Trump Pardons and Commutations

Dave Maass filed this request with the Office of the Pardon Attorney of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 2017-272405
Due Aug. 25, 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Dave Maass

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

- All communications between the Office of the Pardon Attorney and the White House since April 5, 2017.
- Agency records related to pardon or commutation requests transmitted to the White House since April 5, 2017.
- All records received from the White House regarding commutations and pardons since April 5, 2017.
- A list of all commutations or pardons granted by President Donald J. Trump.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Dave Maass

From:

August 7, 2017

Mr. Dave Maass

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 35041
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request: FOIA 2017-272405
(Acknowledgment)

Dear Mr. Maass:

This correspondence is in response to your Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) request dated and received in the Office of the Pardon Attorney
(OPA) on July 28, 2017. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5
U.S.C. § 552 et seq., you requested the following:

1. All communications between the Office of the Pardon Attorney
and the White House since April 5, 2017.
2. Agency records related to pardon or commutation requests
transmitted to the White House since April 5, 2017.
3. All records received from the White House regarding
commutations and pardons since April 5, 2017.
4. A list of all commutations or pardons granted by President
Donald J. Trump.

Please be advised that the FOIA does not require federal
agencies to answer questions, create records, or conduct research in
response to a FOIA request, but rather is limited to requiring agencies
to provide access to reasonably described, nonexempt records. See
Students Against Genocide v. Dep't of State, 257 F.3d 828, 837 (D.C.
Cir. 2001).

Under normal circumstances, I would have reached out to you by now via
phone to get a better understanding of what it is you are hoping to
glean from our records because the frequency and consistency of your
requests coupled with the responses you have received from us thus far
don't seem to reconcile. However, you have not provided a contact
phone number so I'll attempt to lay out some information in this
correspondence about our role, documents and process, as well as get
more information from you about what you hope to obtain from this
Office by way of records requests. As I'm sure you are aware, for over
125 years, the President has relied on the Department of Justice, and
particularly the Office of the Pardon Attorney, for assistance in the
exercise of the executive clemency power granted to the President by
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. All requests for executive
clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Pardon Attorney for
review, investigation, and preparation of the Department's
recommendation to the President, which is signed by the Deputy Attorney
General, for the final dispositions of each application. The Office of
the Pardon Attorney also prepares the documents the President signs
when granting executive clemency and notifies all applicants of the
President's clemency decisions. However, deliberative communications
pertaining to agency and presidential decision-making are confidential
and not available under existing case law interpreting the Freedom of
Information Act and Privacy Act. Moreover, as a general matter,
Presidents in recent times have rarely announced their reasons for
granting or denying clemency, although the President may choose to do
so in a given case. Consistent with long-standing policy, if the
President does not issue a public statement concerning his action in a
clemency matter, no explanation is provided by the Department of
Justice. As a result, parts 1-3 of your above referenced request, as
well as you previous requests, will not grant you access to substantive
information within our clemency records or provide transparency into
the advisory service this office provides to the President. In
addition, part 4 of your request above is public information that we
proactively disclose on our website
(https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemencyrecipients
<https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemencyrecipients> and
https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemency-denials
<https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemency-denials> ) within days of the
President taking any executive clemency action. If there were clemency
decisions made by the President, they would also show as pardons or
commutations granted on our statistics page at
https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemency-statistics#DonaldJTrump
<https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemency-statistics#DonaldJTrump> , so
there is no need to continue to request such information via the FOIA.

I am happy to continue responding to your requests, but I hope this
information is helpful to you. Please confirm that you still want this
request to remain open by responding to this email, but keep in mind
the records you seek would require me to request a search be conducted
for emails to or from all OPA employees by the Department of Justice's
Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), and so your request
would fall within "unusual circumstances." See 5 U.S.C. §
552(a)(6)(B)(i)-(iii). Because of these unusual circumstances, we
would have to extend the time limit to respond to your request beyond
the ten additional days provided by the statute. The time needed to
process your request will depend on the number of requests the OCIO has
in queue before yours, the complexity of their records search and on
the volume of any records located as being potentially responsive
(although exempt). For your information, this Office assigns incoming
requests to one of three tracks: simple, complex, or expedited. Each
request is then handled on a first-in, first-out basis in relation to
other requests within the same track. Simple requests usually receive a
response within one month, whereas complex requests take longer. Your
request would be assigned to the complex track because it is not one
that can be responded to without the assistance of another DOJ office.


Sincerely,


William N. Taylor II


Executive Officer


Office of the Pardon Attorney


U.S. Department of Justice

From: US Pardon Attorney (imailagent)

August 11, 2017

Dave Maass

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 35041
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

Dear Mr. Maass:

This is in response to your email dated August 7, 2017,
requesting a rolling production of records created subsequent to your
original request. Due to limited resources and a heavy workload, we
are unable to accommodate your request.


Sincerely,


William N. Taylor II


Executive Officer

Office of the Pardon Attorney

U.S. Department of Justice

PR7240388

From:

September 11, 2017

Mr. Dave Maass

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 35041
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request: FOIA 2017-272405 (Status Update)

Dear Mr. Maass:

This is in response to your email from earlier today
inquiring about the status of the above referenced FOIA request. Based
on my understanding of your request and the fact that OPA does not have
the ability to perform broad and conclusive email searches in-house, a
search must be conducted across emails to or from all OPA employees by
the Department of Justice's Office of the Chief Information Officer
(OCIO), so your request falls within "unusual circumstances." See 5
U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(i)-(iii). Because of these unusual
circumstances, we are extending the time limit to respond to your
request beyond the ten additional days provided by the statute. Until
OCIO completes a search to determine whether there are any records
within the scope of your request, I will be unable to review responsive
records and provide an estimated response time. The time needed to
process your request will depend on the number of data requests in
queue prior to yours, the complexity of their records search, and the
volume of any records located as being potentially responsive. For
your information, this Office assigns incoming requests to one of three
tracks: simple, complex, or expedited. Each request is then handled on
a first-in, first-out basis in relation to other requests within the
same track. Simple requests usually receive a response within one
month, whereas complex requests take longer. At this time, your request
has been assigned to the complex track because it is not one that can
be responded to without the assistance of another DOJ office. You may
feel free to inquire back about the status of your request at any
point, but I can assure you that I will review and provide a response
to your request as soon as the results of the search have been provided
to me and I am able to review any potentially relevant records for
responsiveness.

You may email this office at PardonAttorneyFOIA@usdoj.gov
<mailto:PardonAttorneyFOIA@usdoj.gov> for any further assistance with
your FOIA request. Additionally, you may contact the Office of
Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and
Records Administration to inquire about the FOIA mediation services
they offer. The contact information for OGIS is as follows: Office of
Government Information Services, National Archives and Records
Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland
20740-6001, e-mail at ogis@nara.gov <mailto:ogis@nara.gov> ; telephone
at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at
202-741-5769.


Sincerely,


William N. Taylor II


Executive Officer


Office of the Pardon Attorney


U.S. Department of Justice

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