by Tom Fitton –
Susan Rice has as much trouble with her memory as Hillary Clinton. Rice testified in writing that she “does not recall” who gave her key Benghazi talking points she used on TV, “does not recall” being in any meetings regarding Benghazi in five days following the attack, and “does not recall” communicating with anyone in Clinton’s office about Benghazi.
Rice, former Obama National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, admitted in written responses under oath that she emailed with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Clinton’s non-government email account and that she received emails related to government business on her own personal email account. Her 2019 sworn written answers are available here.
In responding to each of the 13 questions asked of her, Rice claimed 18 times that she “does not recall” critical information.
• When asked to describe meetings or discussions about the events in Benghazi other than daily intelligence briefings, Rice said that she had discussions with friends and family, and “does not recall attending any meetings focused on the events in Benghazi between September 11, 2012 and September 16, 2012, other than attending a ceremony on September 14, 2012, at Joint Base Andrews … ” Rice said she believes she would have discussed the Benghazi attack with members of her UN staff, colleagues at the United Nations, and individuals in attendance at the ceremony on September 14, 2012, at Joint Base Andrews.
• When asked why she used a non-government email accounts to conduct U.S. government business while U.S. Ambassador to the United States, Rice acknowledged using her personal email account, at times, to conduct official government business without answering the question why she used non-government email accounts.
• Rice did not directly answer a question about deleting emails. Rather, Rice answered that “when emails related to U.S. government business were sent to [her] personal email account, [she] took steps to ensure that a copy of that email was also on her government email account.” and she “does not recall having need to review and return emails form any non-governmental email account.”
Rice’s interrogatory responses come in our FOIA 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)). This FOIA suit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015. We uncovered “talking points” created by the Obama White House and other documents showing that statements about the attack made on the eve of the 2012 elections by then-National Security Advisor Rice were false.
On December 6, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers and Clinton aides, as well as Susan Rice, to be deposed or answer written questions under oath. Judge Lamberth called the Clinton email system “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
On March 2, 2020, Judge Lamberth granted us discovery that includes taking testimony from Clinton and Mills, under oath, regarding Clinton’s emails and the existence of records about the Benghazi attack. Clinton and Mills filed an emergency mandamus appeal to avoid testimony. Their petition is still pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Our discovery is centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing our FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office.
Rice didn’t recall much about the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi terrorist attack. Similarly, Hillary Clinton couldn’t recall much in her written sworn responses to our questions – which is one reason why a federal court judge ordered her in-person deposition testimony.
Judicial Watch Sues for Answers
on Hunter Biden Travels
Hunter Biden was quite the world traveler when his father was vice president. Judicial Watch uncovered Secret Service records showing he traveled to China five time and also visited Moscow. But we didn’t get all the records, so we were forced to go to court to find out more.
We just filed a FOIA) suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for records relating to travel by Hunter Biden. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:20-cv-02094)).
Specifically, we want records on the dates and locations of Hunter Biden’s international and domestic travel during the period he received a U.S. Secret Service protective detail.
We sued after the U.S. Secret Service, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, provided incomplete responses to our February 7, 2020, FOIA request for the travel records and then failed to respond to repeated follow-up efforts to discuss the incomplete response. The FOIA request is for:
Records reflecting the dates and locations of travel, international and domestic, for Hunter Biden while he received a USSS protective detail. In your response, please note whether his travel was on Air Force One or Two, or other government aircraft, as applicable and whether additional family members were present for each trip.
The records produced with the incomplete response show that, for the first five and a half years of the Obama administration, Hunter Biden traveled extensively with a Secret Service protective detail. The records show that, between January 31, 2011, and July 8, 2014, Hunter Biden received Secret Service protection for 411 separate domestic and international trips, including to 29 different foreign countries. He received protection while visiting China five times.
The response is incomplete because it did not include any travel after July 8, 2014. Vice-President Biden left office in January 2017, and the request sought records of travel-related protection through the present.
Vice President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden reportedly flew on Air Force Two for an official trip to Beijing in December 2013. The records we ferreted out from the Secret Service show Hunter Biden arrived in Tokyo on December 2, 2013, and departed for Beijing two days later. While it is typical for the families of the president and vice president to travel with them, questions have been raised about whether Hunter Biden used the government trip to further his business interests.
Hunter Biden’s December 2013 trip to China received new examination in 2019 because he was forming a Chinese private equity fund, Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), in which he still reportedly retains a 10 percent share.
During the last year and a half of the Obama administration, Hunter Biden served on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings while his father was heading up Ukraine policy. We have pushed hard for the accountability and a full accounting on these issues through six lawsuits and dozens of FOIA requests related to Hunter Biden’s dealings with the Ukrainian Burisma Holdings and the Chinese BHR Partners.
Given the Burisma-Ukraine-China influence-peddling scandals, Hunter Biden’s extensive international travel during the Obama-Biden presidency, including at least five trips to China, raises serious questions about where else he traveled in the final two and a half years of the Obama administration. The Secret Service’s incomplete response to our straightforward FOIA request on Hunter Biden’s travel has forced us to go to court – once again – to fight for the public’s right to know.
A Victory for Election Integrity in Alabama
Good news. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit adopted the argument we and the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) put fourth in our amici curiae brief when it upheld Alabama’s 2011 Photo Voter Identification Law.
The court ruled the law does not violate the 14th or 15th Amendments or the Voting Rights Act and that the anti-voter ID plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the Alabama law causes the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race.
The appellate panel majority found:
The burden of providing a photo ID … in order to vote is a minimal burden on Alabama’s voters—especially when Alabama accepts so many different forms of photo ID and makes acquiring one simple and free for voters who lack a valid ID but wish to obtain one.
The Circuit Court’s ruling affirmed a lower-court ruling in Greater Birmingham Ministries, et al. v. Secretary of State of Alabama (No. 2:15-cv-02193), in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama upheld the Alabama Voter Photo ID Law in a decision handed down January 10, 2018. When the plaintiffs appealed the ruling, we, in conjunction with AEF, filed an amici curiae brief supporting the Act’s constitutionality.
In our April 2018 amici brief to the Appeals Court we and AEF explained succinctly why the Appellate Court should sustain the District Court’s decision and uphold the Alabama law.
The District Court in this case properly focused on Appellants’ [Greater Birmingham Ministries] failure to show a discriminatory “result”… let alone a discriminatory impact sufficient to rise to the level of a denial or abridgment of an equal opportunity “to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of choice.”
In other words, as our brief argues:
A racially disproportionate impact is not enough; nor is a history of discrimination; nor are the two in combination. Quite simply, the challenged ID procedure must be shown by plaintiffs to cause discriminatory results in order to prove a Section 2 [of the Voting Rights Act] “results” [disparate-impact] claim.
The Eleventh Circuit panel agreed with our analysis in upholding the voter id law.
In this case, there is no evidence that the challenged law either “resulted in” the denial or abridgment of the right to vote or that any such denial or abridgment of the right to vote was “on account of race or color” under Section 2(a). Lacking a showing of evidence necessary to demonstrate the “sort of causal connection between racial bias and disparate effect necessary to make a vote-denial claim” dooms Plaintiff’s claims.
As we argued to the court, voter ID is good policy and protects the votes of all voters. The Left is dishonestly playing the race card to try to stop common sense voter ID measures in Alabama and elsewhere. We’re pleased that we were able to help the Court see through the canard that voter ID requirements harm any American voters.
The issue addressed by the Eleventh Circuit is also currently before the U.S. Supreme Court on a petition for review. In Mark Brnovich, et al. v. Democratic National Committee, et al. (No. 19-1257), we and AEF submitted an amici brief making arguments similar to those that carried the day in the Alabama case. Our brief contends that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Arizona’s neutral regulations designed to protect the integrity of its elections had discriminatory results even though the court never found that the regulations actually caused any alleged discrimination.
The Allied Educational Foundation is a charitable and educational foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life through education. In furtherance of that goal, the Foundation has engaged in a number of projects, which include, but are not limited to, educational and health conferences domestically and abroad. AEF has partnered frequently with us to fight government and judicial corruption and to promote a return to ethics and morality in the nation’s public life.
Virus Update: The FDA and the Inside
War Over Hydroxychloroquine
The Deep State is not some abstraction out there somewhere. It can directly affect your well-being. Consider how Deep State bureaucracies have seemingly suppressed a potential Covid-19 treatment that doctors are clamoring for. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, has been closely following this story on our Investigative Bulletin blog:
Judicial Watch readers have been closely following President Trump’s efforts to promote hydroxychloroquine (HC), the anti-malaria drug that has shown promise in the fight against Covid-19. Trump has encountered fierce blowback from the media, the medical community, and even from within his own administration. Still, he persists. “I happen to be a believer in hydroxy,” he told reporters on July 29. “I used it. I had no problem. I happen to be a believer.”
There are other believers too. The Second Opinion Project today will deliver to the White House a letter from over 700 doctors asking that HC be made widely available. The doctors target the Food and Drug Administration’s erratic regulation of HC availability to medical professionals and the public.
“You do not need initials after your name to understand that if you restrict a life-saving medicine, more patients will die,” the doctors write. “And then, if you un-restrict it, fewer patients will die.”
As in-depth clinical studies of the drug grind on, so does the war over HC. Sources tell Judicial Watch that resistance to HC inside the Trump Administration is strong, with ongoing battles between the White House and several government agencies—particularly the FDA.
A look at the FDA timeline on HC shows why it is coming under fire.
On March 28, weeks after the president began promoting HC, the FDA issues an Emergency Use Authorization, allowing doctors to use HC to treat patients with Covid-19.
On April 9, with pushback from the media and medical community mounting, the Centers for Disease Control remove from their website guidelines indicating HC has some success in treating HC.
On April 24, as rushed early studies raise questions about HC but anecdotal reports continue to suggest some success, the FDA warns against its use outside of a hospital setting.
On May 22, the prestigious medical journal Lancet publishes a blockbuster study of more than 96,000 patients saying HC does not help in the fight against Covid-19 and might increase patient deaths. News of the study reverberates around the globe.
On June 5, the Lancet retracts the HC study, citing serious flaws in the data. “We deeply apologize,” the Lancet writes.
On June 15, the FDA revokes its Emergency Use Authorization. Curiously, one of the reasons for the revocation appears to be the discredited Lancet study, which the FDA refers to as “recent data from a large randomized controlled trial show[ing] no evidence of benefit for mortality.”
On July 1, the FDA again warns against the use of HC outside a hospital setting.
On July 29, the FDA chief backs away from a definitive HC warning. There is “some risk” associated with HC, Dr. Stephen Hahn tells NBC. But that’s “a decision between a doctor and a patient.”
The 700 doctors signing the Second Opinion Project letter aren’t claiming that the drug is a miracle cure—and neither is Trump. They want clarity from the FDA and wide access to the drug.
Second Opinion is also promoting a second, similar letter from everyday Americans supporting HC access. Americans should “have access to a safe, generic, widely-available drug that is routinely given to pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children, the elderly and the immune compromised since it was FDA-approved 65 years and billions of dosages ago,” the letter states. “In order to clarify the public perception of HC and to restore the doctor-patient relationship, the FDA should immediately authorize an [Emergency Use Authorization] stating that doctors are allowed to prescribe HC for outpatient use to treat or prevent Covid-19.”
Read the full letter here.
U.S. Keeps Intel Given to 9/11 Mastermind’s Lawyers from Victims
The horror of 9/11 for the families of its victims should not be exacerbated by our government, but that’s what is happening. Our Corruption Chronicles blog provides details.
Government documents already provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to lawyers defending 9/11 terrorists continue to be withheld from survivors of the attacks and family members of those who died. The DOJ claims the roughly 25,000 pages of files are “State Secrets,” even though 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s (KSM) attorneys have been granted access. KSM is incarcerated at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and faces a death sentence. His victims and their family members claim in a federal lawsuit that Saudi Arabia helped carry out the 2001 attack and they need the U.S. government documents to help prove it.
A few weeks ago, thousands of 9/11 family members wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr demanding access to the protected intelligence files that could help determine if Saudi Arabian officials are responsible for the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Fifteen of the 19 Islamic terrorists who hijacked commercial airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field were from Saudi Arabia. Besides KSM, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi helped organize the deadly event. Relatives of the victims assert that the documents being withheld by the U.S. government identify multiple witnesses who transported two of the hijackers to Los Angeles International Airport as well as information involving a terrorist support cell in California and photos identifying members of the support cell.
“This situation is reprehensible and unacceptable,” states the letter, which is signed by 3,361 family members. “How can it be that the mastermind behind the deadliest attack on American soil is somehow entitled, under your DOJ’s direction, to relevant U.S. government investigative documents about the 9/11 plot, yet the families whose loved ones were wrenched from us so painfully and ruthlessly that day are prohibited from seeing this same information?” They proceed to accuse the DOJ of manipulating and blocking their pursuit of justice into one of the most significant events in U.S. history. “The FBI, the DOJ, and you, Mr. Barr, turned your backs on the 9/11 community when you chose to side with Saudi Arabia, the sponsor of the 9/11 attacks, over the American people. Your continued misguided and inappropriate obstruction of the 9/11 community’s lawsuit against Saudi Arabia is an affront to the judicial system and justice itself, and a betrayal of the American people you are duty-bound to serve.”
The records requested by the family members include a once-secret FBI probe into Saudi Arabia’s role in the 2001 attacks. It is known as Operation Encore and a Florida nonprofit journalism conglomerate exposed it back in 2016 after suing the government for records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A once censored FBI report revealed that in 2012 federal prosecutors and FBI agents in New York planned to charge a suspect for providing material support to Saudi-born hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, who helped crash American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
The suspect’s identity was censored in the report, which also listed three “main subjects.” They include a Saudi diplomat and imam at a Los Angeles mosque as well as a Saudi agent named Omar al-Bayoumi and a third man who had “tasked” them with helping the future hijackers. The third man’s name was initially censored, though the FBI inadvertently released it in court papers that became public. He was identified as Musaed al-Jarrah, a former Saudi Foreign Ministry official who worked at the Saudi embassy in Washington in 1999-2000.
Family members of the 9/11 victims end their letter to Barr by writing that they will hold him accountable for the surreptitious and continuous action to derail their lawsuit against Saudi Arabia. They also demand that all relevant documents that were improperly labeled as “State Secrets,” with no outside oversight or accountability, be independently reviewed by their investigators and released to the American people.
“Your repeated, unjustified, and meritless obstructions to justice for the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history must end immediately,” they write. “The time for you to right this wrong has long passed, and we demand that you stand up for Americans and side with the 9/11 community and join the right side of history.”