Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for emails of former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates from her government account. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-00832)).
The suit was filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to a February 1, 2017, FOIA request seeking access to her emails between January 21, 2017, and January 31, 2017.
Yates was appointed by President Obama as U.S. Attorney in northern Georgia and was later confirmed as Deputy Attorney General. In January 2017 she became acting Attorney General for President Trump.
Ms. Yates was involved in the controversy concerning Gen. Michael Flynn, allegedly warning the Trump White House in early January about General Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak. (Judicial Watch is separately suing for records concerning the surveillance and subsequent leaks regarding General Flynn.)
On January 30, Yates ordered the Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s January 27 executive order seeking a travel ban from seven Middle Eastern countries. That same day, President Trump fired her for refusing to defend the action.
“Between her involvement in the Russian surveillance scandal and her lawless effort to thwart President Trump’s immigration executive order, Sally Yates’ short tenure as the acting Attorney General was remarkably troubling,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Her email traffic might provide a window into how the anti-Trump ‘deep state’ abused the Justice Department.”