April 17, 2020
Does Google Have Hillary Clinton’s Emails? Court Authorizes Subpoena to Find Out
It Took Coronavirus for the Veterans Affairs to House Homeless Vets in Tents
Mexican Drug Tunnel Leads to U.S. Warehouse Run by Illegal Aliens
Trump’s Winning Coronavirus Bet
If you use Gmail, you know that Google holds your messages seemingly forever. Could it be doing the same with Hillary Clinton’s elusive emails? We’ll find out. We have served a subpoena, authorized by a DC federal court, on Google to produce all Clinton emails from a Google account believed to contain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Platte River Networks’ IT specialist Paul Combetta reportedly used the Google account to transfer Clinton’s emails from a laptop to a Platte River server, then used BleachBit to remove any traces of the emails from the laptop.
Our subpoena seeks all Clinton emails from her time at State, January 21, 2009, to February 1, 2013. Google is requested to produce the emails by May 13.
This subpoena comes in our lawsuit that seeks records concerning “talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). We famously uncovered in 2014 that the “talking points” that provided the basis for Susan Rice’s false statements were created by the Obama White House. This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.
During an August 2019 federal court hearing, U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth raised concerns about Clinton’s Gmail cache and ordered us to “shake this tree” on the issue. Judge Lamberth noted that Senator Grassley released:
a report in which he had some very troubling information about a guy named Combetta who had been one of the contract employees on the Clinton emails, and he and the Senator who Chairs the Homeland Security Committee released in the Senate this report Friday, and the gist of it was that Combetta had said, I guess, that he had created a dummy email account with all of the Hillary Clinton emails in it in a different name, and the FBI had investigated that to see whether or not the Chinese had ever hacked into it. They have determined that the Chinese hadn’t, but that the FBI never told the State Department about that account and that the emails that were not given over to State could have been obtained from that account, but the FBI never told State about it. So it leaves out in the open whether there are these other emails that State could have obtained but nobody ever bothered to tell State about them. I don’t know the status of that and I’m sure you don’t either, but that did occur to me that would be a problem for me as to whether an adequate examination of that circumstance occurred and, assuming that Combetta deleted them, as he said he did before he took the Fifth, I guess,
whether or not the server that they were on or the — or whoever maintained the server, whether they can be reconstructed from — by that …
[J]ust last week, the Senate’s – Senate Finance and Homeland Security Committees released documents revealing that Clinton IT aide Paul Combetta copied all but four of the missing emails to a Gmail account that does not appear to have ever been reconstructed and searched. The court thinks Judicial Watch ought to shake this tree.
On March 2, 2020, Judge Lamberth granted our request to subpoena Google for relevant documents and records associated with Clinton’s emails during her tenure at the State Department.
Judicial Watch seeks to subpoena Google for relevant documents and records associated with Secretary Clinton’s emails during her tenure at State.… The subpoena seeks to discover new emails, so it certainly relates to whether State conducted an adequate search.
The Court is not confident that State currently possesses every Clinton email recovered by the FBI; even years after the FBI investigation, the slow trickle of new emails has yet to be explained. For this reason, the Court believes the subpoena would be worthwhile and may even uncover additional previously undisclosed emails. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS this request.
Our subpoena requests all Clinton emails and metadata, “sent or forwarded to or from or saved, stored, archive, or contained in the Gmail account associated with the following address:
a. [email protected]; or
Here’s what’s really going on. A federal court, tired of the State and Justice Departments’ gamesmanship, authorized our subpoena to Google to follow a lead on the Clinton emails. DOJ and State are AWOL and covering up for Hillary Clinton, so it is again up to us to do the basic investigative heavy lifting to get at the truth.
Here’s some more background.
In December 2018, Judge Lamberth first ordered discovery into whether Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server was intended to stymie FOIA; whether the State Department’s intent to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to our
request. The court also authorized discovery into whether the Benghazi controversy motivated the cover-up of Clinton’s email. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
In addition to the Google subpoena, we were granted discovery that includes testimony under oath by Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills regarding Clinton’s emails and Benghazi attack records. Recently, we and the State Department, which is represented by Justice Department lawyers, filed responses opposing Clinton’s and Mills’ Writ of Mandamus request to overturn the lower court order requiring their testimony. I expect we’ll hear from the appellate court soon on Mrs. Clinton’s testimony and I will report back to you when we do….
We have been in the thick of litigation about the plight of homeless veterans in Los Angeles for some time. Now comes word of more senselessness by Veterans Affairs. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports.
It took a global pandemic for the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs to offer a few vets temporary housing on a sprawling parcel deeded to the federal government over a century ago for the specific purpose of caring for disabled military veterans. Thousands of veterans have long lived on the streets surrounding the lush facility in West L.A., yet the VA has been derelict in its duty to help them. With the COVID-19 crisis deeply impacting the region’s vast homeless population, the VA finally erected several small tents in the parking lot of its healthcare system campus to accommodate a couple dozen vets who were sleeping on the sidewalk immediately adjacent to the grounds. It is a tiny gesture that will barely put a dent on the crisis, but it’s a start, say some local veterans.
“Honestly, it’s like a Band-Aid considering that there are around 4,000 homeless veterans in the city of L.A.,” said Robert Rosebrock, a U.S. Army veteran and activist who leads a troop called the Old Veterans Guard. Since 2008 the group has assembled at the “Great Lawn Gate” that marks the entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park to protest the VA’s failure to make full use of the property to benefit veterans, particularly those who are homeless. The elderly vets have been a thorn in the agency’s side and federal authorities have retaliated against them for denouncing the fraudulent use of the facility, including a scam involving a VA official who took bribes from a vender that defrauded the agency out of millions. VA police harass and intimidate the senior vets at their weekly rallies and Rosebrock got criminally charged for posting a pair of four-by-six-inch American Flags on the outside fence on Memorial Day in 2016. Judicial Watch represented Rosebrock in the federal case and a judge eventually ruled that Rosebrock was not guilty of violating federal law for displaying the flags above the VA fence. In the meantime, the VA illegally rents its grounds to institutions that don’t serve veterans and evicts groups dedicated to helping them.
That fuels Rosebrock’s passion to help needy vets. Tireless at 78, he has made it his mission to fight for those who served their country but continue to be neglected by the VA. It enrages him and his group that the 338-acre West L.A. property, dedicated to the federal government in 1888 to serve disabled vets, is used for many unrelated causes. Among them is a stadium for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) baseball team, an athletic complex for a nearby private high school, laundry facilities for a local hotel, storage and maintenance of production sets for 20th Century Fox Television, the Brentwood Theatre, soccer practice and match fields for a private girls’ soccer club, a dog park and a farmer’s market.
“There shouldn’t be one homeless vet in L.A.,” Rosebrock said. “That’s what this facility is for; to help them.” He reminds that back in 2014 L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti publicly guaranteed then First Lady Michelle Obama that he would end veteran homelessness in his city by the end of 2015. Judicial Watch reached out the to the mayor’s office but never heard back. “There are still thousands of vets sleeping on the sidewalk right outside the fence,” Rosebrock said, offering heart-breaking pictures.
One somber photo has plastic tarps, tents, umbrellas and an assortment of ragged items covering the swale adjacent to the VA fence on Veterans Parkway. It includes a large pile of the homeless veterans’ belongings stashed in white plastic trash bags, suitcases, lawn chairs, wheelchairs and bicycles. Surrounding areas around the VA fence perimeter are also captured in grim shots—snapped recently by Rosebrock—that depict impoverished shanty towns in the middle of some of the city’s most upscale communities. Battered tents, decaying tarps, buckets, grocery store carts and black plastic trash bags full of personal belongings line sidewalks and, in some areas, laundry hangs on the VA fence. Not far away are ritzy neighborhoods like Brentwood, Westwood and Century City. In a recent local newspaper article the VA claims that the new parking lot tents are a “service center” instead of a campground. Bathrooms, showers, security as well as medical and psychiatric care are also provided to the lucky few. The story says the temporary shelter has a reduced capacity of 50 people to accommodate social distancing that reportedly helps prevent coronavirus from spreading, but Rosebrock, who visits the site regularly, said the real number is more like 25. The tents are too small, he says, and older vets have difficulty crawling around in them. Rosebrock bought a larger tent and tried donating it, but the VA rejected the offer. Judicial Watch has also offered to purchase tents for the homeless veterans. “There’s no rhyme or reason for offering such a limited number of veterans tents,” Rosebrock said. “It’s just an arbitrary number they came up with.”
The power of the demand for and supply of illicit drugs from Mexico is evident in the audacious ways smugglers find to get them across the border. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the story of one of the latest mind-boggling capers.
Mexican drug smugglers are really getting bold. A cross-border tunnel recently discovered by U.S. authorities exits in a San Diego warehouse right next to a busy Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry. It gets better. The southern California warehouse is manned by illegal immigrants even though it is situated just a few hundred yards from a hectic border crossing staffed with federal agents around the clock.
A Mexican national with legal residency has been arrested and charged in connection to the operation, federal prosecutors announced this month. His name is Rogelio Flores Guzman and he helped construct the tunnel, which runs 2,000 feet from a Tijuana warehouse to the south San Diego depot. The U.S. has charged the 31-year-old with trafficking fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana via a subterranean tunnel stretching from Mexico to a warehouse in Otay Mesa. When authorities entered the tunnel, they found around 575 packages of drugs worth nearly $30 million, according to a bulletin issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This sets a record because it marks the first time that five different types of drugs are found in a tunnel, according to the feds.
Agents from a special tunnel task force confiscated 394 packages containing 585 kilograms of cocaine; 133 packages containing 1,355 kilograms of marijuana; 40 packages containing 39.12 kilograms of methamphetamine; Seven packages containing 7.74 kilograms of heroin and one package containing 1.1 kilograms of fentanyl. “Cross-border tunnels always spark fascination, but in reality they are a very dangerous means for major drug dealers to move large quantities of narcotics with impunity until we intervene,” said the federal prosecutor in charge of the case, U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We have seized this tunnel, confiscated almost $30 million in drugs and now we’ve charged one of the alleged crew members.”
Guzman moved around quite a bit, prosecutors say. He lived in the southern California city of Victorville in San Bernardino County as well as Las Vegas and Otay Mesa. He was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport last week boarding a plane to Guadalajara, Mexico. At his arraignment via video due to the COVID-19 crisis the judge ordered Guzman held without bail after the government argued that he was a flight risk. His next court appearances are scheduled for April 23 and May 7. Guzman faces up to life in prison. “Despite the challenges we all face as we endure this pandemic, our federal agents and officers who make up the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, working alongside the U.S Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement, continue to investigate and serve justice to those involved with the construction and operation of this tunnel,” said Cardell T. Morant, acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego.
Agents involved in the operation estimate that the tunnel is several months old so there is no telling the number of drugs that made it through before it got shut down. The tunnel is sophisticated with reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system to facilitate transporting goods. When federal agents conducted surveillance around the middle of March, they spotted Guzman leaving the Otay Mesa warehouse in a medium sized box truck with a separate cargo area accessible only from the back of the vehicle. In the truck were 10 people who the feds reveal “later self-identified as Mexican nationals who did not legally enter the United States.” The illegal immigrants evidently worked at the warehouse that received drug cargo from Tijuana.
There was a significant increase in Mexican smuggling tunnels after President Donald Trump increased border security in 2017. One southern California news conglomerate reported that criminal organizations in Mexico were improving the tunnels they use to smuggle people and drugs under Trump’s border fence, making them smaller and maintaining a high level of sophistication that includes railways and electricity. “In San Diego, tunnels are usually sophisticated partly because of the highly organized criminal organization operating in Baja California – the Sinaloa Cartel – as well as the characteristics of Otay Mesa, a neighborhood that exists on both sides of the border,” the article states. “In the U.S. and in Mexico, Otay Mesa is crowded with warehouses, providing numerous spaces to hide tunnel entry and exit points.” Operating one right next to a U.S. border crossing packed with federal agents is quite brazen.
The anti-Trump media’s attacks on emerging and encouraging treatments for the coronavirus contagion is one of the worst scandals of the modern media age. President Trump hasn’t been cowed by the “nattering naybobs of negativity” and his push for wider use of hydroxychloroquine may be saving lives. Our Micah Morrison has the story from our Investigative Bulletin:
Donald Trump’s bold gamble on hydroxychloroquine (HC) appears to be paying off. Medical professionals in New York tell Judicial Watch that doctors battling the pandemic are increasingly reporting benefits from the drug. They’re prescribing it for themselves, for patients, and for frontline personnel.
HC is a decades-old drug used in treating malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s largely untested against the coronavirus. President Trump has been enthusiastically promoting it for weeks, calling it possibly “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” and “a very special thing.” The president’s embrace of the drug apparently began with a conversation in March with Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison and quickly escalated to exchanges with Dr. Mehmet Oz, Rudy Giuliani, Laura Ingraham, and friends in New York. A small study in France indicated the drug could be effective in fighting the virus, though French authorities later backpedaled.
Critics of the president and much of the health-care community were aghast. A president with a medical opinion! HC had serious side effects, they noted, including possible heart attack. Critics complained that Trump sidelined the cautious approach to the drug recommended by Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top White House medical advisers. Trump insisted on pushing forward. He pounded the White House bully pulpit and lobbied the conservative media. He leaned on the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration. Result? The CDC issued new guidance on HC and the FDA eased restrictions on the drug, issuing an emergency authorization allowing doctors to broadly prescribe it and ramping up larger clinical reviews. He pressured India, the largest producer of HC, to keep its markets open to the U.S. In March, India approved HC for its own frontline personnel: the order noted that HC was “found to be effective against coronavirus in laboratory studies and in-vivo studies.”
In New York, the epicenter of the pandemic, HC is now in wide circulation and a big clinical trial is underway. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a fan, saying anecdotal evidence suggests the drug is “effective.” Others are less enthusiastic. The European Union, American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, American College of Medical Toxicology, and American Association of Poison Control Centers, among others, have issued warnings.
Is Trump right? Is HC an effective drug in the fight against the coronavirus? In some ways, the HC episode perfectly encapsulates the Trump presidency—his preference for outside channels, distrust of experts, deregulatory impulses, use of social and conservative media. We’ll have answers soon enough about HC. But for now, it looks like the president has placed a winning bet.
Until next week …