Government watchdog group Judicial Watch announced on Friday a new lawsuit against the Department of Justice that involves former FBI Director James Comey.
The organization said Friday they have filed a Freedom of Information Act request against the Department of Justice for information and documents related to Comey’s private meetings with President Donald Trump, documents the media has colloquially referred to as the “Comey memos.”
Judicial Watch said they filed the FOIA request after the DOJ failed to respond to a separate FOIA request on May 16 that sought an alleged Comey memo that had been reported by the New York Times.
The memo in question reportedly involved a conservation Comey had with Trump about Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.
In a statement, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton called it a “scandal” that his organization has to sue the government in order to secure the release of the memo.
“That we have to sue in federal court to get a document that was read to a reporter at The New York Times is a scandal,” Fitton said. “This Comey memo should be released forthwith and, frankly, the president can and should order its immediate release.”
Despite the FOIA suits, the FBI has so far refused to release the Comey memos, telling BuzzFeed on Friday that they can’t be released because they are part of a “pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding” and their release would “reasonably interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
According to BuzzFeed, at least one of the memos that Comey referred to during his June 8 hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee is unclassified. Comey said he began to detail his meetings with then-President-elect Trump because he wanted to have a record should he and Trump’s administration have a disagreement or falling out.
Comey explained during his testimony:
I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it important to document. That combination of things I had never experienced before, but it led me to believe I gotta write it down and I gotta write it down in a detailed way.
I knew there might come a day where I might need a record to defend not just myself but the FBI, and our integrity.
In addition to Judicial Watch and BuzzFeed, the New York Times and CNN have also filed FOIA requests for the Comey memos. Many believe that seeing the memos will help the public better understand the relationship between Comey and Trump and might even reveal the truth about the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Trump’s presidential campaign.
The FBI is currently in the midst of an intelligence investigation into Trump’s campaign over allegations they had improper contacts with Russian officials during last year’s presidential election. The campaign has denied any wrongdoing.