A former federal prosecutor involved in the terrorism financing trial against the Holy Land Foundation confirmed to The Federalist today that Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, whom President Donald Trump has said he intends to nominate as director of national intelligence, did receive a special appointment as part of the case.
“John was appointed to look into allegations of potential misconduct involving a juror and one or more of the defendants in that case,” Nathan Garrett, a formal federal prosecutor who worked on the trial team, told The Federalist Tuesday morning. “John is a stellar lawyer, experienced national security prosecutor and leader, and a man of the highest character.”
ABC News alleged in an article that Ratcliffe “misrepresented” and “embellished” his role in the case, even suggesting that he was not involved with it at all.
“ABC News could find no public court records that connect Ratcliffe to either of the two trials for the case,” the article claimed. “Former officials directly involved in the decade-long Holy Land Foundation investigation could not recall Ratcliffe having any role, and four former defense attorneys who served on the cases told ABC News on Monday they had no recollection of Ratcliffe being involved with any of the proceedings that resulted in the convictions of their clients.”
Garrett, who is listed on the federal court docket for the Holy Land Foundation case as one of the prosecutors of record representing the United States, told The Federalist that ABC News never contacted him for comment prior to publishing its article.
“No,” he responded when asked directly whether anyone from ABC News contacted him about its story.
He also noted it is not surprising that Ratcliffe’s role would not have been public at the time, given the sensitive nature of terrorism cases.
“I served as a ‘terrorism prosecutor’ before and after 9/11, and 98% of the work in that arena never saw the light of day,” Garrett said. “Folks like John were thrust into what had traditionally been an intelligence community-only environment and expected to engage and provide leadership and perspective as those matters progressed.”
“It was trial by fire, and he handled it exceedingly well, albeit outside of the public eye,” Garrett said.
The former federal prosecutor and FBI special agent also offered a personal endorsement of Ratcliffe’s nomination and confirmation as director of national intelligence.
“In my 20 years in the business, there’s no one I believe more capable of this position than John,” he said.
On July 28, Trump announced via Twitter that he intended to nominate Ratcliffe to replace former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., as director of national intelligence following Coats’ retirement on Aug. 15.
Ratcliffe has drawn the ire of left-wing conspiracy theorists who have for years claimed, without evidence, that Trump treasonously colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel in May of 2017 to investigate allegations of treasonous Russian collusion, found there was no collusion or conspiracy with Russians to steal the 2016 elections.
Ratcliffe has repeatedly said the American public deserves to know who was behind the conspiracy theory and whether they weaponized false information to spy on American citizens in the heat of a political campaign.
A spokeswoman for Ratcliffe’s congressional office also confirmed Ratcliffe’s role in the Holy Land Foundation case.
“Shortly following a declared mistrial in a terrorism financing prosecution, United States v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, et al. in the Northern District of Texas on Oct. 22, 2007, a Justice Department order appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas John Ratcliffe to investigate issues related to the outcome of the Holy Land case,” she told The Federalist.
“Department of Justice records will confirm that as both chief of anti-terrorism and national security for the Eastern District of Texas and as U.S. attorney, John Ratcliffe opened, managed, and supervised numerous domestic and international terrorism-related cases.”