On September 23, 2020, prosecutor Jocelyn Ballantine sent five documents to Sidney Powell:
- The altered January 5, 2017 Strzok notes
- The second set of altered Strzok notes
- The altered Andrew McCabe notes
- Texts between FBI analysts
- A new set of Strzok-Page texts, which included new Privacy Act violations
The letter Ballantine sent accompanying those documents is dated September 23, but it wasn’t loaded to the docket until September 28. Like all her discovery letters, the version of the letter uploaded to the docket informs Powell that, “These materials are covered by the Protective Order entered by the Court on February 21, 2018.”
In her letter providing realtered sets of the notes, the only change Ballantine described to the documents pertained to the removal of the sticky notes — which weren’t actually removed, but instead whited out electronically (and probably weren’t sticky notes in McCabe’s case at all).
But there was another change made to all of them: the “subject to protective order” footnote was restored to the documents.
The altered January 5, 2017 Strzok notes, without the footer:
The realtered January 5, 2017 Strzok notes, with the footer:
The second set of Strzok notes (originally altered to read March 28), without the footer:
The second set of Strzok notes, with the footer.
The altered McCabe notes, with the footer redacted out:
The realtered McCabe notes, with the footer unredacted:
Notably, there’s no declassification stamp on McCabe’s notes.
So all the documents sent to Sidney Powell on September 23 had no protective order stamp, and in the case of McCabe’s notes, they had the protective order stamp covered over.
The altered notes have all since been realtered, and rather than trying to certify the Strzok-Page texts, in today’s declaration, Ballantine just told Judge Emmet Sullivan DOJ wasn’t relying on them — no blood no foul. Presumably, there’s something fishy with the FBI analyst texts, because there’s something fishy with all of these documents.
But given the fact that the protective order footer was redacted in the McCabe notes, it cannot be accidental. These documents — the documents with the “inadvertent” alterations — also were all packaged up such that if Sidney Powell shared them (say, with the President’s campaign lawyer), Powell could claim these were somehow exempt.