Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Tuesday opened the throttle on his effort to torpedo President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, tweeting his opposition and writing in Politico that her “radical positions” are more than alarming.
WND has reported concerns about Lynch’s key role in the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute the banking giant HSBC for laundering funds for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently conducted a two-hour session with HSBC whistleblower John Cruz (no relation to the senator) in its investigation of Lynch’s role in the scandal.
WND was the first to report in a series of articles beginning in 2012 on charges by John Cruz, a former HSBC vice president and relationship manager, based on his more than 1,000 pages of evidence and secret audio recordings.
Lynch allowed HSBC to enter into a “deferred prosecution” settlement in which the bank agreed to pay a $1.9 billion fine and admit “willful criminal conduct” in exchange for dropping criminal investigations and prosecutions of HSBC directors or employees.
On Tuesday, Sen. Cruz tweeted his opposition to Lynch, saying, “Read & RT my new op-ed: GOP must oppose Loretta Lynch – or lose all credibility on lawlessness.”
The Stop Loretta Lynch website linked the senator’s op-ed.
Wrote the senator: “What does it take for Senate Republicans to decide not to confirm Loretta Lynch, who is President Obama’s nominee to be attorney general? At what point is the lawlessness simply too much?”
“Senate Republicans have the power to stop this nomination. And we have a choice. We can honor our oaths to the Constitution – we can defend liberty and the rule of law – or we can confirm an attorney general who has candidly admitted she will impose no limits on the president whatsoever,” he said.
He said Holder “has abused the office, turning a Department of Justice that had built a long bipartisan tradition of impartially enforcing the law into effectively a partisan arm of the Democratic Party. And he has repeatedly ignored the law and the Constitution, so much so that he is the only attorney general in history to be held in contempt of Congress.”
Now, he said, referring to Lynch’s responses to Congress, the Senate is faced with a nominee “who tells us ahead of time she will ignore the law.”
“If the Senate [confirms her], we are complicit in the lawlessness,” Cruz wrote.
Read the explosive backstory inside the HSBC scandal – how WND first exposed the massive money-laundering scheme, the fallout from the eye-popping discovery and the role Loretta Lynch played in “Launder-gate.”
A day earlier, dozens of House Republicans urged senators to block Lynch’s confirmation.
The letter, which was signed by 51 House Republicans, states, “We respectfully ask that you refuse to vote Ms. Lynch out of the committee, and that you return her nomination to the president.
“We appreciate Ms. Lynch for her many years of outstanding service to our nation,” the Republicans continue. “Nonetheless, having observed her nominating hearing testimony, we can only conclude that she has no intention of departing in any meaningful way from the policies of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has politicized the Department of Justice and done considerable harm to the administration of justice.”
The House members, said, however, their larger concern was that Lynch apparently was unwilling “to stand up to the president and his unconstitutional efforts to circumvent Congress and enlarge the powers of his office.”
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., said in a statement: “The top law enforcement official in the land must be willing to enforce the law, independent of administration politics. The testimony of Loretta Lynch demonstrated an unwillingness to depart from the politicization of justice we have seen from Eric Holder. The Senate has a constitutional obligation not to confirm her.”
Cruz wrote that he had wanted to support Lynch’s nomination. But her testimony gave rise to major concerns:
“When asked whether she would defend President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty – which Obama himself acknowledged, 22 times, he had no authority to undertake and which a federal court has just enjoined as unlawful – she responded affirmatively, saying that she thought the administration’s contrived legal justification was ‘reasonable.'”
Pointedly, Sen. Cruz wrote: “When asked if a subsequent president could use the same theory to exempt the state of Texas from every single federal labor law and environmental law – she refused to answer. … When asked if a subsequent president could use ‘prosecutorial discretion’ to order the treasury secretary to no longer collect any income taxes above 25 percent … she refused to answer.”
“These are extreme, radical positions,” Cruz said. “There is a reason the Senate is given constitutional authority over ‘advice and consent.’ We were not elected to be a ‘fraternal order.’ … We were elected to defend the Constitution.”
WND has reported that John Cruz, the whistleblower, called the $1.9 billion HSBC fine “a joke.” He said HSBC bank auditors had told him in 2009 that senior managers and compliance officers in New York were fully aware the London-headquartered bank was engaged in a criminal scheme to launder money internationally for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists.
“The auditors warned me investigating the money laundering could cost me my job,” Cruz said. “The auditors told me in 2009 that nobody in the bank was going to go to jail and that HSBC had already put aside $2 billion in reserves to pay the fine they somehow had reason to suspect back then that the Department of Justice would demand to settle the case.”
Cruz argued that a $1.9 billion fine of an international bank the size of Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, the official name of HSBC, amounted to no more than “a few days operating profit.” He described it as “a cost of doing business” once HSBC had decided to launder money for international criminals.
Senate investigators to hear HSBC recordings
Confidential sources in Washington confirmed to WND that Jason Foster, the chief investigative counsel at the Senate Judiciary Committee, was directing the investigation into John Cruz’s allegations against Lynch.
Cruz’s charges and documentation were brought to Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, before the senator announced Feb. 11 that he was opening his own investigation of Lynch.
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Foster is considered on Capitol Hill to be one of the Senate’s best, most experienced investigators. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, he had more than 15 years experience directing fact-finding inquiries for the Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Homeland Security Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform, before becoming chief investigative counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2011.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s staff questioning of Cruz and his attorney focused on approximately 1,000 pages of HSBC customer account records that Cruz turned over to WND early in 2012. The records were pulled from the HSBC computer system before he was fired by HSBC senior management who didn’t want to investigate his claim to have discovered illegal money-laundering activity at the bank.
As WND reported in its series of articles, Cruz was able to document a complex criminal scheme that involved wiring billions of dollars of money for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists thorough thousands of bogus accounts created through identity theft. The scheme used the names and Social Security numbers of hundreds of unsuspecting current and former customers. It allegedly had the active participation of regional bank managers, branch managers and employees, as well as bank compliance officials at hundreds of HSBC locations throughout the nation. The money ultimately was wired by the bank to undisclosed bank accounts internationally.
Foster, on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has requested that Cruz submit some 70 hours of conversations Cruz secretly recorded of bank management and compliance officers in New York. He also recorded his conversations with law-enforcement authorities, including the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS.
Cruz began working at HSBC Jan. 14, 2008, as a commercial bank accounts relationship manager and was terminated for “poor job performance” on Feb. 17, 2010, after he refused to stop investigating the HSBC criminal money-laundering scheme from within the bank.
In his position as a vice president and a senior account relationship manager, Cruz worked in the HSBC southern New York region, which accounts for approximately 50 percent of HSBC’s North American revenue. He was assigned to work with several branch managers to identify accounts to which HSBC might introduce additional banking services.
Cruz told WND he recorded hundreds of hours of meetings he conducted with HSBC management and bank security personnel in which he charged that various bank managers were engaging in criminal acts.
“I have hours of hours of recordings, ranging from bank tellers, to business representatives, to branch managers, to executives,” he said. “The whole system is designed to be a culture of fraud to make it look like it’s a legal system. But it’s not.”