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Seeking Records of Trump Surveillance, USA Today Files Suit Against DOJ

© AP Photo / Steven Senne / Gannett's USA Today Newspaper
Gannett's USA Today Newspaper - Sputnik International
The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice requests any records pertaining to surveillance of US President Donald Trump or anyone working with his campaign during the 2016 election season.

US President Donald Trump speaks on the phone - Sputnik International
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The lawsuit was filed in a US District Court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday morning.

USA Today reporter Brad Heath had filed a FOIA request with the FBI on March 6, two days after Trump made the explosive claim on Twitter, requesting records of surveillance "in their entirety,” but has not yet received any “substantive response” from the bureau.

Heath seeks to determine “whether there was an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (‘FISC’) authorizing surveillance of and/or collection of information implicating President Donald J. Trump,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit cites Representative Devin Nunes stating that campaign officials were surveilled under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Though FISA records are generally kept secret, Heath has argued that comments by Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer "constitute prior official disclosure," and that the records should now be made public.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. gives reporters an update about the ongoing Russia investigation adding that President Donald Trump's campaign communications may have been monitored during the transition period as part of an incidental collection, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. - Sputnik International
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“The comments of President Trump and Press Secretary Sean Spicer constitute prior official disclosure of the existence of surveillance orders issued by the FISC and that authorized collection of information that, at a minimum, incidentally implicated President Trump and/or his associates,” the complaint reads. “This lawsuit ultimately will seek to determine the circumstances in which specific surveillance/collection orders were issued by the FISC.”

Heath claims in the lawsuit that there is “no legal basis” for the FBI to deny sending him the information in his request.

USA Today has been working with the James Madison Project in pursuing the information. The organization describes themselves as “a Washington, DC organization that was established in 1998, to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as to educate the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security through means of research, advocacy and the dissemination of information.”

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