It’s always in the last place you look, right? For more than a year, the FBI and Department of Justice insisted that they have no documentation from the country’s most famous discussion of grandchildren. On Thursday, the FBI and DoJ notified Judicial Watch that they may have some documentation after all — as much as 30 pages — relating to the Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch tarmac meeting that immediately preceded the FBI’s decision not to recommend action against Hillary Clinton over the exposure of thousands of classified items (via Debra Heine at PJ Media):
Judicial Watch was informed yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that the FBI has located 30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, and proposes non-exempt material be produced no later than November 30, 2017 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:16-cv-02046)). …
The FBI originally informed Judicial Watch they did not locate any records related to the tarmac meeting. However, in a related case, the Justice Department located emails in which Justice Department officials communicated with the FBI and wrote that they had communicated with the FBI. As a result, by letter dated August 10, 2017, from the FBI stated, “Upon further review, we subsequently determined potentially responsive documents may exist. As a result, your [FOIA] request has been reopened…”
(Surprisingly, the Trump 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.)
Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton accuses the FBI of hiding the documents:
The discovery does raise questions as to the FBI’s first representation to the court. They asserted under oath that no documents existed relating to the Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting. Honest mistakes are not subject to perjury, but given the lack of transparency on this case and the track record of hiding communications from FOIA suits in the previous administration (especially relating to Hillary Clinton, whose use of a private e-mail server was to thwart such oversight), a court may not be inclined to see this as an oversight. This was not a broad search for records over a long period of time; the meeting took place at a specific date and time, involved a known number of DoJ personnel, and any documentation produced should have been easily found.
The size of the find seems curious, too. Granted, field reports tend to be detailed and verbose, but does it take 30 pages to document a supposedly impromptu meeting entirely focused on personal chit-chat, as Lynch and Bill Clinton later characterized it? That seems to indicate that the meeting was more substantial than advertised, and that again raises questions as to why the FBI couldn’t find thirty pages of documents related to it without the DoJ’s inadvertent disclosure in another case.
But then again, who knows? Maybe it took thirty pages to cover a discussion about grandkids. But if that was the case, it’s tough to imagine that the FBI would have had this much trouble in finding them.