Judicial Watch today announced that the Justice Department refuses to disclose the talking points developed by the Obama Justice Department to help it respond to press inquiries about the controversial June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The Justice Department heavily redacted the documents under Exemption b (5), which allows agencies to withhold draft or deliberative process material.  The blacked-out material centers around talking points drafted and used by Justice to respond to press inquiries about the Lynch-Clinton meeting.

The agency produced 417 pages of documents in response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-00421) seeking:

  • All records and/or transcripts of a meeting held between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton in June 2016.
  • All records of communication sent to or from officials in the Office of the Attorney General regarding the meeting held between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton in June 2016.
  • All records of communication sent to or from officials in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General regarding the meeting held between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton in June 2016.
  • All references to the meeting held between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton contained in day planners, calendars and schedules in the Office of the Attorney General.

One email exchange shows that Former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik was brought in to assist with public relations issues on June 28, 2016, the day after the tarmac meeting. (Kadzik is a longtime friend of John Podesta and a Hillary Clinton donor, who was criticized as being conflicted when he was assigned as the Justice Department attorney to oversee the probe of Hillary Clinton’s and her aide Huma Abedin’s emails found on Anthony Wiener’s computer.)

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