The Nine-Minute Gap [UPDATE-2]


Consider yourself warned: this won’t be a very long post.

There’s been a lot of chatter about the timing of the July 26 search warrant’s execution on Paul Manafort’s Alexandria VA residence. The Washington Post called it a “predawn raid.” Some have pooh-poohed this as hyperbole, claiming the warrant was probably executed sometime after 6:00 a.m. EDT. Sunrise happened to be 6:04 a.m. EDT that day, leaving a narrow four-minute window for both “predawn” and “daytime hours” (beginning at 6:00 a.m.) to be accurate.

Some have also noted Trump completely surprised his military leadership the same day as the raid by tweeting an unexpected ban on transgender individuals in the service.

You may also recall reports indicating members of the military sat with bated breath waiting for nine minutes between his first tweet and his next to determine if they were supposed to scramble or take other military action. That overlong ellipsis at the end of the first tweet left them wondering if they were to begin a North Korean strike.

But it wasn’t just the same day the raid and the tweets happened. Trump tweeted just as the raid must have been underway at Manafort’s house.

What happened to trigger the initial 5:55 a.m. EDT tweet of the series? We know Manafort wasn’t in contact with Trump at that time if he was still asleep when the FBI knocked on his bedroom door.

What happened in that nine minute gap between 5:55 a.m. and the 6:04 a.m. sunrise tweet containing the decisive wording about a transgender ban, while our military stood by, waiting a possible strike order?

And did any one or all of these tweets serve as a signal, not to the Department of Defense or transgender Americans an intent to change policy, but something else entirely different?

UPDATE — 12:15 a.m. EDT 10-AUG-2017 —

CNN’s Jim Sciutto confirmed the search warrant was “no-knock” — timing of the raid may have been earlier than 6:00 a.m. EDT. When did the raid begin and how long between the warrant being served and Trump’s tweets?

UPDATE — 1:30 p.m. EDT 10-AUG-2017 —

Jon Kimball says the time stamp on Trump’s tweets was PDT, not EDT.

Can somebody explain this back-and-forth timezone in tweets? The link Kimball shares to Trump’s tweet shows 8:55. The screenshot I took last night shows 6:55.

Ridiculous situation — I feel like Schroedinger’s dead/alive cat-in-a-box.

If Kimball’s right and the timestamp in my screenshot is PDT (I use EDT on my desktop, by the way), the nine-minute gap matters not. The deployment of an utterly unanticipated change in policy via tweets to distract from the raid on Paul Manafort’s residence is still absolutely relevant.

21 replies
  1. Charles says:

    I’m trying and failing to remember which MSNBC guest said that the idea this was a no-knock is probably a reportorial misread, since no-knock is only justifiable if the suspect can flush the evidence down the toilet. The claim that they knocked on his bedroom door may be from Manafort’s camp; a kind of wave the bloody rag; jackbooted thugs tactic.


    You may be right, though.

    • bmaz says:

      That was Jim Cavanaugh, former SAIC for ATF. And he was exactly right. Thesis why I simply cannot believe a no knock warrant was issued. Even after the CNN report, I am still stunned and having a hard time believing it.

    • Rayne says:

      This: “no-knock is only justifiable if the suspect can flush the evidence down the toilet” —

      In front of me is a 32gb flashdrive the size of my fingernail. There’s a SIM card and a micro SD card next to it. I could flush all three down the toilet easily — combined, they are more storage than I used to have on servers at a Fortune 100 company.

      But that’s old school. What flabbergasts me about folks who use the internet so much is the inability to see “flushing the toilet” = “magnetizing flash drive” = “CTRL-ALT-DEL” = “factory reset cellphone” and so on.

      My gut tells me what the feds wanted wasn’t just paper. And after years now looking at encrypted communications on cellphones, maybe 6:00 a.m. is the best time to snag a sleeping guy’s possibly unencrypted SIM card.

  2. maybe ryan says:

    From the Post:

    >agents appeared the day Manafort was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and a day after he met voluntarily with Senate Intelligence Committee staff members.

    It would be interesting to compare transcripts and see if he said anything different in the wake of the raid.

  3. maybe ryan says:

    Another odd thing about the Trump transgender tweets is the Thank You at the end. Out of character, but also non sequitur.  What’s that about?

    I have to say, even if the raid happened a little earlier, your point that Trump is tweeting fairly contemporaneously is interesting, and does offer an interesting explanation for the 9 min. gap – that Trump is digesting troubling news.

    (Also, I’m realizing my last post was a bit of nonsense – though M had been scheduled to testify on 7/26, in the end he did not.)

  4. Rugger9 says:

    What we learn repeatedly from this “administration” is that there are no real coincidences in activity or timeline.  Not that it is organized (hence the quotes) but fundamentally they do not appear to do anything without a reason to do it, the true “lazy boy” identified by Newsweek.  While we may not know yet how these are related, I would suspect that they are.

    So, perhaps the raid started at say 5:54, Caesar Disgustus is notified at 5:55 and needs to deflect attention away from the fact the Feebs are raiding his campaign manager so he looked for something to distract everyone’s attention, so why not something about the military?  The gap can then be explained by C.D. trying to figure out what issue to get in a froth about, and (total speculation here) Pence suggested transgender soldiers because, “ewwww” (Mikey’s view).  Perfect.  He now has a distraction that will last a week, solidifies his wingnut base and buries the otherwise explosive story about Manafort.

    I don’t recall whether Manafort told the committee before or after the raid that he wasn’t coming in that day.  It is not a big piece, but it may explain why he postponed his visit.

    • bloopie2 says:

      I’m not sure the tweets responded to the raid.  First, who would (be able to) notify the President of an unannounced FBI raid, so quickly and so early in the morning?  Second, how could Trump have prepared his rather well-written threetweetscreed so quickly?  Third, if the raid was unannounced, and we are just learning about it now, what was the need for a distraction at that very minute?

      o/t:  If I were Manafort, I’d have a security system that films everything around the outside of my house, all the time, and saves the video safely off site.  And where does this guy live?  If it’s a hoity-toity neighborhood, wouldn’t some neighbors have such systems that could tell us just when the FBI vans drove up the street?  Let’s ask them.  Or, not.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        You can not trust twiiter in two ways.
        You can not trust the timestamps IMO. MouseOver one and see if you can see the exact time. One can test that themselves.
        But many problems reported regarding timestamps and timezones over the years. Suspect a lot of traffic is being MITM-ed and possibly a timestamp from a MITM proxy gets used instead of the timestamp of user.

        But a bigger problem is the security, MITM, and being able to future-tweet and edit old tweets.

    • Rayne says:

      First, I think he has a list of hot button issues at the ready to use as weapons of redirection. I wrote some time ago about the coincidence of an unanticipated roll out of the Muslim travel ban at the same time Sally Yates was trying to warn the White House that Michael Flynn was compromised. That was the first example I can think of where the outcome of executive action would not be clear cut but it prevented a toxic situation from dominating the news.

      With that in mind, the transgender ban fits the same mold. The military was blindsided just as DHS+ICE+DOJ were by the travel ban, without policy, legislation, other guidance in place in advance of a declaration.

      (Who were “my generals” he spoke to, by the way? I have yet to see any names surface.)

      Will these issues also sync with positions Mike Pence would adopt if he were POTUS? Yes — but then they are also in sync with the white nationalist movement in the US and abroad which helped Trump dubiously win the presidency. It’s not just about Pence but keep his rabid horde on point against those who might look more closely at what he is trying to hide.

      Second, the formatting of these three tweets isn’t like his other tweeting. Compare them to tweets made through out the rest of the same week. These were partially prepared in advance, IMO.

      Third, I don’t think it’s rocket science for the president to learn of an FBI raid. There have been concerns for some time that there were rogue elements in FBI and IC — could have been the source. But this is why I asked the question as to what triggered the tweets.

      Lastly, Manafort met behind closed doors with Senate Intel Committee on Tues 25-JUL.

      When did FBI go to the judge for the warrant? I’m itching to know.

  5. fiddle dee dee says:

    I’ve long suspected that these people have had wild distractions prepared in advance; for both when-needed ‘spontaneous’ use and planned roll-outs of things they want minimal attention paid to (i.e. the initial roll-out of a designed-to-fail Muslim Ban covered the weekend of Flynn’s FBI interview, McGahn’s three questions to Yates (Anyone else in WH liable? What statutes? How likely to prosecute?), his request for those transcripts from Yates’, and her firing -immediately following her procurement of them; Nunes’ antics covered the cancelling of her first scheduled public hearing AND cleared Yates’ & Brennan’s public testimony from the path of Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing & confirmation; Kislyak, Lavrov & Tass in the Oval, and Trump’s code name classified info disclosure -aside from the conspicuously obvious, was a divine distraction from what Lavrov was actually doing here (Arctic Council biennial meeting, Fairbanks May 10-11 -including formal US (Rex) transfer of baton to Finland, Science agreement, +) and what that has to do with simpatico GOP & Putin Kremlin agendas. Lavrov & Rex blowing off their earlier arrival & itinerary scheduled at the Arctic Council biennial in Fairbanks gave them time to be in the Oval with Kislyak & Tass the day after Comey’s firing (which was the day after Yates’ & Brennan’s finally testifying publicly). This is not to mention the likewise conveniently corresponding timing of important underestimated executive orders that have thus gained very little notice when they should have.

    • Rayne says:

      He didn’t, according to Kimball. I’m in ET, too, though, so there must be some setting here on my system which is off. I just don’t see it — like my system clock says 4:33 p.m. right now, and I’m pretty sure last I checked the app uses my local time. I have to hunt this down.

      Much bigger issue remains: why the unanticipated announcement on the same day as raid? And less importantly if there was a 2-hour lag between tweets and raid: why did he take so long to follow through with the 2nd and 3rd tweets, frustrating the military even further?

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Maybe because twiiter is so insecure that what POTUS tweets (and what he sees) does not match what other tweeters see?

        Easy to do with MITM and plenty of UPSTREAM network and server storage space.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Allegedly, it is PST/PDT based. I think there has been spin for cover. The timestamps *SHOULD* be UTC/GMT (ignore the differences betwwen the two, which is seconds, not relevant here) and what the user sees *SHOULD* use the UTC/GMT timestamp and the users current timezone to convert to the users local time.

      (this is the standard *nix method BTW)

      But suspicions are that it does not work that way.

      [And google(twitter timestamps wrong)]

  6. emptywheel says:


    It was sent at 8:55. The way to check is to find this code in the source for the tweet: data-time=”1501073758

    You change that using an Epoch Time convertor, which shows it to be 8:55 ET.

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