Government Caught Between a Recusal Motion and Desperation

Last week, Sidney Powell made her first formal request that Judge Emmet Sullivan recuse.

In response, Judge Sullivan said (while noting the proper time for such a request was last year), file a motion.

Sidney did.

It was a shitshow.

Nevertheless, Judge Sullivan politely invited the government to weigh in.

They’ve now done so. While not disagreeing with Flynn, they argue that the way to proceed is on the motion to dismiss — and press for urgent response.

The United States of America, by and through its undersigned counsel, respectfully files this response to General Michael T. Flynn’s Motion to Disqualify Judge Emmet Sullivan, United States v. Flynn, 17-cr-232 (Doc. 161), filed on October 7, 2020. As this Court is aware, during the mandamus proceedings before the en banc Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, General Flynn asked that “any further proceedings be conducted by a different judge.” In re Flynn, No. 20-2153, Doc. 1846621 at 24. While the government did not address that request in its written pleadings, when asked during oral argument, the government offered that it had “reluctantly come to the view that there is now at least a question about appearances of impartiality” because this Court’s filing of a petition for en banc review suggested a “level of investment in the proceedings that is problematic.” In re Flynn, No. 20-2153, Doc. 1859900 (Transcript of the August 11, 2020, Hearing) at 54. The D.C. Circuit rejected that view. In re Flynn, No. 20-5143, 2020 WL 5104220, at *16 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 31, 2020).

Based in part on subsequent events, including the hearing held before the Court on September 29, 2020, General Flynn again raises the serious charge that this Court is biased and has engaged in misconduct. The government does not believe that adjudicating General Flynn’s motion is the most appropriate way for this Court to proceed. Consistent with the en banc D.C. Circuit’s statement that “[a]s the underlying criminal case resumes in the District Court, we trust and expect the District Court to proceed with appropriate dispatch,” In re Flynn, 2020 WL 5104220, at *7, the government respectfully submits that instead the Court should immediately grant the unopposed motion to dismiss the criminal information with prejudice. Doing so would avoid any further delay to General Flynn and to the government, and would eliminate any need for the Court to address the disqualification motion, which would be moot.

This is a nifty way to use the purportedly agreeing sides against each other.

The government wants this done by November 3. That makes Sulliavan’s response to Powell on recusal easier.

 

The Desperation of the Jeffrey Jensen Investigation Already Made Clear that John Durham Won’t Indict

Yesterday, a sick man called into Maria Bartiromo’s show and wailed that his opponents had not been indicted.

Bartiromo: Mr. President. We now know from these documents that John Ratcliffe unveiled that it was Hilary Clinton’s idea to tie you to Russia in some way. It was successful. The whole country was talking about it for two and a half years. But what comes next, Mr. President? We can have all of these documents, we can see exactly what happened but unless John [Durham] comes out with a report or indictments unless Bill Barr comes out with a — a — some kind of a ruling here, do you think this is resonating on the American people?

Trump: Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we’re going to get little satisfaction unless I win and we’ll just have to go, because I won’t forget it. But these people should be indicted, this was the greatest political crime in the history of our country and that includes Obama and it includes Biden. These are people that spied on my campaign and we have everything. Now they say they have much more, OK? And I say, Bill, we’ve got plenty, you don’t need any more. We’ve got so much, Maria, even — just take a look at the Comey report, 78 pages of kill, done by Horowitz, and I have a lot of respect for Horowitz, and he said prosecute. He recommended prosecute and they didn’t prosecute. I was — I couldn’t believe it, but they didn’t do it, because they said we have much bigger fish to fry. Well, that’s OK, they indicted Flynn for lying and he didn’t lie. They destroyed many lives, Roger Stone, over nothing. They destroyed lives. Look at Manafort, they sent in a black book, it was a phony black book, phony, they made up a black book of cash that he got from Ukraine or someplace and he didn’t get any cash.

In the comment, he described speaking directly to Billy Barr about the urgency of prosecuting his political opponents.

In response to this attack, Billy Barr has started telling Republican members of Congress that John Durham isn’t going to indict before the election.

Attorney General Bill Barr has begun telling top Republicans that the Justice Department’s sweeping review into the origins of the Russia investigation will not be released before the election, a senior White House official and a congressional aide briefed on the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans had long hoped the report, led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, would be a bombshell containing revelations about what they allege were serious abuses by the Obama administration and intelligence community probing for connections between President Trump and Russia.

  • “This is the nightmare scenario. Essentially, the year and a half of arguably the number one issue for the Republican base is virtually meaningless if this doesn’t happen before the election,” a GOP congressional aide told Axios.
  • Barr has made clear that they should not expect any further indictments or a comprehensive report before Nov. 3, our sources say.

Barr is excusing the delay by saying that Durham is only going to prosecute stuff he can win.

What we’re hearing: Barr is communicating that Durham is taking his investigation extremely seriously and is focused on winning prosecutions.

  • According to one of the sources briefed on the conversations Barr said Durham is working in a deliberate and calculated fashion, and they need to be patient.
  • The general sense of the talks, the source says, is that Durham is not preoccupied with completing his probe by a certain deadline for political purposes.

This back and forth represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what must be going on.

The Durham investigation should not, at this point, be considered separately from the Jeffrey Jensen investigation attempting to invent a reason to blow up the Flynn prosecution. That’s been true since Barr appointed Jensen because Durham hadn’t yet discovered anything to dig Sidney Powell out of the hole she had dug Flynn. But it’s especially true now that documents that would be central to the Durham inquiry are being leaked left and right — whether it’s the report that the FBI knew that Igor Danchenko had been investigated (like Carter Page and Mike Flynn) as a possible Russian agent, or specific details about when the FBI obtained NSLs on Mike Flynn.

The investigative integrity of the Durham investigation has been shot beyond recovery.

Plus, the sheer desperation of the Jensen investigation raises real questions about whether a credible investigation could ever find anything that could sustain a prosecution, in any case. That’s because:

  • Jensen has repeatedly provided evidence that proves the opposite of what DOJ claims. For example, the Bill Priestap notes that DOJ claimed were a smoking gun actually show contemporaneous proof for the explanation that every single witness has offered for Mike Flynn’s interview — that they needed to see whether Flynn would tell the truth about his calls with Sergey Kisklyak. Plus, now there’s a Priestap 302, one DOJ is hiding, that further corroborates that point. That evidence blows all the claims about the centrality of the Logan Act to interviewing Flynn out of the water, and it’s already public.
  • Jensen’s investigators submitted altered exhibits to sustain easily disprovable claims. DOJ has claimed that this tampering with evidence was inadvertent — they simply forgot to take sticky notes off their files. That doesn’t explain all the added dates, however, undermining their excuse. Moreover, if they didn’t intentionally tamper with evidence, they’re left claiming either that they haven’t read the exhibits they’ve relied on thus far in this litigation, or that they’re so fucking stupid that they don’t realize they’ve already disproven their own assumptions about dates. Add in the way their “errors” got mainlined to the President via a lawyer meeting with Trump’s campaign lawyer, and the whole explanation gets so wobbly no prosecutor would want to proceed toward prosecution with problems that could so easily be discoverable (or already public).
  • Jensen’s investigators got star witness William Barnett to expose himself as a partisan willing to forget details to help Trump. Along with an analyst that was skeptical of the Flynn case (but who was moved off before the most damning evidence came in), Barnett would need to be the star witness in any case alleging impropriety in the investigation. But rather than hiding Barnett’s testimony and protecting his credibility, Jensen made a desperate bid to get his claims on the record and make it public. And what the 302 actually shows — even without a subpoena of Barnett’s personal ties and texts sent on FBI phones — is that in his interview, Barnett claimed not to understand the case (even though documents he filed show that he did, contemporaneously), and either did not remember or deliberately suppressed key evidence (not least that Flynn told Kislyak that Trump had been informed of his calls).  The 302 further showed Barnett presenting as “truth” of bias claims that instead show his willingness to make accusations about people he didn’t work with, even going so far as to repackage his own dickish behavior as an attempt to discredit Jeannie Rhee. Finally, by hiding how many good things Barnett had to say about Brandon Van Grack, DOJ has made it clear that the only thing Barnett can be used for is to admit that he, too, believes Flynn lied, didn’t have a problem with one of the key investigators in the case, and that his views held sway on the final Mueller Report. Had Durham managed this witness, Barnett might have been dynamite. Now, he would be, at best, an easily discredited partisan.

Jensen is working from the same evidence that Durham is. And what the Jensen investigation has shown is that it takes either willful ignorance or deliberate manipulation to spin this stuff as damning. And in the process, Jensen has destroyed the viability of a witness and possibly other pieces of evidence that any credible prosecution would use.

DOJ might make one last bid in giving Trump what he wants, allegations against his adversaries, by using the initial response in the McCabe and Strzok lawsuits as a platform to make unsubstantiated attacks on them (DOJ got an extension in both cases, but one that is still before the election). But those attacks will crumble just like the Jeffrey Jensen case has, and do so in a way that may make it easier for McCabe and Strzok to get expansive discovery at the underlying actions of people like Barnett.

Billy Barr has largely shot his wad in drumming up accusations against Trump’s critics. And along the way, he has proven how flimsy any such claims were in the first place.

Sidney Powell Falsely Claims All Jeffrey Jensen’s Errors Have Been Corrected

Sidney Powell doesn’t want anyone writing Judge Sullivan correcting the erroneous record that she and DOJ have entered in the Mike Flynn case. She wrote a letter asking him to strike the letters from lawyers for Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe informing him that exhibits Powell received via Jeffrey Jensen’s review and uploaded to the docket and integrated into her accusations against others were false.

I guess she realizes there are additional errors that need to be fixed.

More remarkably, after taking a swipe at Strzok and McCabe in her letter (sounding like President Trump wailing for indictments), she claims that the Jensen “errors” have been corrected.

When Mr. Strzok and Mr. McCabe become parties to criminal proceedings, they are welcome to file objections in their own cases. Until then, they are free to write directly to the Department of Justice with their concerns, but they may not engage in ex parte or extrajudicial communications with the judge in this case, nor insert themselves into proceedings in which they have no standing. The Department of Justice has already taken appropriate action to correct the unintentional error. The defense only filed what it had been provided by the government.

This is, of course, false. The original claim not to know when the January 5, 2017 meeting was remains, as does Powell’s own attack on Joe Biden based off that false claim.

This ought to draw more, not less, attention to how Judge Sullivan’s docket has become a seeding ground for false campaign attacks.

2020 Vice Presidential Debate: In the Land of the Shoshone

This post is dedicated to discussion of the Vice Presidential debate between current VP Mike Pence and Democratic VP candidate Senator Kamala Harris.

The debate is scheduled to begin at 9:00 PM ET and will take place in the Nancy Peery Marriott Auditorium at the University of Utah’s Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah.

University of Utah’s efforts to prevent the dispersion of the candidates’ aerosolized exhalations — particularly those of Pence who has been in contact with infected persons within the last week — are absolutely laughable, evident in this photo of the stage (via NBC):

Harris had asked for a plexiglass partition between the candidates which the Commission on Presidential Debates approved though not without complaint by Team Pence. What the Commission furnished is a joke, clearing the candidates’ heads by no more than 18″.

Check-out clerks at major grocery store chains and banks have more protection than this.

I’m crossing my fingers that Harris’s people have reached out to SC Senate candidate Jaime Harrison to see if they could borrow the folding plexiglass screen he used when debating Lindsey Graham.

Or found a mask with a built-in mic (why hasn’t this become a thing?) so that she has more protection but is still audible.

~ ~ ~

Like the three Presidential debates, this event is booked in a red state venue. None of the events organized by the allegedly nonpartisan, nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates is scheduled for a blue state.

Partisan bias could well explain the casual attitude toward infection control.

Utah’s state nickname is the Gateway to the West, but Native Americans know this is land taken from Ute, Paiute, and Shoshone tribes. Though some of the state falls under sketchy treaties, Salt Lake City itself is unceded land of the Northwestern Shoshone. Let’s hope this is recognized at some point during the evening.

USA Today’s Susan Page is the scheduled moderator, who has a conflict of interest:

… A potential conflict of interest has arisen in the vice-presidential debate. In late 2018, moderator Susan Page hosted a party in honor of Mike Pence’s protégé Seema Verma, who runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs for the Trump administration. As New York’s Ed Kilgore notes, the controversy centers on “whether a working journalist at Page’s level who has been hobnobbing with Mike Pence’s best-known associate in the Trump administration ought to be moderating his debate with Kamala Harris.” …

And in spite of the hubbub which arose when this conflict of interest was identified, Page and USA Today have refused to do anything about it — apparently there are no other journalists at USA Today covering the presidential race who are free of conflicts…? Or COVID-negative?

Sure hope it comes up in the debate that Mike Pence has had to return to DC when Air Force 2 was turned around mid-flight on its way to or from New Hampshire not once but twice in the last 18 months.

Has any journalist confirmed it was Air Force 2 hitting a bird which caused Pence to turn around on September 22 and not something else? Or did they leave it to Pence’s communications people to explain this?

~ ~ ~ 

Add these two dates to your calendar for the remaining two presidential debates — if Trump is healthy enough to participate:

Thursday 15-OCT-2020
9:00–10:30 p.m. ET
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Miami, Florida
Moderator: Steve Scully, C-SPAN

Thursday 22-OCT-2020
8:00–9:30 p.m. ET
Curb Event Center at Belmont University
Nashville, Tennessee
Moderator: Kristen Welker, NBC

I’m not holding my breath for these.

Sidney Powell Has Become No More than a Channel for the Fevered Rantings of Her Twitter Followers

Sidney Powell has outdone herself in this motion for recusal, submitted 16 months after the appropriate time for such a motion. This thread unpacks it.

I want to look at the crazy-ass echo chamber that Powell is engaged in.

In her filing, she argues that because “a random sample of tweets of citizens in response to the hearing” suggest Judge Emmet Sullivan is biased, it supports a claim that he appears biased.

Because “unbiased, impartial adjudicators are the cornerstone of any system of justice worthy of the label, [a]nd because ‘[d]eference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends upon public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges,’ jurists must avoid even the appearance of partiality.” Al Nashiri, 921 F.3d at 233- 234. The court jettisoned any appearance of neutrality before and throughout the hearing. Judge Sullivan’s words and conduct prior to and during the hearing have had a profound negative affect on “public confidence in the integrity of the judicial process” and require him to recuse himself under §455(a) and §455(b)(1). Liljeberg v. Health Servs. Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 860 (1988). See Ex. A (a random sample of tweets of citizens in response to the hearing).

[snip]

The court’s hostile tenor made its abject bias resounding to thousands who listened or who read the transcript. Countless tweets from Americans who were watching what became a circus reflect their view of the federal judiciary. Ex. A. It was apparent that the court was desperate to find something wrong.

Here’s the list of tweets she draws on.

The first is “Undercover Huber,” one of the two most ardent recyclers of her garbage propaganda. For some reason Powell redacts his avatar but here it is:

Powell has likely violated PACER rules with this filing, as she submitted the personal information of a bunch of random people without redacting it. Suffice it to say that these people are responding to:

  • High Gaslighter Catherine Herridge
  • Powell herself
  • Mike Flynn himself
  • QAnon account @SSG_Pain
  • Jack Posobiec
  • Epoch Times
  • John W Huber
  • Lara Logan
  • President Trump
  • Tom Fitton
  • The Last Refuge

 

 

Some are fairly obviously bots.

But the craziest bit is that Sidney Powell includes these two tweets in her totally random collection of tweets which she has obviously searched for by searching on “Eric” and “Judge Sullivan” (which means they’re not random at all):

It turns out, however, that one of just a few that had that reaction to this hearing. The rest of tweets that come up on such a search invoke a more generalized conspiracy about a black judge being friends with a black former Attorney General.

That doesn’t matter to Sidney Powell. She’s got a point to manufacture.

Back in her motion to recuse, she suggests (having lauded Sullivan in the past in this case because of his actions in the Ted Stevens case) that the reason Sullivan did dismiss Stevens’ case but not Flynn’s is because Holder made the motion in the former.

There are only two material differences between the government misconduct here and that in the Stevens case. The first is that the government misconduct against General Flynn is far worse—and it goes all the way to the Obama oval office. ECF No. 248; Exs. D, E. The second is the name of the Attorney General. As the court noted on the record last week, “Eric” moved to dismiss the wrongful Stevens case—with prejudice—and the court granted it immediately on a two-page motion. Hr’g Tr. 09-29-20 at 90.

I think the suggestion is that if a black Attorney General had made the request here, Sullivan would have granted it.

And from there, she goes exactly where her Twitter nutjobs want her to, and demands — with no basis whatsoever — all communications between Emmet Sullivan and Eric Holder.

All communications and visits with Eric Holder about this case or General Flynn, identification of the number of visits Eric Holder has made to Chambers about this case or General Flynn, or other personal meetings regarding General Flynn with Eric Holder to whom Emmet Sullivan referred as “Eric” on the record in the hearing. Hr’g Tr. 09-29-20 at 89.

Powell’s fevered motions have literally become just the expression of the Id of her own crazed Twitter thread.

 

DOJ Admits Jeffrey Jensen’s Team Added Erroneous Date to Peter Strzok’s Notes, Asks for Mulligan

In a filing in the Mike Flynn case, DOJ has explained why an erroneous date was added to Peter Strzok’s notes from what DOJ has already submitted evidence happened on January 5, 2017.

In response to the Court and counsel’s questions, the government has learned that, during the review of the Strzok notes, FBI agents assigned to the EDMO review placed a single yellow sticky note on each page of the Strzok notes with estimated dates (the notes themselves are undated). Those two sticky notes were inadvertently not removed when the notes were scanned by FBI Headquarters, before they were forwarded to our office for production. The government has also confirmed with Mr. Goelman and can represent that the content of the notes was not otherwise altered.

Similarly, the government has learned that, at some point during the review of the McCabe notes, someone placed a blue “flag” with clear adhesive to the McCabe notes with an estimated date (the notes themselves are also undated). Again, the flag was inadvertently not removed when the notes were scanned by FBI Headquarters, before they were forwarded to our office for production. Again, the content of the notes was not otherwise altered.

Along with the filing, they’ve included the three exhibits they added dates to (there’s a third where they added a date in a redaction covering over something that could be a date), asking that they be replaced.

DOJ offered no explanation about why they added an erroneous date that they’ve provided proof they know is erroneous to a filing that they had previously submitted without the erroneous date. Nor have they explained why this erroneous date range differs from the previous erroneous date range they gave to Sidney Powell that she used to launch an attack on Joe Biden.

I guess they’re hoping that Judge Sullivan was too tired after the long hearing last week to notice that that erroneous date had been worked into an attack by President Trump on Joe Biden just hours after the hearing.

Whatever they’re hoping, they’ve now admitted that Jeffrey Jensen’s team is either unbelievably incompetent, hasn’t read the evidence they claim they used to convince Billy Barr to dismiss the case, or simply tampering with the evidence to set up attacks from Sidney Powell and Donald Trump.

Federalist Society Super-Spreader Plausible Deniability

There’s a remarkable paragraph in this NYT story explaining that the White House refuses to contact trace the attendees at the party for “pro-life” Amy Coney Barrett, a feeding frenzy of Federalist Society members itching to fill another SCOTUS seat, where numerous people caught a deadly disease.

The White House has decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members at the Rose Garden celebration 10 days ago for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, where at least eight people, including the president, may have become infected, according to a White House official familiar with the plans.

The paragraph suggests, based on no evidence, that the gala of Federalist Society members is where the President got sick.

And yet the rest of the story suggests that the White House knows that’s not what happened, that the President may well have, instead, made everyone else sick.

If the White House didn’t at least suspect that the President was the vector at the gala, after all, they would not pursue the policy of keeping all contact tracing in-house and limiting it to those who contacted the President for the two days — presumably meaning 48 hours — in advance of his late Thursday night confirmed diagnosis.

Instead, it has limited its efforts to notifying people who came in close contact with Mr. Trump in the two days before his Covid diagnosis Thursday evening. It has also cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has the government’s most extensive knowledge and resources for contact tracing, out of the process.

[snip]

After Mr. Trump’s illness was diagnosed, an internal C.D.C. email on Friday asked the agency’s scientists to be ready to go to Washington for contact tracing, but a request from the White House for assistance never came, according to two senior C.D.C. scientists.

Instead, the tracing efforts are being run by the White House Medical Unit, a group of about 30 doctors, nurses and physician assistants, headed by Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, who has been the public spokesman for Mr. Trump’s doctors.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said that a “robust contact tracing program” was underway “led by the White House Medical Unit with C.D.C. integration.” The “integration” refers to an epidemiologist from the C.D.C. who has been detailed to the unit since March, according to a White House official.

The two day contact tracing is guaranteed not to show that Trump could have infected anyone at the debate, which was slightly more than 48 hours before Trump was diagnosed.

More importantly, it guarantees that Trump cannot be shown to be the vector that exposed a great number of important people, including at least three Senators critical to the effort to rush through Barnett’s confirmation before the election, and possibly even the Chief Justice.

The NYT has very good reason to suspect that Trump was infected before the Federalist Society super-spreader party. That’s because NYT White House Correspondent Michael Shear is among the journalists who has tested positive in this latest White House cluster. Shear believes he had to have been infected on September 26, but he didn’t attend the super-spreader event. He showed up to the White House earlier that day to take a COVID test, and then, later that evening, flew on Air Force One, where Trump spoke to reporters, not wearing a mask, for about 10 minutes.

While there are other possibilities, if Trump infected Shear during that short conversation, it would mean that the President would have been shedding COVID earlier in the day, all over the VIPs at the event full of Federalist Society members.

By admitting they need to contract trace back the two days before Trump was diagnosed, the White House is now all but admitting that Trump was already positive at the debate, meaning his 77-year old opponent has narrowly survived exposure the disease too. But they’re only doing that to avoid admitting what is quite likely, but far more damning: that he was the vector by which everyone else got infected on September 26.

Hours ago, Kellyanne Conway confirmed what her troubled daughter Claudia earlier claimed on TikTok. Claudia has now tested positive (though George, who no longer gets invited to the best Federalist Society galas, apparently did not). Kellyanne tried to suggest that there had been no delay in her own diagnosis, thereby denying that she’s the advisor described in a WSJ article who was ordered to lie about her diagnosis.

But there was a delay. There was a delay because the White House is desperately trying to cover up that the President may have been the one who infected all those VIPs. Those VIPs, and now an innocent 15-year old young woman.

Update: Clarified why I’m branding this to the “pro-life” Federalist Society.

Update: Corrected to note that Joe Biden was likely exposed to the disease. There’s no indication he (or John Roberts, who was likely also exposed to it) have contracted it. h/t TW

Update: Shear told Axios that his spouse has now tested positive.

October COVID Surprise: So Much Bullshit, So Little Time [UPDATE-4]

Here’s a new post because the last post’s comment thread is now unwieldy, and there’s more fresh bullshit to wade through.

I have been wading through a bunch of material but don’t have anything ready for publication. Community members still need some white space in which to discuss the latest Trump bullshit.

Have at it — I’ll add content here shortly with any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

~ ~ ~

Trump’s little joy ride this evening did himself no favors. His body’s under huge stress and he doesn’t appear to recognize this, even if the Regeneron multi-antibody therapy is working.

There’s a dearth of news about that antibody cocktail’s success under compassionate use with other COVID patients. Regeneron released information about a study in which 275 out of a total 1100 participants received this therapy.

What’s weird about the antibody cocktail is that they didn’t release a study with data but a goddamned press release on Tuesday September 29, at 4:01 p.m.

Conveniently one minute after market close but before the debate, and potentially after some persons in the White House knew they were COVID-positive.

The steroid Trump received — dexamethasone — was the next appropriate step in the protocol for COVID based on Trump’s depleted oxygen levels, which means the antibody cocktail wasn’t working as quickly or as well as needed.

Dexamethasone would have been dispensed because Trump’s oxygen level fell substantially; when asked, Conley said his level had not fallen into the low 80s — a level which would be cyanotic. This means Trump’s O2 probably did fall to 85% and likely needed oxygen and the steroid to prevent cyanosis.

A study this summer showed this steroid helps some patients:

RESULTS
A total of 2104 patients were assigned to receive dexamethasone and 4321 to receive usual care. Overall, 482 patients (22.9%) in the dexamethasone group and 1110 patients (25.7%) in the usual care group died within 28 days after randomization (age-adjusted rate ratio, 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75 to 0.93; P<0.001). The proportional and absolute between-group differences in mortality varied considerably according to the level of respiratory support that the patients were receiving at the time of randomization. In the dexamethasone group, the incidence of death was lower than that in the usual care group among patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation (29.3% vs. 41.4%; rate ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.81) and among those receiving oxygen without invasive mechanical ventilation (23.3% vs. 26.2%; rate ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.94) but not among those who were receiving no respiratory support at randomization (17.8% vs. 14.0%; rate ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.55).

CONCLUSIONS
In patients hospitalized with Covid-19, the use of dexamethasone resulted in lower 28-day mortality among those who were receiving either invasive mechanical ventilation or oxygen alone at randomization but not among those receiving no respiratory support.

Source: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2021436

But Trump is NOT receiving respiratory support consistently based on yesterday’s photos and proof-of-life video, this evening’s his stunt ride as well as the sketchy information his physicians have given. The steroid would not be as beneficial to him as it would be to patients on ventilators.

To my knowledge Trump’s physicians have already shot their COVID arsenal. If Trump has additional difficulty breathing he’ll likely be put under anesthesia into an induced coma and intubated. If he gets to that point he won’t have a choice about it because his low oxygen level could cause a cascade of organ failures — a crash.

We can deduce his lungs are compromised because of Dr. Conley’s hedging about their appearance (“There’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern,” he said).

It’s likely Trump’s being monitored for cardiac symptoms given the use of ultrasound and the frequency with which COVID causes myocarditis. We can’t rule out the possibility Trump had cardiac symptoms when he went on an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed last November which may mean he’s at greater risk of myocarditis.

And it’s likely Trump’s got some degree of COVID brain as well, which the steroid will make worse — he’ll have cloudy thinking but with mania. A number of doctors from different fields have expressed concerns about dexamethasone’s affect on Trump’s capacity given the possibility of mania, delirium/confusion while under its influence.

We don’t even know yet if Trump has been free of fever without antipyretic medication.

I’m not a doctor, but none of this suggests to me that Trump will be ready to be released from Walter Reed tomorrow, joy ride or not.

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 10:00 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

The cover-up continues. One of the White House correspondents, Michael D. Shear, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now disclosing the White House has not made any effort to reach out to him as part of contact tracing. (Open pic link below to launch tweeted video clip of interview with Shear.)

There has been no mention of the White House or members of the Centers for Disease Control reaching out to anyone else who was in attendance at the Barrett ‘Rose Garden Massacre’ where it’s believed more than a couple people were infected.

As Marcy noted in Twitter, it looks increasingly like Trump was infected on Thursday or Friday, 24-25 September, and that he may be responsible for a number of the cases associated with the Barrett ‘Rose Garden Massacre’.

But this also means Trump was infectious at the debate and may have knowingly attempted to infect his opponent, Joe Biden.

Melania also tested positive and was the only family Trump family member to wear a mask, though she did so while seated in the audience and not while on the debate stage upon Trump’s entrance. Was she told not to wear a mask on stage not only because Trump is anti-mask but because Trump wanted to increase the viral load on the stage?

This isn’t just a case of indifference like that Trump showed yesterday by taking a joy ride in the presidential limousine, forcing Secret Service personnel into a hermetically-sealed vessel in which they could not escape any of his aerosolized exhalation which may have escaped his mask.

It’s a deliberate effort to avoid handling the COVID-19 outbreak surrounding Trump, and a deliberate effort to hurt the election process by biological assault against an opposing candidate.

Back in April when the White House COVID-19 Task Force was working on a national plan to respond to the pandemic, there was a pointed effort not to roll out a national plan:

… Against that background, the prospect of launching a large-scale national plan was losing favor, said one public health expert in frequent contact with the White House’s official coronavirus task force.

Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said….

It was Kushner’s political calculus, with Trump’s implicit imprimatur, to allow Americans in blue states to sicken and to die without testing or other federal public health assistance because their states didn’t support Trump.

Who is responsible for the political calculus to allow members of Congress, White House staff and correspondents, Trump campaign team members, spouses and children, to be exposed to COVID-19 without any attempt to trace the source of the infection, to avoid making Trump look bad?

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-2 — 11:00 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

Uh-huh.

Reported through a Murdoch-owned outlet:

WASHINGTON—President Trump didn’t disclose a positive result from a rapid test for Covid-19 on Thursday while awaiting the findings from a more thorough coronavirus screening, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Trump received a positive result on Thursday evening before making an appearance on Fox News in which he didn’t reveal those results. Instead, he confirmed earlier reports that one of his top aides had tested positive for coronavirus and mentioned the second test he had taken that night for which he was awaiting results.

“I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning,” Mr. Trump said during the interview. At 1 a.m. on Friday, the president tweeted that he indeed had tested positive.

Who are those “persons familiar with the matter” — Kushner? Others who’ve been covering Trump’s ass as well as their own because they have a vested interest in not getting embroiled in lawsuits or investigations?

Meanwhile,

We’ve seen feedback leaking out across Twitter indicating staff and their network are very unhappy with how the White House has handled this outbreak and Trump’s joy ride which risked the health of Secret Service agents for a campaign stunt.

How do we reconcile what WSJ reported when other details don’t stack up and staffers are fearful and unhappy?

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-3 — 11:30 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

By the way, lest we forget: as of this update there have been 209,603 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

The country is on track to exceed 210,000 deaths from COVID-19 within the next 24-48 hours.

There were an estimated +618,756 new cases this past week, compared to less than 1,000 around the Pacific Rim countries.

I think I predicted 200,000 deaths by Election Day. I guess I was wrong, putting too much faith in state governments and in Americans to take the right measures to protect themselves since the Trump administration is intent on failing them.

The cherry on top of this disaster: Team Trump is now attacking Joe Biden for not having COVID-19 — utter insanity.

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-4 — 11:40 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

I wish somebody could shut down this firehose.

Press Secretary McEnany attacked the media yesterday.

She should have self-isolated after being in contact with multiple infected persons but no. She deliberately attacked the press by exposing them to a biological agent during her maskless briefing.

I mean we’ve seen some hacks come and go as press secretary but I don’t recall any of them being this malicious with the people who are the reason they have a job at all.

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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Andrew McCabe Delays Testimony to SJC, Calling In-Person Testimony a “Grave Safety Risk”

Virtually every book about the FBI or the Mueller investigation that has come out in recent years has described that Andrew McCabe is a superb briefer — meaning, in part, he can present complex issues to a hostile audience clearly. That’s why the reason his attorney, Michael Bromwich, gave for delaying testimony that was scheduled makes a lot of sense.

As a letter Bromwich sent to Lindsey Graham laid out, McCabe agreed to a voluntary interview in September, provided a series of conditions were met. One — that McCabe have access to his unclassified calendars and notes — has already been thwarted by DOJ, which refused to turn them over (as Bromwich laid out in a letter to Michael Horowitz last week, after inventing reasons not to share the materials that might make McCabe’s testimony more useful, FBI admitted they wouldn’t turn them over because of McCabe’s lawsuit against the Bureau).

But another of the conditions was that the testimony be in person. Bromwich noted that Republicans spoke over both Sally Yates and Jim Comey when they earlier testified remotely. “[A] witness answering questions remotely via videoconference is at a distinct disadvantage in answering those questions,” Bromwich wrote. “A fair and appropriate hearing of this kind – which is complex and contentious – simply cannot be conducted other than in person.”

But the COVID outbreak among those who attended the Federalist Society super-spreader event last weekend has made such in-person testimony too dangerous.

Mr. McCabe was still prepared to testify voluntarily and in person on October 6 as recently as the latter part of this past week. However, since that time, it has been reported that at least two members of your Committee – Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis – have tested positive for Covid-19, and it may well be that other members of the Committee and staff who plan to attend the hearing will test positive between now and then, or may have been exposed to the virus and may be a carrier. Under these circumstances, an in-person hearing carries grave safety risks to Mr. McCabe, me, and senators and staff who would attend.

McCabe is not wrong. There’s abundant reason to distrust Lindsey Graham’s claimed negative test. Mike Lee was haranguing publicly at several public events last week before he was diagnosed. And Chuck Grassley (who has far more mask discipline than his colleagues, but who was unmasked for part of the Comey hearing last week) refuses to be tested.

Still, it’s crazy that SJC has become too dangerous for a regular oversight hearing, but Lindsey still plans to push on with the Supreme Court confirmation process that caused that COVID outbreak.

October COVID Surprise, Part Deaux [UPDATE-4]

Rayne’s original October Surprise post is getting very top heavy in the number of comments. There are ongoing revelations, including KellyAnne and Bill Stepian now being COVID positive. There are going to be more because the Trump Administration continues to be a walking and talking superspreader.

At any rate, a new thread is needed. And Rayne and/or Marcy may add to it later (heck, I may even add more content later), but a new stub was needed.

So bring all yer COVID talk here.

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UPDATE-1 — 10:10 A.M. —

Hey. Rayne here, adding to bmaz’s overflow post. Recall my concern about the timeline of events from my previous October Surprise post?

This medical professional has similar concerns:

An M.D. and former public health official can’t make sense of the timeline based on the information given to the public. I don’t agree with her that we need to know exactly what an oximeter says about Trump’s condition, but we do need to know at what point Trump is in the expected course of COVID-19. We have a right to know how close we are to a transition of authority to VP Pence, temporary or otherwise.

IMO — and I am not a doctor — Trump had to have been sicker than we’ve been told to be given an experimental therapy yesterday. (Frankly, we can’t be certain he didn’t receive the antibody infusion on Wednesday based on what has been reported.) He had to have been sicker earlier than we’ve been told, likely at the debate on Tuesday night, posing a risk to Biden and to every person in the venue with whom Trump came in contact.

Apart from the malignant handling of the Barrett super spreader event in the Rose Garden this past weekend, Trump’s disclosures about his illness is wholly disqualifying for re-election. He is failing to communicate a national security risk we can all see unfolding before us after failing to protect national security at the Barrett event.

He couldn’t even be bothered to ensure Barrett’s children were protected when Barrett herself failed to do so by either leaving them at home or making them wear masks.

Most community members at this site wouldn’t trust Trump with their health or their kids. We don’t need yet another Justice who can’t protect ours let alone hers or her children.

Additional updates will appear here at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-2 — 12:10 P.M. —

Rayne here with the next update.

Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley gave an update on Trump’s condition. The presser was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. ET and didn’t start until nearly 40 minutes later. Make of that what you will.

Video of the presser is linked in the tweet above but it’s via Fox News. Fuck them. See the video link in this tweet:

The oxygen issue isn’t going to go away. If he was on oxygen his O2 levels were low; at that point the public should have been told about Trump’s condition because it could have gone (may yet go) south rapidly, requiring sedation and ventilation. Just too hedgy about this:

But the big takeaway from today’s presser: Trump may have been hiding his COVID-positive status.

Conley said Trump was 72 hours post-diagnosis — that’s +72 hours to testing, ++72 hours to whatever triggered the testing.

When was Trump tested? When did Trump first have symptoms? Did he go to the debate with symptoms and test results pending? Did he already know he was sick, exposing everyone including Biden?

Meanwhile, the Republicans’ Red Wedding Massacre continues. Chris Christie has now disclosed his COVID positive status; he’d helped prepare Trump for the debate and he’d attendend the Barrett super spreader event.

I want to know which GOP members of congress were on Air Force One:

It’d be nice for the public to know who to avoid at campaign events, you know? It’d also be nice to know if COVID-positive Sen. Ron Johnson was one of them, though he says he flew to D.C. on the 29th.

Heaven help all the support people around these careless and indifferent Republican motherfuckers — from the pilot and crew on Air Force One and Marine One, to the wait staff at the Barrett super spreader event.

Heaven help even these ethically-deficient White House staffers who are terrified and should quit for their safety and that of their friends and family (open pic link).

Additional updates will appear here at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-3 — 1:40 P.M. —

Rayne here yet again (yes, I have no life…).

Immediately following the presser with Trump’s physician, there was an off-the-record update with White House press pool in which the anonymous source said,

The source has now been identified as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows:

So…not good, which matches the seriousness necessitating infusion with antibody therapy and then remdesivir.

One of our community members, pdaly, noted some missing specificity in journalists’ questions to Dr. Conley which might have offered far more detail about Trump’s condition:

The doctor mentioned Trump’s oxygen saturation is 96% (on room air, implied, if not receiving supplemental oxygen). The reporters could ask if that reading is “at rest” or “with activity.”

The follow up question could be: “What is Trump’s O2 saturation with ambulation?”

If there is no reading, why not? Is he bedridden? Or does he desaturate with exertion?

One other big tell, in my opinion: the lack of a proof-of-life video. Trump, who is a camera hog and lives for TV ratings, couldn’t possibly have missed an opportunity to share a short video clip from within Walter Reed in which he smiles and waves to his base, giving them a thumb’s up.

Unless he’s far sicker than we are being told even by Meadows in an off-the-record update.

It’d certainly explain Trump’s dearth of tweeting today.

Additional updates will appear here at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-4 — 7:50 P.M. —

Hey, it’s Rayne again, with yet another update.

Looks like somebody was worried we’d miss his sorry ass mooching our tax dollars on the golf course. More likely Trump didn’t want to sound weak after his chief of staff Mark Meadows was caught on audio and video earlier.

Rudy Giuliani gave a statement for him after a 2:30 p.m. phone call with Trump but it wasn’t enough — too many people thinking it sounded like more of Rudy’s smarmy bullshit.

So Trump sat down and gave a proof-of-life video — not embedding it here, only giving you a link.

To me he sounds a little breathless for somebody used to rambling at full volume for an hour behind a podium at rallies.

He’s still full of shit, exaggerating what he’s doing in the hospital as if he’s taking it on for everyone around the world — talk about a narcissistic messiah complex — but he manages to choke out four minutes of happy talk.

He may literally be a “happy hypoxic,” too, since we don’t know if he’s been on oxygen today or not.

His color is bad but then he’s addicted to wearing foundation. He also looks like he’s lost weight; perhaps he’s lost his sense of taste and smell which are common enough symptoms of COVID, making food and beverages less appealing.

But of course he’s lied to us so goddamned much over the last 4-plus years it’s hard to believe this is a straight-up honest update. I’m skeptical of the timing and location because the backdrop doesn’t match anything in the photos of the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed.

We’re supposed to believe a small crew of a couple people with a mic and camera couldn’t have shot this four-minute clip in the Presidential Suite?*

Like I said, he’s lied so much it’s hard to believe anything he says let alone anything we see in which he appears.

Doesn’t help matters that there are noticeable, um, hiccups. Holly Figueroa O’Reilly pointed to one:

Did they edit out a mistake? Did they cut out a cough? Or was this simply a dystonic jerk of his shoulders we’ve seen frequently when he’s speaking at podiums, likely related to whatever neurological problem also causes his right foot to drag and his speech to be sporadically garbled?

* Note: Apparently USA Today published an article explaining the photos making the rounds today of Walter Reed’s Presidential Suite are from 2007. That said, we still have little information about when/where/how the proof-of-life video was recorded.

Additional updates will appear here at the bottom of this post.

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