The U.S. Justice Department’s internal legal opinions are not final agency action and have no force of law, the government asserted in a new Boston federal appeals case confronting the reach of memos that provide regulatory and enforcement guidance to the executive branch.

Opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel have attracted widespread attention in the Trump administration, as Justice Department officials have issued memos arguing why certain high-level officials cannot speak with House Democrats and also why the president’s tax returns cannot be released to congressional investigators.

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