A federal judge thwarted the FBI’s efforts to keep sensitive documents about former Director James Comey’s memos from public view. (Washington Examiner)
The ruling comes after the FBI asked Judge James Boasberg to reconsider a district court ruling earlier this year that CNN and other media organizations and watchdog groups were entitled to information related both to Comey’s memos and to how those memos were used in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation, which concluded earlier this year. But the FBI battled against disclosure.
The bureau was claiming it had “effectively asserted” a Freedom of Information Act exemption as the basis to protect its redactions. But the judge said the FBI never actually made this assertion in the relevant filings. Nevertheless, the FBI wanted the judge to act like it had and to rule accordingly in its favor to stop more information from being released. The FBI also argued that, even though it invoked the National Security Act, it had actually meant to invoke the Freedom of Information Act instead.
The judge denied these requests Monday, calling the arguments a bridge too far and pointing out the FBI never made the arguments it now wanted him to consider.
Media and watchdog groups have fought to obtain documents relating to Comey’s notes through federal open records laws since May 2017, when the existence of Comey’s memos was first made public. Those memos recount hotly disputed conversations between Comey and Trump that are hotly disputed.
The Justice Department previously argued that releasing the Comey memos would interfere with the Mueller investigation.
Eventually, redacted versions became available to Congress and the public.