A Tale of Two National Security Advisors

As you no doubt heard, in addition to suing John Bolton for breach of contract over his Trump book, the Trump Administration has also asked for a Temporary Restraining Order against Bolton, purportedly with the goal of getting him to do things that are no longer in his control. At one level, the legal actions seem designed to make Bolton’s book even more popular than it would otherwise be — while starving him of any royalties for the book. Judge Royce Lamberth, who has a history of pushing back against Executive abuse (including claims involving classification) has been assigned the case; he scheduled a hearing for tomorrow.

I agree with the bulk of the analysis that these legal efforts will fail, to the extent they’re really trying to prevent Bolton from releasing the book. I also agree with analysis about the uphill climb Bolton faces to avoid having his profits seized.

That said, I can’t help but notice the way the filings set Bolton up — possibly, even for prosecution (which LAT reports remains under consideration), but also for a remarkable comparison with Trump’s first National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn.

Legally, the filings do what they need to do to seize Bolton’s profits, and will probably succeed (meaning you can buy the book and your money will go to the US Treasury). But, as noted, they’re not written to actually win an injunction, most especially against Bolton’s publisher, Simon & Schuster.

The filings do something else, though. They tell how Bolton apparently shared drafts of his manuscript before it had been cleared, which in turn got shared with the press.

35. On January 26, 2020, the New York Times published an article describing information purportedly “included in drafts of a manuscript” that Defendant, apparently without any protections for classified national security information, had “circulated in recent weeks to close associates.” The article set forth information allegedly contained in “dozens of pages” of the manuscript. A true and correct copy of this article is attached hereto as Exhibit F.

36. On information and belief, the January 26, 2020 article led to a tremendous surge in publicity for the pre-sales of the book, including hundreds of news articles, discussion on major television networks, statements by members of Congress, and widespread circulation of the article’s content on social media.

37. On January 27, 2020, the Washington Post published a separate article describing content contained in The Room Where it Happened, relying on the statements of “two people familiar with the book,” indicating, on information and belief, that Defendant had disclosed a draft of the manuscript to others without receiving prior written authorization from the U.S. Government. A true and correct copy of this article is attached hereto as Exhibit G.

38. Thus, notwithstanding this admonition, in late January 2020, prominent news outlets reported that drafts of Defendant’s manuscript had been circulated to associates of Defendant. These articles included reports from individuals supposedly familiar with the book, which indicates, on information and belief, that Defendant had already violated his non-disclosure agreements while purporting to comply with the prepublication review process. See supra ¶¶ 27, 29; see also Exhs. E & F

They lay out evidence that Bolton specifically knew the dangers of disclosing classified information, most ironically with a citation of his complaints about Edward Snowden (who also had his profits seized).

Defendant knows well the threat posed by disclosing classified information that might benefit the Nation’s adversaries. See John Bolton, “Edward Snowden’s leaks are a grave threat to US national security,” The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/18/edwardsnowden-leaks-grave-threat (June 18, 2013). Congress does as well, as reflected in its decision to criminalize the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. §§ 641, 793, 794, 798, 952, 1924.

They provide multiple declarations — from Mike Ellis, the Trump hack who has politicized classified information in the past, from National Counterintelligence Director Bill Evanina claiming this is the kind of information our adversaries look for, from Director of NSA Paul Nakasone talking about the specific vulnerability of SIGINT, and from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, whose name the TRO misspells and whose experience looks exceedingly thin compared to the others, along with classified declaration from Ellis. Even though the declarations were obviously carefully curated by Ellis, these are nevertheless the kinds of things courts usually bow to, when the government makes claims about classification. While neither we nor Bolton or his lawyer will get to review the actual claims being made, such declarations are usually sufficient to get the desired recourse.

Perhaps notably, the filings include a letter from John Eisenberg (whose shenanigans regarding the Ukraine call Bolton made more significant), written on June 11, at a time when the White House already knew Bolton was moving to publish, accusing Bolton of publishing this information for financial gain.

Fourth, your self-serving insinuations that the NSC review process has been directed at anything other than a good faith effort to protect national security information is offensive. Your client has taken classified information, including some that he himself classified, and sold it to the highest bidder in an attempt to make a personal profit from information that he held in trust as a public servant–and has done so without regard for the harm it would do to the national security of the United States.

Effectively, this package of filings does nothing to prevent the book from coming out. But it very carefully lays a record to meet the elements of an Espionage charge. Given this notice, the government would be in a position to point to the publication of the book (that Bolton couldn’t stop now if he wanted) and prove that Bolton had an obligation to keep these things secret, he knew the damage that not doing so could cause, and yet nevetheless published the information.

Whether they will prosecute or not is unclear. But these filings make it far easier to do so.

The White House is preparing to claim that John Bolton is akin to Edward Snowden, solely because he aired Trump’s dirt in a book.

This all comes at the same time as the government is making extraordinary efforts to prevent Mike Flynn from being punished for secretly working for a frenemy country while getting classified briefings, and calling up the country that just attacked us in 2016 and discussing how Russia and the Trump Administration had mutual interests in undermining Obama’s policies.

The same DOJ that is magnifying Bolton’s risk for an Espionage prosecution found nothing inappropriate in Flynn calling up the country that had just attacked the US and teaming with that hostile country against the current government of the United States.

Nor was anything said on the calls themselves to indicate an inappropriate relationship between Mr. Flynn and a foreign power. Indeed, Mr. Flynn’s request that Russia avoid “escalating” tensions in response to U.S. sanctions in an effort to mollify geopolitical tensions was consistent with him advocating for, not against, the interests of the United States. At bottom, the arms-length communications gave no indication that Mr. Flynn was being “directed and controlled by … the Russian federation,” much less in a manner that “threat[ened] … national security.” Ex. 1 at 2, Ex. 2 at 2.

Indeed, the Attorney General even claimed the call was “laudable,” even while lying that it didn’t conflict with Obama’s policies.

But it’s not just in the courts where DOJ is working hard to protect the guy who really did harm the US. In an effort to sow the propaganda case for Mike Flynn, the Trump Administration has been on a declassification spree, including — by Ratcliffe — the transcripts of some (but not all) of Flynn’s calls with Sergey Kislyak, something that has never been done before. Significantly, the claims that Nakasone and Ratcliffe make in their declarations in the Bolton case, especially with regards to disclosing SIGINT burns the collection going forward, were clearly violated when Ratcliffe declassified the transcripts.

To be honest, I won’t weep if Bolton is prosecuted. He would have had more legal protection had he testified during the impeachment inquiry, which would have done more good for the country. It would be an abuse, but such abuse has been directed against far more vulnerable and admirable people.

But the comparison of the claims Mike Ellis is making about Trump’s third National Security Advisor with the treatment given his first — the guy who actively sold out his country rather than did so with his inaction — only serves to emphasize how Trump subjects what traditionally gets called national security to loyalty.

The greatest “national security” sin a Trump Administration official can commit, this comparison shows, is disloyalty to Donald Trump.

71 replies
  1. Desider says:

    Wait, i thought Flynn proved that 30 year profesionals dont know nuttin bout birth & babies & confidential info & FBI interviews, just naïve babes in the woods??

    • Rob Lyons says:

      Just curious and always interested in learning… I always thought it was “birthin’ babies”? No?

  2. Tony el Tigre says:

    John Bolton looks and behaves like my megalomaniacal grandfather and there is a high probability that I will do a little dance if he pockets nothing from this. His recess appointment to the U.N. was a joke and so is he.

  3. John Paul Jones says:

    There’s every possibility that if Bolton had testified, it would have actually increased sales of the book, and it would have made it less vulnerable to these kinds of attack. A guy so smart he’s dumb.

  4. BobCon says:

    The Trump White House has been loaded with abuses of classification. If (knock on wood) Biden takes over and appoints some independent experts to re- and declassify info on a rational basis, does this potentially help Bolton?

    Or is his legal exposure still there even if he disclosed something improperly classified, let’s say info on Trump’s hairpiece weaver?

  5. PeterS says:

    “While neither we nor Bolton or his lawyer will get to review the actual claims being made, such declarations are usually sufficient to get the desired recourse.”

    Do we have any idea if the declarations refer to specific passages in the book as disclosing classified information, or just make general statements about the danger of such disclosure?

    • civil says:

      Meanwhile, Trump is tweeting things like “Bolton’s book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad. Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction…,” and “Wacko John Bolton’s ‘exceedingly tedious’ (New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories…”

      Of course, Trump is an astounding liar who says whatever he finds convenient in the moment, but his tweets are still presidential records, and if Trump were telling the truth, then none of whatever he’s referring to would be classified, since lies, made up stories, fiction, … are not classified.

      I’d love for the government to have to address in court whether Trump is lying and whether the court should bow to the government’s classification claims in the motion or instead needs to carry out a more detailed review.

    • civil says:

      “John Bolton’s account that Donald Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping last June to buy more American farm products to help Trump’s reelection is so explosive that White House officials prevented Bolton from directly quoting Trump in Bolton’s new tell-all memoir. ‘I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise,’ Bolton writes in The Room Where it Happened. …
      “Vanity Fair has seen unredacted pages from the book and it’s clear why the White House tried to keep Trump’s words secret: they are deeply embarrassing and illustrate Trump’s naked politicization of America’s foreign policy. According to an unredacted passage shown to Vanity Fair by a source, Trump’s ask is even more crudely shocking when you read Trump’s specific language. ‘Make sure I win,’ Trump allegedly told Xi during a dinner at the G20 conference in Osaka, Japan last summer. ‘I will probably win anyway, so don’t hurt my farms.… Buy a lot of soybeans and wheat and make sure we win.’ …”

      If this is accurate, it certainly undermines the idea that the prepublication review process was only rejecting truly classified info.

      I consider Bolton an unpatriotic coward. He should have testified voluntarily when the House asked him to, just like Fiona Hill and others did. Fine with me if he doesn’t profit from the book. But I absolutely object to the government’s effort to classify information that’s simply showing Trump to be corrupt.

      • Jonf says:

        Someone please clear this up for me. Apart from his display of John Gotti when it comes to China why can’t he simply ask, cajole or threaten Xi for his help? Is that illegal or does it require something more like a quid pro quo.

        • civil says:

          IANAL. Because it’s soliciting foreign election interference, a quid pro quo isn’t required, but my understanding is that it depends on the interpretation of “thing of value” here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30121
          See also: https://twitter.com/EllenLWeintraub/status/1139309394968096768 (Weintraub is an FEC Commissioner)
          In the impeachment trial, it was argued that Ukraine announcing an investigation of Biden was not a “thing of value.” Arguably, purchasing products makes it less debatable that it’s a thing of value, though there’s still the aspect of whether it’s a donation to the campaign vs. having a non-campaign value.

          • Desider says:

            It’s 2020 – all our data Is a “thing if value”, And everyone – esp. Google & Facebook – knows it. Everyone even knows keywords, SEO, Patreon… An announcement, shameless false promotion/advertising benefitting the extortionist, Is obviously a “thing of value”. When a kidnapper warns the police, “Announce X on the air or the hostage dies”, we obviously know what the “thing of value” is.

  6. Padfoot says:

    You may be correct about having profits seized, but I have to believe that a bad faith argument can be made against the government. It’s one thing to protect national security and another to protect the president from embarrassing information. Bolton went through the process, was told his book was ready to go, and then told he had to start again for what clearly was a political reason. I don’t know the specific law Bolton supposedly violated, but bad faith on the part of the controlling party could be a factor in the decision. It clearly occurred.

  7. P J Evans says:

    So why did the review process not flag those passages? Isn’t that what the review is *for*?

    (ETA: I suspect that this is all because the Mustache of Freedom didn’t praise his boss sufficiently.)

  8. x174 says:

    mt–it’s enjoyable to see you draw attention to the double standard regarding trump-n-barr’s antithetical treatments of former national security advisers. i think Padfoot’s highlighting the evident bad faith argument appears well supported by your comparison: john bolton may be a wretch, but his belated information does aid national security and the public’s need to know–that our leader is a treacherous incompetent; michael flynn, on the other hand, has admitted repeatedly that he jeopardized national security and needs to be sent to the big house.

  9. vicks says:

    Is there anyone keeping score of this administration’s threats and filings that have ended
    up with court decisions or will likely end in court decisions before the end of Tumps first term?
    Is there any logic in calling Trumps bluff and moving forward with the book if Bolten has reason to believe Trump
    will be out of office?
    what is the obligation of a new
    administration on these types of cases?

  10. vicks says:

    Is there anyone keeping score of this administration’s threats and filings that have ended
    up with court decisions or will likely end in court decisions before the end of aTrumps first term?
    Is there any logic in calling Trumps bluff and moving forward with the book if Bolten has reason to believe Trump
    will be out of office?
    what is the obligation of a new
    administration on these types of cases?

  11. OldTulsaDude says:

    Quoting: “Bolton’s book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad. Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction…,”

    So Don’s claim is that lies and made up stories and pure fiction is classified?

    • Tom says:

      It must be frustrating for the President to go to the Oval Office every day knowing he’s surrounded by aspiring authors with their own personal stashes of anecdotes about him to put into print at some point in the future, while he himself is lacking in the patience and intellectual wherewithal to write his own book about his time in the White House; someone will have to do it for him.

    • MB says:

      Does your handle imply you are currently living in Tulsa? Have the Trump supporters overrun the area around BOK while they await sighting of their lying savior? I hear the OK Supreme Court is now involved in whether to let this event take place or not…

      • P J Evans says:

        I saw a report today that people are showing up outside so as to be first in line. (The pic showed them not wearing masks.)

        • MB says:

          Yeah, they’re camping out on the sidewalk days in advance. I heard it likened to people camping out in front of a closed Apple store the day before a new iPhone is released…

          • boba says:

            Those “campers” fascinate me in are they:
            Real, and therefore interesting from a what tumbleweeds blow around in the desert in their heads;
            Fake, and therefore interesting because the campaign continues to use these astroturf props to generate excitement.

            I suspect there is a mixture of the two cohorts in the camps and I wonder if the ones being paid to be there enjoy associating with those that want to be there.

            • MB says:

              Yes, but both groups now have something in common: increased exposure to covid-19. And they all have to sign waivers. Plus the OK Supreme Court refused to intervene…

              • P J Evans says:

                I heard it was the Secret Service that wanted a curfew in downtown Tulsa, but someone in the WH called the mayor and got the curfew cancelled.

            • adambulldog says:

              I wonder if the authentic trumpies enjoy hanging with the paid stooges. I would think it might be difficult to fake trumpiness.

        • Vicks says:

          I just can’t grasp Trump’s angle, the world is watching him lead his flock into the most obvious trap I can imagine, is he showing off for his dictator pals?
          Is anyone else sensing one way or another this event isn’t going to happen?
          Flood, fire, bomb scare, The third dude in line starts getting covid symptoms, whatever idiot is running the facility gets a call from the company contracted for staffing who tells him only 20 employees have signed up for the gig, or maybe they just got a final “hell no” from their insurance company.
          No matter Trump will find a way to blame the Democrats

          • Tom says:

            With all his failings being on such prominent display in recent weeks and months, Trump desperately needs the fix that only one of his rallies can provide him. He also needs the country to see video clips of his throngs of unmasked supporters cheering him on, as if the pandemic were just a bad dream and everything is back to normal and for the best in this best of all possible worlds. I think it also demonstrates how frantic Trump is to cling to power as the sands of his Presidency run out. Either that or he wants to compete with Mitch McConnell for the title of “The Grim Reaper”.

            • Vicks says:

              Seems like he is double-dog-daring protesters to come on down.
              I hope people realize the biggest and most powerful statement that can be made right now is to flip Trump, his followers and his rhetoric the bird and for the people in Tulsa to continue go all in on celebrating Juneteenth this weekend
              Let’s see if he continues to instigate violence in Tulsa. It would give him the spectacle he is craving and the perfect cover to cancel his killer rally.
              My hope is that it will be made crystal clear this weekend that the real divide is between those willing unify on higher ground and those willing to do whatever it takes to be Trump supporters.
              Trump is setting a trap, it is reprehensible but if the opposition plays it right they could continue the momentum that will take him down

              • Rayne says:

                I don’t think you should advocate any black persons “go all in on celebrating Juneteenth for all it’s worth” in Tulsa, particularly if you’re not black.

                Black Americans have paid enough for this nation’s original sin of racism. They don’t need to suffer another Tulsa massacre to make a point to white people. We have and are losing too many black Americans already to Trump’s deliberate mishandling of COVID-19.

                We should spend our time working on registering voters and organizing to get out the vote to remove Trump since the GOP senate is likely never to reach bottom where it feels it must convict and remove him. That would be a more effective response to Trump’s racist rhetoric and actions.

                • Sonso says:

                  Rayne, you are so right. And everyone must be attuned to the fact that Trump/Trumpies will resort to PROVOKING violence, so patience and forebearance will be absolutely necessary for the next 7 months.

                • Vicki says:

                  Aw come on.
                  That’s not fair.
                  The local media is calling it a celebration and in NO language does “the people of Tulsa” translate into “black Americans”
                  I appreciate I have a lot to learn but there is a growing edginess between those who want to learn and those who have nominated themselves teachers that needs to be dialed down before it becomes another roadblock to unification and understanding
                  Please take my comment not as a way to offend good intentions, but to move forward efficiently.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Seriously, white people need mute themselves about anything to do with the Tulsa massacre or Juneteenth. Failure to listen to and ensure Black Americans have an equitable representation about the issues that affect them most contributes to and is a manifestation of racism.

                    Just. Shut. Up. And. Listen.

                    I can’t embed tweets for some reason this morning but this is an example of a Black American woman telling you what’s up.

                    Follow the Black women who were on that panel just for starters; read what they’re saying, digest their words.

                    And take some of your own time to examine that “growing edginess” you’re trying to project on others. White people who’ve never been expected to listen to persons of color for any length of time are suddenly uncomfortable with the few hours they’ve had to spend seeing racism under their noses. Imagine not being able to escape that racism because it’s directed at you, 7x24x365. Imagine not ever feeling comfortable in your own neighborhood for fear the cops might summarily execute you, for fear white neighbors will call the cops because you’re an inconvenience to them, for fear the cops might charge into your house at night and kill you in your sleep.

          • Stephen Calhoun says:

            What I wonder about is Trump’s own exposure to fine spray viral particulate droplets as he stands at the podium with photo-op deplorables right behind him and almost 20,000 in front of him, everybody yelling and spewing.

            Will they put him in a negative pressure containment bubble? Or, will they roll the dice?
            Inquiring minds seek to know. . .


            • P J Evans says:

              Their history says they’re gonna roll them dice, and hope they don’t come up snake-eyes.

        • MB says:

          Is Gov. Stitt going to be at the rally on Saturday? I remember seeing photos of him with his family out at a restaurant in March while coronavirus was ramping up.

  12. Mitch Neher says:

    Trump famously asked Russia to find and publish Hillary Clinton’s missing SoS emails.
    Some of Clinton’s missing SoS emails were US classified information.
    Ergo, Trump famously asked a hostile foreign power to find and publish US classified information.

    Russia studiously neglected to deliver on the particular details of Trump’s request–mostly just because The GRU had already found and disseminated something else in the way of Hillary’s emails, instead.

  13. Sonso says:

    Seizing Bolton’s ‘profits’ from sales of the book is nigh impossible. He received a $2m advance against royalties, which I can assure you would never be recouped, and S&S would never be obligated to pay out another dime to (trust me, I know, as I did this sort of thing for a long time). IANAL, but a separate action would be required to obtain a judgment for the advance, and I suspect the contract is worded such that it won’t be interpreted as ‘gains from sales’ of the book. So much adolescent petulance destroying our country…

    • Frank Probst says:

      This has been my big question, and it sounds like carefully-worded contracts can protect you from having your (and your publisher’s) profits seized. But there has to be SOME way they do it. Edward Snowden and the guy who wrote about the Osama bin Laden raid both had their profits seized, didn’t they? It’s possible that neither of them had lawyers who knew how to prevent this, but the big publishers certainly would, and if you want to keep publishing people’s tell-alls, you can’t get a reputation for publishing books that the authors never profits from.

      In this case, the chase for the profits of the book will probably be the largest effort like this in history, because Trump is so vindictive, and Bill Barr is a toady who will have no qualms about throwing the kitchen sink at this.

      As EW notes, it looks like they’re setting Bolton up for an espionage charge, and maybe they’ll try for something like home confinement after he’s formally charged, but I’m having trouble seeing that sticking. And he’ll be able to graymail his way out of pretty much anything they that hit him with. Plus you’ve got the President saying that the book is all lies, which means the defense can argue than any super-ultra-classified conversations with the President were NOT disclosed in the book, since Trump has already said that what WAS disclosed wasn’t true.

      So how does all of this end?

      • BobCon says:

        It sounds like the book is hot sloppy mess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is embarassing or even legally damaging info Bolton kept out because it didn’t fit into the structure, such as it is. I can imagine an editor holding up handfuls of manuscript and telling Bolton there is really no need to include the Belgian cheese tariff negotiations incident.

        So it is certainly possible this is all just a puppet show to soothe a baby back to sleep, and nobody really wants to trigger Bolton.

  14. Xboxershorts says:

    Don’t Bolton and Barr both share comparable beliefs in the Glibertarian wet dream of a Unitary Executive, able to do whatever it wants without oversight? If so, to me, that would explain Bolton’s refusal to testify for impeachment as a move that protects the Office of the President while his book is his effort to discredit this particular president.

    Regardless, the asshole clearly placed party and or personal interests over duty to this country.

  15. Marinela says:

    Bolton now criticizes democrats saying they committed impeachment malpractice. His take is that the democrats needed to expand the scope of the impeachment, to include more offenses.

    In the same time, while on a job, he sees impeachable offenses committed by Trump, and he stays quiet. He could’ve submit a whistle blower report, testify in the House when he was asked, twice, all legal paths.
    Instead he wants democrats to spin their wheels and investigate Trump, knowing that more of the investigations that expand the scope of the impeachment, would just take time, all probably to buy himself time for the book to be released first.

    Disgusting human being…

    • bmaz says:

      Sure. But Bolton is exactly right that the House Dems, as guided by Pelosi and Hoyer committed “impeachment malpractice”. It was worse than that, it was a complete dereliction of duty, to the people and to the Constitution.

      • Marinela says:

        Republicans in the Senate voted down the ask to have Bolton testify.
        Not a peep from Bolton about that. He said he would testify in the Senate knowing how the senate republican majority would vote.

        The house asked him to testify (second time) after senate voted Bolton down. What is Bolton circular logic on this?
        It was legal impeachment proceedings.

        I have mixed feelings about the house moving with impeachment as it did.
        We would be in impeachment process now.

        Regardless off what comes from the house, how solid the case is, Trump is always going to get acquitted in the senate.

        My view of the world, the case as it was presented by the house is solid grounds to impeach.

        • bmaz says:

          How the Senate would vote has always been a given, and nowhere close to the point. The point was to use a formal impeachment inquiry for the maximum efficiency in investigating all the malfeasance, documenting it and getting the sanction of courts to do just that where no legislative purpose basis could evince the basis, but an impeachment inquiry basis absolutely could. It is really fundamental, and I have argued it here since long before Pelosi grudgingly allows a dumb and legally lame constricted inquiry, and have ever since.

          • Marinela says:

            Makes sense. The house probably needed to start the impeachment process immediately after the Mueller report was out.

    • Rayne says:

      Hold onto your hat, PJ. Berman can’t be fired because he’s not a presidential appointee approved by the Senate.

      He’s still in his job as of now.

      ~buying all the popcorn futures~

      EDIT: I can’t embed tweets now for some reason, can only link. Berman sent a tweet half an hour ago in response to Barr’s firing-by-press-release.


      Chris Geidner pointed out about a half hour ago that Berman can’t be fired, he’d have to resign under 28 USC 546(d).


        • Molly Pitcher says:

          He is being fixer/errand boy for Trump who is pissed about Bolton’s book saying “that Mr. Trump sought to interfere in an investigation by Mr. Berman’s office into a Turkish bank, in a bid to cut deals with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan”.

        • Eureka says:

          I figured it was more related to the games they are playing with the newly reclassified Mueller Report (and what investigations remain ongoing). Like they were simultaneously prioritizing their Outstanding Corruption To Do List while they worked on trying to game Judge Walton on the MR redactions. Etc.

          UGH, and as a not unrelated to SDNY aside, someone the other day was talking up Lev Parnas out of the blue in a way that piqued my interest; wish I had saved the tweets but because forced new twitter format SUX, I don’t think I did.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Rayne, I think there needs to be an Emptywheel popcorn brand. And a nice big bowl with the Emptywheel symbol. We are going to need a lot of it in the coming months. I’d buy.

        It would make a nice little side fund raiser for the site ;-D

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Shaub tweeted a warning to low/mid level T staffers to not destroy records shortly after all this broke

  16. OldTulsaDude says:

    It seem obvious now that the Tulsa rally was designed to offer a smokescreen for this move against Berman and the SDNY investigations. And it is working as I am watching CNN still rehashing the rally threats of Covid-19.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t think it was just a smokescreen/redirection of attention. It looks like a means to prep the white nationalists for whatever is next; it won’t be pretty given this one has already seen Trump inciting violence by tweets.

      Gods help Tulsa’s residents of color — hope they all stay indoors for the next two days if they haven’t already left town.

      • Tom says:

        I’m expecting Trump to put on a doozy of a performance tonight as he has several months’ worth of accumulated bile and venom to spew and he knows he has to pull off something big to reverse his downward spiral in the polls. Maybe he’ll tell us all the true story of how he freed the last of the slaves back in 1865. Not many people know that.

        At the same time, I think Trump is taking a big risk as well because he has to know that he’ll be scrutinized for any signs of physical or mental frailties during the two hours or so he’ll be on the stage. There’s also the possible delayed reaction blowback when weeks down the road his MAGA attendees start falling sick and dying and then conclude they were conned when they agreed to sign off on Trump’s liability waiver.

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