USA TODAY Seeks Records of Trump Surveillance

According to a report by USA TODAY, the news agency has filed suit against the Department of Justice in attempt to obtain records of any FBI surveillance of Donald Trump or his top aides during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The lawsuit was filed early Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by USA TODAY reporter Brad Heath under the Freedom of Information Act. It asks the court to force the FBI to turn over any records of surveillance “in their entirety.”
Heath sent an FOIA request to the FBI on March 6 but has received “no substantive response.”
That request was prompted by claims made by President Trump in a series of tweets on March 4 that President Obama’s administration had tried to tap Trump’s phones and those of his associates.
Later, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House intelligence committee, said Trump campaign officials were caught up in surveillance operations. Nunes specifically said the surveillance was approved under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the lawsuit states.
That law created secret court proceedings for federal officials to request orders allowing them to conduct surveillance.
The USA TODAY lawsuit argues that comments by Trump and Press Secretary Sean Spicer revealing the existence of surveillance orders “constitute prior official disclosure,” meaning the records should now be made public.
Trump initially claimed that the Obama administration “wire-tapped” Trump tower, but several top officials including FBI director James Comey have said that is not true. Later, White House officials said the president was referring to surveillance in general.
The lawsuit states that the fact that Trump’s allegations have been challenged “has only deepened the public’s interest in establishing their truth or falsity.”
USA TODAY, which is owned by Gannett, has been working on the request with the James Madison Project, a non-partisan organization established to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy.

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