Under the Freedom Of Information Act, CREW requests:
- copies of all memoranda, directives, and guidance related to the Attorney General’s succession plan under 28 U.S.C. § 508 since January 21, 2017;
- a copy of Attorney General Order 2877-2007 and documents sufficient to identify whether this order is still in effect;
- copies of all memoranda and internal and external communications since January 21, 2017, including but not limited to communications and correspondence with congressional members or staff, concerning DOJ regulations governing the special counsel, 28 C.F.R. § 600,
- documents sufficient to show the budget approved for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and any budget requests submitted by Mr. Mueller pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 600.8;
- copies of all material relating to the letter sent by the Clerk of the Court for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in August or September 2013, to the Attorney General at the direction of the Court in United States v. Bartko, 728 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 2013);
- copies of all documents pertaining to the September 2013 decision of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina to remove Robert J. Higdon, Jr., from his role as head of the office’s criminal decision and his assignment to DOJ’s Public Integrity Section;
- copies of curriculum vitae submitted pursuant to their employment at DOJ for
- Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia
- Stephen Elliott Boyd, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Affairs
- Rachel Brand, Associate Attorney General
- Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division
- Noel Francisco, Solicitor General
- Robert J. Higdon, U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of North Carolina
- John R. Parker, U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Texas
- Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General
- Beth Ann Williams, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy; and
- copies of all documents pertaining to any ethics or conflicts of interest waivers or analyses conducted regarding Mr. Mueller and his role as Special Counsel.
The President has voiced repeatedly his opposition to the appointment of Robert Mueller and the work of the special counsel, raising widespread fears that he would take steps to have Mr. Mueller removed. All of this has called particular attention to the line of succession at DOJ. Recent events, such as the resignation of Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the appointment and confirmation of Robert Higdon to be the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, highlight these concerns as each is in the line of succession spelled out in the executive order President Trump issued on March 31, 2017, Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice.
The requested records would shed light on these issues by informing the public about the currently effective line of succession at DOJ, what if any steps DOJ has taken to constrain the work of the special counsel in any way, and the appointment of Mr. Higdon as U.S. Attorney notwithstanding his actions that led him to be removed from his position after a sharp rebuke from the U.S. Court of Appeals. At a time of great upheaval in our country, when the President and his top campaign officials are under investigation for their potential role in Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election, the public has a significant and heightened interest in the requested documents. The requested documents would help answer some of the questions that have been raised about the integrity of DOJ and this administration.