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Trump Persecution Update

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Judge Stops Justice Department Stonewalling in Releasing Biden Interview Recordings
Judicial Watch Sues Over Termination of President Trump’s Security Clearance
Trump Trial Prosecutors Face Big Problems
Biden Agency Sues Republican Donor’s Business for Racial Discrimination
NPR’s New CEO Sits on Board of Soros Censorship Group

Judge Stops Justice Department Stonewalling in Releasing Biden Interview Recordings

We’re pleased to report that a federal judge has blocked the Justice Department’s effort to delay producing recordings of President Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur.

The Biden Justice Department was trying to help Joe Biden politically by hiding the recordings of his special counsel interviews. These recordings are essential to the public interest in obtaining information about any presidential misconduct, crimes, and cognitive challenges.

The Justice Department was supposed to let us and the court know its position on releasing the recordings on April 30. However, the agency asked the court for at least one more month (May 27 or later) to state its position on whether it is going to release any recordings.

We filed an opposition to the department’s request, and Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed with us.

Here’s the background. On March 11, 2024, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after Justice failed to respond to a February 2024 FOIA request for records of all special counsel interviews of President Biden (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:24-cv-00700)). A redacted transcript of the Biden interview was released on April 15.

On February 5, 2024, Special Counsel Robert Hur issued the “Report of the Special Counsel on the Investigation Into Unauthorized Removal, Retention, and Disclosure of Classified Documents Discovered at Locations Including the Penn Biden Center and the Delaware Private Residence of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.”

In the report, Hur called Biden a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” and declined to charge Biden with a “serious felony:”

We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory. Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him-by then a former president well into his eighties-of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.

Prior to the finalization of the report, the White House issued a letter to the Special Counsel’s office attacking the report’s “treatment of President Biden’s memory,” and added “there is ample evidence from your interview that the President did well in answering your questions …”

We argue:

This case could not be any more straightforward, and [the Justice Department] cannot and does not provide any substantive reasons why an extension of time is necessary at this time…. Judicial Watch, along with other media organizations as well as Congressional committees, have sought these materials to enable the public to form its own conclusions about the Special Counsel’s characterizations of President Biden’s testimony.


[The Justice Department] can alleviate any administrative burden by informing Judicial Watch and the Court whether it intends to produce the recordings. If it produces the recordings, the case is over.

(We have several ongoing FOIA lawsuits about Biden’s document scandals and the related unprecedented partisan prosecutorial and judicial abuses of former President Donald J. Trump.)

I’ll be sure to report back to you if we hear any news of the release of the Biden audio (or video) recordings!

Judicial Watch Sues Over Termination of President Trump’s Security Clearance

Biden’s lieutenants in the federal bureaucracy are brazen in their efforts to get Trump.

Judicial Watch just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy for records about the retroactive termination of former President Donald Trump’s security clearance and/or access to classified information (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Energy (No. 1:24-cv-00744)).

We cite Trump’s January 12, 2024, motion to compel discovery in his criminal prosecution in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in which the former president asserts that Department of Energy attempted to terminate his security clearance retroactively after his June 2023 indictment by Special Counsel Jack Smith (United States v. Trump, et al., (No. 9:23-cr-80101)).

We filed the lawsuit after the Energy Department failed to comply with a January 18, 2024, FOIA request for its records and communications concerning retroactively terminating Trump’s security clearance and/or access to classified information.

In our lawsuit we point to the February 2024 response to Trump’s January 2024 motion in which Smith acknowledges the existence of a June 2023 memorandum prepared by an Energy Department official regarding the security clearance.

The Special Counsel’s office describes the memorandum’s contents and asserts that it had produced the record to Trump. Smith also acknowledges requesting and receiving additional “responsive” records from the Energy Department, including “approximately 30 pages of records and eight emails.” Smith asserts that he was “now producing” the 30 pages to Trump and withholding the eight emails.

Trump’s lawyers suggest in the January 2024 motion to compel discovery that Trump had a high-level security clearance as recently as 2023.

Lawyers for Trump say a government document from June 2023 still listed him with a “Q” clearance from the Energy Department. The document was dated a few weeks after prosecutors indicted Trump in the classified documents case. A “Q” clearance refers to a type of security clearance handled by the Department of Energy, which holds classified information focused largely on nuclear secrets.

It looks like the Department of Energy is trying to manufacture a criminal case. What are they hiding?

We are in the forefront of court battles for transparency in the Biden administration’s targeting of Trump.

In August 2023, we filed a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for records of the Archives’ role in President Trump’s White House records controversy; whether it offered Trump a secure storage location other than the National Archives; and if the Archives consulted with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence regarding the classification or declassification procedures of any of the alleged classified documents found at Trump’s Florida residence.

In June 2023, we obtained DOJ records that showed top officials of the National Security Division discussing the political implications of Trump allowing CNN to use closed-circuit TV (CCTV) footage of the raid on his Mar-a-Lago home. The documents confirmed that the Justice Department had asked that Mar-a-Lago CCTV be turned off before the raid.

A separate Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration resulted in the release of records about the unprecedented document dispute between Archives and President Trump. Click here or here to review the records.

In August 2022, we successfully sued to unseal the search warrant affidavit used to justify the unprecedented raid on the home of former President Trump.

In September 2022, we filed lawsuits against the DOJ for its records and the FBI’s records about the Mar-a-Lago raid search warrant application and approval, as well as communications about the warrant between the FBI, Executive Office of the President and the Secret Service.

In October 2022, we sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all communications of the U.S. Secret Service internally and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the raid on Trump’s home and for any video or audio recordings made during the raid.

In November 2022, we sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all communications between the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the search warrant that precipitated the raid on former Trump’s Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump Trial Prosecutors Face Big Problems

Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, takes apart the silly case brought in Manhattan against Donald Trump by DA Alvin Bragg. From our latest Investigative Bulletin:

The Donald Trump business records trial opened yesterday in New York City with prosecutors signaling a wide-ranging case. Documents—business records—related to payments from the Trump Organization to an adult film star showed “election fraud” and a “criminal conspiracy and cover up” designed to prevent information about an alleged affair from emerging before the 2016 presidential election, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said.

At the heart of the case are thirty-four counts of falsifying business records—generally misdemeanor charges that in this case Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg is attempting to elevate to felonies. Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche told the jury that the thirty-four Bragg charges signified no crimes—that Trump was just doing what a business leader does: sign papers prepared by his office.

“The thirty-four counts are really just thirty-four pieces of paper.” Blanche said. Regarding the paper trail offered up by the prosecution, Blanche said that Trump “had nothing to do with the invoice, with the check being generated or with the entry on the ledger.” Blanche also attacked the prosecution’s contention that the payments were attempts to influence the 2016 election. “I have a spoiler alert,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy.”

Prosecutors face two big problems with their case: a deeply flawed key witness and a largely untested legal ploy to leverage misdemeanor business-records charges into felony-level convictions.

The case centers around former Trump Organization executive turned Trump nemesis, Michael Cohen. A self-proclaimed former Trump “fixer,” Cohen has a long criminal record and well-known hatred for the forty-fifth president of the United States. In 2016, Cohen expected a position in the Trump Administration, which was not forthcoming. Cohen later became a frequent guest on MSNBC, railing against Trump, and in 2022 he published a three-hundred-page diatribe against Trump, “Revenge.”

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court to tax evasion, campaign finance violations related to the current New York case, and false statements. He was sentenced to a three-year prison term. Later that year, he was back in federal court to plead guilty to lying to Congress.

A month ago, a judge denied Cohen’s request for an early end to his supervised release from jail time, saying Cohen had likely “committed perjury” in past testimony—a finding brushed aside by the judges in Trump’s current civil and criminal cases in New York.

Much of the current case will hinge on Cohen’s credibility on the stand. It’s worth noting that both federal authorities and Bragg’s predecessor as Manhattan DA, Cy Vance, declined to bring the business-records case, uneasy with Cohen and a strategy for getting the misdemeanor charges to felony-level crimes. Mark Pomerantz, a senior Vance prosecutor who resigned after differences with Bragg on Trump prosecutions, noted in his book, “People vs. Donald Trump,” that while Cohen could be charming and credible, he also was “a somewhat feral creature.” Cohen, Pomerantz wrote, has a “penchant for publicity, exaggeration, and grandiose statements” that turns people off.

The second big problem for prosecutors are those thirty-four business records charges usually clocking in as misdemeanors. In opening statements, the prosecution indicated it could prove the charges were felonies by showing they were connected to “election fraud.” But the statute prosecutors rely on has nothing to do with election law. New York state law (Section 175.10 of the penal code) moves falsification of business records from misdemeanor to felony if the defendant’s “intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime.”

What precisely is that other crime? At the moment, prosecutors aren’t saying. But eventually they’ll have to come up with something specific.

With a jury drawn from deep blue Manhattan, it may not matter. Jurors may simply dislike Trump so much that they’ll look for any path to conviction. But juries are unpredictable. And the view from here is that Michael Cohen could emerge as a big liability. That sketchy ploy to elevate misdemeanors into felonies also gives the Trump team strong grounds for appeal.

Biden Agency Sues Republican Donor’s Business for Racial Discrimination

The Biden administration continues to use its weaponized government agencies to go after its political opposition. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the latest:

The Biden administration appears to be using a federal agency to go after a family that has donated significantly to Republicans by suing its company for “racially discriminatory hiring practice” over background checks. The business, Sheetz Inc., is a chain of convenience stores and the Sheetz family has long supported Republicans in Pennsylvania and the Midwest, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. In the last few years, the Sheetz’s have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican causes and political candidates, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dave McCormick and the National Republican Congressional Committee. The most recent donation of $24,500 by Chairman Steve Sheetz was made a few months ago to McCormick, a West Point graduate and combat veteran endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is charged with enforcing the nation’s workplace discrimination laws, is suing Sheetz Inc. for “racially discriminatory hiring practice” over background checks. The agency charges that the company’s criminal history screening causes discriminatory impact against black, native American and other workers. In the lawsuit the Biden administration writes that Sheetz has maintained a longstanding practice of screening all job applicants for records of criminal conviction and then denying them employment based on those records. The company operates stores in over 600 locations throughout six states. The EEOC charges that the background checks disproportionately screened out black, native American/Alaska native and multiracial applicants. “Sheetz’s company-wide hiring practices violated provisions of Title VII that prohibit disparate impact discrimination,” according to the agency.

In its complaint, which was filed in Maryland, the EEOC does not allege that Sheetz was motivated by race when making hiring decisions. The criminal screenings nevertheless resulted in racial discrimination, which violates federal law prohibiting facially neutral employment practices that cause a discriminatory impact because of race when those practices are not job-related and consistent with business necessity or where alternative practices with less discriminatory impact are available. “Federal law mandates that employment practices causing a disparate impact because of race or other protected classifications must be shown by the employer to be necessary to ensure the safe and efficient performance of the particular jobs at issue,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “Even when such necessity is proven, the practice remains unlawful if there is an alternative practice available that is comparably effective in achieving the employer’s goals but causes less discriminatory effect.” An EEOC director stresses the agency’s commitment to reintegrating individuals with criminal records into society by ensuring they have fair access to employment and other essential services.

Last fall the EEOC directed government agencies to “widely publicize” they are “hiring persons with criminal conduct issues in their background checks” as part of a Biden executive order requiring diversity, equity and inclusion in the federal workforce by, among other things, expanding employment opportunities for convicted individuals. Job applicants with criminal records are rarely eliminated from government jobs since the president issued the directive, the EEOC conceded at the time, but agency leaders believe more must be done to accommodate them and, when conducting background checks, the agency says employers should take a holistic approach with consideration for mitigating circumstances. In two reports issued last year, the EEOC explained that before Biden’s order an agency task force charged with identifying vulnerable workers and finding ways to better serve them classified “formerly incarcerated persons as one category of vulnerable workers due to the challenges they face in securing employment after their incarceration.” Years ago, the agency also made background checks related to arrest and conviction records among its “national substantive area priorities because African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately incarcerated.” Now the taxpayer-funded federal agency is going after businesses that screen employees with background checks, spending public resources to sue them.

NPR’s New CEO Sits on Board of Soros Censorship Group

Taxpayer funding of National Public Radio has been an issue for years, and now it has boiled over with the selection of a new CEO with radical leftist views. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports more details on her current and radical activities:

In a grim indicator of how news will be covered on taxpayer dime, the new head of the government-funded National Public Radio (NPR) is on the board of a leftwing activist organization called Center for Democracy and Technology that pushes for censorship and receives funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Her name is Katherine Maher, a former Wikimedia Foundation CEO, with liberal views publicly expressed throughout the years in her social media posts. In 2018, she called former President Donald Trump a racist in a post that has since been deleted, according to a mainstream newspaper report. A couple of years ago Maher shared a photo of herself in a “President Biden” campaign hat. In a 2021 video clip the new NPR chief describes the First Amendment as the top challenge in the fight against disinformation, a fictitious crisis created by the Biden administration to control information.

Maher takes over at NPR as a longtime NPR editor, Uri Berliner, reveals that liberal bias has altered the public radio network’s coverage in recent years, resulting in errors on major stories such as the Hamas attacks in Israel, Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal and COVID-19. “It’s true NPR has always had a liberal bent, but during most of my tenure here, an open-minded, curious culture prevailed,” Berliner, a 25-year NPR veteran wrote in a recently published essay. “We were nerdy, but not knee-jerk, activist, or scolding. In recent years, however, that has changed. Today, those who listen to NPR or read its coverage online find something different: the distilled worldview of a very small segment of the U.S. population. An open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR, and now, predictably, we don’t have an audience that reflects America. That wouldn’t be a problem for an openly polemical news outlet serving a niche audience. But for NPR, which purports to consider all things, it’s devastating both for its journalism and its business model.” Berliner confirms that race and identity have become paramount in nearly every aspect of the workplace and journalists are required to ask everyone they interview about race, gender, and ethnicity.

A few days ago, Berliner, a senior business editor, resigned, citing Maher’s response to his recent exposé. In an email to the radio network’s new CEO, Berliner wrote: “I am resigning from NPR, a great American institution where I have worked for 25 years. I respect the integrity of my colleagues and wish for NPR to thrive and do important journalism. But I cannot work in a newsroom where I am disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm the very problems at NPR I cite in my Free Press essay.” NPR and its new chief declined to comment publicly but the network’s news executive, Edith Chapin, wrote a memo to employees saying that inclusion among staff, sourcing and overall coverage is critical to telling the nuanced stories of this country and our world.

NPR is simply following the mainstream media’s leftist trajectory, though it has a duty to remain objective because it receives taxpayer dollars. The radio network was created over five decades ago as an educational news source that operates under the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which also includes television’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Its headquarters are in Washington D.C., and it has more than 1,000 radio stations nationwide. CPB’s 2024 operating budget is a whopping $535 million and, though most of it does not go to NPR, the public radio network says “federal funding is essential” and its continuation is critical. In fact, the news outlet’s website states that the elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism and eventually the loss of public radio stations.

This month a Virginia congressman introduced legislation to strip NPR of public money so that no taxpayer dollars fund its “radical left messaging.” The proposed legislation prohibits federal funding of NPR and prevents local public radio stations from using federal grant money to purchase content or pay dues to NPR. “It is bad enough that so many media outlets push their slanted views instead of reporting the news, but it is even more egregious for hardworking taxpayers to be forced to pay for it,” said Congressman Bob Good, the lawmaker behind the measure. “My legislation would ensure no taxpayer dollars are used to fund the woke, leftist propaganda of National Public Radio.”

Until next week,

The post Trump Persecution Update appeared first on Judicial Watch.


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