Rudy Giuliani is at the center of a lawsuit filed by a watchdog group seeking to find out if the FBI broke the law.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday alleging the Department of Justice did not respond to a records request related to a leak to President Trump’s personal attorney, Law & Crime reported.
The Justice Department “wrongfully withheld agency records” requested through the Freedom of Information Act, CREW maintained. The purpose of obtaining the documents, according to the government and ethics watchdog, was to find the “source of the leak of information to Rudolph Giuliani in October 2016 that then-FBI Director James B. Comey was going to reopen the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email system.”
Two days before Comey’s announcement of re-opening the probe, Giuliani teased a “surprise” that was coming, the lawsuit alleged.
“I do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton are beginning to have an impact. He’s got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days,” the former New York City mayor and longtime Trump supporter told Fox News at the time.
Giuliani, a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, admitted he knew about the investigation beforehand.
“Did I hear about it?” You’re darn right I heard about it. And I can’t even repeat the language that I heard,” he said on Fox News just days before the November 2016 election.
The lawsuit filed Monday claimed Comey “commissioned” an investigation into how Giuliani got the information.
“In recent testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Mr. Comey confirmed that he had ordered a leak investigation after Mr. Giuliani’s public statements indicated he had inside knowledge of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton that appeared to stem from his communications with people in the FBI’s New York field office,” the filing read.
“Any unauthorized disclosure of information about an FBI investigation would violate the Privacy Act and the Hatch Act if the disclosure was made with the purpose of affecting the result of the election,” the suit argued. “CREW, therefore, filed a FOIA request with the FBI by facsimile on April 26, 2018 to shed light on whether FBI agents employees violated federal law.”
That FOIA request for records from that FBI investigation was never fulfilled, prompting the lawsuit.
“The FBI legally has to give us these records or explain why they cannot,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement, according to The Hill. “It is important for the public to have all of the information that the law requires to be made available.”
At the time of the alleged leak, Giuliani denied speaking with any current FBI agents and claimed the comments he made were referring to an upcoming advertising campaign.
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