DOJ Won’t Confirm Trump Wasn’t Investigated

By on October 12, 2017
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President Trump has told anyone who will listen that he was assured by former FBI Director James Comey that he wasn’t under investigation, but according to the DOJ, that may not be the case.

The news site Politico and attorney Brad Moss filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to find out if Trump was, in fact, ever a target of any investigation. Earlier this week, they got an official Glomar response from the DOJ about the issue:

Please be advised that this Office can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any records responsive to your request. The existence or non-existence of such records is protected pursuant to Exemption 7(A) of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(A), which pertains to records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, the release of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.

In Politico’s coverage of the response, Moss says he isn’t satisfied with the government’s response and is potentially signaling that more legal action may be coming.

“The government’s response makes a mockery of the president’s repeated denials that he is under investigation. Is the government suggesting that the president doesn’t speak for the Executive Branch over which he presides?” Moss said. “The Government is apparently going to try and claim that the president’s past official statements are of no particular consequence … What credibility can they afford to the official statements of the President of the United States when his own Justice Department says that they aren’t actually legitimate or necessarily accurate?”

Some judges have ruled in the past that agencies can’t claim Exemption 7(A) protection if the subject of the inquiry has already acknowledged some association to an investigation. While this case certainly is on a different scale than others, the same rules could apply. We essentially know that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Trump’s potential obstruction of the investigation in his firing of Comey, but confirming Trump himself was a target of the investigation would go a long way toward making the obstruction case even more obvious.