AFL Files Lawsuit Against DOD to Uncover Obama-Era Presidential Committee Secrets — Potentially Shifting Trump’s Prosecution Narrative

A conservative nonprofit organization has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense (DOD), alleging that it “unlawfully” concealed records related to an order from the Obama administration.

The lawsuit contends that these records have the potential to alter the assumptions underlying the prosecution of former President Donald Trump.

America First Legal (AFL) initiated legal action against the DOD on April 4, requesting the disclosure of documents related to the Presidential Information Technology Committee (PITC), which was formed during the Obama administration.

The lawsuit, filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeks to reveal details about the secretive operations of the PITC and how they might impact the prosecution of President Trump.

Dan Epstein, vice president for AFL, provided a statement regarding the action in a press release by the group, stating, “America First Legal’s suit today raises significant legal questions the Biden Administration must confront. First, the President’s Information Technology Committee presumes that all information received by the President is within his control.”

“That principle complicates the indictment by the Special Counsel’s Office, particularly on the question of what President Trump was authorized to access and retain.”

“Alternatively, if the Court finds that records subject to PITC are agency records, not presidential records, and were separately preserved by the Department of Defense, then it raises serious questions about the National Archives’ decision to refer Trump to the Department of Justice as that referral would be based on the false claim that President Trump removed presidential records,” Epstein added.

In January, AFL submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) within the DOD, seeking clarification on the operations and scope of the PITC.

According to AFL’s press release about the lawsuit, the committee’s importance stems from its establishment of a presumption that the President has control over all information received, sparking questions about the legal beliefs a sitting president may hold regarding information in their possession.

Of special concern is the potential influence of the PITC on legal cases involving former President Trump. AFL suggested that if the data housed on the PITC network played a role in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump, it ought to have been revealed to the former president and could hold relevance for his defense.

This claim gains momentum considering the ongoing legal proceedings in Florida, where Trump is accused of involvement in the retention and destruction of certain documents.

The lawsuit raises concerns that records reportedly destroyed by President Trump might still be preserved within government systems monitored by the PITC. AFL argues that the presence of these records could dispute the allegations outlined in the indictment against the former president, indicating that claims of document removal or destruction may lack a factual basis.

On the day AFL unveiled the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon rejected President Trump’s request to dismiss an indictment accusing him of mishandling classified documents, based on the Presidential Records Act.

“Bound by the four corners of the Superseding Indictment,” the charges in the indictment “make no reference to the Presidential Records Act, nor do they rely on that statute for purposes of stating an offense,” the judge wrote in an April 4 order.

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In March, the judge heard oral arguments concerning two out of four petitions filed by President Trump to dismiss charges in this caseon various grounds. Shortly after the hearing, she rejected the motion to dismiss based on claims of unconstitutional vagueness.

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By Hunter Fielding
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