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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

New Fauci Emails On China, WHO

Judicial Watch Sues for McCabe/Strzok/Page FBI Text Messages
Fauci Emails Show His Approval of China’s Initial Response to Coronavirus
Judicial Watch Seeks Bodycam Footage in Fatal Police Shooting
VA Targeted 78-Year-Old Veteran Trying to Hold it Accountable
Seventy Percent of Jailed Illegal Aliens Convicted of Other Crimes

Judicial Watch Sues for McCabe/Strzok/Page FBI Text Messages

Under Director Christopher Wray your FBI is still covering up the unprecedented effort by its top executives to sabotage the campaign and then the presidency of Donald Trump. As you should expect, we are not deterred.

We just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for text messages between McCabe and former FBI officials Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Jennifer Leonard, and/or former Obama White House Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:20-cv-02995)).

We submitted this FOIA request on February 16, 2018, to the FBI. We asked for text messages sent from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2015, between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page, Jennifer Leonard, Peter Strzok, and/or Lisa Monaco. The FBI denied the request, asserting that text messages are not subject to FOIA.

We challenged the FBI’s determination, filing an administrative appeal with the Department of Justice arguing that “text messages involving government-related business sent between government officials, whom all of the persons identified in the scope of the request are, do in fact constitute government records that fall within the purview of FOIA.” In response, the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy remanded our request for “further review,” but the FBI ignored the directive and continues to withhold any text messages. We sued on October 19 after the FBI failed to respond to the remanded request.

In July, a federal court rejected the FBI’s request to dismiss a separate Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed on behalf of Jeffrey A. Danik, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, for emails and text messages of former-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. On October 15, the FBI turned over several pages of almost completely redacted McCabe text messages while denying the texts are subject to FOIA.

Here’s the bottom line: The Wray FBI asserts, contrary to DOJ policy, that it can delete and keep secret all text messages – including those by the corrupt cadre responsible for the illicit spying on President Trump. The court should quickly order the FBI to preserve and produce text messages as FOIA requires.

Last month, we uncovered that senior members of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office (SCO) repeatedly and “accidentally” wiped over 20 phones assigned to them.

We previously uncovered Justice Department records concerning ethics issues related to McCabe’s involvement with his wife’s political campaign. The documents include an email showing Mrs. McCabe was recruited for a Virginia state senate race in February 2015 by then-Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam’s office.

The news that former Secretary of State Clinton used a private email server broke five days later, on March 2, 2015. Five days after that, former Clinton Foundation board member and Democrat party fundraiser, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, met with the McCabes. She announced her candidacy on March 12. Soon afterward, Clinton/McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated nearly $700,000 (40% of the campaign’s total funds) to McCabe’s wife for her campaign. 

In July 2015, the FBI opened the investigation known as “Midyear Exam” into “the storage and transmission of classified information on Clinton’s unclassified private servers.”

We also discovered Justice Department records showing that McCabe secretly had recused himself from the investigation into Clinton’s non-government email server on November 1, 2016, one week prior to the presidential election. 

While working as Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office, McCabe controlled resources supporting the Midyear Exam investigation into Clinton’s email scandal. An October 2016 internal FBI memorandum labeled “Overview of Deputy Director McCabe’s Recusal Related To Dr. McCabe’s Campaign for Political Office,” details talking points about McCabe’s various potential conflicts of interest, including the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s illicit server.

Remember: McCabe was fired from the FBI in March 2018 for leaking to the media and lacking “candor.” That’s putting it mildly. And Director Wray is still protecting him.

Fauci Emails Show His Approval of China’s Initial Response to Coronavirus

In breaking news, we just received 300 pages of Fauci emails, including his approval of a press release supportive of China’s response to the 2019 novel coronavirus. He is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The emails were released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On January 27, 2020, the World Health Organization/World Bank convened the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB). The following day, the GPMB Secretariat writes an email with the subject line “TIME SENSITIVE Message from GPMB Co-Chairs: review of draft GPMB Statement on 2019-novel coronavirus:”

There was consensus for the GPMB to issue a statement supportive of countries’ (especially China) and WHO response efforts, and to call for urgent actions to further strengthen global preparedness and response to this outbreak.

Please find attached a draft GPMB Statement.

On January 29, Fauci responds:

Looks fine. Please see my comments in attached document.

The emails were produced in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed May 4, 2020, on behalf of the DCNF in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:20-cv-01149)). The lawsuit was filed after HHS failed to respond to an April 1, 2020, FOIA request from the DCNF asking for:

  • Communications between Dr. Fauci and Deputy Director Lane and World Health Organization officials concerning the novel coronavirus.
  • Communications of Dr. Fauci and Deputy Director Lane concerning WHO, WHO official Bruce Aylward, WHO Director General Tedros Anhanom, and China.

The time period for the request is January 1, 2020 to April 1, 2020.

Many of the emails consist of missives to large groups of recipients, including Fauci, from Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, which describes itself as “an independent monitoring and accountability body to ensure preparedness for global health crises” convened by the World Health Organization and the World Bank

·       On January 28, 2020, in an effort to organize a joint statement among international organizations on “sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV),” GPMB’s Jeremy Farrar emails upwards of three dozen, mostly redacted recipients, including the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins, and cc’ing Fauci, sending them all a proposed joint statement, which is completely redacted in the documents provided by HHS, for their review and approval. Shortly thereafter, Collins responds: “NIH is happy to endorse the joint statement.” That same day, Professor Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur emails Farrar: “Thanks for the initiative. Pasteur is on board and fully supportive.” A subsequent statement, which was published two days later on January 30, says:

The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) convened on 27 January 2020 to discuss the current outbreak of 2019-nCoV which was first detected in Wuhan, China and is now quickly spreading internationally. The Board commends the speed of the response so far by countries and the World Health Organization (WHO), the transparency of China in sharing information and the genome sequence of the virus, and the strong collaboration between China and affected countries and with WHO.

·       On February 1, 2020, the chief scientist at the WHO emailed Fauci to let him know the WHO was organizing a global research partners forum on February 11 and to ask him to attend, also suggesting he might think about funding and/or undertaking research on this “new viral outbreak:”

As the head of an agency that would play an important role in addressing this new viral outbreak, either by undertaking or funding research, or both, I take great pleasure in inviting you to this meeting.

·       On February 4, Hilary Marston from NIH replied to the WHO’s invitation to a coronavirus forum, begging off on behalf of Fauci: “First, as to your kind invitation to have him join the meeting, unfortunately his time is entirely consumed as central member of the US government response team and he will be unable to travel.” She went on to recommend several individuals Fauci wanted to attend the meeting in his stead.

·       On February 13, 2020, it appears that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Special Projects Dr. Cliff Lane was en route to Japan to “assist with rapid implementation of a study of the drug remdesivir as a therapeutic intervention for COVID-19, within the context of the current cases in that country.” It appears that WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros invited him instead to come to China to participate in the WHO Mission there. Fauci’s Associate Director for International Research Affairs, Gray Handley, replied to a redacted recipient at WHO that Lane was unable to accept the WHO’s invitation to come to China: “Due to the importance of this study, Dr. Lane may not be available to participate in the WHO mission to be undertaken in China next week.”

It appears that when Fauci discovered what Handley had done, he countermanded his decision by having HHS Director of the Office of Global Affairs Garrett Grigbsy send an email informing two individuals, apparently at WHO, that Lane would be coming to China:

I just talked to Dr. Fauci and there must have been some communication mix up about Cliff.

Cliff Lane is absolutely going to China as part of the WHO team (if invited). [Emphasis in original]

·       In one fundraising campaign, Ilona Kickbusch of GPMB sent an email to Victor Dzau on March 3, 2020 and cc’ed Anthony Fauci along with more than two dozen other, mostly redacted recipients under the Subject Line: “Re: GPMG: COVID-19 FUNDING NOTE,” Kickbusch says

Ahead of the GPMB Board call on Wednesday, I’m pleased to attach a note (on behalf of Jeremy Farrar, Victor Dzau and a small working group) setting out the urgent need for new funding for the global COVID-19 response.

You will have seen the strong announcement today from the World Bank of up to $12 bn to support country response, which we warmly welcome. We are asking for your feedback on the call and consideration for the GPMB to launch an “ask” this week regarding needs not likely to be covered by the World Bank announcement – this would target the leaders and policy makers of other financing institutions and G7/G20 nations…The aim of the note is to encourage an immediate and full response to the needs of the world, recognizing that many countries are not well prepared and could be left behind.

·       On March 4, the GPMB group held a conference call with its board in preparation for making another $8 billion request to a group of international financial institutions. On March 5, Alex Harris, head of global policy and advocacy at Wellcome – a global charitable foundation, funded by a £26.8 billion investment portfolio that does grant funding, advocacy campaigns and partnerships to raise money for select clients (founded by the pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Sir Henry Wellcome) – emailed GPMB board members, including Dr. Fauci and included a lengthy list of “G7 leaders and Sherpas” and “International financial institutions:”

Thank you for your input on the call yesterday regarding the COVID-19 funding request that the GPMB will be making to multilateral financing institutions and G7/G20 nations.

In this regard I attach:

An updated background note revising the ask to $8bn as a result of removing the [redacted] we had previously included for strengthening country preparedness, given the World Bank announcement

“The government is now ever so slowly complying with the law and letting the American people know how they did business with the WHO and China at the outset of this pandemic,” said Daily Caller News Foundation President Neil Patel. “We are grateful to Judicial Watch for helping us force the government to do its job.”

“These Fauci emails show how praising China was the odd priority of the WHO in the face of a novel and dangerous coronavirus,” said Judicial Watch Tom Fitton. “That the NIH tried to slow-roll the release of these emails and is still sitting on thousands more is a scandal.”

On September 22, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ordered HHS to begin processing 300 pages of emails per month beginning on October 21. In a September 21 court filing, HHS said the agency could begin producing 300 pages of responsive records to the Daily Caller News Foundation beginning on November 30, eight months after receiving the Daily Caller’s request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The total number of responsive records is approximately 4,200, which would have pushed off the full release of the records until at least 2022. HHS also alleged that Fauci must personally review each one of his emails before they are released.

Judicial Watch Seeks Bodycam Footage in Fatal Police Shooting

In the early morning hours of March 12, 2020, 21-year-old Duncan Socrates Lemp, a student and software developer, was shot and killed by police in his Potomac, Maryland, home during the execution of a “no-knock” search warrant.

Pretty much everything about the raid is in dispute, so we have asked the Montgomery County, Maryland, Circuit Court to order the release of all body camera footage from the shooting. 

We made the request in a motion for summary judgment in our Public Information Act (PIA) lawsuit against the Montgomery County, MD, Police Department (MCPD) (Judicial Watch v. Montgomery County Police Department (No. V482964)). The MCPD has moved to dismiss the lawsuit, a request we have opposed. A hearing on both motions has been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on December 2, 2020, in Rockville, MD.

We filed the lawsuit after the Montgomery County Police Department failed to respond to a June 18 PIA request seeking:

All body-worn camera videos relating to the raid on, and resulting death of, Duncan Socrates Lemp by a Montgomery County Police SWAT team on March 12, 2020 at Mr. Lemp’s home in Potomac, Maryland.

We argue in its motion/opposition that MCPD is unlawfully withholding the body camera footage because, in part, they are ignoring the public interest in the disclosure of the footage:

Release of objective and factual video recordings of Mr. Lemp’s shooting is critical to addressing and resolving conflicting reports about the killing. It also would, in Defendant’s own words, “eliminate speculation and address unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct which frequently occur.” 

We also argue that MCPD’s release of other footage of police-involved shootings supports the release of footage of the Lemp shooting.

Lemp’s family reportedly said that Lemp and his family were asleep “when police besieged the residence from the front of the house” and the family was “awakened by shots fired through Duncan’s bedroom window followed by the sound of flash bangs.” According to the family’s attorney, an eyewitness said Lemp was asleep in his bedroom when police opened fire from outside the house.

Police disputed that account. The MCPD said in a statement that SWAT team officers were acting on an anonymous tip that Lemp was in possession of firearms that he was prohibited from having “due to his criminal history as a juvenile.”

The MCPD maintains that, upon making contact with Lemp, officers identified themselves as the police and gave Lemp multiple orders to show his hands and comply with the officer’s commands to get on the ground. It also reportedly maintains that Lemp refused to comply with the officer’s commands and proceeded towards an interior bedroom door where other officers were located.

According to the Lemp family attorneys, SWAT officers shot Lemp multiple times. They also reported that an eyewitness “told investigators that police never made verbal commands upon either her or Duncan until after Duncan was shot and lay bleeding on the floor. Multiple eyewitnesses told investigators that the police only forced entry into the home after Duncan was shot. According to those eyewitnesses, the police had no contract with any family members until after Duncan was shot.”

The MCPD statement said Lemp was out of bed and standing “directly in front of the interior bedroom door” holding a rifle “he slept with” each night as officers “made entry into the bedroom.”

It is surprising, given recent controversies, that Montgomery County would withhold body camera footage from a police-involved shooting. The unusual secrecy around the Lemp shooting, which doesn’t fit the Left’s narrative on police shootings, suggests that politics is at play.

VA Targeted 78-Year-Old Veteran Trying to Hold it Accountable

Judicial Watch issued the following statement in response to the disappointing Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision granting qualified immunity to VA police officers who twice arrested Robert L. Rosebrock, a 78-year-old Vietnam era veteran, who for more than a decade has been a tireless advocate for homeless veterans and a powerful voice against the misuse of a 388-acre parcel of West Los Angeles real estate set aside to serve veterans:

It is a miscarriage of justice that the Ninth Circuit would allow the VA police officers who arrested Rosebrock to escape accountability for their actions. The court does not appear to have even considered the compelling arguments Judicial Watch made on Rosebrock’s behalf or the trial court’s reasoning in rejecting the officers’ qualified immunity claims.

The VA clearly holds a grudge against Rosebrock. Although a setback, the Ninth Circuit ruling is just one small skirmish in Rosebrock’s years-long struggle against veteran homelessness and demands for VA accountability. President Trump should demand answers about who at the VA and DOJ are responsible for perpetuating this grudge against a true American patriot, as well as answers about the VA’s failed policies on veteran homelessness and continued misuse of land at the West LA VA.

Qualified immunity may be appropriate in some circumstances. It clearly wasn’t in Rosebrock’s case. The Ninth Circuit clearly got it wrong.

Rosebrock was initially cited for allegedly taking unauthorized photographs of American Flags on Memorial Day 2016, at the entrance to a public park on West LA VA campus. The following Sundays, June 12 and 19, 2016, VA police officers at the West LA VA cited and arrested Rosebrock and seized his cameras for allegedly taking unauthorized photographs of the officers at the same park entrance. During the June 12 arrest, Rosebrock was handcuffed, mistreated, and forced into the back of a police vehicle.

Rosebrock was subsequently acquitted of any wrongdoing in a criminal case in which he was represented by Judicial Watch. In a cynical appeal of that ruling, the court found that the law under which Rosebrock had been charged – which expressly authorized photography for “news purposes” at “entrances” – did not prohibit anything. 

In June 2017, Judicial Watch filed suit on Rosebrock’s behalf in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights (Robert L. Rosebrock v. Michael Perez, et al. (Case No. 2:17-cv-04354) (C.D. Cal.)). The officers appealed when the trial court rejected their claims of “qualified immunity,” a controversial, court-made doctrine that often allows police officers to avoid accountability for their actions.

In their appeal, the officers argued that, even if the law under which they arrested Rosebrock did not prohibit the photography in question, they still had reason to arrest Rosebrock because, among other disingenuous claims, “protest” signs lying face down, under a jacket, constituted an “unauthorized demonstration” on VA property and that Rosebrock was “loitering” on VA property because he was at the entrance to the VA park on a Sunday afternoon, without an “official purpose,” when VA offices were closed.

Stay tuned for further developments…. 

Seventy Percent of Jailed Illegal Aliens Convicted of Other Crimes

We have regularly reported on the illegal alien criminals granted free reign in this country, putting innocents in harm’s way. Here’s more numbers on the costly illegal alien-related threat to the public safety from our Corruption Chronicles blog.

The U.S. government spent at least $162 million last year to incarcerate tens of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants for committing crimes that include rape, murder, kidnapping and terrorism. The offenders were imprisoned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), which confirm that 94% of aliens jailed in 2019 were unlawfully present in the U.S. The alarming data was recently disclosed in a new report issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which disclose that nearly 70% of known or suspected aliens in BOP custody last year had been convicted of a non-immigration related offense and 39% of known or suspected aliens in USMS custody committed a non-immigration related crime.

Under the Obama administration this type of pertinent information relating to illegal immigration was essentially ignored, but President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order in 2017 that, among other things, forces USMS and BOP to provide Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with data on a quarterly basis regarding inmates and detainees identified as foreign-born during their criminal case process. In turn, ICE checks USMS and BOP data against its ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) case management system, the ENFORCE Alien Removal Module (EARM), and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Central Index System to identify aliens with immigration records and pending or completed removal proceedings. The president’s order also directs the DHS Secretary and Attorney General to collect data on the following: The immigration status of all aliens incarcerated under the supervision of the BOP; the immigration status of all aliens incarcerated as federal pretrial detainees under the supervision of the USMS and the immigration status of all convicted aliens incarcerated in state prisons and local detention centers throughout the United States. The essential data is meant to ensure the public safety of the American people in communities across the country and to ensure the nation’s immigration laws are faithfully executed, according to the president’s order.

The new report states that 51,074 known or suspected aliens were in DOJ custody in 2019, with the majority (27,494) in BOP facilities throughout the country and 23,580 in USMS custody at various institutions. The BOP operates 122 prisons nationwide while the USMS houses detainees in federal, state, local and private jails. More than half of the 51,074 were confirmed by ICE to have orders of removal. More than 28,500 of the aliens in BOP custody committed fraud and 1,147 weapons offenses, according to stats provided by the DOJ and DHS. Over 1,000 illegal immigrants jailed by the BOP carried out racketeering and continuing criminal enterprise offenses such as murder for hire and 535 committed sex crimes that include production or distribution of child pornography. Around 1,028 aliens executed serious felonies such as kidnapping, murder, terrorism, rape and extortion, the report states. More than half of the USMS arrestees committed drug offenses with the rest incarcerated for immigration crimes, fraud, weapons violations, sex offenses and racketeering. Nearly 1,000 of the illegal aliens jailed by USMS carried out serious felonies such as murder, rape, terrorism, and kidnapping.

The DHS/DOJ report ends with specific cases of sentenced illegal aliens in BOP custody around the country. The first is a Colombian national sentenced to 180 months in prison in south Florida for smuggling illegal immigrants from his country into the U.S., resulting in a rape and two deaths. In South Carolina, a Mexican national was sentenced to 262 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. In Iowa, an illegal alien from Guatemala was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of three counts of unlawful use of an identification document and four counts of misuse of a Social Security number to obtain welfare benefits. In Louisiana, a Mexican national was sentenced to more than two decades in prison for distributing the psychedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and possessing firearms. In Mississippi, a Mexican citizen was sentenced to 330 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The list goes on and on, including convictions for drug trafficking, aggravated robbery, assault, theft, and illegal voting in 10 elections.

Until next week …


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