When former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a press statement in September 2018 saying that Donald Trump had ordered the declassification of certain documents relating to the Russia probe, she apparently lied. Surprise!
Despite Sanders’ claims to the contrary, Justice Department lawyers convinced a federal judge Tuesday that they couldn’t make those documents available in a lawsuit brought by media outlets because they had never actually been declassified, according to TPM.
The Justice Department and media outlets have been locked in an ongoing dispute over the documents, which pertain to unredacted versions of the department’s FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. A top DOJ official finally submitted a declaration in the dispute claiming that the department never got that declassification order from the White House.
“DOJ’s declaration now makes clear that the Press Release was not a declassification order,” Judge Amit Mehta explained in an opinion denying the media outlets access to the unredacted documents. In other words, Sorry, Sanders lied, no documents for you.