Watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the DOJ in order to obtain records from the FBI connected to former Director James Comey's $2 million book deal, after the agency failed to respond to an August 14, 2017 FOIA request.
In particular, the FOIA request concerns communications between Comey and the FBI leading up to his controversial June 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The group seeks:
- All records of communications between the FBI and Comey prior to and regarding Comey’s testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on June 8, 2017.
- All records of communications between the FBI and Comey relating to an upcoming book to be authored by Comey and published.
- All records, including but not limited to forms completed by Comey, relating to the requirement for prepublication review by the FBI of any book to be authored by Comey with the intent to be published or otherwise publicly available.
"Comey reportedly received an advance in excess of $2 million for his book, Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, reportedly set for publication on April 17th. Former FBI agents and officials intending to write books concerning their tenure are customarily required to submit the entire transcript for pre-publication review." - Judicial Watch
Following Comey's firing on May 9, 2017, the former FBI director sat down with Senate Select Committee investigators for a highly controversial testimony which covered, among other things, the circumstances surrounding his dismissal.
Also covered in testimony was the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Comey admitted to leaking his "memos" to the Senate Select Committee in order to kick off the Special Counsel headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller III.
“Mr. Comey seems to have protected status for any misconduct and we want to know if he had a special deal for his book from his friends in the FBI,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“The Deep State is in cover-up mode. The FBI, DOJ, and the Special Counsel are stonewalling our requests for Comey documents.”
Comey moved up the date of his memoir "Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership," from May 1 to April 17, according to publisher Flatiron Books - due to the FBI coming under "intense scrutiny."
Flatiron president Bob Miller and publisher Amy Einhorn said there was demand for Comey to be heard amid an “urgent conversation” about the FBI, just one week after Comey blasted “weasels and liars” for pushing for the release a memo which alleges that top officials in the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) misled a federal surveillance court in order to obtain a spy warrant against a former Trump campaign adviser. -Daily Caller
The book is said to feature "yet-unheard anecdotes from his long and distinguished career," according to Flatiron Books, which describes the book as an exploration of, get this: "what good, ethical leadership looks like and how it drives sound decisions."
"Throughout his career, James Comey has had to face one difficult decision after another as he has served the leaders of our country," Flatiron Books publisher Bob Miller said, who added that the book will be an "unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in leadership itself."