The FBI has allegedly agreed to reopen and potentially release its records on former Attorney General Loretta Lynch's controversial meeting with former President Bill Clinton during the 2016 presidential race. The request for the records had been filed by Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the religious nonprofit American Center for Law and Justice and President Donald Trump's attorney.
On Aug. 16, Sekulow announced that the FBI had submitted to him a letter disclosing that it would reopen his Freedom of Information Act request for bureau records on the Lynch-Clinton meeting, Fox News reports.
In July 2016, Lynch spoke with Bill Clinton at an airport in Arizona. Lynch was heading the federal probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and drew criticism for communicating with her husband before the investigation was complete. The controversy over the meeting prompted Lynch to recuse herself from the probe. Former FBI Director James Comey later recommended no charges against the former secretary of state for her use of a private server.
In November 2016, the ACLJ filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, asserting that the department was intentionally withholding records of the meeting between Lynch and the former president, according to CNN.
On Aug. 7, ALCJ received and promptly released a trove of DOJ emails related to Lynch after filing a FOIA request. The documents were heavily redacted but indicated that Lynch used an alias for her email account, similar to previous attorneys general, The Hill reports.
"We will be taking these redactions back to federal court," the ACLJ vowed.
DOJ officials have stated that portions of the documents were redacted because disclosing those select communications would be a "clearly unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of third parties."
Sekulow said he was pleased that the FBI would reopen his nonprofit's FOIA request for more documents related to the Lynch-Clinton meeting but accused the agency and the DOJ of initially lying to him. Both agencies had previously asserted that the documents Sekulow was requesting did not exist.
"While we appreciate that the FBI has 'reopened' the case case file and is now 'searching' for documents responsive to our duly submitted FOIA request from more than a year ago, it stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that the FBI bureaucracy just discovered that 'potentially responsive' records 'may exist' on its own accord," Sekulow wrote in a statement.
Sekulow is part of the legal team currently representing Trump in the federal probe into whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey and whether members of his campaign colluded with Russian officials to influence the 2016 election.