or Clinton campaign computer systems,” according to a Judicial Watch press release. 

By law, the requested records were not available under FOIA until five years after President Obama left office and are held at the Barack Obama Presidential Library – a part of the National Archives system. 

A second FOIA request was submitted to the Library for Obama White House records about the “infamous January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting” with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Rice, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and more. 

Judicial Watch found that Rice “oddly” memorized and summarized the meeting in an email written two weeks later during the “final hours” of the Obama administration on Jan. 20, 2017.

“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book,’” Rice said in the email. 

“The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would be by the book,” she wrote.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates also attended the meeting, as stated in the email, and a report from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General listed “Clapper, then NSA Director Michael Rogers, Brennan, and Comey,” as other attendees of the meeting. Comey had also briefed Obama at the meeting, which was confirmed in a book, “on his plan to confront President-elect Trump with the Clinton campaign ‘dossier.’”

“The records we are seeking go to the heart of the Obama administration’s efforts to undermine the incoming president, Donald J. Trump, and tie up his new administration in a phony scandal,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. 

“And the Obama Library is part of the same National Archives system that is subjecting President Trump to unprecedented harassment about Trump White House record keeping practices,” Fitton added.

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