Washington, DC— Today, Democracy Forward filed Freedom of Information Act requests for records revealing the depth of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s ties to a right-wing hate group and to extremists within the Administration, along with other records that would reveal the politicization of the Justice Department under Whitaker’s watch.
Today’s demand follows President Trump’s abrupt announcement yesterday that Whitaker— described by Chief of Staff John Kelly as President Trump’s “eyes and ears” in the Justice Department — would replace Attorney General Sessions, who the president forced out after he refused to shut down Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.
The FOIA request seeks, among other things:
Communications between Whitaker and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-abortion and anti-LGBT hate group.
Communications between Whitaker and Kenneth Marcus, head of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Marcus has come under scrutiny for his anti-LGBT positions including de-emphasizing transgender identity and supporting the roll back of Title IX protections.
Discussions between Whitaker and anti-abortion extremists within the Trump Administration, including HHS Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd and HHS Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Roger Severino.
Weeks ago it was reported that Whitaker was President Trump’s pick to replace Sessions and Rosenstein because he was loyal to the White House. Whitaker has publicly criticized the Special Counsel’s investigation and detailed various ways he could try to undermine Mueller and effectively shut down the investigation while protecting President Trump’s family.
The FOIA requests were filed with the Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services. The agencies have 20 business days to provide the requested documents.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.