FBI Reopens Lynch-Clinton Meeting FOIA Search

By Zenny Phuong | August 20, 2017 | 5:33pm EDT
Then-FBI Director James Comey appears before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in December 2015. (Photo: FBI)

(CNSNews.com) – The FBI has reopened the search for remaining documentation requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton tarmac meeting, following the Department of Justice’s release of over 400 pages of related emails.

In a letter  to the American Center for Laws and Justice (ACLJ), which first filed the FOIA request in July 2016, the FBI acknowledged the 413 pages of emails found by the DOJ and that there were potentially more outstanding.

It said the ACLJ’s request had been reopened “as the FBI has determined records potentially responsive to you request may exist.”

“We are currently in the process of searching for any responsive material.”

The agency – then under the leadership of James Comey – had said in an October 2016 letter that “no records responsive to your request were located.”

The ACLJ then filed a FOIA lawsuit against the DOJ, which led to the agency locating and releasing the 413 pages of emails.

The newly-released records were mostly communications between the DOJ and reporters requesting comments about the meeting between the then-Attorney General and the former president on an airport tarmac in Phoenix, Ariz. June 2016.

But there are also several pages of redacted talking points, provided to FBI media official Richard Quinn by the director of the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs, Melanie Newman.

In an email with the subject line “FBI just called,” Newman told a staff member that the agency wanted guidance on how to respond to press queries about the FBI having given instructions to people who witnessed the Lynch-Clinton meeting that there be “no photos, no picture, no cell phones” used.

The private meeting stoked controversy about the impartiality of the DOJ’s investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

The FOIA filed by ACLJ requested access to:

--names of DOJ officials involved in meeting related discussions or decisions;

--meeting-related discussions or decisions;

--communications received from Bill Clinton or regarding his presence;

--any discussions of Bill Clinton;

--discussion of ethics rules or professional codes of conduct governing attorneys; and

--discussion of or decisions on responses to the press.

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