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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Biden Document Secrets

Judicial Watch Asks for Discovery Concerning President Biden’s Senate Papers
Judicial Watch Sues Pentagon Records About Key Medical Database
Judicial Watch Sues for NIH Communications on Fetal Organ Harvesting
$4.5 Million for Culturally Appropriate Program to Help Asians Quit Smoking
Judicial Watch’s Guide to Congressional Investigations

 

Judicial Watch Asks for Discovery Concerning President Biden’s Senate Papers

The University of Delaware seems to be in full cover-up mode for President Biden. Here’s the latest.

Our legal team filed an appeal brief with the Delaware Supreme Court, on behalf of Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF), asking it to overturn a lower court’s decision blocking the release of the U.S. Senate records of President Joe Biden housed at the University of Delaware.

Biden’s papers include more than 1,850 boxes of archival records from his 36-year Senate career.

In July 2020 we and the DCNF filed a Delaware FOIA lawsuit after the university denied our April 2020 requests for all of Biden’s Senate records and for records about the preservation and any proposed release of the records, including communications with Biden or his representatives (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. University of Delaware, No. N20A-07-001 MMJ (Del. Super.)).

In our appeal brief we ask the court to review a Superior Court opinion issued in October 2022 that found the university had met its burden of performing an adequate search for the requested records. The opinion came after the university had submitted a second affidavit from the university’s FOIA official stating that no state funds had been spent on maintaining the documents.

We argue:

The Opinion should be reversed. The Supplemented Affidavit is nothing more than a document filled with stale hearsay and vague [assertions without proof] which at best shows that the University did not engage in a diligent effort, as required by law, to review Appellants’ Requests. Appellants identified the deficiencies and asked to vet the assertions themselves. The Superior Court, however, simply granted the University “do overs.” Even after multiple attempts, the University has still not carried its burden to prove that the requested records are not subject to FOIA.

***

Despite two attempts on remand, the University still has not satisfied its burden to create a record from which the Superior Court can determine whether the University performed an adequate search for responsive documents.

We are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling and allow us limited discovery “to include at [a] minimum, a deposition of a representative of the University and production of documents … Alternatively, the Court should remand this case with instructions to order the turnover of the requested documents since the University has had more than adequate opportunity to satisfy its burden.”

The University of Delaware has been sitting on Biden’s Senate records for more than 10 years and is desperate to avoid any scrutiny of its secret deal with Biden to hide these records. The latest revelations about Biden’s handling of ‘classified’ records raise even more questions about what Biden is hiding.

“On day one, the White House said President Biden was committed to bringing ‘transparency and truth back to government.’ Apparently, the University of Delaware didn’t get the memo,” Daily Caller News Foundation Managing Editor Michael Bastasch. “It’s shocking they’ve spent years fighting to keep these records hidden from the American people. Hopefully, the Delaware Supreme Court ends the University’s stonewalling.”

 

Judicial Watch Sues Pentagon Records About Key Medical Database

The Defense Department seems to have something to hide about a key database that could provide insight on issues related to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Undeterred, we sued the U.S. Department of Defense for records and communications relating to the data contained in the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:22-cv-03043)).

The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch’s Defense Medical Epidemiology Database is a web-based tool designed to provide access to:

[A] subset of data contained within the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS). DMSS contains up-to-date and historical data on diseases and medical events (e.g., hospitalizations, ambulatory visits, reportable diseases, etc.) … The DMED application provides a user-friendly interface to perform queries regarding disease and injury rates and relative burdens of disease in active component populations.

The purpose of DMED is to standardize the epidemiologic methodology used to collect, integrate and analyze active component service member personnel and medical event data …

In February 2021, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), sent a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin highlighting reports from three whistleblowers about injuries to servicemen and women potentially related to the COVID-19 vaccines:

Based on data from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED), Thomas Renz, an attorney who is representing three Department of Defense whistleblowers, reported that these whistleblowers found a significant increase in registered diagnoses on DMED for miscarriages, cancer, and many other medical conditions in 2021 compared to a five-year average from 2016-2020. For example, at the roundtable Renz stated that registered diagnoses for neurological issues increased 10 times from a five-year average of 82,000 to 863,000 in 2021.

We sued after the Office of the Secretary of Defense failed to respond to our February 16, 2022, FOIA request for:

  1. All emails sent to and from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (on his official government/military email accounts or non-government email account, in his own name or using an alias) relating to the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, DMED, Sen. Ron Johnson, and/or vaccines.
  2. All emails sent to and from Deputy Secretary of Defense Katheen H. Hicks (on her official government/military email accounts or non-government email accounts, in her own name or using an alias) relating to the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, DMED, Sen. Ron Johnson, and/or vaccines.
  3. All emails sent to and from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley

(on his official government/military email accounts or non-government email accounts, in his own name or using an alias) relating to the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, DMED, Sen. Ron Johnson, and/or vaccines.

  1. All emails sent to and from Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten (on his official government/military email accounts or non-government email accounts, in his own name or using an alias) relating to the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, DMED, Sen. Ron Johnson, and/or vaccines.
  2. All emails sent to and from Defense Department Public Affairs Officer Major Charlie Dietz (on his official government/military email accounts or non-government email accounts, in his own name or using an alias) relating to the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, DMED, Sen. Ron Johnson, and/or vaccines.
  3. All reports, memoranda, studies, analyses, directive, and electronic communications produced by or sent to and from officials who maintain the Defense Medical Epidemiology Data base relating to the accuracy of or changes to be made to data contained in the Defense Medical Epidemiology Data base.

The data from Defense Medical Epidemiology Database showing “skyrocketing levels of disease among military personnel,” also were publicized through an image shared on Facebook:

Percentage Increase Over the Average of the Last Five Years: Heart attacks 269%, Cancer 300%, Pericarditis 175%, Myocarditis 285%, Pulmonary Embolisms 467%, Cerebral Infarction 393%, Bell’s Palsy 319%, Guillain-Barre 250%, Immunodeficiencies 275%, Menstrual Irregularity 476%, Multiple Sclerosis 487%, Miscarriage 306%, HIV 590%, Chest Pain 1,529%, Labored Breathing 905%, Neurological Issues 1052%.

Responding to these concerns, an unnamed Defense Department source told Reuters:

The calculations, based on figures from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, are incorrect. Last year’s apparent sharp increases were caused by underreporting for the years 2016-2020. A spokesperson for the Department of Defense told Reuters that due to “data corruption,” the platform showed only a “fraction” of the actual medical diagnoses registered in that period.

The covid vaccines were until recently mandated by the Pentagon, so the cover-up of information that could reflect on the vaccines’ safety is particularly outrageous.

 

Judicial Watch Sues for NIH Communications on Fetal Organ Harvesting

On April 16, 2021, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sent out a notice informing the extramural research community (researchers outside NIH from across the United States and in some foreign countries who have been awarded grants through the NIH grant program) that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was reversing the Trump Administration’s limits on fetal tissue research.

The notice stated: “All research applications for NIH grants and contracts proposing the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions will be reviewed by an Ethics Advisory Board.” Accordingly, the notice said, “HHS/NIH will not convene another NIH Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board.”

We have already established collusion between the University of Pittsburgh and the NIH over the fetal organ ‘chop shop’ in the University of Pittsburgh paid for with federal tax dollars. The Biden administration turned the spigot back on for taxpayer funding of this barbarism, and we want the details.

So we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the HHS for records of communications of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Extramural Research about the use of human fetal organs (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:22-cv-03051)).

We sued after HHS failed respond to a July 15, 2022, FOIA request to the National Institutes for Health (a component of HHS) for:

All communications concerning human fetal tissue between the Office of Extramural Research and any of the following entities: (1) University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), (2) University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, (3) the National Abortion Federation and (4) any Planned Parenthood entity.

In February 2020, NIH records showed that the agency paid thousands of dollars to a California-based firm to purchase organs from aborted human fetuses to create “humanized mice” for HIV research.

In June 2020, FDA records showed that between 2012 and 2018 the FDA entered into eight contracts worth $96,370 with Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) to acquire “fresh and never frozen” tissue from 1st and 2nd trimester aborted fetuses for use in creating “humanized mice” for ongoing research.

In April 2021, FDA records detailed the agency spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to buy human fetal tissue from California-based Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). The tissue was used in creating “humanized mice” to test “biologic drug products,” and wanted “fresh; shipped on wet ice” fetal organs.

In August 2021, Judicial Watch and the Center for Medical Progress through a separate FOIA lawsuit uncovered HHS documents that revealed nearly $3 million in federal funds were spent on the University of Pittsburgh’s quest to become a “Tissue Hub” for human fetal tissue ranging from 6 to 42 weeks gestation.

In September 2021, we uncovered records and communications from the FDA involving “humanized mice” research with human fetal heads, organs and tissue, including communications and contracts with human fetal tissue provider Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). Most of the records are communications and related attachments between Perrin Larton, a procurement manager for ABR, and research veterinary medical officer Dr. Kristina Howard of the FDA.

In April 2022, we uncovered records revealing that the Associate Senior Vice Chancellor for Science Strategy and Planning in the Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Jeremy Berg, contacted then-Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins, requesting help to combat, “efforts to undermine important science using fetal tissue.” Additionally, the records included a scientific report containing information about grafting human scalp and other tissues onto mice.

 

$4.5 Million for Culturally Appropriate Program to Help Asians Quit Smoking

Here’s another corrosive way bureaucrats have decided to spend your hard-earned tax dollars, as reported by our Corruption Chronicles blog.

The U.S. government is dedicating $4.5 million to enhance a “linguistically and culturally appropriate” program to help Asians quit smoking. It is known as the national Asian language quitline and provides cessation counseling, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and in-language materials for tobacco users who speak Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese (CKV). The cash will flow through a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offshoot called Office on Smoking and Health. With an annual budget of nearly $10 billion, the CDC is the federal agency responsible for protecting public health. It operates under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and claims to work around the clock to protect America from health, safety, and security threats whether diseases start at home or abroad.

In its grant announcement the agency writes that telephone-based quitlines increase quit rates among individuals who use commercial tobacco and are trying to stop. They are also effective in reaching and supporting diverse and low-income populations, according to the CDC. “Limited capacity to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate quitline services may create barriers that contribute to tobacco-related disparities, especially among various subgroups of Asians that speak Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin), Korean, and Vietnamese languages (CKV),” the agency writes in the recently published Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), adding that less than half of Asians of CKV descent in the United States report speaking English “very well.”

That poses a public health challenge, the CDC claims, because limited English proficiency reduces access to evidence-based health services. “Since many CKV speakers in the United States come from countries with very high smoking rates among men (up to 50%), providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care is a step towards equitable and effective care,” according to the agency. The millions of American taxpayer dollars will go to one lucky organization that will “operate and promote a linguistically and culturally appropriate nationwide quitline service for individuals who use commercial tobacco products and who predominantly speak CKV languages,” the CDC reveals. The agency explains that it is more efficient to provide a national Asian language quitline rather than rely on states to provide the services.

It is not clear how the agency came to that conclusion considering that a national government-funded Asian Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) that has served CKV-speaking populations since 2012 has enrolled just 19,000 callers in more than a decade. That information is embedded deep in the grant announcement which is more than 50 pages and states that the CDC will provide continued support for a national Asian language quitline. With the new multi-million-dollar allocation the agency expects better outcomes such as increased use and reach of evidence-based and culturally appropriate quit support services among CKV-speaking people. That includes counseling, medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and digital technologies. The agency also expects “increased successful cessation at greater than 6 months among CKV-speaking people who use commercial tobacco,” according to the grant document.

Tobacco-related disparities are created by a complex mix of factors including social determinants of health, tobacco industry influence and environmental conditions, the CDC writes. Social determinants of health are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. The disparities can affect populations based on factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, income, and employment status.

In the last few years, the government has spent vast amounts of taxpayer dollars to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to a variety of groups. Recent examples include $66.5 million to strengthen COVID-19 vaccine confidence among racial and ethnic minority groups by providing culturally appropriate information, education and outreach involving the shots. Uncle Sam also recently spent $125 million to provide illegal immigrant minors, known as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), with a multitude of services in the private sector including medical care, special housing arrangements for delinquent, pregnant and gang-affiliated teens as well as long-term counseling. The services were guaranteed by the government to be “culturally and linguistically-appropriate to the unique need of each individual.”

 

Judicial Watch’s Guide to Congressional Investigations

Can we expect any serious investigation of Biden administration wrongdoing now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives? Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, provides a rundown in Investigative Bulletin of the House’s investigative agenda:

The new House of Representatives was sworn in early Saturday morning after Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker on the fifteenth ballot. The House GOP leadership promises an ambitious agenda of investigations, including a special committee on the weaponization of federal agencies, but history is not reassuring. Will the House probes bring real progress—important new information, defunding of bad actors, sunlight on wrongdoing, indictment referrals, impeachment if warranted—or two years of fruitless bickering over documents and testimony?

At Judicial Watch, we run our own investigations and have been holding government officials, Democrat and Republican, accountable for nearly three decades, but we’ll be closely watching the House probes. Republican staff on the House Judiciary Committee earlier released a “road map” to the new investigative agenda, and over at the Senate, ranking Judiciary Committee member Charles Grassley has been digging deep into FBI corruption, releasing letters outlining serious allegations of wrongdoing. We’ve reviewed all the documents and talked to our sources. Here’s our guide to the new Congressional investigations.

Who Is Jack Smith?

No case is likely to dominate the 2023 headlines more than the investigation of former president Donald Trump by new special counsel Jack Smith. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith, a career federal prosecutor, to lead a probe into Trump’s conduct surrounding the events of January 6, 2021, as well as a separate probe of the storage of presidential documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Trump has denied wrongdoing in both cases. Notably, any decision to indict rests with the attorney general, not the special counsel.

The Trump affair screams for Congressional oversight—and apparently will get it. Even before the appointment of Smith, the House investigative road map signaled concerns about an “unprecedented raid on a former president’s home” to seize documents. The roadmap noted that Trump had cooperated with government officials seeking documents before the raid; that “the Biden Justice Department has provided limited justification for this unprecedented action;” and that Justice and the FBI “have failed to sufficiently comply” with Congressional requests for documents related to the raid. Congress will want to take a look as well at the belated disclosure ofclassified documents found at a Joe Biden office in the days before the 2022 midterm elections.

Smith’s unusual career—a path that took him from the office of the Manhattan District Attorney to federal postings in Brooklyn, Washington, Tennessee, and the Hague—is also worth a closer look. From 2010 to 2015, he headed the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and was at the center of several controversial issues. Among them: the IRS scandal.

In 2014, a Judicial Watch investigation revealed that top IRS officials had been in communication with Smith’s Public Integrity Section about a plan to launch criminal investigations into conservative tax-exempt groups. Government officials were looking to step up a probe into requests for tax-exemption from organizations with conservative sounding names like “Tea Party” and other “political sounding names,” according to a later report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general. Smith appears to have been a key player in this attempt to silence conservative voices.

 According to the documents obtained by Judicial Watch, Smith directed the head of the Justice Department’s Election Crimes Branch, Richard Pilger, to meet with the director of the IRS’s Tax-Exempt Organizations division, Lois Lerner. In one email obtained by Judicial Watch, Lerner discusses an idea that the Justice Department could build “false-statement cases” against tax-exempt conservative groups.

Judicial Watch later obtained additional documents detailing a planning meeting between Justice Department, FBI and IRS officials about possible criminal prosecutions. Thanks to Judicial Watch disclosures, House investigators discovered that the IRS improperly turned over confidential tax records of non-profit organizations to the FBI—sparking a public uproar and forcing the return of the records to the IRS. Read more about the case here and here.

Biden Family Corruption

The other headline-grabbing case in the House roadmap are allegations of corruption involving President Biden’s son, Hunter, and other family members—possibly even the president himself. The House report puts aside the sensational aspects of the Hunter Biden saga—the crack cocaine use, the heavy drinking and hookers, the controversy over a suddenly surfaced laptop computer, a gun, a seemingly endless parade of incriminating, embarrassing, or outright disgusting personal photographs from the laptop—and focuses on the sober case.

Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act litigators are pressing for additional information about the Secret Service’s handling of the Hunter Biden gun case, Biden business dealings, and possible FBI obstruction of a Senate inquiry into Biden business dealings.

“Mounting evidence from the last two years,” the House roadmap notes, “shows that Hunter Biden, son of President Biden, has received preferential treatment from federal law enforcement, who seem to have turned a blind eye to potential national security threats presented by his business dealings with Chinese, Russian, and other foreign nationals.”

The roadmap notes the September 2020 release of an investigative report by Senator Chuck Grassley. That report noted “potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh, and Chinese nationals.” One Hunter Biden business associate charges that Joe Biden was slated for a payoff in 2017. Congress will want to hear from the Biden business partner alleging a payoff of the president and take a close look at the evidence.

The Grassley letters outline an apparent campaign of stonewalling and coverup by the FBI and others in response to Congressional inquiries in the Hunter Biden case. The letters, cited at length in the House roadmap, also note the role of several senior FBI officials and Richard Pilger—the Justice Department Election Crimes Branch chief involved in the earlier IRS scandal—in opening investigations into “the Trump campaign and individuals linked to the 2020 elections.” FBI whistleblowers told Grassley that there was a “double standard” in opening investigations that appeared “to benefit the political aims and objectives of a select few Justice Department and FBI officials.”

Those are serious charges. Congressional investigators will have to steer around numerous roadblocks, including a criminal inquiry into Hunter Biden by U.S. Attorney David Weiss, the top federal prosecutor in Delaware. Fox News has reported that Attorney General Garland—Weiss’s boss—has taken a “hands-off approach” to the Hunter Biden case and is “leaving charging decisions up to Weiss,” a Trump appointee. But Congress may want a look at the Garland connection as well.

FBI Corruption: Faking a Rise in Domestic Violent Extremism?

The House roadmap reports that whistleblowers have come forward with claims that “the FBI is manipulating data about domestic violent extremism to support the Biden Administration’s political agenda.” According to the roadmap, the FBI “is pressuring agents to reclassify cases as domestic violent extremism (DVE)” and allegedly “manufacturing DVE cases where they may not otherwise exist and even manipulating its case categorization system to feign a national problem.”

That’s a grave charge. The issue traces back to the events of January 6, 2021, Congressional investigators say. According to the roadmap, whistleblowers have come forward “with information about how the FBI manipulated the manner in which it categorized January 6-related investigations to create a misleading narrative that domestic terrorism is organically surging around the country.”

According to FBI whistleblowers, FBI field offices around the country have been directed by the powerful FBI Washington Field Office to open cases against individuals who were at Capitol on January 6. But no work is actually done in the field, according to the whistleblowers. Rather, the entire January 6 investigation is run from the Washington office.

The upshot? Notes the roadmap: the “FBI’s case categorization creates the illusion that FBI field offices around the country are investigating a groundswell of domestic terrorism cases, giving the impression that [domestic violent extremism, or DVE] is present in jurisdictions across the nation. In reality, however, the cases all stem from the same related investigation concerning the actions at the Capitol on January 6. Such an artificial case categorization scheme allows FBI leadership to misleadingly point to ‘significant’ increases in DVE nationwide.”

FBI Corruption: Targeting School Boards & Parents

In October, as controversy about Covid masking and the influence of hard-left Critical Race Theory in education rippled through school board meetings across the country, Attorney General Garland issued a memorandum directing the Justice Department and FBI to target local school boards and parents. The FBI would address a purported “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school boards.

Following a national outcry about Justice Department overreach, Garland publicly backpedaled, but did not rescind or disavow the memorandum. In fact, the FBI quickly doubled down. The House road map notes that soon after the Garland memorandum, the FBI established “a new ‘threat tag’ created to apply to school board investigations.” The new “EDUOFFICIALS” threat tag, officials directed, was to be applied to all “investigations and assessments of threats specifically against school board administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” according to an email obtained by House investigative staff.

Critics charge that the Justice and the FBI has gone too far, chilling legitimate dissent over issues such as Covid masks and Critical Race Theory. Imagine speaking up at your local school board meeting and getting a visit from the FBI. The roadmap claims that “information from whistleblowers show that the FBI has opened investigations with the EDUOFFICIALS threat tag in almost every region of the country and relating to all types of educational settings.”

Big Brother, Big Tech

House leaders are also calling for close looks at the FBI’s relationship with Big Tech powerhouses like Facebook and Twitter. The House roadmap says evidence “shows that the FBI is helping censor conservative viewpoints” on Big Tech platforms. Whistleblower information provided to House investigators “suggests that the FBI and Facebook have a so-called ‘special relationship’ that may threaten constitutional protections and lead to partisan efforts.” Whistleblower allegations suggest that the special FBI relationship includes “Facebook voluntarily sending information that may relate to citizens’ private political speech.”

Elon Musk’s recent Twitter Files” disclosures have increased pressure for congressional scrutiny of the relationship between government entities and Big Tech. The Twitter disclosures outlined apparent government interference with free speech, suppression of conservative voices, improper banning of then-President Trump from the platform, and censorship of New York Post reporting on the Hunter Biden scandal. Incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan told the Wall Street Journal that the Twitter Files showed the “collusion between big government, big tech and big media” was “worse than we thought.” Jordan and incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer are expected to launch hearings exploring the Twitter Files revelations.

The Border Crisis

It’s not in the road map, but the other House investigations worth noting are upcoming probes into the crisis on the southern border. House leaders have said they will support investigations by the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees into border issues, including a possible impeachment inquiry into Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The southern border is under tremendous strain. More than two million illegal immigrants were arrested in border crossings in 2022 up to October, a record number—and that’s just the ones that got caught. More than 800 died making the dangerous crossing in the same time period. Mexican drug cartels pound the border in an unceasing drug war. The latest cartel gambit? A plague of fentanyl on both sides of the border.

House investigators want to hear from Mayorkas and other top Homeland Security officials on a wide range of issues, including the unprecedented surge of illegal aliens, the failure of border policing and border security technology, the impact of President Trump’s wall and other Trump-era policies, the influence of drug cartels and drug smuggling, and the entry into the U.S. of violent criminals and terrorists.

We’ll have more on the House investigations in the coming months. And the independent Judicial Watch investigations will continue. Stay tuned.

 

Until next week,