Tuesday morning, USA Today reporter Brad Heath filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice, seeking any records of FBI surveillance of President Donald Trump or his aides during the presidential campaign. The lawsuit came after the DOJ had “no substantive response” to a FOIA request Heath made on March 6, two days after President Trump tweeted an accusation of President Barack Obama having his phones tapped.
The James Madison Project, a self-described non-partisan organization that promotes government accountability, is suing the DOJ along with Heath.
The complaint aims to resolve “whether there was an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) authorizing surveillance of and/or collection of information implicating President Donald J. Trump,” his campaign, and his transition team. The lawsuit references various comments by Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer regarding the allegations of surveillance, and says they “constitute prior official disclosure of the existence of surveillance orders.” Therefore, Heath argues, the records he’s seeking should not be withheld under the exemption for classified information. The lawsuit says there is “no legal basis” for the FBI to deny access to the information.
A representative from the Justice Department told LawNewz.com that the DOJ declines to comment on the matter.
This article has been updated with the DOJ’s response to LawNewz’s request for comment.
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