Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for communications between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and Michael Sussmann, a Perkins Coie law partner and former DOJ attorney.
While at Perkins Coie, Sussman represented the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the time Perkins Coie secretly paid for the development of the anti-Trump dossier the DOJ used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.
The lawsuit was filed after the FBI failed to respond to a FOIA request dated October 5, 2018 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00573)). The lawsuit seeks:
- Any and all records of communication between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and former Department of Justice attorney and current Perkins Coie Partner Michael Sussman.
- Any and all records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to any meeting between Mr. Baker and Mr. Sussman.
- Any and all calendars, agendas, or similar records, either in paper or electronic format, documenting the schedule and activities of Mr. Baker.
The time frame for this request is between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.
Perkins Coie is reportedly responsible for retaining the opposition research firm Fusion GPS in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC to dig into President Trump’s background.
Fusion GPS paid British ex-spy Christopher Steele to compile the anti-Trump dossier memos, which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016. Judicial Watch uncovered documents revealing that during this same period of time, the FBI also paid Steele on at least 11 occasions in 2016 as a confidential informant and later continued to receive information from Steele during 2017 through a Justice Department official even after it had fired Steele in November 2016 for leaking his relationship with the FBI to the media.
Confirmation of the DNC’s/Clinton campaign’s funding of the dossier, labeled by former FBI Director James Comey as “salacious and unverified,” was revealed in a memo from House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.
Baker reportedly told lawmakers in two 2018 interviews that Sussmann is the Perkins Coie attorney with whom he met in September 2016, a month before the FISA warrant was approved to spy on the Trump campaign, and that Sussmann gave him “documents and a thumb drive related to Russian interference in the election, hacking and possible Trump connections.”
“This lawsuit aims to fully expose the scandalous collusion between the Obama FBI and the Clinton-DNC political operation to target Hillary Clinton’s political opponent, Donald J. Trump.” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The corrupted FBI owes Americans total transparency on this scandal.”
In a related FOIA lawsuit filed against the DOJ in December 2018, Judicial Watch sued for records of all meetings in 2016 between Baker and the Perkins Coie law firm. The lawsuit cites a specific media report that Baker met with Perkins Coie lawyers to discuss allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. The meeting reportedly took place weeks before the 2016 election and before the FBI secured a controversial FISA spy warrant targeting then-candidate Trump’s campaign.
Judicial Watch previously obtained heavily redacted copies of FISA warrants used by the Obama-era DOJ to spy on the Trump campaign, which seem to confirm the FBI and DOJ misled the courts in withholding the material information that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were behind the “intelligence” used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team. One of the FISA warrant renewals was granted in June 2017 and did not expire until September 2017, some eight months after President Trump assumed office.
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