(CNSNews.com) -- The government watchdog group Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. State Department to obtain records about the Obama administration's role in facilitating Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's attendance at the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC).
Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), now the U.S. attorney general, reportedly spoke with Kislyak at that convention, an encounter that compelled him to recuse himself from the investigation of alleged Russia-Trump collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“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 in a statement.
“The Deep State would have it appear the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to have the Russia ambassador visit the RNC convention," he said, "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," said Fitton.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in federal court in D.C. because the State Department, then headed by Secretary Rex Tillerson, did not respond to a routine FOIA request for the information made by Judicial Watch in November 2017.
The lawsuit is seeking the following information:
"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.”
According to the watchdog group, "The Obama-era State Department funded and made arrangements for foreign ambassadors to attend the RNC convention."
Also, "Obama’s State Department helped set up a separate event in 2016, titled 'Global Partners in Diplomacy,' at which Sessions and Kislyak reportedly spoke," said Judicial Watch in its statement. "Sessions was the keynote speaker at the event."
Kislyak reportedly attended the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in 2016 but an official who helped organize that convention, according to USA Today, said it "could not release the list of attendees due to security concerns, but could find no indication Kislyak attended. No one remembered seeing him there.”