DOD sued over Obama-era directive on classified documents

by Kaelan Deese at

A legal group headed by ex-Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller accused the Defense Department on Thursday of failing to answer a request for an Obama-era memo that may reveal pertinent information surrounding the 45th president’s classified documents indictment.

America First Legal in January filed a Freedom of Information Act request to compel the DOD to submit information pertaining to a “secretive” technology committee created in 2014 under then-President Barack Obama in response to foreign cyberattack threats. Miller’s group argues that the Presidential Information Technology Committee “creates a presumption that the President controls all information he receives” and says that it could have sweeping implications for Trump’s 40-count indictment of allegedly mishandling classified records.

“The Defendant has violated the FOIA by failing to reasonably search for records responsive to AFL’s FOIA request and release nonexempt records within the prescribed time limit,” lawyers for Miller’s group wrote, noting the agency only acknowledged the request on March 15 and “has not released any responsive records” as of Thursday.

In March 2015, a publication of Obama’s PITC memorandum established the president’s “exclusive control” over information resources provided to the president, the vice president, and the Executive Office of the President. The memorandum made clear that any records sent to EOP systems or records stemming from those systems are controlled by the president.

Trump has argued that under the Presidential Records Act, he had broad authority to designate documents from his time in office as personal property, and he has argued his decision to take the material to his Mar-a-Lago estate showed that he treated the records as such.