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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Censorship Conspiracy EXPOSED!

Emails Show Surgeon General and Facebook Coordinating Covid Censorship
Trump on Trial: Judicial Excess, Partisan Bias
Feds Plan to Let Felons, Fraudsters Investigate Housing Discrimination
Happy Veterans Day!


Emails Show Surgeon General and Facebook Coordinating Covid Censorship

We received 14 pages of emails between U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and top Facebook executives in 2021 regarding the censorship of user posts about Covid controversies. The emails show Facebook leadership seeking to “better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.”

These emails confirm that Facebook censored Americans at the direction of the Biden White House and Biden’s Surgeon General’s political operation. This is a massive violation of the First Amendment.

We received these emails in response to our January 13, 2023, FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:23-cv-00113)) for:

All records, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, texts, memoranda, and handwritten notes, of, regarding, referring, or relating to any efforts of Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, U.S. Surgeon General, to contact any employee of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest concerning COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines.

On July 15, 2021, Murthy issued “Confronting Health Misinformation,” a 22-page document addressing his concerns in multiple areas. These included social media, for which it offered a number of suggestions to address misinformation:

[M]ake meaningful long-term investments … including product changes. Redesign recommendation algorithms to avoid amplifying misinformation, build in “frictions”—such as suggestions and warnings—to reduce the sharing of misinformation, and make it easier for users to report misinformation.


Platforms should also address misinformation in live streams, which are more difficult to moderate due to their temporary nature and use of audio and video.


Prioritize early detection of misinformation “super-spreaders” and repeat offenders. Impose clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies.


Amplify communications from trusted messengers and subject matter experts. For example, work with health and medical professionals to reach target audiences. Direct users to a broader range of credible sources, including community organizations.

The newly obtained records show that on July 16, 2021, the next day, Nick Clegg, vice president of Communications and Global Affairs at Facebook, emails Murthy:

Dear Vivek,

Reaching out after what has transpired over the past few days following the publication of the misinformation advisory, and culminating today in the President’s remarks about us. I know our teams met today to better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.

In our previous conversations I’ve appreciated the way you and your team have approached our engagement, and we have worked hard to meet the moment – we’ve dedicated enormous time and resources to fighting this pandemic and consider ourselves to be partners in fighting the same battle. Certainly we understand (and have understood for some time) that there is disagreement on some of the policies governing our approach and how they are being enforced – even as your team has acknowledged the unprecedented scale of our efforts to provide authoritative information to millions of Americans and to help them get vaccinated. But I thought the way we were singled out over the past few days has been both surprising and misleading, and I believe unproductive to our joint efforts too. I would appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to discuss a path forward with you and how we can continue to work toward what I sincerely believe are shared goals.

Murthy responds on July 19:

Thanks for reaching out and for sharing your concerns. I know the last few days have been challenging. I’d be happy to speak directly about how we move forward. Let me know the best way to schedule some time later this week and we’ll make it happen.

On July 23, Brian Rice, director of public policy for Facebook, emails Clegg and Murthy:

Including this week’s updated report here. Look forward to scheduling our next working session. As always please let us know if you have any questions.

Also on July 23, Clegg writes to Murthy:

Dear Vivek (if I may),

Thanks again for taking the time to meet earlier today. It was very helpful to take stock after the past week and hear directly from you and your team, and to establish our next steps.

We talked about the speed at which we are all having to iterate as the pandemic progresses. I wanted to make sure you saw the steps we took just this past week to adjust policies on what we are removing with respect to misinformation, as well as steps taken to further address the “disinfo dozen”: we removed 17 additional Pages, Groups, and Instagram accounts tied to the disinfo dozen (so a total of 39 Profiles, Pages, Groups, and IG accounts deleted thus far, resulting in every member of the disinfo dozen having had at least one such entity removed).

We are also continuing to make 4 other Pages and Profiles, which have not yet met their removal thresholds, more difficult to find on our platform. We also expanded the group of false claims that we remove, to keep up with recent trends of misinformation that we are seeing.

We hear your call for us to do more and, as I said on the call, we’re committed to working toward our shared goal of helping America get on top of this pandemic. We will reach out directly to DJ to schedule the deeper dive on how to best measure Covid related content and how to proceed with respect to the question around data. We’d also like to begin a regular cadence of meetings with your team so that we can continue to update you on our progress. You have identified 4 specific recommendations for improvement and we want to make sure to keep you informed of our work on each.

I want to again stress how critical it is that we establish criteria for measuring what’s happening on an industry-wide basis, not least to reflect the way platforms are used interchangeably by users themselves. We believe that we have provided more transparency, both through CrowdTangle (the flaws of which we discussed in some detail) and through our Top 100 report, than others and that any further analysis should include a comprehensive look at what’s happening across all platforms–ours and others – if we are going to make progress in a consistent and sustained manner.

Finally, we will be sending you the latest version of our Top 100 report later today, per our regular schedule. Brian will do the honors this week as it will likely be completed at our end later today East Coast time. We really do hope that we can discuss our approach to this data set in greater detail during our next session with DJ, as we genuinely believe it is an effective way of understanding what people are actually seeing on the platform.

Once again, I want to thank you for setting such a constructive tone at the beginning of the call. We too believe that we have a strong shared interest to work together, and that we will strive to do all we can to meet our shared goals.

On October 28, 2021, Clegg writes to Murthy with the subject line “Our announcement:”

Dear General Murthy,

I hope you are well. It’s been a while since we connected. I know our teams have remained in close contact with respect to our work to provide authoritative information about the vaccine and we are working on how we can partner in this next push to vaccinate children. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with your team.


I also recognize the intense debate that’s been prompted by the documents that have been disclosed by a former employee. You and I have touched on the subject of wellbeing in our previous conversations and I know it’s an area of concern for you and for the White House. I would welcome the opportunity to meet again to hear from you and to address the claims that have been made against the company.

This is an apparent reference to France Haugen, a pro-censorship former Facebook product manager.

On March 3, 2022, Max Lesko, the surgeon general’s chief of staff, emails Clegg and others, “Please see the attached letter from the U.S. Surgeon General for Mark Zuckerberg.” The letter is not included in the documents Judicial Watch received. He continues by asking Clegg and Rice to let him know how he can be helpful with respect to the “Request for Information” which had been sent to the Federal Register.

Some of the subject matter in these documents is discussed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case Missouri v. Biden, Murthy, et al. (No. 23-30445), which the Biden administration lost. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court as Murthy, et al. v. Missouri, et al. (No. 23A243).

In April 2023, we filed two lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies for communications between the agencies and Facebook and Twitter regarding the government’s involvement in content moderation and censorship on the social media platforms.

In June 2023, we sued DHS for all records of communications tied to the Election Integrity Partnership. Based on representations from the EIP (see here and here), the federal government, social media companies, the EIP, the Center for Internet Security (a non-profit organization funded partly by DHS and the Defense Department) and numerous other leftist groups communicated privately via the Jira software platform developed by Atlassian.

In February 2023, we sued the U.S. Department Homeland Security (DHS) for records showing cooperation between the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) and social media platforms to censor and suppress free speech.

In January 2023 we sued the DOJ for records of communications between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and social media sites regarding foreign influence in elections, as well as the Hunter Biden laptop story.

In September 2022, we sued the Secretary of State of the State of California for having YouTube censor a Judicial Watch election integrity video.

In May 2022, YouTube censored a Judicial Watch video about Biden corruption and election integrity issues in the 2020 election. The video, titled “Impeach? Biden Corruption Threatens National Security,” was falsely determined to be “election misinformation” and removed by YouTube, and Judicial Watch’s YouTube account was suspended for a week. Judicial Watch continues to post its video content on its Rumble channel (

In July 2021, we uncovered records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which revealed that Facebook coordinated closely with the CDC to control the Covid narrative and “misinformation” and that over $3.5 million in free advertising given to the CDC by social media companies.

In May 2021, we revealed documents showing that Iowa state officials pressured social media companies Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election.

More documents on this dangerous censorship are being processed now by Judicial Watch so expect more revelations soon!


Trump on Trial: Judicial Excess, Partisan Bias

What’s happening in a New York courtroom right now against former President Trump is a flagrant abuse of power without precedent in our nation’s history. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, explains in Investigative Bulletin.

Donald Trump took the stand Monday in New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s long running fraud litigation against the former president, a case filled with startling twists and turns.

On September 26, one week before the civil action was set to open at trial, the judge in the case delivered a surprise ruling. Justice Arthur Engoron issued an order canceling Trump’s certification to do business in New York. The order stripped Trump of control of the iconic Trump Tower; of a family estate and golf club in Westchester County; and of 40 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, a lucrative commercial property. At times it seems as if the entire Trump family is on trial. Trump’s two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, were called to the standby the prosecution last week; his daughter Ivanka is slated to testify this week.

In her civil lawsuit, James alleged that Trump, Trump family members, and Trump Organization executives had committed fraud. Engoron agreed. Financial statements that Trump had submitted to banks and insurers to support real estate deals, wrote Engoron, “contain fraudulent valuations.” The Trump businesses would be placed in receivership “to manage the dissolution.”

Legal experts attacked the Engoron ruling as harsh and unprecedented. “This is a version of business law capital punishment,” a Columbia Law School corporate law expert told the Washington Post. “I’m not aware of a precedent at this scale.”

The non-jury trial opened October 2. The only issue left for trial is how big a penalty Trump will pay. James is looking for a fine upward of $250 million and Engoron himself will decide the penalty. But the deadlier blow already has been delivered with Engoron’s judicial strike against Trump businesses in New York.

The optics of the case are hard to miss. Trump, the builder of business empires, is denuded of his empire. The frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination is brought low.

Which is precisely what James has been promising for years. A New York City Democrat from the progressive wing of the party, James made Trump the centerpiece of her campaign to become state attorney general. She repeatedly denounced Trump as an “illegitimate president” and vowed to “shine a bright light into every corner of his real estate dealings.”

Engoron seems largely cut from the same political cloth. A longtime Democrat, he “has ruled repeatedly against Trump in the three years he’s been presiding over James’ lawsuit,” notes the Associated Press. “He’s forced Trump to sit for a deposition, held him in contempt and fined him $110,000.” A graduate of Columbia University, Engoron once noted that he took part in “huge, sometimes boisterous, Vietnam War protests.” He has been a member of the ACLU for nearly thirty years. Trump and Engoron have sparred for weeks over a gag orderimposed on the former president.

Trump’s lawyers argue there was “no nefarious intent” in submitting the real estate valuations at the heart of the case. Trump lawyer Christopher Kise told the court that different financial estimates often simply reflect “change in a complex, sophisticated real estate corporation.”

Banks and insurers doing business with the Trump Organization knew exactly what they were getting into, Kise said. “Banks and insurers know that the [financial] statements are estimates.” The banks were not victims, the defense argues, saying they made money from the deals.

In a surprise twist shortly after the trial opened, a New York appeals court temporarily halted Engoron’s order to dissolve the Trump business empire while Trump appeals the ruling. The trial was allowed to continue.

But Trump appears resigned to his fate in Engoron’s court. Outside the courtroom, he has denounced the case as “a scam” and “a sham” and “an attempt to hurt me in an election.” Inside the courtroom, the Trump team continues to hammer away at the prosecution’s case, apparently laying the groundwork for an appeal. On the stand Monday, Trump denounced the proceedings as “very unfair” in a day of legal fireworks.

The Democrat leanings of James and Engoron, and oversteps by Engoron, increase Trump’s odds for a successful appeal.  And then there is the larger question of the whole proceeding and its kangaroo court miasma: would this case ever have been brought against someone not named Trump?


Feds Plan to Let Felons, Fraudsters Investigate Housing Discrimination

Those who have obeyed the law might legitimately wonder at allowing those who haven’t to participate in undercover federal investigations, as our Corruption Chronicles blog suggests.

As part of the Biden administration’s government-wide initiative to give criminals a second chance, a federal agency plans to eliminate restrictions that prevent convicted felons from conducting investigations that often lead the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take legal action. It involves fair housing testers who help federal authorities gather evidence of bias and discrimination by going undercover in housing transactions that can expose wrongdoing. Technically, housing testers play a key role in government housing probes, and they are supposed to be carefully vetted.

Now the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants to remove existing criminal conviction regulations for fair housing testers to make its “programs as inclusive as possible for people with criminal records.” In a notice published in the Federal Register, the agency proposes eliminating the restrictions for Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) grantees and Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies that forbid FHIP and FHAP recipients from using fair housing testers with prior felony convictions or convictions of crimes involving fraud or perjury. Besides making HUD programs as inclusive as possible for criminals, the agency writes that the proposed rule will ensure that it can “fully investigate criminal background screening policies that are potentially discriminatory under federal civil rights laws by using testers with actual criminal backgrounds.”

In a press release announcing the plan, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge says “we trust fair housing testers to identify bias and discrimination in housing so we can fulfill our mission to root it out.” She continues: “Through this new rule, we can ensure people with criminal records who want to participate in this important work aren’t facing unnecessary barriers. People reentering society, and those with criminal records, deserve a fair shot at a second chance. This rule helps us get there.” The announcement also provides a link to a 2022 memorandum issued by Fudge titled “Eliminating Barriers That May Unnecessarily Prevent Individuals with Criminal Histories from Participating in HUD Programs.” In the memo, the housing secretary points out that we cannot ignore the fact that persons who have been involved with the justice system are disproportionately racial minorities, accounting for “discriminatory impact exclusions based on criminal history.”

Even those who agree with second chances may reasonably question if convicted felons should participate in federal investigations. The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division uses information gathered by fair housing testers to enforce the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability and familial status. In cases where investigations yield evidence of a pattern or practice of illegal housing discrimination, federal prosecutors file lawsuits. Since 1992 the DOJ hasresolved 111 cases with evidence directly generated from the Fair Housing Testing Program, according to government data. It has led to the recovery of more than $15.3 million, including over $2.3 million in civil penalties and north of $13 million in other damages. “The vast majority of testing cases filed to date are based on testing evidence that involved allegations of agents misrepresenting the availability of rental units or offering different terms and conditions based on race, and/or national origin, and/or familial status,” according to the DOJ. Combating race discrimination has been a central focus of the program, the agency confirms.

Allowing convicted criminals to participate in federal housing investigations is part of a broader push by the Biden administration to “help people who were formerly incarcerated reenter society.” In a 2022 Proclamation on Second Chance, the president reminds the nation and all government agencies that millions of Americans have a criminal record that creates significant barriers to employment, economic stability, and successful reentry into society. “Thousands of legal and regulatory restrictions prevent these individuals from accessing employment, housing, voting, education, business licensing, and other basic opportunities,” the president writes in his proclamation. “Because of these barriers, nearly 75 percent of people who were formerly incarcerated are still unemployed a year after being released.” In the document the commander in chief stresses the “racial inequities that lead to disproportionate numbers of incarcerated people of color and other underserved groups.”


Happy Veterans Day!

Judicial Watch’s anti-corruption work is the least we can do for our country compared to the risks and sacrifices taken by those who protected our Republic through military service. We all should pray for peace – but Judicial Watch will, in the meantime, fight for the truth. President Reagan’s 1985 Veterans Day remarks are well worth noting in these perilous times:

And the living have a responsibility to remember the conditions that led to the wars in which our heroes died. Perhaps we can start by remembering this: that all of those who died for us and our country were, in one way or another, victims of a peace process that failed; victims of a decision to forget certain things; to forget, for instance, that the surest way to keep a peace going is to stay strong. Weakness, after all, is a temptation — it tempts the pugnacious to assert themselves — but strength is a declaration that cannot be misunderstood. Strength is a condition that declares actions have consequences. Strength is a prudent warning to the belligerent that aggression need not go unanswered.

Peace fails when we forget what we stand for. It fails when we forget that our Republic is based on firm principles, principles that have real meaning, that with them, we are the last, best hope of man on Earth; without them, we’re little more than the crust of a continent. Peace also fails when we forget to bring to the bargaining table God’s first intellectual gift to man: common sense. Common sense gives us a realistic knowledge of human beings and how they think, how they live in the world, what motivates them. Common sense tells us that man has magic in him, but also clay. Common sense can tell the difference between right and wrong. Common sense forgives error, but it always recognizes it to be error first.

We endanger the peace and confuse all issues when we obscure the truth; when we refuse to name an act for what it is; when we refuse to see the obvious and seek safety in Almighty. Peace is only maintained and won by those who have clear eyes and brave minds.

Judicial Watch benefits from the unique experience of the veterans on our staff. And we are proud that countless veterans who, with “clear eyes and brave minds,” generously support Judicial Watch’s work. Thank you all for your service and have a wonderful Veterans Day.


Until next week,


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