Yeganeh Torbati

Reporter

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Yeganeh Torbati covers the U.S. federal government for ProPublica and is based in Washington, D.C. Before joining ProPublica in June 2019, she covered immigration at Reuters. She was the first to reveal in 2018 the Trump administration’s detailed plans to penalize foreigners who use public benefits by making it harder for them to get green cards, and her narrative feature about a library on the U.S.-Canada border that plays host to reunions of families separated by the travel ban was adapted for a segment on “This American Life.”

In her previous role as a national security reporter for Reuters, Yeganeh was part of a reporting team that won a National Press Club award in 2017 for a series on a prisoner swap between Iran and the United States. As a reporter covering Iran, she was part of a Reuters reporting team that uncovered the financial empire controlled by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 2013. The series received numerous awards including the Gerald Loeb Award and the Overseas Press Club Award.

Yeganeh grew up in Oklahoma, and speaks Persian and Spanish. To securely send Yeganeh documents or other files online, please visit our SecureDrop page.

ProPublica Files Lawsuit Seeking Medical Stockpile Records From HHS

The suit claims HHS failed to promptly process a FOIA request for records about the Strategic National Stockpile.

Masks Sold by Former White House Official to Navajo Hospitals Don’t Meet FDA Standards

New information from the Indian Health Service calls into question why the agency purchased expensive medical gear that it now cannot use as intended.

Democratic Congressman Calls for Probe Into Former White House Official’s $3 Million Mask Deal

Trump’s former deputy chief of staff won a $3 million federal contract just days after registering his company. He delivered masks to Navajo hospitals that may not work. Rep. Gerry Connolly asked the HHS inspector general’s office to look into it.

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.

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.

Trump Hasn’t Released Funds That Help Families of COVID-19 Victims Pay for Burials. Members of Congress Want to Change That.

In past national disasters, FEMA has given money to families of victims to help pay for funerals. After our story showing that Trump had not yet permitted that, the chairmen of two House committees demanded he release the funds.

This ICE Detainee Caught Coronavirus After Asking to Be Released. A Judge Says He Still Shouldn’t Be Let Go.

Sirous Asgari was shuttled across the country by ICE in mid-March, then held in a Louisiana prison with dozens of other men. All along, he pleaded to be released.

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.

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.

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.

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 transmission of the coronavirus is “nil.”

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.

How Tea Party Budget Battles Left the National Emergency Medical Stockpile Unprepared for Coronavirus

Fiscal restraints imposed by Republicans in Congress in the early years of the Obama administration left the U.S. less prepared to respond to the coronavirus pandemic today.

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.

The White House Asked Manufacturers for Help, Then Gave Them No Clear Instructions

Vice President Mike Pence wants the private sector to donate critical medical supplies to help during the coronavirus pandemic. But the White House’s chaotic requests have not included consistent information on how exactly businesses can do that.

The CDC Recommends Americans Stay at Home — Unless They Work for the CDC

The Trump administration has reduced remote work across federal agencies, leaving federal workers ill-prepared to cope with the current crisis. Even the CDC has yet to direct employees to work from home.

Millions of Federal Workers Still Waiting on Work-From-Home Order During Coronavirus Pandemic

Public health experts agree that Americans need to stay home as much as possible, but the Trump administration has not yet issued clear guidance to federal workers.

The Trump Administration Calls Iraq Dangerous for Christians — Until It Wants to Deport Them

To deport Iraqi Christians, Trump’s immigration officials rely on testimony saying they won’t be at particular risk. But to justify funding and attention, officials elsewhere in the administration say the Christians face grave danger.

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.

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.”

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