A court filing from the Department of Justice undercuts Donald Trump's claim that he is not under investigation, an allegation he made in his letter to fired FBI Director James Comey.
In his letter announcing that he had fired FBI Director James Comey, Donald Trump asserted that Comey had informed him “on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
But a recent court filing from the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicates that Trump’s claim is untrue.
As part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Harvard student Ryan Shapiro and Buzzfeed reporter Jason Leopold have been attempting to secure documents relating to Trump’s request that Russia hack Hillary Clinton’s emails during the campaign.
They asked for “disclosure of any and all records, including investigative records, mentioning or referring to Donald J. Trump’s statement on 27 July, 2016 [regarding Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails], ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ and ‘I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.'”
Their initial request was denied, so they filed a FOIA lawsuit. The DOJ first said they couldn’t confirm the existence of relevant records, but in a recent filing for a “Joint Status Report,” the Department now confirms “the existence of an active, ongoing investigation” relating to Trump’s statement on Russian hacking.
The filing also said the FBI plans to assert certain privileges that would allow them to withhold releasing “records that are responsive to the Russia Request” because it “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
In March, Comey testified to Congress that the FBI was “investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
Trump’s letter appears to be an attempt to claim that the FBI probe isn’t about him, but the scope of the FOIA request is specifically his personal comments towards Russia, as is the DOJ response in their court filing.
Which means that, once again, Trump is telling a flat-out lie — as his own Department of Justice makes clear.