DOJ ignores court order, stonewalls for Sessions – here’s why
NPR has another Russiagate scoop:
In defiance of a court order, the Justice Department is refusing to release part of a security form dealing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ contacts with the Russian government.
On June 12, a judge had ordered the agency to provide the information within 30 days, a deadline which passed on Wednesday.
A recently-launched ethics watchdog group called American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request in March for sections of the Standard Form 86 relating to Sessions’ contacts “with any official of the Russian government.”
The group then filed a lawsuit in April after it said the government didn’t provide the documents.
“Jeff Sessions is our nation’s top law enforcement officer, and it is shocking one of his first acts after being named Attorney General was to mislead his own agency about a matter of national security,” the group’s executive director, Austin Evers, said in a statement.
He continued: “The court gave DOJ thirty days to produce Attorney General Sessions’s security clearance form, DOJ has already confirmed its contents to the press and Sessions has testified about it to Congress, so there is no good reason to withhold this document from the public.”
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Justice Department had told NPR that the documents would be released by the deadline, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly reports.
Meanwhile, Democrats have new questions for Sessions:
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday questioned the decision by the Trump administration Justice Department to settle a money-laundering forfeiture case with a Russian real estate investment firm that has ties to the Russian lawyer who met last year with President Donald Trump’s son.
Natalia Veselnitskaya represented the owner of Russian firm Prevezon Holdings Ltd. The letter sent by House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers and other Democrats asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether Veselnitskaya had been involved in settlement negotiations between the Russian firm and the Justice Department.
Prevezon agreed in May to pay $6 million to the government to avoid a civil trial on charges that the firm had laundered proceeds from an alleged $230 million Russian tax fraud scheme.
Pennies on the dollar for one of Numbskull Junior’s cronies. Hmmm…
But the bigger issue is that Sessions has something to hide about his contacts with Russia. Look what he just did:
In response to a court order directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to disclose the part of his security clearance form detailing his Russia contacts, the Department of Justice released a mostly blank page of paper.
The Thursday morning “disclosure” comes in response to a lawsuit from an ethics watchdog group.
According to NPR, a “recently-launched ethics watchdog group called American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request in March for sections of the Standard Form 86 [i.e., security clearance] relating to Sessions’ contacts ‘with any official of the Russian government.’” On June 12, a judge ordered the DOJ to comply with the request within 30 days.
If Sessions had disclosed everything on that SF86, there would be justified questions.