While much has been said about the roles played by the Obama-era Department of Justice and FBI in utilizing the Democrat-financed anti-Donald Trump dossier compiled by a former British spy to open a counterintelligence investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign, less has been said about the possible role played by State Department officials.
The Washington Times reported in March on a book written by two liberal authors — Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones magazine founder David Corn, who have themselves been implicated in the formation of the dossier — titled “Russian Roulette,” which delved deep into the Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theory.
That book alleged that a former top State Department official at the time, Victoria Nuland, granted clearance and gave the green light for an FBI agent to meet with dossier author Christopher Steele in Rome in July 2016. This is believed to have been the start of the FBI/Steele relationship in terms of the collection of unverified anti-Trump memos.
That book seemed to confirm suspicions that Nuland, and other State Department officials in her orbit as well, were involved in the effort to prevent then-candidate Trump from winning the 2016 election, or hamstring his administration and lead to his impeachment if he succeeded in taking office.
Those suspicions led to the filing of a Freedom of Information Act request with the State Department by the group Citizens United in October 2017. The FOIA request seeks “All e-mails sent and received” by Nuland between March 1, 2016 and January 25, 2017, as well as telephone message slips and call logs — a request that has largely been ignored by the department since that time.
The request has since transformed into a lawsuit, and a federal judge has ordered the State Department to produce the documents requested by Citizens United, but a recent filing revealed that the government bureaucrats are dragging their feet at such a slow rate that they literally asked for several decades worth of time to comply with the requests.
According to a Joint Status Report filed in the case on May 23, attorneys for the State Department complained that some 104,629 documents could be considered “potentially responsive” to the request, and even if some were excluded using certain keywords, they’d still need to sift through roughly 95,000 documents.
The State Department’s attorneys complained that the department “has faced a heavy FOIA workload for some time” and stated that they could only produce about 300 documents per month in this case, due to several other FOIA requests they also were court-ordered to comply with.
As an aside, maybe if the previous heads of that department hadn’t engaged in so many shady activities — such as using unauthorized and unsecured email servers — they wouldn’t have such a large FOIA workload.
But attorneys for Citizens United noted in their portion of the filed report the urgent nature of their request. It relates not only to the prior 2016 election, but also the upcoming 2018 and 2020 federal elections, as well as the right of the public to know about the alleged political activities of State Department officials.
As such, they pointed out that the department’s requested minimum production level would essentially require 45 to 66 years for them to produce less than one year’s worth of documents from one individual at the department, an unjustifiable request in their view.
Why is the "Deep" State Dept not turning over docs relating to fake dossier about @realdonaldtrump? State says it will take at least 45 YEARS to comply with our FOIA! Don't believe it? Read filing here @SecPompeo:https://t.co/VWoikxo3cN
— David Bossie (@David_Bossie) May 29, 2018
Instead, the plaintiffs requested the judge set a deadline of one year for the State Department to fully produce — or adequately explain why they were withholding — the requested documents.
The attorneys further argued that the State Department had already breached a statutory deadline and appeared to have done nothing for six months since the filing of the FOIA request other than conduct an initial search to determine how many documents would be “potentially responsive” to the request.
“Furthermore, as our nation approaches the upcoming 2018 federal elections, and then as our nation will turn to the presidential primary season for the 2020 elections, it will be extremely important for the American people to have a more complete picture of the State Department’s alleged political activities, including any role in opposition research of a presidential candidate during the 2016 elections,” the Citizens United attorneys concluded.
This request by the State Department to take at least 45 to 66 years to produce less than one year’s worth of emails from one former official is indeed entirely unacceptable. It’s a request that should be slapped down by the judge, and it should earn an internal rebuke, if not worse, from current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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