Comey friend sues State Dept. for records on article promoting Mar-a-Lago

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Benjamin Wittes, the editor of Lawfare blog and a prominent friend of former FBI Director James Comey, is suing the State Department for records on its promotion of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Wittes states in the suit that he requested the records on Mar-a-Lago through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in May of last year. He says the State Department acknowledged the request, but has not otherwise responded.

The lawsuit centers around a blog posted last April about Mar-a-Lago on the State Department’s official website for the embassy and consulates in the United Kingdom. It referred to the private club in Palm Beach, Fla., as Trump’s “Winter White House.”


FOIA law gives the department 20 business days to say whether or not it will grant an information request.

“Mr. Wittes’s request seeks documents retaining to the decisionmaking process for using Defendant Department of State’s websites to promote Mar-a-Lago” and “communications between Defendant Department of state and third parties about how to publicize Mar-a-Lago,” the complaint states.

Wittes is also seeking information about the State Department’s decision to remove the article on Mar-a-Lago from the websites and social media.

He states in the complaint that he planned to use the information for Lawfare and not for commercial purposes.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

The post about Mar-a-Lago was originally published on ShareAmerica, which the State Department describes as its “platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and the role of civil society.”

The website later removed the post over concerns about the government promoting one of the president’s properties.

“The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders,” the web page read. “We regret any misperception and have removed the post.”

Tags Donald Trump James Comey

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