For 40 years, White Houses led by Presidents of both parties have maintained policies limiting interference in law enforcement matters. As our memo on White House – agency contacts explains, detailed rules governing White House officials’ contacts with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on matters involving specific parties have been in place in every White House since Watergate.
The Trump Administration is trampling on this well-established, bipartisan norm.
In response, we called on the White House to make public their agency contacts policy (which they did), expand the policy, and enforce it. We have issued multiple freedom of information requests to disclose changes to contacts policies and to monitor whether agencies are adhering to those policies. We are now suing DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to force them to disclose political interference from the White House on law enforcement matters, and in a separate suit, DOJ to disclose White House pressure to prosecute Hillary Clinton.
Select Previous White House Policies on Contacts with DOJ and other Agencies
- White House Contacts Policy under President Donald Trump (January 27, 2017)
- White House Contacts Policy under President Bill Clinton (1996)
- White House Contacts Policy under President George H.W. Bush (1989)
Previous Department of Justice Policies on Contacts with the White House
- DOJ Contacts Policy with White House under Attorney General Eric Holder (2009) – In response to our FOIA request for DOJ’s contacts policy, DOJ confirmed that its current policy on restricting communications with the White House dates from 2009, when then-Attorney General Holder authored a guidance memo to all DOJ staff.
- DOJ Contacts Policy with White House under Attorney General Michael Mukasey (2007)