Documents released by the FBI in response to a FOIA lawsuit by Protect Democracy contradict the White House’s claims about the atmosphere within the FBI when President Trump fired Director James Comey. Protect Democracy represents Benjamin Wittes in FOIA litigation seeking documents showing internal correspondence from FBI officials following Comey’s firing. As Wittes noted in June, his FOIA request for FBI communications reacting to the firing would capture a “large body of objective evidence” to assess White House’s claim that FBI rank and file “had lost confidence in Director Comey.” When the FBI failed to produce documents based on Wittes’ initial request, Protect Democracy filed a lawsuit on Wittes’ behalf.
In response to that lawsuit, the FBI released over 100 pages of internal communications sent by FBI leaders to their rank-and-file. Quite simply, they show that the White House lied in describing an agency in “turmoil” over its director. The documents are below, and Wittes’ analysis of the documents is here.
Protect Democracy also represents Wittes in FOIA litigation in a related area: the President’s repeated claims that FBI data show a link between national origin and terrorism. We expect Justice Department to begin producing documents in that matter shortly.