Ann Donaldson’s Code Makes Richard Burr’s Tip-Off to the White House Far More Damning

The House Judiciary Committee released Ann Donaldson’s responses to their questions yesterday. In general, she was directed not to answer even more questions than Hope Hicks was. But her answers are interesting on several counts.

First, she offers a range of answers that sometimes confirm she was part of a discussion (and that it happened in Don McGahn’s office or via telephone), sometimes suggest she was part of such a conversation but often claims she does not have an independent memory of whether she was part of it, and sometimes make clear that she was not present. Generally, her answers suggest she learned of most of the events covered by the Mueller Report either by listening in on a phone call or by acting as a sounding board for Don McGahn. She states, “I was in meetings directly with President Trump fewer than ten times” (though she was clearly on McGahn’s side of phone calls more times than that).

But Donaldson’s answers are also interesting for the way in which she applies a series of pat answers to certain questions. Here’s the “code” she uses to answer the questions:

The White House has directed that I not provide any further answer to this question because of the constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests that are implicated. These are obviously questions for which a truthful answer would be especially damning to the President.

I have no reason to question the accuracy of the Special Counsel’s Office’s description of my handwritten notes. Donaldson answers this way for many questions about her notes, effectively confirming that the Mueller Report’s citations of her notes are accurate.

Any characterization of my notes set forth in the Report is that of the Special Counsel’s Office and may be derived, in part, from sources other than my notes. One time, she adds this to a description of something in her notes, in response to this question:

Page 72 of the Report recount a meeting that occurred the morning of May 10, 2017 at the White House involving former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and the President in which the President said he “received ‘hundreds’ of messages from FBI employees indicating their support for terminating Comey” and “asked McCabe who he had voted for in the 2016 Presidential election.” Footnote 477 notes that the account of the meeting is consistent with your notes at Bates Number SC_AD_00347.

She also answers similarly — suggesting things attributed to her in the Mueller Report may involve her relaying something she learned or other Mueller sources — in response to several questions about her interviews with Mueller.

I affirm the accuracy of the voluntary statements I made when being interviewed by the Special Counsel’s Office. Eight times, she affirms the accuracy of something the report says she said. Those are:

  1. Footnote 279 on page 49 of the Mueller Report references an entry in your notes (SC_AD_00123) stating, “just in the middle of another Russia Fiasco.” The footnote cites back to a discussion on March 2, 2017 between the President and Mr. McGahn, during which “McGahn understood the President to be concerned that a recusal would make Sessions look guilty for omitting details in his confirmation hearing; leave the President unprotected from an investigation that could hobble the presidency and derail his policy objectives; and detract from favorable press coverage of a Presidential Address to Congress the President had delivered earlier in the week.” (15)
  2. Page 51-52 of the Report states that on March 5, 2017, President Trump “told advisors he wanted to call the Acting Attorney General [Dana Boente] to find out whether the White House or the President was being investigated.” The accompanying citation (footnote 306) cites to an entry in your notes, Bates Number SC_AD_000168, stating “POTUS wants to call Dana/Is investigation/No/We know something on Flynn/GSA got contacted by FBI/There’s something hot.” (28)
  3. Page 54 of the Report indicates that on March 21, 2017 “[t]he President called McGahn repeatedly that day to ask him to intervene with the Department of Justice, and, according to the notes, the President was ‘getting hotter and hotter, get rid?’” (40)
  4. Footnote 385 of Page 62 of the Report references an entry in your notes at SC_AD_00265 that states “P called Comey – Day we told him not to? ‘You are not under investigation’ NK/China/Sapping Credibility.” (46)
  5. Page 68 of the Report states, “Notes taken by Donaldson on May 9 reflected the view of the White House Counsel’s Office that the President’s original termination letter should ‘[n]ot [see the] light of day’ and that it would be better to offer “[n]o other rationales” for the firing than what was in Rosenstein’s and Sessions’ memoranda.” The accompanying citation (footnote 442) cites your notes, Bates Number SC_AD_00342. (51)
  6. The Report, on pages 81 and 82 citing to your notes at Bates Number SC_AD_00361, states (footnote 541) that Mr. McGahn “advised that the President could discuss the issue [of whether Mr. Mueller had conflicts of interest] with his personal attorney but it would “‘look like still trying to meddle in [the] investigation’ and ‘knocking out Mueller’ would be ‘[a]nother fact used to claim obst[ruction] of justice.’” (63)
  7. Page 82 of the Report states that Mr. McGahn also “told the President that his ‘biggest exposure’ was not his act of firing Comey but his ‘other contacts’ and ‘calls,’ and his ‘ask re: Flynn.’” The accompanying citation (footnote 542) refers to your notes, SC_AD_00361. (64)
  8. Page 113 of the Report states that on January 25, 2018, the New York Times reported that in June 2017, the President had ordered Mr. McGahn to have the Department of Justice fire the Special Counsel. Page 114 of the Report states that on January 26, 2018, the President’s personal counsel called Mr. McGahn’s personal attorney and said that the President wanted Mr. McGahn to put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire the Special Counsel and that he had threatened to quit in protest. (77)

I have no reason to question the accuracy of the Special Counsel’s Office’s description of my voluntary statements to it, although I do not have access to its records of my statements. For a number of other questions, however, she answers (as she does for many questions about her notes) that she has no reason to question the accuracy of what the report writes. It’s unclear what the difference is (though the answers she affirms generally make McGahn look smart as compared to Trump.)

Given that code, I’m particularly interested in her responses to question 30, which is about Richard Burr informing the White House about the targets of the FBI investigation, because it suggests Trump may have learned of the list.

In response to the first question on it, Donaldson provides most of her regular coded answers. She can’t speak to the accuracy of Jim Comey’s briefing of the Gang of Eight, she doesn’t dispute Mueller’s characterization of her notes and comments, but some of what is included may be from other people.

Page 52 of the Report indicates that the week after Mr. Comey briefed congressional leaders “about the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference, including the identification of the principal U.S. subjects of the investigation” on March 9, 2017, one of the leaders briefed, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Senator Richard Burr, was in contact with the White House Counsel’s office, which “appears to have received information about the status of the FBI investigation.” You are quoted in Footnote 309 as saying that Senator Burr identified “4-5 targets.”

a. Is this statement accurate?

RESPONSE: I was not present for Mr. Comey’s briefing to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and therefore I cannot confirm whether the description of his briefing to congressional leaders is accurate.

I have no reason to question the accuracy of the Special Counsel’s Office’s quotation of “4-5 targets” from my notes.

I have no reason to question the accuracy of the Special Counsel’s Office’s description of the voluntary statements I made to it, although I do not have access to its records of my statements.

Any characterization of my voluntary statements set forth in the Report is that of the Special Counsel’s Office and may be derived, in part, from sources other than my statements.

But then, to that same question, she endorses the characterization relayed in the Mueller Report more strongly than she does elsewhere. She didn’t take this to be Burr tipping off the White House — though she specifies that that was her belief “at the time,” suggesting she now realizes that’s not true.

As stated by the Special Counsel’s Office in the Report, at the time, I “believed these were targets of [the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence].”

When asked who initiated this contact, she provides the answer the White House has instructed her to give regarding damaging information pertaining to the President.

Who initiated the contact between the White House Counsel’s office and Senator Burr?

RESPONSE: The White House has directed that I not respond to this question because of the constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests that are implicated.

In the course of explaining that this Burr tipoff happened via phone, she pushes back on the characterization that this was a formal briefing, which is the one time she disputes a characterization made by Mueller.

Where did the March 16, 2017 briefing from Senator Burr take place?

RESPONSE: To the extent this question refers to contact between Senator Burr and the Office of the White House Counsel on or about March 16, 2017 (I would not characterize this contact as a formal “briefing”), that conversation took place by telephone.

When asked why Burr tipped off the White House, Donaldson blames the decision on Burr, suggesting that it was done on his initiative (even in spite of her earlier answer refusing to answer just that question).

Why did Senator Burr provide this briefing to the White House Counsel’s office about the investigation into Russian election interference?

RESPONSE: I do not know. I cannot speak to Senator Burr’s state of mind.

Then Donaldson reaffirms that the conversation happened via a call to McGahn, which she was present for (note, I’m not really sure by what she means when she says she was not a participant on calls, but I wonder both whether it was via speaker phone and whether the other party was told she was listening).

Were you present for Senator Burr’s March 16, 2017 briefing to the White House Counsel’s office?

RESPONSE: To the extent this question refers to a telephone call between Senator Burr and the Office of the White House Counsel on or about March 16, 2017, I was in Mr. McGahn’s office during, but not a participant on, the telephone call.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In a series of three more questions about the call — including whether the President learned about it — Donaldson provides the answer the White House made her give regarding things that were damning to the President.

Who else was present?

RESPONSE: The White House has directed that I not respond to this question because of the constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests that are implicated.

Describe the substance of Senator Burr’s March 16, 2017 briefing to the White House Counsel’s office.

RESPONSE: The White House has directed that I not respond to this question because of the constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests that are implicated.

Were the contents of Senator Burr’s briefing shared with the President? If so, describe who shared the contents of the meeting and if you were present for those discussions.

RESPONSE: The White House has directed that I not respond to this question because of the constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests that are implicated.

If no one else was present, she could have just answered that. And unless someone else was present, she should be able to answer about the substance of the question. Ditto the question about passing this information on to Trump: if there were a non-damning answer, given her other practice, she could answer it.

If McGahn passed on the list of people being investigated to Trump, it would make the conversation between Comey and Trump that took place on March 30, two weeks later, more significant. Trump starts by raising Comey’s public testimony on March 20, where he confirmed the investigation. But then Comey raises the Gang of Eight briefing.

After Comey raises the Gang of Eight briefing, Trump requests that Comey clear him publicly. But then Trump makes the comment about wanting to know if “some satellite” to his campaign did something, he would want that to be public. Remember, here’s what Burr told McGahn, with Donaldson present:

Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 14-15. On March 16, 2017, the White House Counsel’s Office was briefed by Senator Burr on the existence of “4-5 targets.” Donaldson 11 /6/17 302, at 15. The “targets” were identified in notes taken by Donaldson as “Flynn (FBI was ~ooking for phone records”; “Comey~Manafort (Ukr + Russia, not campaign)”; [redacted reference to Roger Stone] “Carter Page ($ game)”; and “Greek Guy” (potentially referring to George Papadopoulos, later charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1001 for lying to the FBI). SC_AD_00198 (Donaldson 3/16/17 Notes). Donaldson and McGahn both said they believed these were targets ofSSCI. Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 15; McGahn 12/ 12/17 302, at 4. But SSCI does not formally investigate individuals as “targets”; the notes on their face reference the FBI, the Department of Justice, and Corney; and the notes track the background materials prepared by the FBI for Corney’s briefing to the Gang of8 on March 9. See SNS-Classified-0000140-44 (3/8/17 Email, Gauhar to Page et al.); see also Donaldson 11 /6/17 302, at 15 (Donaldson could not rule out that Burr had told McGahn those individuals were the FBI’s targets).

If McGahn passed on this information, Trump would have believed that the Mike Flynn investigation would soon be over, and that Paul Manafort was not being investigated for behavior related to his campaign. Trump never gave a shit about George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.

But Roger Stone was his life-long rat-fucker. And during the campaign, Stone spoke repeatedly with Trump to inform him about what he had learned of WikiLeaks’ plans.

It’s one thing if this was a comment about Sergei Millian, as Comey thought it was. But if Trump knew at this point that Roger Stone was under investigation, that would be a very different thing.

Especially because March 2017 is when Stone ratcheted up his efforts to cover up his discussions with WikiLeaks.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

48 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    I find it interesting how often they claim potential executive privilege over embarrassing situations, but IF one believes the dysfunction in the Palace it’s only a matter of time before something else leaks. I note that the UK FO leak was a tad convenient to a person associated with Nigel Farage, KQ’s fanboy, but really I do not see how BoJo benefits unless it’s as a “I’m not Theresa” play. BoJo would then be expected to visit condign punishment upon the miscreant.

    So, how long until this litany of privilege claims gets tested in court? I’m wondering because what appears to be going on here is a criminal coverup and obstruction (she really can’t tell us on privilege grounds that anyone else was there?) which IIRC is grounds to pierce the privilege screen.

    • JamesJoyce says:

      “So, how long until this litany of privilege claims gets tested in court?”

      Can we look to history?

      Executive privilege is being used to cover up criminal conduct.

      Dred Scott was dealing with criminal conduct protected by justices from slave owning states.

      Deja Vu

      • Americana says:

        The nice thing about executive privilege is that when you abuse it, such abuse can blow up in one’s face. It’s now clear Mike Pompeo conducted his own investigation of the CIA’s behavior during the Trump-Russia investigation when he was first appointed CIA director and he cleared the CIA of any wrongdoing. Trump didn’t like Pompeo’s conclusions so he appointed John Durham.

        Now there have been multiple stories about Christopher Steele’s additional revelations during his interview w/the IG’s team and Steele being found credible by IG Horowitz. Is this what may have caused the delay in former Special Counsel Mueller’s testimony before Congress? This is getting wilder and wilder for Trump and his congressional allies as more of these conflicting facts and stories come out:

        From the above link:

        House Intelligence Committee Republicans said in a report last year that the intelligence agencies “did not employ proper analytic tradecraft” when making those judgments about Putin’s motives. They stood by that assessment even after Putin announced during a joint news conference with Trump that he wanted the reality TV star to win “because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”

        The Senate Intelligence Committee, which reportedly interviewed CIA officers directly about the subject, implicitly rebuffed the House GOP in its own report.

        “The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” the committee’s chairman, Republican Sen. Richard Burr, said at the time.

        • bmaz says:

          Aw jeez, you are back to the specious bullshit I see. First off, Trump did not appoint Durham, Barr oversaw that. Secondly, no, that does not have squat to do with the purported delay in Mueller’s testimony. Thirdly, it was swell that you went through a litany of bullshit about the HPSCI under Nunes before admitting, finally, that it was bullshit.

          It is rather disappointing you see you back to your old speculative, and uninformed, tricks. You almost, almost, looked improved for a while. Guess not.

  2. Democritus says:

    Another great one :) Burr who leads his committee with Warner in a great show of bipartisanship. Warner who more frequently than most D’s votes with the GOP, for instance in Acosta’s nomination.

    Burr is a dirty fucker:

    God I fucking hope Warren wins and we get a non-predator to lead us and let the country heal. You know Trumps corrupt ass thought everyone in DC was as corrupt as Cy Vance in NYC, allowing child trafficking rings and fraudulent dealing by the Trumps.

    The irony of Trump using a Qatari dinner, after Jared likely extorted almost a billion from them with the help of MbS’s blockade, is just…bonkers.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “I have no reason to believe….” She’s engaged in a delicate dance to avoid a direct statement, perjury, or damning the president.

    This is how capo regimes talk, to avoid implicating themselves or their boss in his many crimes. It is not how senior civil servants behave when answering questions put by Congress about their work as a public employee.

    • Democritus says:

      Couldn’t agree more now that you pointed it out. It has felt like we have been living in a dystopian novel for a while now.

      Flynn is still cooperating but won’t take the stand at Bijans trial? Why do I think Barr had a say in that. The Justice Dept has been gutted. Neal Katyal on Lawrence last night explaining what it meant that federal service lawyers all pulled out of the census case was alarming as hell. Now this, what as a bribe to Turkey?

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    An interesting factoid. Donald Barr, William’s daddy, taught at Columbia, retired to become head of the private Dalton School in Manhattan for ten years, then ran a private school in New Jersey. Born in 1904, he was in Wild Bill Donovan’s OSS during WWII. His son William’s first job out after Columbia was with its successor, the CIA.

    According to the Lawrence O’Donnell, the Dalton School began an outside review of his Donald’s tenure there, a year after he made the unusual decision to hire Harvard drop-out Jeffrey Epstein.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Correction. JE attended Cooper Union and NYU for about a year each, not Harvard. He worked at the Dalton School for two years.

      At age 23, he joined Bear Stearns. A non-graduate kid from Coney Island, whose dad worked for the NYC Parks department, Epstein was hired to advise high net-worth individuals on their investment and tax strategies.

      After four years at BS, at 27, he became a limited partner. Two years later he started his own investment management firm to advise billionaire clients.

      Bud Fox, move over. A lot of work there for an investigative reporter.

    • harpie says:

      Helen Kennedy, dug up the NYT article about Donald Barr leaving Dalton:
      8:10 AM – 8 Jul 2019

      […] Curious to know more about how and why Donald Barr, the father of our oh so Trumpy DA William Barr, hired Epstein after he dropped out of school at 20 years old with no degree to teach physics and calculus at the swanky private Dalton School in 1973.
      [more about Epstein here w/ link to Vanity Fair..]
      Epstein taught at Dalton from 1973 to 1975. Donald Barr quit as headmaster in 1974 in a dispute with the school’s board of trustees.

      links to: Barr Quits Dalton School Post, Charging Trustees’ Interference FEB. 20, 1974

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        What is odd is that an experienced academic bureaucrat like Donald Barr – a career at Columbia, a decade directing a private school (long enough to mean any shit about to hit the fan was Barr’s) – falling out so badly with his trustees that they were driven to bring in an outside auditor-litigator. That means a school is in big trouble and someone’s head is on the block.

        A headmaster in those circumstances has about two choices: a) Be clean as a whistle, campaign for support among the alums, and ride it out, hoping the truth will out. b) Leave in a huff, before the auditors document the soiled linen and the trustees swing the ax. Donald Barr left in a huff.

        This happened when Billy Barr was a newbie at CIA and taking his law degree part-time at GW.

        This and Epstein’s precipitous rags to riches story leave behind several questions. The most pressing is whether Epstein made his spectacular wealth through personal and mathematical charm, or because he supplemented his charm by satisfying his billionaire clients’ baser instincts. The proceeds from the latter might have been greater and more enduring. The whole thing has a strong whiff of Roy Cohn.

    • harpie says:

      Acosta, Who Cut Deal With Epstein, Tried to Slash Anti-Trafficking Program by 80 Percent His proposal came under fire at the time from a congresswoman who noted his sweetheart deal with accused trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
      Updated 07.10.19 9:46AM ET / Published 07.10.19 9:43AM ET

      [I’ve only been awake for four hours and I’m already exhausted.]

    • harpie says:

      Also via Helen Kennedy Retweeted:
      10:54 PM – 10 Jul 2019
      This is the bio for this account:

      New York City Public Defender, @theappeal Media Relations Director, Writer, @nyulaw, @sydneylawschool, @sydney_uni. Views my own.

      She links to NYPD let convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein skip judge-ordered check-ins; 7/10/19
      …and says:

      As a sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein is required to report to the NYPD every 90 days. Failing to do so is a felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison. Now, the police department says he hasn’t reported once since being designated a sex offender in 2011.

      The NYPD say they repeatedly told Cy Vance’s office he wasn’t in compliance with reporting requirements and they were told to simply send him reminder letters.

      Cy Vance says that’s not true and the NYPD told his office he was in compliance.

      This isn’t a small thing or a “technicality.” People get prosecuted for failing to report or not registering a change of address all the time. In Manhattan, the usual sentence would be a year in jail or prison. That Cy Vance did not prosecute this case is incredible.
      Before the NYS election, @NYGovCuomo launched an investigation into @ManhattanDA’s failure to prosecute Harvey Weinstein that he suspended and has not reinstated. There is so much that is rotten in that DA’s office, to even wait until the next election feels too long.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No, but as the cited article lays out, executive privilege is more narrowly construed by the courts which invented it. It expands the deference those same courts give to Congress when it is engaged in investigating whether to impeach a president rather than to legislate generally.

      • bmaz says:

        That article takes up a lot of column inches to get to “well of course an impeachment inquiry provides a far superior footing”.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald Trump is “not fond” of Jeffrey Epstein? A president might not be “fond” of the Mets or the Yankees. But how is “not fond” an adequate response about a convicted sex offender being prosecuted by his own DoJ for subsequent sex crimes – and the de facto review of the absurdly sweetheart deal given that sex offender by the current Secretary of Labor when he was a US Attorney?

      • BobCon says:

        I misread fondle as fondue. I was going to follow up with “I’ll stop the world and melt fondue” but it will have to wait.

        • punaise says:

          Sexist old tradition that I recall my parents mentioning back in the swinging 70s: if a woman drops her piece of bread in the fondue pot she has to kiss all the gentlemen at the table. If a fellow does same he has to pay for the next bottle of wine.

          In that vein I finally figured out how we can take down the Trump crime family with RICO: Raclette Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

          (ducking from bmaz)

    • Jenny says:

      Trump in 2002: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” the future president said. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

      Trump in 2019: “Well, I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. I mean, people in Palm Beach knew him; he was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn’t a fan. I was not – yeah, a long time ago. I’d say, maybe 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you. I was not a fan of his.”

    • Eureka says:

      Related, from the January, 2016, Vice piece that’s recirculating since Saturday’s events: it’s remarkable just how “immediately” Trump answered a subpoena for deposition back in 2009 (~Season 8 in “The Apprentice” years) from an attorney for Epstein victims– maybe more quickly than he had cashed those checks for pennies from Spy Magazine (back a bit further in the day).

      The victims’ lawyer both found Trump totally believable, and– occasioned by the Vice interview– called Trump counsel Alan Garten so Garten could correct his denial to Vice that Trump had ever been subpoenaed.

      The Salacious Ammo Even Donald Trump Won’t Use in a Fight Against Hillary Clinton

      “During the conversation, Mr. Trump was open and forthright,” [victims’ attorney] Edwards said. “I cannot discuss the substance of the conversation. But I will say that it was obvious to me that he was in no way involved in any untoward activity.”

      • Eureka says:

        To be clear given the abbreviated quote: the subpoena was withdrawn after Trump spoke to the victims’ attorney voluntarily.

        So this wasn’t questioning conducted under oath, but a “conversation”– as characterized in the article.

      • bmaz says:

        This is a giant can of worms. Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell were total dicks in that, and related, matters.

        As dubious as Dershowitz was (and is still now), he looked better in many regards than Edwards and Cassell. I had hoped that shit show, on both sides, was done and in the past. It is hard to see it as instructive now.

        This is one of the problems with the much ballyhooed Miami Herald reportage. There is really nothing new here. This stuff has been playing out, with the same basic facts and circumstances, for many years. The only thing different is that a few members of Congress got on a roll and the public has finally caught on as to what was always there if you were paying attention. And Julie Brown is going to get a Pulitzer for reporting a story that was 90%, if not more, already out in the open.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Well, then what does Kaiser Quisling gain by having Epstein arrested now? Did Acosta’s plea deal with JE cover these particular victims? If so, the case could be made about double jeopardy since federal and state charges would apply to the same criminal acts. I know it doesn’t succeed, but one could argue it and I do not see the wisdom in giving this defendant ready-made appeal points. I also wonder when federal “civil rights” violations get charged when state murder charges (for example) lead to an acquittal. Justice would get done, but…

          If the victims were not on Acosta’s list, then these are new charges occurring across state lines with a nexus in NYC which do not have any statute of limitations. Of concern to me, though, is the apparent interest that Barr has been told to give this case. He would know how to rig it so JE walks (again), perhaps by fouling up the prosecution like Florida (Orange County DA, IIRC) did in the Trayvon Martin case.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Barr has chosen to be Trump’s consigliere, despite having conflicting obligations as Attorney General.

            There’s an obvious Trump nexus to Epstein. Whether it is recent enough to generate political or criminal liability for him is what Barr is there to prevent. He might also have chosen to become involved to keep his family’s possible dirty linen from being washed in public.

            If Epstein is the Roy Cohn-like predator he seems to be, one source of his power would be the threat of exposure. The super-rich are unfamiliar with the prospect of serious prison time. Anticipating it could make tongues wag in unaccustomed ways.

        • Eureka says:

          Shorter me: but what if the shit show is the point?

          I felt obligated to write a longer comment, though, because … it really can be more than plucking at coprolites (which of course is a fine specialty in and of itself).

          While I ‘d cited that limited snippet as to Trump because I saw it as related to Earl’s comment about Trump’s reactions to Epstein, I do think in general that past events and how they were handled can be very instructive in new contexts.

          We look six ways to Sunday into, say, Nixon-admin crimes and how they were handled. The country (or the part that cared to) could also publicly lament crimes to the person of our democracy, then and now. I’d make the analogy here to the country suffering death by a thousand cuts with cases like Epstein’s (and the countless worse, similar, or milder ‘events’ that never become cases– more than half the population has ‘stories’). Only now there is more, and sometimes more than, public lamenting. Revisiting Anita Hill (and Clarence Thomas, blech) in the wake of Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford was another of those times. And had Thomas been handled differently, we would not have a Justice Kavanaugh (nor, in all likelihood, a President Trump. And at least in part because we have a President Trump, Epstein is revived…).

          The shit show is the point.

          Brown’s reporting– besides, I thought, having spurred new victims to come forward– is at least qualitatively new in that sex crimes, exploitations, and so forth– and especially how they were/are handled– are received very differently now, i.e. as if something can be done differently/about it, rather than victims grinning while bearing it (among other issues). I agree that you are rightfully concerned about the sanctity of pleas for all citizens. In the Epstein case, complicated by what appears to be some kind of complicit corruption, it looks like they may have fucked up said corruption *just enough* to allow the SDNY charges. (I had linked to some Ken White comments influencing my pov on this, and saw comments you’ve made indicating that ~maybe you don’t disagree on the face of it with the current charges, given the oddities, but don’t want to misrepresent your opinion on that.)

          • Savage Librarian says:

            Thank you for your brilliance, Eureka! And for your courage and diplomacy. You impact people in ways you might never imagine. Yup!

            • Eureka says:

              Thank you for your kind and humbling words, SL. It was such a nice surprise to return here and find them. To have any kind of positive impact leaves me overcome (heart symbol).

  6. Rugger9 says:

    Too bad my earlier links post was eaten.

    Today’s reminder to watch the government like a hawk (i.e. the Census):

    I have no doubt the Palace under Miller and Mulvaney’s de facto direction will cram the citizenship question into the Census (even though the NY judge told DOJ they couldn’t swap out the team) and print it up before anyone catches them. Then after discovery it will be “too late” to fix it, just like all the gerrymandering before the 2016 and 2018 elections.

    • Eureka says:

      Thanks for the link. I had quoted a snippet* from WaPo on a previous page re the CBP in-custody population dropping dramatically (40%) in recent weeks.

      I wondered where they went; perhaps some to these new facilities. If the waystation is full, built more inns. /s


  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    British ambassador to the US “quits” shortly after Trump issues an edict ostracizing him and anyone who recognizes his existence from court.

    Kim Darroch was a member of the Blairite faction that called itself “New Labour.” They built a non-Labour party that substituted macho rudeness and drinking songs for anything resembling democratic socialism. Like Blair, they re-imagined the money-making potential of post-government employment.

    Darroch was, in fact, well-suited to work with this administration. Its behavior is an order of magnitude coarser and more self-serving than the Blairites. But his confidential observations about Trump were obvious to anyone capable of doing the work.

    A normal government would find it easy to replace him. But the UK is about to name Boris Johnson as Tory head and temporary prime minister, so all bets are off. Boris will probably add the job to his own portfolio.


  8. Savage Librarian says:

    Back to the post at hand. I appreciate the delineation of Ann Donaldson’s code. It seems quite deliberate. But I do wonder whether some of them are assists and some of them are tells. And if assists, for who. Any ideas? Or, maybe it doesn’t even matter.

  9. Rugger9 says:

    Acosta is out. Barr, on the other hand, is all-in. One wonders how well he understands the end game in Kaiser Quisling’s world where only Ivanka gets away for free.

    Barr’s presser was instructive, but what interested me is his indirect reference to a case (in AL, I believe, which is ironic) where the state is trying to force apportionment by the number of voting citizens and not as the US Constitution says, “persons”. It’s ironic because while AL had slaves they wanted them counted fully and settled in one of the first ugly compromises for 3/5s “of all other persons”. It’s a position blatantly against the letter and spirit of the US Constitution not unlike the claim that birthright citizenship does not exist (the 14th Amendment clearly spells out what was clearly implied before), but desperate times for the Palace call for desperate measures from the minions. Barr ought to be enough of a lawyer to know this is a dead letter even with this SCOTUS lineup. Ginsburg, et al. would slice and dice him in oral arguments (or more precisely Francisco as Solicitor General) and I can’t really see Roberts making such a large step change. As I had noted before, he prefers to nibble at protections.

    That of course assumes that the Palace doesn’t just “accidentally” include the citizenship question in the printer order and claim it would be too late to remove it.

    The other idea as I had noted before regarding the mining of existing agency data is that there is a lag time between a change and when it shows on a published record. Every place that used Crosscheck, TX just recently and (IIRC) GA a little farther back discovered that they were flagging actual citizens as non-citizens for that reason in substantial numbers. Even ICE has been repeatedly busted for deporting US citizens (including vets) because their information was crap.

    Do we really want to let the Palace decide who is a citizen when they can’t figure out (and don’t care) where the kids are even after a San Diego federal judge ordered them to return the kids to their families ~six months ago?

    How long will Barr hang on? I bet it is until he loses a key legal fight such as on the tax records to the House and / or is impeached himself.

    Lastly, Louisiana is going to get hit by a spring flood that hasn’t ended on top of a storm surge from (at least) Tropical Storm Barry combined with something like 20 inches of rain. They will need our help soon.

  10. Rugger9 says:

    2 more causes for worry: the Office of Personnel Management, under Congress’ oversight once the director is confirmed is allegedly being split up and the pieces shoved into the OMB (under Mick Mulvaney) and the GSA. The reason the civil service exists as it does has to do with the assassination of James Garfield in 1881, so the idea wasn’t new and has worked for over 136 years after the Pendleton Act was passed.

    It is a mere coinkydink that the Palace exerts more control on civil service even though the usual rationale is cost-cutting (but… weren’t the tax cuts going to pay for themselves????).

    The other is a reported delay in Mueller’s testimony by one week to 7/24 for reasons not yet explained. Apparently Barr needed more time to work on him.

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