The FBI refused to comply with a Freedom Of Information Act request for alleged email exchanges with CNN on the day Roger Stone was arrested.
The federal agency rejected The Federalist’s FOIA request because it was “overly broad,” and didn’t comply with federal regulations.
“Please provide all e-mails sent to or received from any account with a ‘cnn.com’ domain from January 24, 2019 through January 25, 2019,” The Federalist wrote in the January 25 request.
CNN was “the only network present” in the early morning arrest of the former Trump associate at his Ft. Lauderdale, Florida home on January 25.
“The pre-dawn arrival of CNN at what was supposed to be a surprise raid of Stone’s home raised questions about whether the network had been tipped off about the impending FBI arrest of Stone,” the Federalist noted.
CNN reporter David Shortell, who broadcast live from the scene that morning, told the Washington Examiner it was “reporter’s instinct” that had him at Stone’s house just as FBI agents arrived, rejecting accusations that he or the network had been tipped off.
“There was some unusual grand jury activity in Washington, D.C., yesterday,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
CNN’s @davidgshortell was on the ground when Roger Stone was arrested in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., this morning. He says he was monitoring the situation because of “unusual grand jury activity in Washington D.C. yesterday.” https://t.co/Ljjyb8zTVN pic.twitter.com/O5rSFqbOcZ
— New Day (@NewDay) January 25, 2019
“Robert Mueller’s grand jury typically meets on Fridays. Yesterday, Thursday, there was grand jury activity… We also had some other signs that maybe something was going on this angle, the Roger Stone angle,” Shortell explained. “So we showed up at his house this morning, we were the only ones there, and lo and behold, the FBI agents did come.”
According to The Federalist:
The FBI further claimed that the underlying request itself, which specified both the date and the sender’s or recipient’s email domain, did not comply with federal regulations regarding requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Using the same rationale, the FBI also rejected a separate FOIA request from The Federalist which specifically requested any and all FBI emails on the day of the Stone raid sent to or from Josh Campbell, a former FBI employee who worked under James Comey, former director of the FBI, and now works as a law enforcement analyst for CNN, as well as any and all emails from that day specifically mentioning Roger Stone.
“The FBI did not explain how a request noting a specific date, specific character string, and specific sender or recipient did not satisfy federal regulations covering open records requests made pursuant FOIA,” The Federalist wrote.
The Federalist’s Sean Davis tweeted on Thursday that the freedom Watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the DOJ for documents containing communication with CNN over the Stone Raid.
“This was a simple request for information about any leaks to CNN regarding the controversial raid and arrest of Roger Stone. That we’re being stonewalled suggests that someone has something to hide,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch is investigating the investigators, and it’s time for them to come clean.”
The trial for Stone, who was indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, is set to begin in November.