July 24, 2020
Sedition in the Obama Oval Office?
Judicial Watch Sues On Illicit Foreign Funding of Our Colleges and Universities
Soros Funds St. Louis Prosecutor Charging Couple for Protecting Home
State Department Pushed Leftist Revolution?
Trump Effect: Big Bet on Virus Drug Still Winning
Barack Obama, Joe Biden and their top intelligence officers huddled in the Oval Office shortly before Donald Trump was inaugurated to discuss what they would do about this new President they despised. Now we aim to find out more about this conspiracy.
We just filed a FOIA suit against the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for all records related to the January 5, 2017, meeting at the Obama Oval Office during which the Steele Dossier and the investigation of General Flynn were discussed (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice and ODNI (No. 1:20-cv-01947)).
The Oval Office meeting reportedly included President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other Obama administration political and law enforcement officials.
At least two records describing the meeting – a January 20, 2017, memo Rice sent to herself and a set of notes taken by FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok – have been declassified and made public. Sally Yates also detailed the meeting to Robert Mueller’s investigation.
We sued after the DOJ, FBI, and ODNI failed to respond to identical May 20, 2020, FOIA requests for:
- All records regarding the January 5, 2017, meeting at the White House between former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director James Comey, President Obama, and others. This request includes all records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to the meeting, as well as any and all related records of communication between any official or representative of the Department of Justice and any other individual.
The meeting took place just two weeks prior to Trump’s inauguration. Last week we released mails between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page that included a frantic exchange between top bureau officials in the days prior to and following Trump’s inauguration discussing a White House counterintelligence briefing that could “play into” the FBI’s “investigative strategy.”
Obama’s infamous January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting is a key moment in the corrupt effort to smear and spy on President Trump and target General Flynn with a malicious prosecution. Rather than delay and stonewall, it is urgent the FBI, DOJ, ODNI release all records about this malicious, seditious conspiracy.
We have steadily revealed China’s connections to our universities and other institutions. Just last month we reported that the National Institutes of Health booted 54 scientists for their financial ties to China.
We want to know more, and so we havefiled a FOIA suit against the U.S. Department of Education for all records related to its investigations of colleges and universities accepting foreign gifts and contracts (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Education (No. 1:20-cv-02010)).
We sued after the department failed to respond to our May 4, 2020 FOIA request for:
All information, documents, and communication(s) between the Department and all schools currently under a Section 117 investigation regarding acceptance or reporting of foreign gifts including, but not limited to, gifts to affiliated foundations, all ancillary or foreign campuses, and individual departments or professors between January 1, 2018 and present; and
Any preliminary findings or reports that cover all open and closed investigations of the Department regarding false or misleading reporting of foreign gifts, including all source documents and information relied upon to determine findings or other report content.
According to our suit, Section 117 of the Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1011f, “requires U.S. institutions of higher education receiving federal funding to report any gifts from, or contracts with, foreign sources with a value of $250,000 or more in a twelve-month period. Section 117 also authorizes the Department of Education to open an administrative investigation, and, if necessary, ask the Attorney General to initiate a civil action to enforce the law.”
On May 4, 2020, the ranking members of seven committees, including Rep. Jim Jordan of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Virginia Foxx of the Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. Michael Rogers of the Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Frank Lucas of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Rep. Devin Nunes of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mac Thornberry of the Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul of the Foreign Affairs committee, wrote to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos outlining their concerns about foreign influence in American institutes of higher education. In the letter, they specifically highlight the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to silence academic research into the origins of COVID-19. It is not publicly known if they have received these records or the briefing.
It was reported on June 15, 2020, that “More than 70 U.S. universities that received funding from the Chinese government did not disclose those donations to the Department of Education, prompting concerns from lawmakers and watchdogs about Beijing and the Communist Party’s growing influence on American college campuses.”
On June 9, 2020, Dr. Charles Lieber, former chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, “was indicted by a federal grand jury … on charges that he lied to U.S. officials about his ties to a Chinese-run program aimed at furthering the communist superpower’s scientific and technological development.”
Since May 2019, we have represented theZachor Legal Institute in a Texas Public Information Act lawsuit, seeking information about potential influence by the Qatar government’s funding of certain Texas A&M University programs and a Texas A&M campus in Education City, Al Rayyan, Qatar (Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development v. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General (No. D-1-GN-18-006240)).
China is a clear and present danger to the United States, and this lawsuit aims to expose secret Chinese and other nefarious foreign funding of America’s colleges and universities.
We’ve had our eye on billionaire George Soros for years as he pours money into every leftist scheme imaginable. Now, little known to most people, he’s helping to set up a cadre of prosecutors across America. Our Corruption Chroniclesblog has the latest.
A controversial city prosecutor investigated for abusing her power to pursue a bogus criminal case against a political nemesis and fined for campaign finance violations just received a hefty reelection contribution from leftwing billionaire George Soros. Her name is Kimberly Gardner and in 2016 she made history for getting elected as St. Louis Missouri’s first black chief prosecutor after serving in the state legislature. Gardner ran on a platform of reforming the criminal justice system, has wrongfully charged cops and conducted a two-year witch hunt of former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who was exonerated of all wrongdoing. In that case, Gardner was forced to withdraw her indictment accusing the Republican governor of felony invasion of privacy for supposedly taking a compromising photo of his mistress and using it to keep her quiet about the extramarital affair.
Now the Soros-backed prosecutor is targeting the St. Louis couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, that defended their home last month when hundreds of Black Lives Matters protestors trespassed onto their property on their way to the St. Louis mayor’s house. The McCloskeys, both attorneys, confronted protestors with guns and demanded they leave their property. A local newspaper report describes the incident like this: “Americans saw the story they wanted to see. Some saw respected professionals fearing for their safety, reasonably exercising their Second Amendment rights to defend their home from violent trespassers. Others saw an overwrought, older affluent couple, recklessly pointing their weapons and asserting their white privilege.” The local prosecutor subscribes to the latter version. This week Gardner, whose official title is St. Louis Circuit Attorney, charged the McCloskeys with unlawful use of a weapon, a felony.
Shortly after the incident in late June, Gardner issued a public statement indicating that she would criminally charge the couple for protecting their property. “I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and a violent assault. We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated. My office is currently working with the public and police to investigate these events. Make no mistake: we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable.” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, the state’s chief law enforcement officer, has filed a court brief seeking to get the case dismissed. “The right to use firearms to defend one’s person, family, home, and property has deep roots in Missouri law,” the court document states. “Self-defense is the central component of the right to keep and bear arms, which receives the highest level of protection from the Missouri Constitution. Missouri’s statutes specifically authorize Missouri citizens to use firearms to deter assailants and protect themselves, their families, and homes from threatening or violent intruders. A highly publicized criminal prosecution of Missouri citizens for exercising these fundamental freedoms threatens to intimidate and deter law-abiding Missouri citizens from exercising their constitutional right of self-defense.”
Almost half of St. Louis felony cases have been bungledby Gardner, according to news reports, and more than 65 attorneys have quit or been fired from the prosecutor’s office during her tenure. Among them is Rachel Smith, Gardner’s chief trial assistant, who resigned after 19 years in office. She was the fourth prosecutor to fill the role of chief trial assistant since Gardner took office in 2017. Last year Gardner was fined $63,009 for campaign finance violations after a Missouri Ethics Commission investigation found her election committee violated multiple campaign finance laws. The panel found that Gardner and her campaign failed to report around 100 contributions totaling over $305,000 and 255 expenditures totaling about $90,000.
Nevertheless, Soros’ support has not wavered. A Soros-linked group called Missouri Justice Public Safety PAC, recently gave Gardner’s 2020 campaign $78,000, according to a news article that includes her most recent financial report. The leftwing billionaire also funded Gardner’s 2016 campaign and has donated generously to leftist candidates in local prosecutor elections nationwide, including Houston, Chicago and Albuquerque. Judicial Watch has reported extensively on Soros’ global campaignsto further advance the left’s radical agenda abroad and domestically and published an investigative report on the financial and staffing nexus between his deeply politicized Open Society Foundations (OSF)and the U.S. government. OSF works to destabilize legitimate governments, erase national borders, target conservative politicians, finance civil unrest, subvert institutions of higher education and orchestrate refugee crises for political gain. With the help of American taxpayer dollars, Soros bolsters a radical leftwing agenda that in the U.S. has included: promoting an open border with Mexico and fighting immigration enforcement efforts; fomenting racial disharmony by funding anti-capitalist racialist organizations; financing the Black Lives Matter movement and other organizations involved in the riots in Ferguson, Missouri; weakening the integrity of our electoral systems; promoting taxpayer funded abortion-on-demand; advocating a government-run health care system; opposing U.S. counterterrorism efforts; promoting dubious transnational climate change agreements that threaten American sovereignty and working to advance gun control and erode Second Amendment protections.
The State Department has joined the Left’s war on language and other institutions, including the traditional family. Our Corruption Chroniclesblog explains.
In the latest move by a U.S. government agency to appease leftists, the State Department is quietly overhauling language used in agency materials that may be considered exclusionary or offensive. Judicial Watch obtained a copy of a memo from a State Department source asking the agency’s 69,000 employees to report “outdated and non-inclusive language in Department of State policies, documents or webpages.” The directive was issued this month by the State Department’s Office of Civil Rights (S/OCR) and it provides an “outdated form submission” for employees to note specific examples of what amounts to politically incorrect language that is to be “updated.”
The S/OCR offers several examples to guide employees through the process of reporting policies, documents and web pages that do not use “inclusive” language. This includes obsolete racial terms or language that implies “preference for the traditional nuclear family structure and stereotypical gender roles,” according to the document. Other examples include using the outdated phrase “handicapping condition” rather than the contemporary word “disability.” The widely distributed memo ends by encouraging employees to participate in a process that can easily be compared to Marxist language manipulation. “If you are aware of policies or documents containing outdated language or instances where language could be more inclusive S/OCR would welcome you completing the form at the link below with the relevant outdated language information for our office’s follow-up.”
Most major federal government agencies—including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, Health and Labor—have civil rights offices that handle discrimination and other related issues. All of them are generously funded by American taxpayers and their mission statements are quite similar, though they operate individually. Like many of its counterparts, the S/OCR claims its mission is to propagate fairness, equity and inclusion at the Department of State. Furthermore, its business is conflict resolution, employee and supervisor assistance and diversity management. “S/OCR manages the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) administrative process for the Department and works to prevent employment discrimination through outreach and training,” according to the S/OCR’s mission statement.
The State Department is hardly alone in caving into the increasingly powerful leftist mob’s demands for political correctness. Just last week Judicial Watch obtained outrageous, anti-bias training materials from the Department of Defense that are used to train service members on diversity topics. The material essentially indoctrinates troops with anti-American and racially inflammatory training. It features chapters on power and privilege in which cadets are taught that privilege is linked to various forms of identity including sexual orientation and religion. Students are also taught that there is “sexual orientation privilege” associated with the “marginalization of non-heterosexual lifestyles and the view that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation.” The guide also notes that, “Statistics show Whites are the majority in senior leadership positions (i.e., flag officers, general officers, and Senior Executive Service) and lend itself [sic] to the perpetuation of racism.” A section addressing “Cross-Cultural Communication”states: “Gender includes the social construction of masculinity and femininity within a culture and incorporates his or her biological, psychological, and sociological characteristics. Sex refers to a person’s biological or physical self. Although sex determines who will bear children, gender accounts for our roles in life and how these life roles affect our communication.”
The nation’s premier federal law enforcement agency has also caved into demands from the left. Several years ago, Judicial Watch uncovered records showing that the terrorist front group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) got the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to purge anti-terrorism material determined to be offensive to Muslims. Judicial Watch obtained hundreds of pages of FBI documents with details of the shocking arrangement and subsequently published a special in-depth report on the subject. The same Islamic activists that strong-armed the FBI later demanded an overhaul in the way all law enforcement officers are trained in the United States.
A frightening consequence of the pandemic is the politicization of health information. The Left, which includes the legacy media, is destroying lives as it demonizes anything President Trump proposes. As Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch has said of hydroxychloroquine, “It’s a political drug now, not a medical drug.” It might save up to 100,000 lives, he said.
That’s not what you hear in the media, as our chief investigative reporter Micah Morrison, reportsin his Investigative Bulletin.
The president’s pandemic policies are under fire, but in one area a big Trumpian bet is still coming up a winner. Three new studies suggest that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HC) shows success in the fight against the coronavirus.
In Michigan, a study of more than 2,500 patients at six Detroit-area hospitals found that HC, administered early, significantly cut the death rate. “Our analysis shows that that using hydroxychloroquine helped save lives,” said Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Health System. “It needs to be used early,” he added. “It needs to be used in a hospital setting.”
In New York City, researchers with the Mt. Sinai Health System studying more than 6000 patients with Covid-19 found they died at a lower rate when treated with HC. In the study, after adjusting for other risk factors, the Mt. Sinai researchers found that “hydroxychloroquine use was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality.”
And in India, a massive study of more than 300,000 people, including front line medical personnel, found that HC provided prophylactic benefits. “The task force of medical experts, including physicians and super specialists, have recommend and backed the drive to administer HC in cluster areas and high exposure cases,” a senior medical official told the Indian Express. “The benefits seem to far outweigh the debate around its risks and it has certainly helped in implementing the preventive strategies.”
Of course, none of this was supposed to happen. Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the drug was widely ridiculed. A president with a medical opinion! How dare he! Warnings about the drug flowed from the media, political opponents, the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and others. Trump not only stuck to his path, but brazenly doubled down in May with the announcement that he himself was taking HC as a prophylactic.
Is HC a miracle drug in the fight against the virus? No. If it was, we’d know by now.
But it does seem to help in certain cases, such as when administered early to healthy patients with no underlying conditions, or as a prophylactic for front line personnel. Serious people are giving HC a serious look. Prescriptions for the drug in the U.S. jumped more than 150% earlier this year. International supply efforts surged. None of this would have happened without Trump.
All this suggests a kind of Trump Effect that may be with us long after Trump himself has departed the political scene. As we observed back in April, when we first looked at the HC controversy, Trump pounded the bully pulpit, preferred outside channels of information, distrusted experts, hewed to deregulatory impulses, leaned on the levers of government, and embraced conservative and social media to promote the drug. This turned out to be not just a winning bet, but a winning strategy. Others doubtless will take note.
Until next week,