Judicial Watch is going to court to uncover details of the alleged monitoring of President Trump’s family, lawyer and journalists, as ordered by the since-recalled U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. The two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the State Department for documents tied to the alleged monitoring of President Trump’s intimate circle and journalists covering him is an extension of our Judicial Watch investigation, which began in October 2019, into the alleged monitoring, via CrowdTangle and other means. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is alleged to have ordered State Department entities to conduct the monitoring. The list of the alleged targets includes:
Donald Trump Jr.
Michael McFaul (Obama’s ambassador to Russia)
Amb. Yovanovitch reportedly ordered monitoring keyed to the following search terms: “Biden,” “Giuliani,” “Soros” and “Yovanovitch.”
As Judicial Watch previously reported, prior to being recalled as ambassador to Ukraine in the spring, Yovanovitch reportedly created a list of individuals who were to be monitored via social media and other means. Ukraine embassy staff made the request to the Washington D.C. headquarters office of the department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. After several days, Yovanovitch’s staff was informed that the request was illegal and the monitoring either ceased or was concealed via the State Department Global Engagement Center, which has looser restrictions on collecting information.
“This is not an obscure rule; everyone in public diplomacy or public affairs knows they can’t make lists and monitor U.S. citizens unless there is a major national security reason,” according to a senior State Department official. If the illicit operation occurred, it seems to indicate a clear political bias against the president and his supporters. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who also has led American embassies in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine by Obama in 2016. She was recalled by the State Department in May and remains a State Department employee in Washington D.C.