FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: POTUS tweets might undermine FBI's "Glomar" response

FOIA News (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

Trump's Tweets Could Undercut Feds' Silence in Public Records Case

In a FOIA case about the "Russia dossier," U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington is considering what President Trump may or may not know when he tweets.

By Cogan Schneier, Nat'l Law J.,  Nov. 17, 2017

The government’s so-called Glomar responses in a federal public records case in Washington could be undercut by the president’s tweeting habits.

The FBI is defending its refusal to either confirm or deny the existence of certain documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit against the bureau and other agencies. At a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta struggled with whether the president’s tweets, which the government conceded are official statements, undercut that refusal.

The plaintiffs, Politico reporter Josh Gerstein and the James Madison Project, want the federal agencies to turn over a two-page synopsis they reportedly have on the claims in the “Russia dossier,” an unverified document that made claims about the president. Gerstein also seeks any determination by the agencies as to the validity of the dossier, and any records about what effort, if any, federal officials made to investigate the validity.

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