Judicial Watch Sues for Obama State Dept. Records of Its Facilitation of Russian Amb. Kislyak’s Attendance at 2016 Republican Convention
(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State seeking all records regarding the Obama State Department facilitation of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s attendance at the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-00844)). Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after reports emerged of his conversing with Kislyak on this and one other occasion.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia after the DOJ failed to respond to a November 21, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
All records regarding Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s attendance at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016. Such records include, but are not limited to, communications between the State Department and the Russian Embassy regarding arrangements for Kislyak’s attendance, such as an invitation to attend, and records of the Diplomatic Security Service relating to Kislyak’s travel to and attendance.
The time frame of Judicial Watch’s records request was identified as “July 1, 2015 to October 1, 2016.”
The Obama-era State Department funded and made arrangements for foreign ambassadors to attend the RNC convention. Current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then a Trump campaign adviser, reportedly met with Kislyak at the convention and subsequently recused himself from the Russia investigation.
Obama’s State Department helped set up a separate event in 2016, titled “Global Partners in Diplomacy,” at which Sessions and Kislyak reportedly spoke. Sessions was the keynote speaker at the event.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has sought details into the Sessions-Kislyak conversations, Reuters reported on March 29, 2018.
Kislyak has reportedly suggested that he also attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention, but an official from the DNC said “the group could not release the list of attendees due to security concerns, but could find no indication Kislyak attended. No one remembered seeing him there.”
“Judicial Watch is trying to figure out the Obama administration’s role in getting the Russian Ambassador to the RNC convention,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Deep State would have it appear the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to have the Russia ambassador visit the RNC convention, when the fact seems to be that the Obama State Department was behind his attendance. Attorney General Sessions’ communications with the Russia Ambassador have been the subject of controversial unmasking and illegal leaks, so this new federal lawsuit may provide essential information.”