The Altered Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok Documents Were Packaged for Circulation

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.

The Page-Strzok notes don’t have a protective order footer. Nor do the FBI analyst texts.

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.

23 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m not sure that the no harm-no foul argument works here. The DoJ still submitted false documents to the court in a federal prosecution. And it’s only now trying to say it is not relying on them, which suggests it was relying on them before its lack of regularity and due care was caught out by these demands from Sullivan.

    The DoJ continues to spread so much horse manure that I would not be surprised if Sullivan says, Stop. Remember the best evidence rule? Show me the originals. He might like to see why the repeated electronic manipulation of images of the originals is so important to the DoJ.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      Now that he has documents certified under penalty of perjury, if he asks for the originals, all hell will break loose. Maybe that was his idea all along, kinda like “let’s see if Flynn will tell the truth” – give them the opportunity to do it correctly and lower the boom if they continue to fuck around. I’m looking forward to sparks flying.

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        Sullivan has shown he is a master of giving people enough rope to hang themselves, I’ve come to greatly respect his patience in this regard.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Either the originals will be demanded or Sullivan will just deny the motion to dismiss based upon repeated Government misdirection, sanction the attorneys involved and just sentence Flynn then and there. One thing this Government kabuki does do is ensure that Sullivan can drop his hammer very close to election day. When’s the next hearing?

      IIRC, DJT hasn’t been mentioning Flynn in and around the threats to Governor Whitmer and musing about Joe Biden getting assassinated at his Lansing rally tonight. Has Flynn made it to “coffee boy” status yet? Once DJT loses, Flynn will not have nearly as much leverage on DJT to stop Flynn from telling all.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh, I agree. But THAT she’s picking those, of all of them, to say they’re not relying on is a tell that they were only in there for public consumption.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donny Trump, like the fictional version of Commodus, has been afraid all his life. He is a spectacularly vindictive coward, who delegates his destruction to some lieutenant, which allows him to gloat in the shadows about the public pain, embarrassment, and pauperization he inflicts.

    Trump’s lament is often, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” He means it and his followers hear it. Some of them were arrested a little while ago for allegedly attempting to kidnap and kill the governor of Michigan. Not to be put off, Trump, while campaigning in Michigan, just said of Joe Biden: “Three weeks in, Joe’s shot! Let’s go, Kamala, you ready?”

    Who will act out Trump’s deadly fantasies? Any of several hundred or more bearded, fat, ignorant, armed gang members. There is nothing Donald Trump will not do to stay in office.

    • Quake says:

      You’re quoting Trump out of context. Right before that he mentioned the 25th amendment. So he can claim ‘shot’ was a reference to the possibility of JB running into severe health problems, rather than what he obviously meant. The old implausible deniability scam.

      But that claim would be complete BS. It was another of Trump’s obvious foghorn dog-whistle inciting violence. Remember 4 yrs ago when he was talking about HRC and said “…but the 2nd amendment folks…” Trump is fond of his ‘Mafia speak’ and shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        LOL. No. I’m not quoting Trump out of context. He can claim it means whatever Stephen Miller tells him to claim, which, as you point out, would be bullshit.

        What he meant and what the Proud Boys heard was “shot dead,” in the manner intended for the governor of Michigan – where he said it. It’s as much of a dog whistle to Proud Boys as Ronald Reagan’s speech in Philadelphia, MS, in August 1980, was to racists, excuse me, “states’ righters.”

        Do you think Trump mentioned the 25th Amendment as anything but cover? All he knows about the 25th is that it’s a weapon he can use against Harris – and that it might have been used as a weapon against him, had he not so carefully filtered his Cabinet appointees for spinelessness, incompetence, and greed.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Dementia-addled narcissistic psychopath/sociopath, inciting his Christo-fascist cult followers to murder his political opponent–a full-blown psychotic episode. Somebody needs to force him off the stage and into a memory-care lockdown immediately.

    • Rugger9 says:

      He’s trying to work the Secret Service to his will and I think it will backfire. As for Kamala being “ready” in that situation, she is stronger than DJT understands and would be on top of it.

  3. Chris.EL says:

    California checking in 9:10 pm … even though we’ve just made it through ~48 hours of no ELECTRICITY — thank you *corporate felon* Pacific Gas & Electricity — this ratepayer, taxpayer, pet caretaker, bird lover, tree lover, remains optimistic; nevertheless, picking up on desperate vibes from EOH and bmaz, slithy too.

    Have faith, “soldier on.” Try some Sir Duke. Can’t miss. To wit:

    …”Music is a world within itself
    With a language we all understand
    With an equal opportunity
    For all to sing, dance and clap their hands
    Just because a record has a groove
    Don’t make it hit the groove
    But you can tell by the dance that let’s you in
    When the people start to move
    They can feel it all over
    They can feel it all over, people
    They can feel it all over
    They can feel it all over, people, go! …”

    Eight hours ahead in Ireland. When does ew sleep.

  4. Raven Eye says:

    It seems that Judge Sullivan is giving a little task direction to USPS:

    “A federal judge on Tuesday night ordered the U.S. Postal Service to reverse limitations on mail collection imposed by Trump-backed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, giving the agency until Wednesday morning to inform workers of the court’s changes as more mail-in ballots continue to flood in.

    “In a highly detailed order, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District Court for the District of Columbia granted an emergency motion by plaintiffs against President Donald Trump to enforce and monitor compliance with Sullivan’s previous injunction tied to USPS services.”

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