Author Archive

Yeganeh Torbati

Management

The Feds Gave a Former White House Official $3 Million to Supply Masks to Navajo Hospitals. Some May Not Work.

Zach Fuentes, former deputy chief of staff to President Trump, won the contract just days after registering his company. He sold Chinese masks to the government just as federal regulators were scrutinizing foreign-made equipment.

Oversight

Pence’s 'Special Envoy' in Foreign Aid Office Sparked an Ethics Complaint Just Weeks After He Started His Job

Weeks before joining the administration, Max Primorac, a USAID appointee and adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, pushed the business interests of a client to an organization funded by USAID.

Oversight

Grieving Families Need Help Paying for COVID-19 Burials, but Trump Hasn’t Released the Money

FEMA has helped pay for the burials of victims of past disasters. But months into the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has sat on similar requests. Families of COVID-19 victims have been forced to turn to religious centers and GoFundMe.

Management

Internal Documents Show Federal Agencies Supported the WHO Before Trump Was Against It

In a battle between China and the U.S. over global leadership, American diplomats and aid officials cited U.S. funding of the World Health Organization as key and relied heavily on the agency for help. When Trump cut its funding, he upended all that.

Management

Trump Administration Officials Warned Against Halting Funding to WHO, Leaked Memo Shows

A draft State Department memo says the move would “cede ground” to China and hobble the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Management

The CDC and WHO Have Already Said Mosquitoes Don’t Spread Coronavirus. Now USDA Will Study It, Too.

An adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association says the possibility of mosquito transition of the coronavirus is “nil.”

Management

The White House Pushed FEMA To Give its Biggest Coronavirus Contract to a Company That Never Had to Bid

The Trump administration has rushed through more than $760 million in contracts outside the usual bidding process during its haphazard coronavirus response. It’s highly unusual for the White House to step into FEMA’s supply bidding process.

Management

In a 10-Day Span, ICE Flew This Detainee Across the Country — Nine Times

Even as the Trump administration discouraged the public from flying, Sirous Asgari was shuttled from Louisiana to Texas, New Jersey and back on chartered flights full of migrants. He still hasn’t been deported.

Management

The Trump Administration Gutted the Staff Overseeing $1 Billion in Aid to Iraq. A Watchdog Is Raising Red Flags.

A new report warns that USAID may not be able to effectively oversee $1.16 billion in foreign aid to Iraq — including to Christian groups Vice President Mike Pence’s office favored — after the administration cut much of its on-the-ground staff.

Management

How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups

Officials at USAID warned that favoring Christian groups in Iraq could be unconstitutional and inflame religious tensions. When one colleague lost her job, they said she had been “Penced.”

Management

The Trump Administration Issues Dozens of Corrections to Its Error-Riddled Immigration Rule

Just weeks before a sweeping immigration policy takes effect, the administration is correcting substantive errors, including ones uncovered by ProPublica that would have had big impacts on military families.

Tech

Google Says Google Translate Can’t Replace Human Translators. Immigration Officials Have Used It to Vet Refugees.

Documents shared with ProPublica show that immigration officials have been told to vet refugees’ social media posts using Google Translate. Language experts caution even students against using the service.

Management

The Administration Rushed on a Sweeping Immigration Policy and Made Substantive, Sloppy Mistakes

Trump’s new immigration policy applies more harshly to families of U.S. citizens in the military than to families of noncitizens in the military. Experts think it’s an error that suggests officials are pushing policies even they don’t fully understand.

Management

'No Comment': Emails Show the VA Took No Action to Spare Veterans From a Harsh Trump Immigration Policy

The VA’s approach differs sharply from the Pentagon’s, which won an exemption for active-duty members of the military.