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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Biden Transcript Is Inaccurate!

Justice Department Admits Transcript of Biden Interviews Is Inaccurate
Records Show FBI Provided Democrats with Information on Whistleblowers
Judicial Watch Sues HHS for Records on Response to Covid-19 Pandemic
Taliban Gets Millions in U.S. Aid by Charging Taxes, Permit Fees, Import Duties

 


Justice Department Admits Transcript of Biden Interviews Is Inaccurate

The White House admitted to a federal court that the transcript of President Joe Biden’s testimony to Special Counsel Robert Hur is not accurate. It is missing “filler words (such as ‘um’ or ‘uh’)” and words that “may have been repeated when spoken (such as ‘I, I’ or ‘and, and’)” which were sometimes “only listed a single time in the transcripts.”

In a new filing, the Biden Justice Department makes extraordinary assertions of executive privilege and privacy to hide the Biden audio. The agency makes the unprecedented assertion that because “AI” could be used to alter Biden’s words the material should be kept secret.

The Justice Department filing, filed around 11:00 p.m. last Friday night, May 31, includes a statement by Bradley Weinsheimer, associate deputy attorney general, which reads in part:

13. After the interview, SCO [Special Counsel Office] created written transcripts of the audio recording with the assistance of a trained professional court reporter – one transcript for each day of the interview. I have read the entirety of the written transcripts of the interview. As I listened to the audio recording, I compared it to the transcripts of the audio recording and specifically listened for differences between the transcripts and audio recording. In a few instances, the transcripts indicate that some words from the audio recording are indiscernible. In listening to the audio recording and reviewing the transcripts, I agree that in those instances the words are indiscernible.

14. The interview transcripts are accurate transcriptions of the words of the interview contained in the audio recording, except for minor instances such as the use of filler words (such as “um” or “uh”) when speaking that are not always reflected on the transcripts, or when words may have been repeated when spoken (such as “I, I” or “and, and”) but sometimes was only listed a single time in the transcripts. Besides these exceedingly minor differences, based on my simul­taneous review of the transcripts while listening to the audio recording, the transcripts accurately capture the words spoken during the interview on the audio recording with no material differences between the audio recording and transcripts. None of the minor differences include any audible substantive exchanges – that is, based on my review, there is no material omission of words be­ tween the audio recording and transcripts. Special Counsel Hur and FBI personnel who attended the interview and compared the audio recording to the transcripts also informed me of their determination that the transcripts accurately reflect the words spoken on the audio recording aside from the minor instances I described above. Special Counsel Hur emphasized to me that it was important for purposes of his investigation that the interview transcripts be accurate.

Wow. Our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit forced the Biden team to admit what everyone suspected – that the transcript is not accurate and was changed in a way to help Biden. There is nothing ordinary about this, and the transcript inaccuracy issues seem to help Biden’s political campaign needs. We have since initiated a new FOIA request on Biden’s Nixonian tape scandal.

Judicial Watch has several ongoing FOIA lawsuits about Biden’s document scandals and the related unprecedented partisan prosecutorial and judicial abuses of former President Donald J. Trump.

On March 11, 2024, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Department of Justice failed to respond to a February 2024 FOIA request for records of all Special Counsel interviews of President Biden (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:24-cv-00700)). A redacted transcript of the Biden interview was released on April 15.

In April, the Justice Department told the court that it would not disclose the audio recordings of special counsel interviews with President Joe Biden in order to protect Biden’s “privacy” interests.

On February 5, 2024, Hur issued the “Report of the Special Counsel on the Investigation Into Unauthorized Removal, Retention, and Disclosure of Classified Documents Discovered at Locations Including the Penn Biden Center and the Delaware Private Residence of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.”

In the report, Hur called Biden a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” and declined to charge Biden with a “serious felony:”

We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory. Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him-by then a former president well into his eighties-of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.

Prior to the finalization of the report, the White House issued a letter to the Special Counsel’s office attacking the report’s “treatment of President Biden’s memory,” and added “there is ample evidence from your interview that the President did well in answering your questions …”

The Heritage Foundation and a CNN-led media coalition were recently joined with our lawsuit.

 

Records Show FBI Provided Democrats with Information on Whistleblowers

Troubling records we received in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit show how the FBI colluded with Democrats hostile to FBI whistleblowers who were set to testify to Congress.

We received 54 pages of records from the Department of Justice that show the FBI Office of Congressional Affairs (OCA) providing a Democrat staffer with information on FBI whistleblowers who detailed the bureau’s targeting of political opponents and retaliation for their testifying at a May 18, 2023, hearing of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

A May 23, 2023, email from Damon Marx, senior counsel in the office of New York Democrat Rep. Dan Goldman, shows that the FBI provided documents apparently pertaining to the whistleblowers that were “very helpful” to Goldman.

Marx writes to an FBI Office of Congressional Affairs (OCA) official whose name is redacted:

We spoke last week before the Weaponization hearing on Thursday. Thanks again for sending over those documents. They were very helpful to the Congressman.

Francesco (my colleague cc’ed here) and I will be good points of contact for you going forward. Both of us broadly cover law enforcement; however, in terms of specifics, I cover cybersecurity, counterterrorism, and much of the Congressman’s committee work, while Francesco covers issues ranging from immigration to gun violence.

We would love to meet in person next time you have the chance. Please let us know when you’re available for coffee or just to swing by the office. And don’t hesitate to reach out on any other matters!

The CC’d colleague is Francesco Arreaga, then a Democrat staffer on the House Homeland Security Committee and former Elizabeth Warren campaign staffer.

On May 18, 2023, a hearing was held by the House Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Highlights of the hearing include:

It is clear from these disclosures, and especially in wake of Special Counsel John Durham’s report, that the FBI has become politically weaponized.

To date, the Committee and Select Subcommittee have received whistleblower testimony from several current and former FBI employees who chose to risk their careers to expose abuses and misconduct in the FBI. Some of these employees—Special Agents Garret O’Boyle and Stephen Friend, Supervisory Intelligence Analyst George Hill, and Staff Operations Specialist Marcus Allen—have chosen to speak on the record about their experiences.

During the hearing, Allen was allowed to discuss the suspension he incurred for merely forwarding open-source news articles to his colleagues, as his job required:

Q. And why exactly did you send th[e] email[s]?

A. I sent [the emails] just for awareness because the[y] . . . indicated potential problems with the investigation as far as informants were concerned, and our organization’s potential forthrightness about the utilization of informants there on that day. That might have some impact on our cases and the subjects that we’re looking up, and just a general awareness overall for the investigation as a whole, that there might have been some kind of potential Federal involvement with the activities on January 6th, and I thought it was important enough that it like warranted our attention, you know.

Q. Is it safe to say that you sending th[ose] email[s] was part of your job at the time?

A. Yes.

The Committee explained that “[b]ecause these open-source articles questioned the FBI’s handling of the violence at the Capitol, the FBI suspended Allen for ‘conspiratorial views in regards to the events of January 6th . . . .’”

The day before the hearing, the FBI revoked the security clearances of three agents who testified, Steve Friend, Garret O’Boyle, and Marcus Allen, according to a letter the bureau sent to congressional investigators and obtained by ABC News. Allen’s clearance was recently reinstated.

The records include a May 16, 2023, email to an FBI OCA official, whose name is redacted, from Marx, who writes:

It’s my understanding that you’re out this week, but if you have a moment to chat about some of the witnesses for Thursday’s Weaponization hearing, it would be super helpful. Please let me know if you’re available tomorrow when you have a chance.

The FBI OCA official responds:

Sure, give me a call when you can.

In a May 9, 2023, email to Goldman’s then-Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director Erin Meegan, an FBI OCA official whose name is redacted writes:

I was disappointed I didn’t get the opportunity to meet you during our trip to Quantico. We are planning to take another trip there, maybe later this summer, so hopefully you’ll be able to join us then. I serve as [redacted]. OCA plays a key role in communicating with lawmakers and their staffers about FBI activities and is the primary point of contact for all Congressional matters.

I would like an opportunity to meet with you to properly introduce myself and tell you more about the mission of OCA, along with providing information about what OCA can offer your office. I would also like to know what issues Rep. Goldman and your office are interested in to see if there is any way I can assist in those areas. Additionally, based on my background, I think I may be able to provide insight or answer some questions about issues that do not require senior FBI leadership briefings or hearings.

The Judicial Watch October 2023 lawsuit that uncovered these documents was filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to a May 18, 2023, FOIA request (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:23-cv-03003)). Judicial Watch asked for:

All records of communication between any official or employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and any member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, any staff member for the subcommittee, or any staff member for any subcommittee member between April 1, 2023, and the present.

For purposes of clarification, in the request, Judicial Watch provided the following link, which identified the members of the committee: https://judiciary.house.gov/subcommittees/committee-judiciary/select-subcommittee-weaponization-federal-government

Judicial Watch is in the forefront of uncovering the weaponizing of the federal government against whistleblowers.

Judicial Watch represented Marcus Allen, a decorated veteran, FBI analyst and witness before the Weaponization Subcommittee, in a lawsuit against FBI Director Christopher Wray for violating Allen’s constitutional rights by falsely accusing him of holding “conspiratorial views,” stripping his security clearance, and suspending him from duty without pay. On May 31, 2024, Allen’s security clearance was  reinstated.

In June 2023, Judicial Watch sued for all FBI communications from bureau officials using several systems and databases regarding investigations carried out after an October 4, 2021, memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland instructing investigators to target American parents due to an alleged “increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools” In a March 21, 2023, report on the Garland memo, the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government cited FBI data which states that 25 inquiries under the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS” had been opened since the bureau began tracking the alleged incidents.

In September 2022, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for all records in the possession of FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten regarding an August 6, 2020, briefing provided to members of the U.S. Senate. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that raised concerns that the briefing was intended to undermine the senators’ investigation of Hunter Biden.

Judicial Watch recently sued the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for all agency records relating to the Department of Justice or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigations of Hunter Biden and all records relating to efforts to interview lawyer Patrick Kevin Morris regarding Hunter Biden.

 

Judicial Watch Sues HHS for Records on Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

The Anthony Fauci-led federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic was panicked, political, and put the lives and liberties of Americans at risk. We filed a new lawsuit to get to the bottom of this disaster.

Our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit is against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for records from the Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) regarding after action reports, review of procedures, or studies concerning the preparation for and response to the Covid-19 pandemic (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:24-cv-01352)).

We sued after HHS failed to comply with an August 19, 2022, FOIA request for:

Records and/or communications of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Department of Health and Human Services, that refer to and/or document any after action reports, lessons learned, after action reviews, review of procedures, analysis, studies, [or] “hot washes,” concerning preparing and/or responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report titled “COVID-19: HHS and DOD Transitioned Vaccine Responsibilities to HHS, but Need to Address Outstanding Issues,” which included “Recommendations for Executive Action” such as:

In July 2022, HHS stated that as it conducts after-action reviews and gathers lessons learned, it aims to include key stakeholders including, but not limited to federal partners, manufacturers, and others as appropriate. In January 2024, HHS provided an update on its lessons learned activities, noting that it had completed its efforts to obtain and incorporate input from these stakeholders. We reviewed the documentation and in February 2024, requested additional specificity on how HHS conducted the lessons learned effort and with which agencies they coordinated. As of April 2024, we have not yet received HHS’s response.

In May 2022, DOD stated that it is supportive of gathering and documenting lessons learned. It further stated that HHS, as the sole successor organization to the CAG, should assume responsibility to obtain and incorporate additional inputs from key external stakeholders. In April 2024, DOD stated that it does not plan to take action in response to the recommendation. We recognize HHS’s role, and agree that it should take lead responsibility for obtaining and incorporating input from external stakeholders. We further recognize the critical role that DOD played as part of the CAG and the important functions that several of its component agencies provided, such as acquisition support. As such, we continue to believe that DOD’s coordination on obtaining and incorporating lessons learned will be an integral aspect of HHS’s efforts. We will continue to monitor this recommendation until HHS conducts any further lessons learned outreach to external stakeholders, including the extent to which it coordinates with DOD in doing so. As of April 2024, we have not yet received HHS’s clarifying information on its efforts to conduct lessons learned.

Our FOIA lawsuits and investigations have uncovered much of what the public knows about many Covid-19 controversies:

  • In April 2024, we uncovered FBI records that showed an April 2020 email exchange with several officials in the bureau’s Newark Field Office referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China as including “gain-of-function research” which “would leave no signature of purposeful human manipulation.”
  • Emails between U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and top Facebook executives in 2021 regarding the censorship of user posts about Covid controversies showed Facebook leadership seeking to “better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.”
  • Records from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that a Pfizer study surveyed 23 people in 2021 to gauge reactions to its Covid vaccine booster before asking the FDA to approve it.
  • Records from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) included the initial grant application and annual reports to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from EcoHealth Alliance, describing the aim of its work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology to create mutant viruses “to better predict the capacity of our CoVs [coronaviruses] to infect people.”
  • HHS records included emails of then-Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins showing a British physicians’ group recommended the use of Ivermectin to prevent and treat Covid-19.
  • Heavily redacted HHS records showed that just two days prior to FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine a discussion was held between U.S. and UK health regulators regarding the Covid shot and “anaphylaxis,” with the regulators emphasizing their “mutual confidentiality agreement.”
  • We obtained HHS records regarding data Moderna submitted to the FDA on its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, which indicated a “statistically significant” number of rats were born with skeletal deformations after their mothers were injected with the vaccine. The documents also revealed Moderna elected not to conduct a number of standard pharmacological studies on the laboratory test animals.
  • Heavily redacted records from the FDA regarding the Covid-19 booster vaccine detailed pressure on Covid booster use and approval.
  • HHS records detailed internal discussions about myocarditis and the Covid vaccine. Other documents detailed adverse “events for which a contributory effect of the vaccine could not be excluded.”
  • We uncovered HHS records detailing the extensive media plans for a Biden administration propaganda campaign to push the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • HHS records revealed previously redacted locations of Covid-19 vaccine testing facilities in Shanghai, China. The FDA had claimed the name and location of the testing facilities were protected by the confidential commercial information exemption of the FOIA.
  • NIH records showed an FBI “inquiry” into the NIH’s controversial bat coronavirus grant tied to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The records also showed National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) officials were concerned about “gain-of-function” research in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2016. The Fauci agency was also concerned about EcoHealth Alliance’s lack of compliance with reporting rules and use of gain-of-function research in the NIH-funded research involving bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China.
  • Texas Public Information Act (PIA) records showed the former director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), James W. Le Duc, warned Chinese researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology of potential investigations into the Covid issue by Congress.
  • HHS records regarding biodistribution studies and related data for the Covid-19 vaccines showed how a key component of the vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), were found outside the injection site, mainly the liver, adrenal glands, spleen and ovaries of test animals, eight to 48 hours after injection.
  • Records obtained from HHS through a FOIA lawsuit related to hydroxychloroquine and Covid-19 revealed that a grant to EcoHealth Alliance was canceled because of press reports that a portion of the grant was given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
  • HHS records revealed that from 2014 to 2019, $826,277 was given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for bat coronavirus research by the NIAID.
  • NIAID records showed that it gave nine China-related grants to EcoHealth Alliance to research coronavirus emergence in bats and was the NIH’s top issuer of grants to the Wuhan lab itself. The records also included an email from the vice director of the Wuhan Lab asking an NIH official for help finding disinfectants for decontamination of airtight suits and indoor surfaces.
  • HHS records included an “urgent for Dr. Fauci” email chain, citing ties between the Wuhan lab and the taxpayer-funded EcoHealth Alliance. The government emails also reported that the foundation of U.S. billionaire Bill Gates worked closely with the Chinese government to pave the way for Chinese-produced medications to be sold outside China and help “raise China’s voice of governance by placing representatives from China on important international counsels as high level commitment from China.”
  • Our four-part documentary regarding the coordinated effort by the government and Big Tech to censor and suppress information on topics such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, Covid-19, and election debates is available here.

Taliban Gets Millions in U.S. Aid by Charging Taxes, Permit Fees, Import Duties

When your tax dollars are shipped overseas they are up for grabs, as our Corruption Chronicles blog reports.

Of the nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid that the United States has given Afghanistan since the 2021 military withdrawal, at least $11 million—and likely a lot more—has gone to the Taliban, according to a new federal auditthat reveals the U.S. “has continued to be the largest international donor supporting the Afghan people since the former Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban returned to power in August 2021.” The terrorist group has taken the millions in humanitarian and development assistance intended to help the people of Afghanistan in the form of taxes, fees, import duties, permit charges, licenses, or public utility services. The Taliban has probably received a much bigger chunk of the humanitarian assistance because the parties involved in the cash giveaway, including federal agencies, the famously corrupt United Nations and handpicked nonprofits, do not bother keeping track.

“SIGAR also found that the $10.9 million paid by 38 U.S. Department of State (State), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) implementing partners is likely only a fraction of the total amount of U.S. assistance funds provided to the Taliban in taxes, fees, duties, and utilities because UN agencies receiving U.S. funds did not collect data or provide relevant information about their subawardees’ payments,” the watchdog writes in its latest report. “From October 2021 through September 2023, the UN received $1.6 billion in U.S. funding for programming in Afghanistan, approximately 63 percent of all U.S. assistance funding for Afghanistan during that period.” The U.S. government does not require the leftist world body to report on taxes, fees, duties or utilities incurred on American funds for activities in Afghanistan, the probe found.

Aid to Afghanistan predates President Biden’s abrupt troop withdrawal but since the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government in August 2021, Uncle Sam has dedicated significant resources to fulfill the basic needs of the Afghan people with little oversight. “These efforts include addressing food security, agriculture, health, and education, as well as undertaking programs designed to improve economic conditions and human rights in Afghanistan, particularly the rights of women, girls, and minority communities,” the SIGAR report states. The Taliban has disrupted activities required to disburse the aid in a variety of ways, including attempts to divert funds or infiltrate nonprofits on the ground. Investigators found that more than a dozen partner organizations reported direct pressure from the Taliban when distributing American aid, including diverting food and other aid to populations chosen by the terrorist group and its forced approval of program design and implementation.

Just a few months ago Judicial Watch reported that the Taliban has created fake nonprofits to get millions in U.S. humanitarian aid since the 2021 military withdraw. The terrorist group has established fraudulent non-governmental organizations (NGO), typically nonprofits with humanitarian missions such as improving public or social welfare, that annually receive billions of dollars from American taxpayers. The money flows through various federal agencies, including the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and State. Specifically, the Taliban is benefiting from American education funding through the establishment of fraudulent NGOs to receive donor assistance and it has infiltrated and extorted existing Afghan NGOs delivering educational assistance. The alarming information was disclosed in a SIGAR report published in October 2023. The watchdog’s latest probe also disclosed that partners delivering U.S. aid in Afghanistan stated the Taliban regularly inquiries about ways to obtain donor funding, including through the establishment of Afghan NGOs.

It is not like American government officials do not know the Taliban is taking the money. A report issued last year by the United States Institute of Peace, the federal institution founded by Congress to promote worldwide conflict resolution, concluded that foreign-funded assistance is unlikely to prove effective as leverage to shape the Taliban government’s behavior. “On the contrary, the Taliban are likely to increasingly regard foreign funded activities as just another potential revenue stream,” the U.S. Institute of Peace found. “Any form of humanitarian or development assistance is prone to manipulation by the Taliban. Aid/development delivery … exposes [foreign donors] to Taliban coercion with little leverage or recourse to resist.”

Until next week,


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