Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) in response to the department’s refusal to disclose the names of staffers working on the special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump.
The watchdog group announced the lawsuit on Monday, noting that they were seeking the names of staffers working with Special Counsel Jack Smith to investigate Trump’s supposed mishandling of classified documents.
The investigation surrounds the former president’s storage of supposedly classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida — documents that Trump has stated that he declassified while still in office. The FBI raided Trump’s home in August 2022, despite the fact that he had been voluntarily cooperating with the bureau on the matter — and the FBI had even provided him with a lock for the room where the documents were stored.
Numerous reports have shown that the controversial raid of Trump’s home was motivated by political bias at the FBI:
The special counsel was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November 2022 to oversee the DOJ’s Trump-related investigations. According to reports from May of this year, Smith is near the end of his investigation into the matter.
In December 2022, the DOJ rejected a FOIA request from Judicial Watch — which sought the names of employees in Smith’s office — claiming that honoring their request would constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” and argued that releasing the records “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
Now, Judicial Watch has taken stronger action — filing the FOIA lawsuit against the DOJ.
Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, has argued that transparency is necessary — especially because of the revelations from Special Counsel John Durham’s report that showed the FBI had opened the Russia Collusion investigation into Trump without any evidence.
“Given the overwhelming evidence of anti-Trump bias disclosed in the Durham Report, it is urgent that Americans be able to find out who is again investigating Trump from the Garland Justice Department and his appointee Jack Smith,” Fitton said. “Special Prosecutor Jack Smith isn’t above the law, and the American people have the right to know about just who is working on his unprecedented and politicized anti-Trump investigation.”
Jack Smith, who is trying to make Trump a political prisoner, cut his teeth on working with Lois Lerner to jail Obama's opponents! And now he and Garland won't tell us who he is working with! So @JudicialWatch sued in Federal court! https://t.co/RbF5ke5AmA pic.twitter.com/aGqaxBRWhx
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) June 7, 2023