May 22, 2020
Judicial Watch Lawsuit Forces Release of Infamous FBI Memo Used to Launch Obama Administration’s Spy Operation on President Trump’s 2016 Campaign
Judicial Watch Sues to Stop Governor Newsom’s “Vote by Mail” Mandate
UN’s U.S.-Funded COVID-19 Response Promotes Abortion
Trump’s Big Bet on Virus Drug Gets Personal
Memorial Day – Why We Fight
In a major development, Judicial Watch forced the declassification and release of an FBI memo or “electronic communication” (EC) that officially launched the counterintelligence investigation, termed “Crossfire Hurricane,” of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
We obtained the document that disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok wrote in our FOIA suit against the FBI and DOJ for: “The Electronic Communication that initiated the counterintelligence investigation of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02743)).
The redacted document details seemingly third hand information that the Russian government “had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President.” The document also alleges Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos claimed to an unnamed party that “they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.”
The document notes, “It was unclear whether he [Papadopoulos] or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of [sic] through other means. It was unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.”
The document is dated July 31, 2016. Here is the text of the “electronic communication”:
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Title: Crossfire Hurricane Date: 07/31/2016
Strzok Peter P II
Contact: Strzok Peter P II, [Redacted]
Approved by: Strzok Peter P II
Drafed by: Strzok Peter P II
Case ID #: [Redacted]
FOREIGN AGENTS REGISTRATION ACT –
SENSITIVE INVESTIGATIVE MATTER
This document contains information that is restricted to case participants
Synopsis: (S/ / ) Opens and assigns investigation
Reason 1.4 (b)
Derived from: FBI
Declassify On: 20411231
(S/) An investigation is being opened based on information received by Legat [Redacted] on 07/29/2016. The text of that email follows:
Title: (S/ / CC/NF) CROSSFIRE HURRICANE
Re: [Redacted] 07/31/2016
(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] information from [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission
(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] received information from the [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s website/server.
(S/ /[Redacted] On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Legal Attaché (Legat) [Redacted] was summoned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the [Redacted] who will be leaving [Redacted] post Saturday July 30, 2016 and set to soon thereafter retire from government service, advised [Redacted] was called by [Redacted] about an urgent matter requiring an in person meeting with the U.S. Ambassador. [Note: [Redacted]. The [Redacted] was scheduled to be away from post until mid-August, therefore [Redacted] attended the meeting.
(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] advised that [Redacted] government had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President. One of the people identified was George Papadopolous (although public media sources provide a spelling of Papadopoulos), who was believed to be one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers. Mr. Papdopoulos was located in [Redacted] so the [Redacted] met with him on several occasions, with [Redacted] attending at least one of the meetings.
(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] recalled [Redacted] of the meetings between Mr. Papdopolous and [Redacted] concerning statements Mr. Papadopolous made about suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. [Redacted] provided a copy of the reporting that was provided to [Redacted] from [Redacted] to Legal [Redacted]. The text is exactly as follows:
(S/ [Redacted]) 5. Mr. Papadopolous [Redacted] also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama). It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.
(s/ [Redacted] Legat requests that further action on this information should consider the sensitivity that this information was provided through informal diplomatic channels from [Redacted] to the U.S. Embassy’s DCM. It was clear from the conversation Legal [Redacted]
had with DCM that [Redacted] knew follow-up by the U.S. government would be necessary, but extraordinary efforts should be made to protect the source of this information until such a time that a request from our organization can be made to [Redacted] to obtain this information through formal channels.
(S/ / ) Based on the information provided by Legat [Redacted] this investigation is being opened to determine whether individual(s) associated with the Trump campaign are witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Government of Russia.
And so the document ends.
No wonder the DOJ and FBI resisted the public release of this infamous “electronic communication” that “opened” Crossfire Hurricane – it shows there was no serious basis for the Obama administration to launch an unprecedented spy operation on the Trump campaign. We now have more proof that Crossfire Hurricane was a scam, based on absurd gossip and innuendo. This document is Exhibit A to Obamagate, the worst corruption scandal in American history. This document shows how Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Durham are right to question the predicate of this spy operation.
Included with each of our July, 2019 FOIA requests to the FBI and DOJ, which led to the production of this Electronic Communication document, was an April 2018 letter from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to the DOJ concerning a congressional subpoena for the same record.
The DOJ initially provided the Intelligence Committee a heavily redacted copy of the Electronic Communication it sought. Only after the Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena did the DOJ, on April 10, 2018, provide a less redacted version, which has not been released publicly.
The DOJ IG also referenced and quoted the EC in its December report on FISA abuse targeting President Trump and Carter Page. The IG report, FBI texts, and testimony show President Obama was aware of Crossfire Hurricane.
We had previously received a production of 144 pages of emails between Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page in which the Electronic Communication was discussed.
On July 31, 2016, Strzok sent an email under the subject line “Opening EC” to Jonathan Moffa, a deputy assistant director in the bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, Lisa Page and an unidentified FBI Office of General Counsel official.
Strzok: Hey just realized I need a succinct statement for the Opening EC. To open bidding I propose: [redacted]. Comments, please.
Moffa: I would recommend: [redacted].
Page: I like Jon’s additions and subtraction.
Strzok: Thanks. So: [redacted].
We’re now seeing the corrupt origins of Obamagate.
Judicial Watch Sues to Stop Governor Newsom’s “Vote by Mail” Mandate
Judicial Watch just sued in federal court to stop the special, statewide vote-by-mail mandate issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include former U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (a candidate in the upcoming November election) and individual California voters from across the political spectrum. We filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento against Gov. Newsom and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (Darrell Issa, et al. Gavin Newsom, et al. (No. 2:20-cv-01044)).
Our complaint argues that Newsom’s Executive Order N-64-20, requiring all California counties to conduct all-mail ballot elections, violates the U.S. Constitution and California state law. According to the U.S. Constitution, only state legislatures may determine the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” and only state legislatures may establish the manner in which electors to the Electoral College are appointed. The lawsuit points out that “[n]either defendant in this case is a ‘Legislature,’” as required under the Constitution, and “[t]he California Legislature never delegated to [Newsom] its authority under the Elections Clause or Electors Clause to regulate the manner of conducting elections for senators, representatives, or presidential electors.”
We also contend that Newsom’s mandate violates the California Voter’s Choice Act of 2016, which grants counties the option to qualify for and opt in to a system of mail-in voting. We argue that the law reflects the legislature’s deliberate choice to delegate to each county the decision about whether to qualify and opt in to the all-mail ballot system. During the March 3, 2020 primary election, only 15 of California’s 58 counties qualified and opted-in to the all-mail balloting system.
The lawsuit alleges the plaintiffs will be harmed by Newsom’s mandate for all-mail voting because it imposes an entirely new election system that ignores the extensive qualifications required by California law before a county can opt in to all-mail balloting. We argue its plaintiffs will be at risk of having their votes thrown out or diluted by invalid votes under Newsom’s illegal system, and that Mr. Issa will have to expend additional resources to respond to the illegal mandate during his campaign.
Governor Newsom’s vote-by-mail mandate is unconstitutional and may cause the votes of countless voters to be thrown out or not counted. California law prohibits blindly mailing out ballots to every registered voter in the state. This scheme raises the risk of Election Day chaos as well as voter fraud.
In 2018, California settled a federal lawsuit with Judicial Watch and began the process of removing up to 1.6 million inactive names from Los Angeles County’s voter rolls. Judicial Watch late last year sent notices to 11 additional California counties warning them of voting list maintenance issues. Judicial Watch recently sued North Carolina and Pennsylvania to force them to clean up their voter rolls.
UN’s U.S.-Funded COVID-19 Response Promotes Abortion
Whether abortion should be considered essential during the current health crisis has been hotly contested. Now it seems that the United Nations, using your tax dollars, has decided that indeed abortion is essential. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports.
Always seizing opportunities to advance its leftist agenda, the United Nations (UN) is capitalizing on the coronavirus to promote sexual and reproductive health services—including abortion—by classifying them as “essential” healthcare in pandemic recovery efforts. Why should American taxpayers care? Because the United States is funding the endeavor and, in fact, is the largest donor of the UN program conducting the multi-billion-dollar initiative called COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). In a tedious 80-page document, the world body offers details of its costly project to counter the public health and humanitarian consequences of the crisis. It includes categorizing sexual and reproductive health services on the same level of importance as malnutrition, sanitation, shelter, essential healthcare and food insecurity.
Since a large chunk of the American tax dollars flow into UN coffers via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the head of the agency fired off a letter to the UN Secretary General blasting the COVID-19 response plan for advancing access to abortion as an “essential service.” Besides donating a whopping $3.5 billion to UN health and humanitarian assistance in 2019, USAID has so far been the largest contributor to the global COVID-19 response by pledging more than $1 billion to the cause. In the letter USAID Administrator John Barsa directs UN Secretary General António Guterres to stay focused on life-saving interventions such as the delivery of essential health care and food to address shortages that could represent a second, deadly impact of the pandemic in many countries.
“The UN should not use this crisis as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an essential service,” Barsa writes. “Unfortunately, the Global HRP does just this, by cynically placing the provision of sexual and reproductive health services on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation.” Barsa continues by writing: “Most egregious is that the Global HRP calls for the widespread distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion supplies, and for the promotion of abortion in local country settings.” The Trump administration’s USAID administrator proceeds to ask the UN chief to remove references to sexual and reproductive health and its derivatives from the Global HRP and “drop the provision of abortion as an essential component of the UN’s priorities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A Cuban American who grew up in south Florida, Barsa continues by noting that “under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, the United States has made clear that we will never tire of defending innocent life.” The USAID chief reminds that during President Trump’s address to the 74the UN General Assembly, the commander-in-chief warned the UN that it has no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life. “Indeed, the UN should not intimidate or coerce Member States that are committed to the right to life,” Barsa writes. “To use the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification to pressure governments to change their laws is an affront to the autonomy of each society to determine its own national policies on health care. The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn.” Barsa also reveals that UN member countries are deeply divided over the use of the term “sexual and reproductive health” and its derivatives. “It is among the most polarizing issues raised in UN negotiations,” Barsa cautions, adding that “now is not the time to add unnecessary discord to the COVID-19 response.”
In the HRP’s introduction, Guterres makes it clear that the UN is hitting up member nations, especially the U.S., for more money, by calling on all donors and partners to maintain core support for the most vulnerable. “To divert funding from humanitarian needs at this time would create an environment in which cholera, measles and meningitis would thrive, even more children would become malnourished, and the narratives of violent extremists would take deeper hold,” Guterres writes. “It would also extend the breeding ground for the coronavirus disease itself.”
President Trump seems to enjoy jousting with the media. Recently he sent heads exploding by announcing that he is taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.
Trump has touted this drug since the pandemic began — it is a leader’s role to seek out solutions and nudge people toward those that are promising. All the handwringing in the media and the enclaves of experts is just Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, has an interesting update on Trump and this drug in his Investigative Bulletin.
Judicial Watch has been closely following the saga of President Trump and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HC). We get a lot of mail on the subject. We’ve long considered it a bold gamble and a winning bet. On Monday, the president took it to another level, announcing that he himself had been taking the drug.
Heads promptly exploded across the liberal universe. Nancy Pelosi denounced the president for being “morbidly obese” (he’s not) and “taking something that has not been approved by the scientists.” Longtime Trump antagonist Joe Scarborough called the president a liar, saying he is “not taking hydroxychloroquine.” Chuck Schumer said he did it “to divert attention from all the bad things happening.” Medical professionals rushed in. Trump was setting an “irresponsible” example, said Dr. Scott Solomon of Harvard Medical School. There are “serious hazards” to HC, said Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic. You get the idea.
Yesterday, the president said he would soon stop taking HC, but point made—and it’s a good one. Trump correctly views himself as a frontline leader in the battle against Covid-19. That’s the context for understanding his latest move.
The key word is “frontline.”
Here’s what Trump said about HC on Monday:
“You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers, before you catch it. The frontline workers, many many are taking it. I happen to be taking it. I happen to be taking it…. Frontline workers take it. A lot of doctors take it. I take it.”
See his full remarks here. Trump repeatedly returns to the theme of HC as an aid to frontline personnel—doctors, nurses, emergency workers, cops, firefighters—and as a prophylactic. He notes that HC can be effective “especially early on” in the course of the virus. It shows promise “as a preventative.”
And in fact there are numerous examples from around the globe indicating that HC might benefit frontline personnel and help fight the early stages of the virus. A recent NYU study, for example, found promising results. We noted in an earlier report that Turkey has thrown HC at everyone with the virus and claims a death toll lower than the global average. In March, India approved HC for its frontline personnel. Our mailbox at Judicial Watch is filled with accounts from frontline personnel about the positive impact of HC.
The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and many other organizations have warned about dangerous possible side effects to HC, including serious heart issues. These are important warnings. And other studies have found no benefit from the drug or are inconclusive.
But this is life in wartime and an existential threat to the Trump Presidency. As we’ve noted before, the HC episode plays to some of Trump’s most successful political instincts: his preference for non-traditional channels, distrust of experts, deregulatory impulses, showmanship, and use of the media. It will be months, if not years, before the scientific consensus is settled on the use of HC in the battle against Covid-19.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Trump’s bold gamble on HC is still paying off. On Monday, he pushed a big pile of chips to the center of the table and came up a winner.
Those of us who live in the real world are grateful this drug exists, that doctors doing battle with the virus discovered that it could be effective, and that our President publicized it.
Memorial Day helps our nation focus on the ultimate sacrifice of untold numbers of fellow Americans – Americans who gave their lives to preserve and defend our God-given freedoms and our constitutional republic.
As we honor those heroes next week, I’d like to draw your attention again to the Veterans Day speech given in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan. Much of his speech applies to Memorial Day, especially this portion, which remains timely today:
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.
I’d like to think many Americans have “clear eyes and brave minds” and these patriots desire the same qualities in our political and judicial leaders. It certainly reflects Judicial Watch’s modest approach to our efforts.
Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day!
Until next week,