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Judicial Watch • CNN v FBI Comey memos 00167

CNN v FBI Comey memos 00167

CNN v FBI Comey memos 00167

Page 1: CNN v FBI Comey memos 00167

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Number of Pages:8

Date Created:June 15, 2017

Date Uploaded to the Library:November 01, 2017

Tags:00167, eFOIPA, CNN, flynn, memos, attached, Comey, Relief, Trump, exhibit, requested, president, filed, White House, plaintiff, request, FBI, document, records, DOJ, FOIA, states, office, Washington, united


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Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC.,
One CNN Center
Atlanta, 30303,
Plaintiff,
FEDERAL BUREAU INVESTIGATION
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001,
Defendant.
Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-01167
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Plaintiff Cable News Network, Inc. CNN brings this suit against the Federal Bureau Investigation FBI support thereof, CNN states follows:
INTRODUCTION
This action brought pursuant the Freedom Information Act FOIA
U.S.C. 552, for declaratory, injunctive, and other appropriate relief, seeking the immediate
processing CNN request the FBI for records prepared former FBI Director James
Comey, Jr., that document his interactions with President Donald Trump, and the immediate
release those records.
Despite the great urgency informing the public about these records, and
absolute disregard for the U.S. Department Justice DOJ Office Information Policy OIP decision directing the expedited processing CNN request, the FBI has failed
respond the request within the time required the FOIA.
Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page
PARTIES
Plaintiff CNN 24-hour cable news channel headquartered Atlanta, Georgia.
CNN operates nine news bureaus across the United States, including Washington, D.C., and news bureaus internationally. trusted source news and information, CNN reaches more
individuals television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable television news
organization the United States.
Defendant FBI component the DOJ, department the Executive Branch the United States and agency within the meaning U.S.C. 552(f)(1). The FBI has
possession and control the records requested CNN.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
This action arises under the FOIA. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over
this action and personal jurisdiction over the parties pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B) and
(a)(6)(C)(i). This Court also has jurisdiction over this action pursuant U.S.C. 1331.
Venue proper this judicial district under U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B).
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
President Trump fired FBI Director Comey May 2017.
Comey had been overseeing criminal investigation into whether President
Trump aides colluded with Russia influence the outcome the 2016 presidential election.
The FBI was also investigating President Trump former National Security Adviser Michael
Flynn for his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the
presidential transition about sanctions imposed Russia, and for Flynn work paid
lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. President Trump fired Flynn February 13, 2017 for
lying Vice President Mike Pence, and other White House officials, about his communications
Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page
with Kislyak.
Comey met with President Trump the Oval Office February 14, 2017.
During that meeting, one-on-one conversation, the President asked Comey end the FBI
investigation Flynn.
10.
Comey immediately documented his conversation with the President memo.
According Comey memo, President Trump said: hope you can see your way clear
letting this go, letting Flynn go. good guy. hope you can let this go.
11.
Comey prepared number additional memos detailing his interactions with the
President (the Comey memos
12.
Comey provided copy his February 14, 2017, memo his friend Daniel
Richman, who has told CNN that provided the memo and all relevant materials from
Comey the FBI.
13. May 16, 2017, CNN producer Greg Wallace submitted FOIA request
behalf CNN the FBI for copies all records notes taken communications sent
from FBI Director James Comey regarding documenting interactions (including interviews
and other conversations) with President Donald Trump. The scope this request records
between January 20, 2017 and May 10, 2017. CNN requested fee waiver member
news organization and because the release the requested information the public interest
and will contribute significantly the public understanding government operations and
activities. CNN also requested expedited processing the request. copy CNN May 16,
2017 request attached Exhibit
14.
Mr. Wallace submitted CNN request through the FBI eFOIPA system and
The telephone numbers CNN employees have been redacted from Exhibits and
Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page
received receipt confirming the request was received the FBI that same day. copy
the eFOIPA confirmation attached Exhibit
15. May 23, 2017, the FBI granted CNN request for fee waiver. copy the
FBI May 23, 2017 letter attached Exhibit
16. separate letter also dated May 23, 2017, the FBI denied CNN request for
expedited processing the grounds that CNN ha[d] not provided enough information
concerning the statutory requirements permitting expedition. copy the FBI May 23,
2017 letter denying expedited processing attached Exhibit
17. May 26, 2017, CNN timely appealed the denial its request for expedited
processing OIP. the appeal, CNN noted that there great urgency release the
Comey memos which pertain[ directly possible questions about the government integrity
affecting public confidence the Presidency and the Executive Branch. copy CNN May
26, 2017 appeal attached Exhibit
18. June 2017, OIP reversed the FBI denial CNN request for expedited
processing and remanded the request the FBI with directions process the request quickly practicable. copy OIP June 2017 letter attached Exhibit
19. June 2017, the U.S. Senate Select Committee Intelligence released
Comey prepared statement the Committee advance his public testimony the next day.
20. his prepared statement, Comey detailed the contents the memos.
specifically noted that the Comey memos are not classified.
21. that same day, CNN, through its attorney, emailed David Hardy, FBI
Section Chief, Record/Information Dissemination Section, Records Management Division,
the status its public records request. CNN wrote: Given that today Mr. Comey publicly
Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page
confirmed that the memos exist, are not classified, and divulged the details those memos,
would now appropriate for the FBI comply with CNN FOIA request immediately.
CNN June 2017 email Mr. Hardy attached Exhibit
22. June 2017, Comey testified before the Committee. provided further
details about his communications with President Trump and the contents the Comey memos. reiterated that the memos were not classified.
23.
More than million people watched the live broadcast Comey testimony.
24.
The White House has disputed the accuracy the information the Comey
memos.
25. June 2017, the FBI responded CNN email stating that the request
would processed soon practicable, but provided timetable for production. copy the FBI June 2017 email attached Exhibit
26. June 12, 2917, the FBI provided the following status update email: The
FBI FOIPA Program searching the FBI indices for potentially responsive documents. You
may contacted via formal letter for all fees and/or negotiation issues that may apply. copy the FBI June 12, 2017 email attached Exhibit
27. June 13, 2017 one day before the 20-day statutory time period respond
standard FOIAs expired, and spite the previous status updates provided the agency the
FBI formally acknowledged OIP ruling directing expedite the processing CNN
request. copy the FBI June 13, 2017 letter attached Exhibit
28.
The urgency and national public importance release the Comey memos
unquestionable.
29. inconceivable that locating and producing the small number Comey
Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page
memos, particularly given their prominence current public debate, requires any significant
amount the FBI time resources.
30.
There basis withhold the Comey memos under the FOIA.
31.
Nevertheless, the date this filing, the FBI eFOIPA system continues
reflect that [t]he FBIs FOIPA Program searching the FBIs indices for potentially responsive
documents. You may contacted via formal letter for all fees and/or negotiation issues that may
apply.
32. the date this filing, and despite OIP grant expedited processing for
CNN request, the FBI has not produced any the requested public records.
CLAIM FOR RELIEF
COUNT
(Declaratory and Injunctive Relief:
Violation the Freedom Information Act, U.S.C. 552)
33.
CNN realleges and incorporates reference all previous paragraphs fully
set forth herein.
34.
The FOIA provides this Court with jurisdiction enjoin [the FBI] from
withholding agency records and order the production any agency records improperly
withheld from the complainant. U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B).
35.
The documents requested CNN are agency records within the FBI control.
36.
The FOIA requires that within working days receiving request agency,
like the FBI, notify requester the scope the documents that the agency will produce, the
scope the documents that the agency plans withhold under any FOIA exemptions, the right seek assistance from FOIA Public Liaison the Office Government Information
Services, and the right administratively appeal any adverse determination. U.S.C.
552(a)(6)(A)(i).
Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page
37.
The FBI received CNN FOIA request May 16, 2017.
38.
Pursuant the FOIA, the FBI was required respond CNN request within working days, June 14, 2017, the very latest and particularly given OIP order for
expedited treatment.
39. the date this filing, the FBI has not provided any substantive response
CNN. has not produced any the requested records.
40.
The FBI has, thus, wrongfully withheld agency records violation the FOIA.
41.
CNN has exhausted its administrative remedies with respect the FBI failure
respond its request and failure produce the requested records. U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C)(i).
42.
CNN requests declaratory judgment that the FBI has violated FOIA and that
CNN entitled immediately receive the records referenced above.
43.
CNN further requests that, pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B), the Court issue
injunction the FBI process CNN request and produce the requested records.
REQUEST FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Court: Declare that the FBI failure provide responsive documents unlawful under
FOIA; Enter injunction that directs the FBI immediately process CNN May 16,
2017, public records request; Enter injunction that directs the FBI make all requested records available
CNN, unredacted, and without further delay; Provide for expeditious proceedings this action; Award CNN its costs and reasonable attorneys fees incurred this action
Case 1:17-cv-01167-JEB Document Filed 06/15/17 Page
pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E); and Grant such other and further relief the Court may deem just and proper.
Respectfully submitted,
By: /s/ Charles Tobin
Charles Tobin (#455593)
Adrianna Rodriguez (#1020616)
BALLARD SPAHR LLP
1909 St., N.W., 12th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006-1157
Telephone: 202-661-2200
Facsimile: 202-661-2299
Counsel for Plaintiff Cable News Network, Inc.
Dated: June 15, 2017