A judge on Wednesday rejected the Trump administration’s motion to drop a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo filed by two watchdog organizations over allegedly failing to preserve “historically important” notes on a 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump has taken drastic measures to conceal his conversations with Putin, even demanding that interpreters keep their notes on the meetings top secret. The revelations, once they became public, prompted Democracy Forward and American Oversight to file the lawsuit in June, which called Trump’s actions “unusual, and in some cases extreme, measures to conceal the details of these meetings.”
The suit orders Pompeo to either provide evidence of the interpreter notes—which he is required to collect by law under the Federal Records Act—or argue that he does not need to comply. Trump-appointed Judge Trevor McFadden of the U.S. District of Columbia Court decided to allow the case to move forward on Wednesday and put Pompeo on a Jan. 10 deadline to file a response to the suit. “We think it would be quite troubling if all the records that showed what actually happened were destroyed,” said John Bies of American Oversight. “Now they’ll have to respond,” he added.