The Israeli Focus and Others’ Criminality at the Beginning of Mike Flynn’s “Cooperation”

I’m working on a post showing how Mike Flynn and KT McFarland’s “cooperation” with prosecutors evolved. Since Flynn’s aborted December 2018 sentencing, it has been implicit that like Flynn, KT McFarland didn’t tell the truth about Flynn’s December 2016 conversations about sanctions with Sergey Kislyak at first. But once Flynn pled, she quickly realized she needed to straighten out her story, and did so weeks later. But between the release of some of her 302s and Sidney Powell’s release of Covington & Burling’s notes about discussions of Flynn’s early proffers, we have new detail on how that happened.

As I was working on that post, I realized something that seems very significant given the “peace” “plan” that Jared Kushner rolled out this week, partly in an attempt to save Bibi Netanyahu from legal consequences for his corruption.

After Flynn was fired, prosecutors mainly engaged with Flynn’s attorneys on his relationship with Turkey, which led to warnings to Flynn on August 30, 2017 that his former partner Bijan Kian might be indicted. While they were doing that, though, prosecutors secretly obtained Presidential Transition emails and devices (they obtained them from GSA on August 23 and probably got a warrant to access them on August 25) and they interviewed KT McFarland, Flynn’s deputy during the transition several times.

There’s one McFarland interview from August 29, 2017, which is 11 pages long, that the government hasn’t released. Her next interview was September 14, 2017. She had another on October 25, 2017. From the parts that are unredacted in these two interviews, you can see how she shaded the truth on the December 29, 2016 call with Sergei Kislyak. In the September one she denied remembering a security briefing at which sanctions came up and claimed not to remember a long call with Flynn that she has since admitted pertained to sanctions. She seems to have adopted the same excuse Flynn had used (and had had her repeat) all the way back in January: that the call with Kislyak was about setting up a video conference after inauguration. She describes an email that Flynn sent that both knew served as cover for his sanctions discussion (in that it didn’t mention it), and claimed not to be concerned that Flynn hadn’t mentioned sanctions.  In the October interview, she was shown emails that we now know to pertain to prep for that call, but which she claimed were general discussions about sanctions. She claimed to have no memory of specific discussions about sanctions she would later recall in December.

In the September interview, however, she discussed two other topics: Egypt (including a person with whom she was apparently warned against meeting after she joined the Administration) and Israel.

I’m interested in the extended questions (which led the interview) about Flynn’s efforts to get countries to vote against a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Remember, failing to admit his call with Kislyak as part of this effort is one of Flynn’s charged lies.

There are two details of interest. First, McFarland does not mention Jared Kushner (though the better part of one paragraph is redacted). Indeed, she claimed, “she was not aware of any else helping him on this.”

Most stunning, however, she likens the effort to Nixon’s secret negotiations with South Vietnam and Reagan’s negotiations with Iran, both efforts still considered great scandals to the extent they’re acknowledged.

Based on her study of prior presidential transitions, McFarland believed the sorts of things Flynn did were not unusual. She cited Richard Nixon’s involvement in Vietnam War peace talks and Ronald Reagan’s purported dealings with Iran to free American hostages during an incoming administration. Most incoming administrations did similar things. No “red light” or “alarm bells” went off in her head when she heard what Flynn was doing. The President-elect mae his support for Israel very clear during the campaign and contrasted his position with President Obama, who he believed had not treated Israel fairly.

On November 1, Jared had his first substantive interview, the 302 for which is 5-pages long (there is an earlier 1-page 302 on October 24, which is likely organizational). CNN’s report on the meeting described it as an effort to ensure that Jared did not have exculpatory information on Flynn.

That same afternoon, Flynn’s lawyers had a meeting with Mueller’s team to talk about bringing Flynn in for a proffer. Mueller’s team described that Flynn was facing FARA, false statements on FARA, and false statements “regarding contacts with Russian officials” during the transition.

They had a follow-up on November 3, where Brandon Van Grack explained what they expected they might ask him in a proffer:

  • Communications your client had during transition with foreign officials, including Russian officials.
  • Whether anyone provided him directions on those communication. [sic]
  • Communications he is aware of that other members of the transition had with foreign officials.
  • Communications he had with foreign officials during his time in the WH.
  • Communications other people had with foreign officials.

When asked how that related to his potential charges, Zainab Ahmad explained:

We’re eventually going to want to talk about everything. That will include topics he has criminal exposure on. We aren’t interested in Turkey right now. We’re asking him to come in because we think he has information that will shed criminality on other actors. It will cover everything. [my emphasis]

By “criminality on other actors,” Ahmad may have signaled no more than that Mueller was trying to catch others — definitely including McFarland and possibly including Kushner — in lies. Certainly, once McFarland saw Flynn’s statement of the offense, she moved to straighten out her testimony, meaning the effort resulted in getting real answers about a key part of the investigation.

But we don’t know what happened with the Israeli part of the investigation. DOJ has refused to turn over any of Jared’s 302s (and seems to be insinuating we should not know if someone running great swaths of US policy from the White House is under criminal investigation). Plus, under cover of impeachment, Bill Barr just replaced the US Attorney overseeing most of the ongoing investigations into Trump’s flunkies with his loyal aide, meaning he may be moving to shut down whatever remains ongoing.

Back in November 2017, Mueller’s prosecutors wanted to know whether Flynn’s lies covered for himself or for others. And particularly with respect to Jared, we don’t know whether those lies prepared the groundwork for the sop to Israel rolled out last week.

Update: South Vietnam, not North, corrected. Thanks to David for pointing out my sloppiness.

Update: Here is Jared’s November 1, 2017 302.

75 replies
  1. OldTulsaDude says:

    OT, but I was explaining the fear about the coronavirus and found myself saying, “China is like the Trump administration.” That’s weird but it’s true.

  2. SteveL says:

    Stunning indeed that McFarland would cite Nixon/N. Vietnam & Reagan/Iran in support of the proposition that such activity is normal.

  3. David says:

    Hi Marcy, minor quibble…As I fully suspect you know, Nixon’s secret negotiations were with the South Vietnamese. As you probably also know, Through Anna Chenault, Nixon told the South Vietnamese government that a future Nixon administration would negotiate with the Communists a better deal for the Saigon government so Saigon should slow roll the peace process until after the 1968 election to disadvantage the Democratic candidate. The US was surveilling the South Vietnamese because they did not trust the South Vietnamese to act in their own self-interest and so had recordings of Chenault communicating on Nixon’s behalf. So, of the GOP Presidents since 1968, arguably only Bush I was elected or appointed without malfeasance, and that is only arguable for Bush I given that he was riding on Reagan’s terms.

    • Peterr says:

      There is that little Iran-Contra thingee that straddled the Reagan-Bush transition, which Bush I swept away nicely on his way out of office when he pardoned the folks involved (who might have implicated him).

        • MB says:

          You mean that Roy-Cohnlike-guy-with-a-monotone-speaking-voice?

          Let’s name the 6:

          1) Caspar Weinberger – pardoned before a trial.
          2) Robert MacFarlane – pleaded guilty, convicted, sentenced and fined but pardoned in the nick o’ time.
          3) Elliot Abrams – pleaded guilty, convicted, accepted a plea bargain, then pardoned. Now our highly-esteemed Special Envoy to Venezuela in the Trump administration.
          4) Alan Fiers – pleaded guilty, convicted, given probation for cooperating with the Walsh investigation, pardoned.
          5) Clair George – pleaded guilty at first trial which resulted in a mistrial, convicted at the second trial, but pardoned before sentencing.
          6) Duane Claridge – indicted, pleaded guilty, but pardoned mid-trial.
          And also the asterisks:

          7*) Oliver North – accepted immunity in exchange for testimony. Later, lost his battle against Wayne LaPierre to “clean up corruption” in the NRA
          8*) Fawn Hall – Ollie’s secretary – given immunity for testifying against him, despite destroying docs
          9*) John Poindexter – convicted, but conviction overturned on appeal

          [FYI, edited to remove ‘excess’ dashes which may have forced comment into moderation. / ~Rayne]

          • Peterr says:

            7* – North was given immunity by Congress, not by DOJ. Walsh got convictions on 3 charges against North, but these were overturned on appeal because the court considered that some of the witness testimony against North was tainted by the immunized Congressional testimony that North had given.

          • MB says:

            Rayne – thanks for the tip, was wondering why it went into moderation. I tend to use a line of hyphens to separate what I’m writing into sections, but going all the way from left to right in a width-expanded edit box while I’m typing. Didn’t mean to give the server indigestion!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Much of the Iran-Contra scandal happened under Reagan. Arguably, that directly involved Poppy Bush, the vice president and former CIA director. (The CIA played a major role in the scandal.)

        Bush apparently orchestrated much of the cover-up of his own scandal, including the virtually complete stonewalling by Reagan and Bush’s administrations of Lawrence Walsh’s investigation.

        William Barr, a former CIA man himself, while a leading figure in Bush’s DoJ, implemented much of that cover-up. That included orchestrating Bush’s pardon of six senior administration figures.

        Those Christmas Eve pardons stopped Walsh in his tracks. Happily for Bush, that stopped Walsh from further investigating Bush’s direct involvement in the scandal.

        Bill Barr is an old hand at this.

  4. Peterr says:

    Thanks for pulling on these threads, Marcy. Now here’s another . . .

    The day after Trump canned Jim Comey, he chatted with Lavrov and Kislyak in the Oval Office, where two items of conversation were 1) getting rid of Comey would get relieve the pressure on Trump because of Russia, and 2) Trump sharing intelligence about ISIS knowing how to build bombs inside laptops. The latter contained enough detail that it soon came out the Israel had a mole inside ISIS – which obviously pissed off the Israeli intelligence folks. From Vanity Fair in Nov 2017:

    “Mr. Netanyahu’s intelligence chiefs . . . are up in arms,” a prominent Israeli journalist insisted in The New York Times. In recent interviews with Israeli intelligence sources the frequently used operative verb was “whiten”—as in “certain units from now on will whiten their reports before passing them on to agencies in America.”

    What further exacerbates Israel’s concerns—“keeps me up at night” was how a government spymaster put it—is that if Trump is handing over Israel’s secrets to the Russians, then he just might as well be delivering them to Iran, Russia’s current regional ally. And it is an expansionist Iran, one Israeli after another was determined to point out in the course of discussions, that is arming Hez­bol­lah with sophisticated rockets and weaponry while at the same time becoming an increasingly visible economic and military presence in Syria.

    “Trump betrayed us,” said a senior Israeli military official bluntly, his voice stern with reproach. “And if we can’t trust him, then we’re going to have to do what is necessary on our own if our back is up against the wall with Iran.”

    Trump has always been clear that keeping Israel happy is critical to his own electoral calculations, because that keeps a sizable US constituency happy. To that end, he’s given Israel several enormous gifts over the last two years, including moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and this latest faux peace agreement that would make Palestine a state in name only and confirm Israel’s settlements and power over the Palestinians. But I wonder if Bibi has also taken Trump’s poorly handled chat with Lavrov and Kislyak and turned it to his advantage by telling Trump something like “Mr. Trump, you have damaged our national security with this, and you need to make up for it.” He also could have shown Trump a proverbial lump under his jacket: “If we come out and confirm how you mishandled information we gave you, damaging Israel’s efforts to keep itself safe, it will NOT make your Evangelical base happy, nor the broader AIPAC community. You’ve got a nice relationship with those folks right now, and it’d be a shame if something were to happen to it . . .”

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    McFarland bragged – to the FBI – about corruptly and illegally interfering in American foreign policy before she and her boss took office?

    In the way that Nixon did with North Vietnam, seeking to delay the 1968 Paris peace talks and, thus, extend the war in Vietnam? In the way that Reagan did with Iran, reportedly telling them not to release the American embassy hostages to Carter, because he, Reagan, would give them a better deal – but only if he won?

    All I can say is that, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” The dunces here are in full array, on display with Trump like a choir of peacocks. Senators Ernst and Alexander, bmaz’s dentist in Arizona, and most of the congresscritters from Texas fit right in.

      • Frank Probst says:

        He should, but keep in mind that his shenanigans with NPR are all ultimately distractors from the content of his original interview with Mary Louise Kelly, and most people are paying attention to the wrong part of the content.

        Kelly nailed Pompeo to the wall when he lied about defending Marie Yovanovitch from the smear campaign against her, which is a humiliation that led to his temper tantrum. But Kelly herself points out that his hissy fit wasn’t as important as what he said in the original interview, and the focus of the original interview wasn’t Ukraine. It was Iran:

        (The might be paywalled.)

        She had already interviewed Iran’s foreign minister, so she already knew that there was/is no real diplomacy going on between us and Iran. She was able to get through all of her Iran questions in a 10 minute interview with Pompeo because he couldn’t really answer any of her questions. He threw out his usual talking points, but he wasn’t able to answer any of her follow-up questions; he just robotically spouted the same talking points. She knew that was going to happen, so she was prepared to ask questions about Marie Yovanovitch, and she came loaded for bear. She knew what his answers would be for those questions, too. She anticipated how he was going to dodge her questions, and once she got past the first line of non-answers, it was clear that there wasn’t a second line of non-answers. He couldn’t point a single instance in which he gave any support to Marie Yovanovitch, which is why he looked like a fool at the end of the interview.

        • Hika says:

          The hypocrisy of Pompeo’s calls for global press freedom have been noted around the world. I think his position on the Kazakhs lobbying China for better treatment of their muslim minority looks similarly shaky. He’s quoted in a Deutsche-Weller article as follows: “We ask simply for them (Kazakhstan) to provide safe refuge and asylum for those seeking to flee China … Protect human dignity, just do what is right.”

          Actually reasonable positions to advocate, but completely undermined by the venality of his and Trump’s domestic politicking.

    • BobCon says:

      Stephanie Grisham shut down White House press briefings, and the White House press corps happily continued giving the White House whatever they wanted in terms of off the record quotes and unquestioning republishing of Trump’s tweets. They’ve made it clear they are going to be complicit all the way down.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Adam Schiff’s closing comments are accurate and effective. Should the Senate refuse to act, the Democrats need to hang this albatross around the GOP forever. Will a party leadership that refused for months “to go there,” do that?

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      I would like to see Adam Schiff take over Diane Feinstein’s seat in the Senate when she retires.

      • MB says:

        Diane made noises last week like she was seriously considering voting for acquittal. Then came the (rather strong) blowback from her California constituency and she lamely backpedaled claiming that the LA Times “misquoted” her. Time to go, Diane.

        • P J Evans says:

          Last time she came up, I voted against her in the primary, because I felt she was past her sell-by date.

          Also, I emailed her after that bit came out and gave her a piece of my mind (as in, WTF was she even thinking?)

          • Hika says:

            Sen. Feinstein has been a senator for 28 years and is turns 87 in June. How much hard thinking do you expect someone that age to do? I know that’s ageist, but biology is working hard against you at that age.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Long past time for DiFi to give up the reins, and for California to have fresher, more responsive representation.

    • orionATL says:

      senator feinstein has worked “responsibly” with senate republicans for so long she has come to personify the stockholm syndrome.

  7. klynn says:

    Hey EW,
    The clip from the SBowl party…I think the image is flipped. The whole left hand on their hearts is a little like what they did to the Obamas.

    • P J Evans says:

      I noticed that – I wondered if they were pointing their phone at a mirror, so they wouldn’t be easily noticed. (Trmp acts like a bored small child in it – Melania and Barron are standing with hands on hearts, as *most* of us learned to do.)

          • AndTheSlithyToves says:

            They’ve all been taken down because they demonstrate how Trump can’t control himself or his body, and he’s deteriorating daily. Dementia. If we’re lucky, he’ll stroke out before November. Denial is not a river in Egypt.

            • Hika says:

              Here’s another link to youtube (take out the spaces):
              www . youtube . com /watch?v=eMwpIqioeNI

              I’ve seen a link to a tweet from 90for90 that has a link to brief Miami Herald story on Trump’s impersonation of Yeltsin. Of course they don’t mention Yeltsin, but it really reminded me of Boris on one of those days.

              • Hika says:

                Trump’s already underwater on surveys of active service members . I suspect this will add to his downward spiral with the military community.
                From Military Times, Dec.17 2019 (take out the spaces for link): www. militarytimes. com/ news/ pentagon-congress/2019/12/17/half-of-active-duty-service-members-are-unhappy-with-trump-new-military-times-poll-shows/

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                I would imagine that service members tend to vote for a Republican president who happens to be there boss. That Trump is badly underwater with them is a strong signal of his disapproval. It should come as no surprise.

                Service members would also have good antennae for those who can’t walk their talk. Cadet Bone Spurs can barely walk, let alone keep his promises.

                Trump has worked hard to alienate their chain of command. He lavishes pardons and praise on service members despised by their comrades for violating the code they all are expected to abide by.

                Trump has also dismissal the risks service members face and blithely added to them for no apparent benefit to the US. Then there is his special recent fuck you: dismissing as “headaches” the traumatic brain injuries suffered by more than fifty personnel owing to an attack Trump’s behavior made inevitable.

                • Hika says:

                  I think the betrayal of the Kurds to Turkey was a break that can’t be undone. That laid Trump’s fecklessness bare for all to see.

                  • AndTheSlithyToves says:

                    Can’t remember if I’ve posted this before at EW, but last fall I was visiting with an avowed conservative family member who was a Trump voter (“he tells it like it is” was the rationale) and vocally pro-Trump after his election. When Trump screwed the Kurds, she voiced deep disapproval of the action and betrayal, and has not mentioned Trump since. It will be interesting to see if she votes for Trump again if he lives that long.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It appears that the state Democratic Party in Iowa’s vote tallying system is having major problems. DKos stopped reporting some time ago because nothing was coming in and won’t be until much later. A little failure mode and effects analysis would seem in order, but I’d like to think it’s because voters are turning out in unprecedented numbers.

    Based on a very small sample, Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg did well, in that order, but the vast majority of votes are not yet in and won’t be for some time.

    The Dems better get their house in order, in Iowa and everywhere else. More than a little is riding on this. Pitchforks and abandonment might loom if they fail to do it promptly.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I heard an interview on NPR with the person in charge of security/the apps and such and she sounded confident they were sufficiently stress tested. Also mentioned redundancies like a backup phone line (which reports are also saying was down).

      It’s hard to get large groups of people to execute new procedures correctly without multiple dry runs, but I wonder if the process was externally attacked. It’s the DNC (right?) so could also be incompetence…


      Caucuses are an anachronism but this is a bad look

      • timbo says:

        State run primaries are not something the Framers anticipated. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less and less enamored of the idea that states should be in the business of helping run the internal elections of political parties. For instance, here in California, with our stupid, new “top two advance” from the primary elections state run voting system, the DP and the GOP have almost entirely short-circuited any chance of any third party candidate even being viable again here (until such time as the voters change the voting laws here back to something more rational). That’s just one good example of how “election reform” surrounding primaries has been co-opted. This sort of stupid is happen in other states as well… although hopefully not on the grand scale of California?

        Basically, we need to make elections more open, not less. California’s two major parties co-opted the election reform movement and basically doused much chance of there being any alternative to a GOP or DP member being elected into any state office, at least not under the current campaign laws and SCOTUS rulings.

    • TXphysicist says:

      Below is a link to a clip in which a caucus worker has been on hold for a hour, waiting to report vote tallies, and makes the mistake of kowtowing to Wolf Blitzer as another caucus worker finally answers on the other end of the call. The worker on the other end, hearing no response to their “hello’s?”, terminates the call, forcing this PR-savvy genius to lose his place in an hour-long line:

      Winner of the Dem Iowa caucuses? Trump, Lord of uncertainty and chaos.

      • Frank Probst says:

        Yeah, if you watch the clip, it’s clear that this guy deserved to be hung up on. Do you know why you’ve been on hold for an hour? It’s because the person on the other end of the call has been taking calls from other people for the last hour. She’s probably busting her ass, because all hell is breaking loose at the call center. Here, she announced herself as soon as she came on the line, waited, asked “Hello?”, waited, asked “Hello?” again, and then hung up on the call when she got no response. You thought it was more important to keep talking to Wolf Blitzer instead of immediately taking the call that you’d been waiting for for an hour. The woman at the call center is BUSY. She doesn’t have time for your crap.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      So far there does not appear to have been anything nefarious about the failure theater that took place in Iowa last night.

      Simple incompetence could be the responsible causal explanation.

      Sorry for not sounding more convincing than that.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The odd caucuses themselves seemed to operate “as normal.” But the new app (!) and back-up phone system were non-functional.

    I am dismayed that something so delicate as vote tallies were to be transmitted over a phone app. I’m sure our IT afficianados will have more informed comment. That the phone system didn’t work is inexcusable.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      About that phone app. Nice election you have there….

      Personally, I think all voting-related s/w should be open source and subject to routine external audit. No secret proprietary s/w should come within a mile of an election. It’s the sort of common standard Congress could impose. Regardless, it is not what the Democrats should be using.

        • BobCon says:

          That $60K figure for the app is really troubling. If that is the complete contract, that would provide little time for serious testing — what you would most likely get is a few remote tests, no serious testing under real life conditions.

          I have little doubt what the party leadership was trying to do was avoid the hard organizational work of setting up a phone bank and setting up security measures to handle caucus night phone calls from around the state. But some things just can’t be avoided by throwing tech at them — at least not without paying through the nose.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            For so such a high-profile primary, an embarrassingly short-sighted decision. A $60,000 contract seems a low-ball figure.

            Not investing in a full phone bank was also a false savings. It could have been used as the primary reporting system, instead of as a back-up, saving the money for an app with obviously faulty performance and probably equally faulty security.

            My guess is that the “organizers” thought a phone bank would be too low-tech. Actually, it would have fit right in with traditional Iowa, and provided a surer mechanism for reporting. Good – human – service also cements relations in a way an app would find impossible.

            I hope every other state is paying close attention.

            • BobCon says:

              I think you are right that there is a bias for tech solutions, and this bias tends to be strongest in people who are either tech dilettantes or have vested interests. Which is why it is so crucial to get them out of the decision making process.

              And what is so stupid is that tech solutions never eliminate the need for hard, tedious organizational work. Somebody still needs to design security protocols, work on training and communications, and then implement and monitor everything. None of that comes easy.

      • BobCon says:

        A few thoughts:

        Never, ever do a phone app. Never. Anyone who honestly thinks about their experience with a phone will tell you this. There are always apps which work on one phone but don’t work on another. There are always interfaces which are confusing to some users. There are always upgrades from version X.1 to X.2 which fail for some users. There are always last minute upgrades which are needed, and for at least some users they fail. There are always users who don’t follow instructions to a T, and there are always users who can’t get the instructions. There are always users who have configured their phone is some unsual way which will interfere with the app.

        Always run real life tests. That means with real life volume, not extrapolated from small samples. With real life users who are unfamiliar with instructions and procedures. With those users required to complete tasks within a limited time. With those users faced with the obstacles they might face in real life — interruptions, bad connections, somebody pounding on the door because they lost their keys.

        If the solution to a design problem is “we’ll solve it by training” or “we’ll solve it with more information” then it’s not a solution. It’s an alibi.

        Always include outside good faith skeptics in testing. Problems being raised is a good thing and should be encouraged. Knowing how the system can be broken is always better than ignorance.

      • Hika says:

        Here are two youtube videos by Tom Scott that explain why electronic systems aren’t a good fit with elections:
        “Why electronic voting is a bad idea”: /watch?v=w3_0x6oaDmI
        “Why electronic voting is still a bad idea”: /watch?v=LkH2r-sNjQs
        Copy and paste “/watch…” partial links after www(dot)youtube(dot)com
        Nothing builds community faith in elections as well as paper ballots counted openly in front of representatives of all candidates. All the machines do is give the media companies a quicker call of the vote. But wouldn’t you rather know that the result was correct rather than just speedy?

      • P J Evans says:

        And paper ballots, for Ghu’s sake. (I had no trouble with the Ink-a-Dot system, and L.A. County hasn’t yet explained why it’s being replaced with machines that still haven’t passed their certification tests.)

  10. bg says:

    In 2008 when Bill Richardson was running for President, he wanted an early boost for his campaign. NM has its primary in June, which did not meet his needs, so a caucus run by DP volunteers was announced for early February. It was a mess. It took days for results, on paper ballots to be announced. In part this was due to enormous numbers of provisional ballots to be validated. We ran out of ballots in many polling locations. I don’t recall all the issues, but I was involved, and it was terrible. When there are elections paid for and run by governments, at least there is some experience and planning, also machine tabulators. Volunteers really are not equipped for this. I admire the people in Iowa who stepped up, but I think it is really not possible to have a smooth operation with volunteers. And it is a huge burden to raise the money for this sort of thing at the Party level. State and local parties lost a lot of juice ($$ and power) when they were no longer able to sufficiently raise the money now needed to run campaigns. Individual candidates cannot rely on the party for funds. The walls now in place between campaigns and others (whether unions or any other group of volunteer workers) have added other problems, though all coordination is not disallowed, it is complicated. I imagine the shelf life for the caucus is about over. The expectations and demands are unreasonable, and Iowa has demonstrated this. A year of everyone there. Plus also, the overwhelming whiteness. It can’t hold for another 4 years.

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