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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

Hunter/Joe Biden Scandal Update

Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Hunter Biden Documents
University of Pittsburgh Asked NIH for Help with Criticism of Fetal Organ Experiments
Biden Agency That Regulates Credit Unions Promotes Critical Race Theory
Judicial Watch Sues for FDA Records about Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine


Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Hunter Biden Documents

The Hunter/Joe Biden scandal isn’t going away. We just filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. State Department for messages sent through the SMART (State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolkit) system that mention Hunter Biden (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:22-cv-01066)).

We sued after State failed to reply to a February 11, 2022, FOIA request for:

All cables/teletypes and email messages sent via the SMART system that reference Hunter Biden, excluding any records that consist solely of media articles or compilations.

In an email dated February 16, 2022, the State Department on February 16, 2022, acknowledged receipt of the request and asserted that the agency was invoking FOIA’s ten-day extension of time provision due to “unusual circumstances.” As of April 15, State failed to comply with our request.

Hunter Biden continues to be the subject of a federal criminal investigation in Delaware.

Here is the history of our Biden corruption investigation:

In December 2020, we uncovered Obama-era State Department records showing that the Ukraine prosecutor general was pitched “high-level” access to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by a firm linked to Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm.

We also uncovered records showing that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch had specifically warned in 2017 about corruption allegations against Burisma Holdings. During her November 2019 testimony in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she knew little about Burisma.

In an October production from the State Department, we received records that included a briefing checklist of a February 2019 meeting in Kyiv between Yovanovitch and Sally Painter, Burisma’s lobbyist at Blue Star Strategies, and a Burisma executive. The briefing checklist noted that Painter also planned to meet with Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) Officer Martin Claessens “regarding the Burisma Group energy company.”

At the time of the meeting, Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, was serving on the board of directors for Burisma Holdings, despite having no previous experience in the energy industry. Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019.

In September 2020, we made public records that show George Kent, the Obama administration’s deputy assistant secretary of state in charge of Ukraine policy, which was copied to Yovanovitch, highlighting Russia-linked media “trolling” Joe Biden over “his son’s business.” An email was sent four days prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump to a redacted recipient and CCd to Yovanovitch with the subject line “medvedchuk-linked vesti trolls Biden.” Kent writes: “Burisma – gift that keeps on giving. (With medvedchuk affiliated Vesti pushing the troll-like storyline on visit day)”

The State Department is unlawfully ignoring FOIA law to protect Hunter and Joe Biden. We have no doubt, given our prior finds, that the State Department has many secrets about Biden corruption tucked away.

University of Pittsburgh Asked NIH for Help with Criticism of Fetal Organ Experiments

Our work exposing fetal organ experiments and trafficking, using your tax dollars, has generated national outrage. And those involved in this barbaric practice are desperate to quell the criticism so they can continue inhumane experiments.

We obtained 34 pages of new 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 include a scientific report containing information about grafting human scalp and other tissues onto mice. (Through a related FOIA lawsuit in September 2021 we uncovered records and communications from the FDA involving “humanized mice” research with human fetal heads, organs, and tissue.)

We obtained the records in response to FOIA suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for records of communication related to a September 21, 2021, letter sent by Sen. James Lankford and nearly 100 members of Congress demanding an investigation into the University of Pittsburgh’s potentially illegal fetal tissue research (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:22-cv-00296)).

We sued in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after HHS and its component, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), failed to respond to November 16, 2021, FOIA request for:

All records of communication, including emails and text messages, regarding the September 21, 2021 letter co-authored by Sen. James Lankford and other congressmen to Director Francis Collins, demanding an investigation into the University of Pittsburgh’s program of fetal body parts procurement and experimentation (copy attached), sent to and from the following NIH officials: Director Collins, Principal Deputy Director Lawrence A. Tabak, Acting Chief of Staff John T. Burklow, and Acting Associate Director Renate H. Myles.

In August 2021, we 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. Among other findings, the records revealed:

  • The aims of the project listed in the original 2015 proposal were to “develop a pipeline to the acquisition, quality control and distribution of human genitourinary [urinary and genital organs and functions] samples obtained throughout development (6-42 weeks gestation). … [and] generate an ongoing resource to distribute fresh developmental human genitourinary samples from various stages (6-42 weeks) to the GUDMAP [GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project] Atlas projects.”
  • In the proposal, Pitt notes that it has been “collecting fetal tissue for over 10 years … include[ing] liver, heart, gonads, legs, brain, genitourinary tissues including kidneys, ureters and bladders.”
  • Pitt noted in 2015 “we have disbursed over 300 fresh samples collected from 77 cases. The collections can be significantly ramped up as material could have been accrued from as many as 725 cases last year.”
  • The Health Sciences Tissue Bank at Pitt is “embedded within the Department of Pathology … thus providing rapid access to very high quality tissue and biological specimens.”
  • Pitt boasts it has a number of internal connections as well as a “strong working relationship with UPMC [University of Pittsburgh Medical Center] and the Department of Pathology” as well as three “laboratories in the flagship UPMC hospitals.” This includes a lab boasting a “ButcherBoy band saw for sectioning bone,” and a “frozen section room has digital video feed to and from the operating rooms. This also allows for instantaneous discussions with the surgeons as well [as] immediate ‘show and tell’ for them.” The proposal ironically also boasts about the laboratories at the “Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.”
  • Later in the proposal, Pitt states that it records the “warm ischemic time on our samples and take steps to keep it at a minimum to ensure the highest quality biological specimens.” [The “warm ischemic time” refers to the amount of time an organ remains at body temperature after blood supply has been cut off. Warm ischemic time differs from cold ischemic time which refers to the amount of time the organ is chilled.  Pitt’s statement suggests the time between the abortion and collection is minimal.]

The newly obtained records include an email dated October 16, 2021, from the University of Pittsburgh’s Dr. Jeremy Berg, associate senior vice chancellor for science strategy and planning, contacting then-Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins, requesting help with the negative press they were receiving about their work with aborted human tissue. Dr. Berg specifically highlights a Fox News report:

Hi Francis:

I write regarding ongoing efforts to undermine important science using fetal tissue. As you no doubt know, various public universities have been the subject of rotating attacks about research using fetal tissue, sometimes citing NIH support for the research. It is now the University of Pittsburgh turn in the spotlight. The event that triggered this is the publication of a paper (attached) on grafting fetal skin onto rodents supported by an R21 from NIAID ( I provide this only for background as the details do not matter for the issue I am raising.

Pitt’s response to concerns raised by state legislators and various news outlets has been to commission an outside review of Pitt’s practices and compliance. The University believes that all appropriate practices and laws have been followed. However, this outside review has been met with additional complaints (see

We have been discussing these issues and it seems that this is an organized attempt to delegitimize science based on fetal tissue rather than to identify misbehavior (although, of course, any misbehavior does create opportunities for outrage). In light of this, we feel that the scientific community would benefit if more institutions could stand together to take some of the power out of the one at-a-time strategy that appears to be operating.

Our Chancellor Pat Gallagher, former Director of NIST and your Senate confirmation colleague would like the opportunity to discuss this with you or other appropriate individuals at NIH via whatever venue would be preferred (phone, Zoom, in Bethesda).

If this is possible, please let me know the best way to make the appropriate arrangements.

Also included is a report published in “Nature” that contains information about grafting human scalp and other tissues onto mice:

Human skin tissues were obtained from the scalp and dorsum of donors and were used in developing human skin engraftment with and without hair in the mouse model, respectively. Full-thickness human fetal skin was processed via removal of excess fat tissues attached to the subcutaneous layer of the skin, then engrafed over the rib cage, where the mouse skin was previously excised.

The new documents include an email exchange on October 17, 2021, in which Lawrence Tabak, the acting director of NIH, responds to Berg’s request for a meeting and work to schedule a time to meet: “Mike [likely Mike Lauer] indicated that it is arranged (dropping FC to bbc line).”

In February 2022, Chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) called the investigation a “whitewash” and added:

A truly transparent and comprehensive assessment would not have evaded the questions raised by public records, especially and including whether the University of Pittsburgh used the body parts of babies who were born alive and died from having their organs harvested, as well as if individuals procuring the baby body parts for the university altered abortion procedures to suit their gruesome research.

(In September 2021, Judicial Watch uncovered through a related FOIA lawsuit records and communications from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (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.)

These newest documents expose the 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. Here we have the federal government and a major university seemingly desperate to continue their barbaric trafficking the organs of human beings killed by abortion.

Biden Agency That Regulates Credit Unions Promotes Critical Race Theory

Another federal agency has gone fully woke at your expense.

We received 15 pages of records from the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) in response to a FOIA request that shows the government agency responsible for regulating credit unions required “inclusion and unconscious bias training” for the agency’s employees and contractors and offered advice on how to recognize and address alleged “microaggressions” in the workplace.

The NCUA is, “an independent federal agency that insures deposits at federally insured credit unions, protects the members who own credit unions, and charters and regulates federal credit unions.”

A February 25, 2021, email from the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) to “All NCUA Staff” with the subject line “Inclusion and unconscious bias training now available” notes that an attached memo provides information about a “new, required training course” called “Inclusion at Work: Managing Unconscious Bias at the Office.”

The accompanying memo notes that the training unit was required for “All employees and contractors” as part of “required annual diversity and inclusion training.”

The memo states: “The NCUA is committed to building the diversity and inclusion competencies of employees to advance NCUA’s Strategic Objective 3.1 – to attract, engage and retain a highly skilled, diverse workforce, and cultivate an inclusive environment.”

In a February 10, 2022, email to “All NCUA Staff” from the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI), all employees are invited to attend a “virtual OMWI Talk” where they will “watch a video and discuss the role our institutions and public policies play in shaping opportunities and one’s ability to accumulate wealth.” It notes that they will watch the film “Race: The House We Live In,” which is the “first film about race to focus not on individual attitudes but on the ways our institutions and policies advantage some groups at the expense of others. Its subject is the ‘unmarked’ race. We see how benefits quietly and often invisibly accrue to [the majority], not necessarily because of hard work, but because of the racialized nature of our laws, courts, customs, and perhaps most pertinently, housing.” The email describes OMWI Talks as a “safe place to have difficult conversations about race, identity, privilege, unconscious bias, cultural appropriation and a host of other thought-provoking topics.”

A July 12, 2021, OMWI email to all staff advises them to “Save the date” for the next OMWI Talk, which is titled “Deconstructing White Privilege.” The talk features a video from Dr. Robin DiAngelo, author of “What Does It Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy.” The email describes DiAngelo as an “anti-racist educator,” who has “heard justifications of racism by white men and women in her workshops for over two decades.”  It continues, “This justification, which she calls ‘white fragility’, is a state in which even a minimal amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”

In an internal NCUA newsletter, called VIBE, sent by OMWI to all NCUA staff on March 1, 2021, the new NCUA Chairman, Todd M. Harper, writes a message, noting that “I truly look forward to working with OMWI to VIBE and advance diversity and inclusion not just within the agency, but also in the entities and communities we serve.” He notes: “NCUA’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan outlines five additional goals for this work, including one specific to diversity and inclusion in credit unions and another for diversity in our business activities. These are not just OMWI’s goals. They are agency-wide goals.” The newsletter mentions the creation of a new position called Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, and thanks the departing director of OMWI who, it notes, created such programs as “the Credit Union Diversity Self-Assessment,” the “Credit Union Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit” and “much more.”

A section of the newsletter titled “Diversity and Inclusion Learning” includes:

  • Take a few minutes to read through these Seven Ways to Be More inclusive in Your Everyday Life.
  • Learn how to Be Inclusive Every Day
  • Got your eye on a promotion or a new position? Use the Inclusion Guide for Interviewees to prepare yourself for diversity and inclusion related questions that may come up in the interview.

In the issue of the VIBE newsletter emailed to all NCUA staff on December 1, 2021, under a section titled “Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Learning,” employees are told, “A microaggression is defined as an indirect, subtle, or unintentional form of discrimination against members of a marginalized group. But for those who experience them, microaggressions are more than just insults or insensitive jokes – they are painful, powerful, and can inflict lasting harm.” It offers links to three articles, titled: “What is a microaggression? 14 things people think are fine to say at work – but are actually racist, sexist or offensive;” “How to Address Microaggressions in the Workplace;” and “Microaggressions at work: Recognizing & overcoming our biases.”

In the first article, published on March 1, 2021 by Business Insider, types of “microaggressions” include “telling a new female worker that she ‘looks like a student’ to asking a Black colleague about her natural hair,” adding “they can make a workplace feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and toxic.”

The article “Microaggressions at work: Recognizing & overcoming our biases,” published by “Culture Amp,” states that “microaggressions” can include “Asking a lesbian co-worker, ‘Who’s the man in your relationship,’ ” “Mispronouncing someone’s name because ‘it’s too difficult to say,” “Mistaking a Latinx colleague for a service worker,” and “Naming all the buildings or rooms after White men.”

Americans should be disturbed that the Biden administration is using the agency responsible for regulating credit unions to subject employees and the public to an extremist and discriminatory Critical Race Theory ideology that attacks individuals based on race.

Judicial Watch Sues for FDA Records about Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine

We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for FDA emails and records about the Pfizer/BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccine (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:22-cv-00733))

We sued after HHS failed to reply to our August 24, 2021, FOIA request for:

Any and all records submitted by Pfizer and/or BioNTech for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine known as Comirnaty, which received approval from the FDA on August 23, 2021.

All emails related to the vaccine that became known as Comirnaty sent to and from the following FDA officials: Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock; Deputy Commissioner Andi Lipstein Fristedt; Deputy Commissioner James Sigg; Chief of Staff Julia C. Tierney, J.D.; Associate Commissioner Judith A. McMeekin, Pharm.D.; Associate Commissioner Lauren Roth, J.D.; and Acting Assistant Commissioner Michael Felberbaum.

All internal FDA studies, analyses, memoranda and reports related to the drug known as Comirnaty.

According to Pfizer’s website: “Comirnaty [COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA] is FDA-approved as a 2-dose series for prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. It is also authorized under EUA to provide a two-dose primary series in individuals 12 through 15 years. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has received EUA from FDA to provide a two-dose primary series in individuals 12 years of age and older and to provide a two-dose primary series to individuals 5 through 11 years of age.”

In violation of FOIA law the FDA is covering up complete details on its approval of the controversial Pfizer COVID vaccine. The public deserves to know everything possible – as soon as possible – about a vaccine that is currently impacting tens of millions of people.

In January, a federal judge in Texas ordered the FDA to make the data it relied on to license Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine available to the public. The judge imposed a schedule that should result in the release of all information by September 2020. The court concluded, “that this FOIA request is of paramount public importance.”

The judge denied the FDA’s attempt to have 75 years to complete the FOIA request made by a group of doctors and scientists who asked for information about the vaccine. The FDA claimed it could only manage to release 500 pages of records per month of its 450,000 pages that are responsive to the Texas case.

We recently filed a lawsuit against HHS for records about its subagency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) research into COVID-19 boosters, and for communications related to adverse eventscaused by COVID-19 vaccines.

In January through a FOIA lawsuit we uncovered records from the CDC that show Director Rochelle Walensky’s request for details about the death of a teenager who died days after receiving a coronavirus vaccination.

Until next week …


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