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.

Trump Is Donating Ventilators to Countries That Don’t Need or Can’t Use Them

Nearly 8,000 ventilators are destined for foreign countries as part of Trump’s plan to make the U.S. “king of ventilators.” But public health experts worry the machines are crowding out more urgently needed aid.

A Company Run by a White House “Volunteer” With No Experience in Medical Supplies Got $2.4 Million From the Feds for Medical Supplies

A $2.4 million deal to supply the Bureau of Prisons with surgical gowns was the second multimillion dollar contract for coronavirus supplies that went to somebody who did work for the White House but had little relevant experience.

The Indian Health Service Wants to Return 1 Million KN95 Masks It Bought From a Former White House Official

The former official, Zach Fuentes, is refusing to take back the masks even though IHS said they did not meet FDA standards. His company’s lawyer says the IHS is trying to cancel the order for “political reasons.”

Democratic Senators Call for USAID to Investigate Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim Comments by Appointees

The Democrats’ request comes as the agency grapples with internal frustration over its approach to racism and bias.

Did Your Job Give You Masks or Other Protective Gear? Send Us a Picture.

You can help us find out if the equipment issued to federal employees is certified for protective use.

Federal Agencies Have Spent Millions on KN95 Masks, Often Without Knowing Who Made Them

Government employees at several agencies are relying on KN95 masks that the agencies cannot guarantee offer the most protection. Some agencies have paid little attention to important manufacturing details and been tripped up by shifting regulations.

U.S. Foreign Aid Agency Defends Political Appointees Who Wrote Anti-LGBT, Anti-Islam Posts

The statement from acting administrator John Barsa comes after ProPublica reported that Merritt Corrigan, who has condemned the “tyrannical LGBT agenda,” was appointed as USAID’s new deputy White House liaison.

New Trump Appointee to Foreign Aid Agency Has Denounced Liberal Democracy and “Our Homo-Empire”

Merritt Corrigan, USAID’s new deputy White House liaison, has condemned the “tyrannical LGBT agenda” and celebrated Hungary’s right-wing prime minister as “the shining champion of Western civilization.”

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.

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