by Tom Fitton –
… Scandal and the So-Called ‘Whistleblower’
We just filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Department of State relating to Burisma Holdings. The first seeks records of communications from the U.S. embassy in Kyiv related to Burisma. The second seeks records related to a January 19, 2016, meeting at the White House that included Ukrainian prosecutors, embassy officials and CIA employee Eric Ciaramella (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:20-cv-000229)) and (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:20-cv-000239)).
Ciaramella reportedly worked on Ukraine issues while on detail to both the Obama and Trump White Houses. He is widely reported as the person who filed the whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment proceedings. His name reportedly was “raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry.”
Last month we sued for Ciaramella’s CIA emails and for information on his links to the FBI/DOJ Russiagate investigation. We also sued for records about the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor after then-Vice President Joe Biden threatened to withhold aid.
The Senate, through Chief Justice Roberts, has effectively banned mention of Ciaramella’s name during the Trump impeachment trial, but the politics of cover-up won’t stop Judicial Watch.
We filed the new suits after the State Department
failed to respond to FOIA requests for:
• All cables/teletypes or e-mails sent or addressed to any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv containing the term “Burisma.”
• All records regarding the January 19, 2016, meeting at the White House that included State Department Ukrainian Resident Legal Advisor Jeff Cole and U.S. Embassy Kyiv employee Svitlana Pardus.
• All records of communication between State Department Resident Legal Advisor Jeff Cole and National Security Council staffer Eric Ciaramella.
• All records of communication between U.S. Embassy Kyiv employee Svitlana Pardus and National Security Council staffer Eric Ciaramella.
• All emails sent by or addressed to State Department Resident Legal Advisor Jeff Cole and/or U.S. Embassy Kyiv employee Svitlana Pardus between January 10, 2016 and January 30, 2016.
In April 2014, Hunter Biden joined the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. He served on the board until early 2019. Burisma, which was under investigation by the Ukrainian government stated at the time of his hiring that Biden would, be “in charge of the Holdings’ legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations.” Biden had no previous energy experience.
In November 2019, through analysis of Obama-era White House visitor logs, we broke the story of Ciaramella’s White House meetings. Ciaramella was detailed to the Obama White House in 2015 and returned to the CIA during the Trump administration in 2017.
The list of persons Ciaramella met with includes, but is not limited to, Daria Kaleniuk, co-founder and executive director of the Soros-funded Anticorruption Action Center (AntAC) in Ukraine; Gina Lentine, formerly the Eurasia program coordinator at Soros funded Open Society Foundations; and former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who had extensive involvement with Clinton-funded dossier. The logs also reveal that that Alexandra Chalupa, a contractor hired by the DNC during the 2016 election who coordinated with Ukrainians to investigate President Trump and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, visited the White House 27 times.
On January 22, 2020, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham reported that New York Times journalist Ken Vogel was investigating the January 19, 2016, meeting at the White House. Vogel had contacted the State Department via email for comment, specifically mentioning concerns about Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma:
“We are going to report that [State Department official] Elizabeth Zentos attended a meeting at the White House on 1/19/2016 with Ukrainian prosecutors and embassy officials as well as … [redacted] from the NSC … The subjects discussed included efforts within the United State government to support prosecutions, in Ukraine and the United Kingdom, of Burisma Holdings … and concerns that Hunter Biden’s position with the company could complicate such efforts.”
Our new lawsuits could confirm that President Trump had every right to be concerned about Ukraine and Biden corruption – and that the impeachment against him was a shameful attempt to cover up these scandals.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys
‘Blown Away’ by Clinton’s ‘Fabulous Party’
We have consistently reported the chummy relationship between President Obama’s Justice Department and Hillary Clinton.
Now we have more evidence in seven pages of heavily redacted emails from the Department of Justice relating to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alana Robinson and Emily W. Allen, who attended an August 2015 fundraiser in California for then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The two San Diego-based prosecutors played a leading role in prosecuting former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) and Hunter’s wife on 60 separate criminal charges relating to the misuse of campaign funds. Hunter pled guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy on December 3, 2019, and resigned from Congress on January 7, 2020. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17, 2020.
In June 2019, Hunter filed a motion seeking to dismiss the charges against him or, in the alternative, recuse the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego on the grounds that Robinson and Allen had a political conflict of interest due to their attendance at the Clinton fundraiser.
In response, the prosecutors represented to the San Diego federal court where the criminal case is pending that Robinson and Allen were asked to attend the Clinton fundraiser “in the event of a protective security related incident where immediate prosecutorial guidance would be necessary.” The statement did not elaborate on what kind of incident might require prosecutorial guidance. An earlier letter from Executive Office for United States Attorneys General Counsel Jay Macklin represented that the prosecutors were at the event “in their official capacity assisting law enforcement.”
The new records, obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-03578)), raise serious questions about these responses and whether prosecutors misled the court.
In an email obtained through the lawsuit, sent on the date of the Clinton fundraiser, August 7, 2016, with the subject line “Photo,” a U.S. Attorney’s office official, whose name is redacted, sends a note to another U.S. Attorney’s office official, whose name is also redacted saying, “Thank you so much for the invitation to this morning’s event! I was blown away by your incredible hospitality and can’t thank you enough for allowing us to crash that fabulous party. It was a really memorable morning.”
In another email on the same date and with the same subject line, one U.S. Attorney’s office official, whose name is redacted, sends a note to another official, whose name is also redacted saying, “[Y]ou totally downplayed that amazing invitation! I had no idea it would be so spectacular. I didn’t even realize we’d be invited in! I am so grateful for the invitation, thank you.”
Robinson and Allen, both registered Democrats, took photos with Clinton at the fundraiser, held at the home of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan. Within months of the fundraiser, Hunter became the first sitting member of Congress to publicly endorse Clinton’s opponent in the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump. Robinson became acting U.S. Attorney in January 2017, and her office commenced its investigation of Hunter and his wife the following month.
The Hatch Act generally prohibits federal employees from participating in political activities while on duty, and Department of Justice regulations impose further restrictions on prosecutors. Rules of professional conduct prohibit attorneys from knowingly making false statements of material fact to a tribunal or failing to correct such statements. They also require truthfulness in statements to others.
These emails are yet more evidence of potential political bias at the Justice Department. Thorough investigations by the Office of Special Counsel, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility, and other competent authorities are necessary to get to the bottom of this and the great many other recurring instances of seeming political bias at Justice.
U.S. Funding of Islamist ‘Charity’
Groups Triples Under Trump
Why would the Trump administration be giving more taxpayer dollars to radical Islamist organizations than the Obama administration? Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the alarming details:
The amount of American taxpayer dollars that go to Islamist organizations has drastically increased under the Trump administration, which has doled out millions to radical nonprofits, including a recent allocation to a terrorist front group named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism financing trial.
Between 2017 and 2018 the U.S. government more than tripled its funding to organizations either influenced or controlled by Islamist activists from $4 million to $13.5 million, according to an analysis conducted by a think tank dedicated to protecting Western values from Middle Eastern threats.
The Philadelphia-based nonprofit, Middle East Forum (MEF), reviewed millions of dollars in government grant data and found that the Trump administration is dedicating a lot more to radical Muslim groups than the Obama administration, which gave Islamist-linked organizations an average of $1.7 million annually. A big chunk of the money, around $8.7 million, has gone to the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a surrogate of the south Asian paramilitary group Jamaat-e-Islami, which was recently banned by the Indian government under anti-terrorism laws. An ICNA subsidiary known as Helping Hand for Relief and Development has openly partnered with the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed 164 people. The $8.7 million was delivered in 2018 for “disaster assistance projects,” according to the government data obtained by MEF.
Other radical groups whose coffers have been filled by the Trump administration include Islamic Relief ($800,000), which is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and has been designated as a terror-financing organization by Israel and the United Arab Emirates; the Islamic Institute of Knowledge, which is linked to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, has received $780,000 from the U.S; the Muslim American Society, identified by MEF as the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading activist organization in the U.S., got $160,000 from Uncle Sam. The group’s Philadelphia branch recently broadcast a disturbing video of kids at its center singing about chopping off the heads of Jews. Dar al-Hijrah, an extremist mosque in Virginia that the U.S. government says operates as a front for Hamas, received $100,000. Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Aulaqi was the imam at the Falls Church mosque and two of the 9/11 hijackers attended his sermons as well as Nidal Hassan, the Ft. Hood terrorist sentenced to death for murdering 13 and wounding dozens of others at a Texas Army base.
Just a few months ago, another $100,000 went to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) via a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant program. CAIR is a terrorist front group that was named as a co-conspirator in a federal terror-finance case involving the Hamas front group Holy Land Foundation. For more details read a Judicial Watch special report on Muslim charities. CAIR was founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, known then as the Islamic Association for Palestine. The Obama administration allowed CAIR to transform the way U.S. law enforcement agencies conduct anti-terrorism training by permitting the group to bully agencies at the local, state and federal level to alter materials determined to be discriminatory against Muslims. This includes getting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to purge anti-terrorism training curricula of material coined “offensive” to Muslims. Judicial Watch uncovered that scandal, obtained the FBI records and published an in-depth report.
CAIR also got several local police departments and the U.S. military to eliminate anti-terrorism training materials and instructors deemed anti-Muslim.
The Trump administration seems to have maintained a cozy relationship with CAIR, recently joining forces with the group by suing a Michigan suburb for rejecting a Muslim organization’s zoning request to construct a mosque within city limits.
New York City Mayor De Blasio’s Suspect Crime Statistics
The Left has undertaken a massive, national effort to weaken our criminal justice system. This has resulted in rising crime and reduced public safety. Our chief investigative reporter, Micah Morrison, has the latest for Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin:
Mayor Bill de Blasio tells anyone who will listen that New York is “the safest big city in America.” And for a long time, that appeared to be true. But signs of rising urban disorder lately have been sending a different message. And increasingly, the mayor’s own safe-city crime statistics seem suspect.
De Blasio stakes his safe-city claim on CompStat, the NYPD’s vaunted policing technology. CompStat is the computer age meets crime fighting: a high-tech, data-driven approach to gathering statistics and deploying resources to drive down crime. The CompStat approach has been adopted by cities around the country and abroad—so trouble with the system could have national and even international implications.
In New York, doubts about CompStat have been rising. For years, journalists have heard rumors of trouble: that the mayor’s office wields too much control over shaping the data; that precinct commanders under-report incidents to keep their numbers down; that patrol cops are encouraged not to report certain crimes; that the stats are rigged.
The spin around the most recent CompStat numbers is a case in point. “New York City recorded an increase in murders, shootings, robberies and assaults in 2019,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Domestic violence is up, with last year’s 8% increase in murders due in part to intimate-partner homicides. Hate crimes, including anti-Semitism, are up. CompStat has not even counted them until this year. Subway crime is up. But City Hall says that because of a big decrease in burglaries, and declines in rapes and larceny, “serious crime” in New York City is down, dropping one percent last year.
Got that? Murders, shootings, robberies, assaults, domestic violence, subway crimes and hate crimes are up, but serious crime is down.
Mark Twain famously noted there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” It’s time for an independent review to sort out which it is at CompStat.