- GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, reportedly misled the public about his involvement in a major anti-terrorism case.
- Ratcliffe touted his role as “special appointment as the prosecutor in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation” and claimed he “convicted individuals who were funelling money to Hamas behind the front of a charitable organisation.”
- But ABC News reported it found no public records tying Ratcliffe to the convictions, and former officials and lawyers involved in the case had no recollection of Ratcliffe’s involvement.
- His office later clarified in a statement to ABC News that Ratcliffe’s link to the case was related to investigating issues that led to a mistrial in an earlier case.
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Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the next Director of National Intelligence, misled the public about his role in a major anti-terrorism case, ABC News reported.
Ratcliffe’s reported embellishment is related to US v. Holy Land, in which prosecutors charged the Holy Land Foundation, then the largest Islamic charity in the US, with providing “material support” to Hamas. HLF was designated a terrorist organisation in 2001 and has since disbanded.
The first trial in the case resulted in a hung jury and was declared a mistrial. The second led to the convictions of several individuals who were found to have illegally funneled money to Hamas.
In a 2015 press release, Ratcliffe said that he served as “special appointment in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation” and “convicted individuals who were funelling money to Hamas behind the front of a charitable organisation.”
A February 2016 post on his official campaign website said Ratcliffe was “special appointment as the prosecutor in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, one of the nation’s largest terrorism financing cases.”
But ABC News reported it found no public records indicating that Ratcliffe was involved in either of the two trials. Former officials who were involved in the matter also told the outlet they had no recollection of Ratcliffe’s role, and four former defence attorneys who represented individuals in the cases told ABC News they didn’t remember Ratcliffe being involved with any of the proceedings.
NBC News also reported that although Ratcliffe’s website says he “put terrorists in prison,” it found no evidence that he ever prosecuted a terrorism case.
Before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2015, Ratcliffe served as chief of the Anti-Terrorism and National Security division for the Eastern District of Texas. He was also US attorney for the Eastern District of Texas from 2007 to 2009.
Ratcliffe’s office clarified to ABC News in a statement that his status regarding the US v. Holy Land case was related to investigating issues surrounding what led to the mistrial in the first case.
Ratcliffe catapulted to the national spotlight last week when he attacked and berated the former special counsel Robert Mueller during his Capitol Hill testimony.
In particular, Ratcliffe took issue with Mueller’s findings in the obstruction-of-justice investigation into Trump, saying during the hearing, “I agree with the chairman, this morning, when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He’s not. But he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law, which is where volume two of this report puts him.”
According to CNN, Ratcliffe had been under consideration for outgoing DNI Dan Coats’ job for a while, but White House insiders didn’t think he was aggressive enough. His performance during Mueller’s hearings changed that perception, and five days later, the president announced Ratcliffe’s nomination.
Ratcliffe has a history of fuelling the president’s unfounded conspiracy theories tied to the Russia investigation. In May, Ratcliffe told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that former FBI director James Comey “either is or should be” investigated for violating the Espionage Act, for memorializing his conversations with the president in the Oval Office, and for later instructing a friend to share that information with the press.
On Sunday, Ratcliffe said during a Fox News interview that “there were crimes committed during the Obama administration” related to investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
And last week, Ratcliffe came out guns blazing against Mueller, accusing him of breaking Justice Department protocol while investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
“So Americans need to know this, as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle, as they do dramatic readings from this report: that Volume 2 of this report was not authorised under the law to be written,” Ratcliffe said. “It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department. And it was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra-prosecutorial commentary.”