Lindsey Graham Responds to News of Potential Ongoing Crime by Promising to Ignore It

As I have been laying out, there is growing evidence that when DOJ added dates (a misleadingly incorrect one in at least one case) to Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe notes, they altered the documents in some other ways. At the very least, they redacted protection order footers in the first documents shared with Sidney Powell, but there appear to be other irregularities in the McCabe notes, irregularities that may be far more serious.

And that’s before you get to DOJ’s claims that:

  • They didn’t know the date of the January 5, 2017 meeting (even though documents in the docket make that date clear)
  • The Bill Barnett “report” was a 302
  • Lawyers for Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe had affirmed there were no (other) alterations to their clients’ notes

Those are all false, and the last one is fairly demonstrably maliciously false.

I’ve been trying to chase down places where original versions of the Andrew McCabe notes might exist, to compare with what got released in the docket. In addition to DOJ IG (which might have the notes in investigative files relating to the Carter Page investigation), I figured the Senate Judiciary Committee should have a copy.

After all, McCabe had been scheduled to testify on October 6, before he canceled on account of the GOP COVID cluster.

So I called the committee spox, Taylor Reidy, asking if they had copies of McCabe’s notes, since I wanted to use them to see whether FBI had committed a crime. She (credibly) claimed not to know about DOJ altering official documents, given the mad rush to confirm Amy Coney Barrett. So I sent her information to help her out.

Thanks for seeing if you can chase down the copies of these documents the Committee has received.

Basically, in some documents shared with Sidney Powell and then loaded to the docket in the Mike Flynn case, FBI had added (incorrect, in at least one case) dates to some Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe notes, which they subsequently admitted to the court, stating that the alteration was unintentional.

But it’s now clear that the FBI also removed the “protection order” footers in those documents as well (and have restored them in the re-altered documents).

There are a number of other irregularities with the McCabe notes, including that it doesn’t have a declassification stamp, even though the notes talk about Worldwide Threats hearing prep.

So I’m wondering if SJC could release the version of the notes the Committee received so we can understand what those notes originally looked like.

As I know from following the Crossfire Hurricane investigation closely, I’m know the Committee takes alterations of official documents very seriously.

I appreciate any help you can offer to clarify why these documents were altered.

I got no answer yesterday. I pinged her again today, mentioning that I thought Lindsey Graham’s disinterest in what might be a crime in progress newsworthy:

I’m circling back for comment on this.

I’m considering a post reporting on Chairman Graham’s disinterest in evidence that FBI has tampered with evidence to help Mike Flynn and would post it later today.

Thanks in advance.

Reidy responded to my question about DOJ’s current actions by stating that her boss is totally committed to continuing to review events that happened four years ago.

Thanks for your patience, Marcy.

The matter relates to pending litigation and is not something the committee would have access to.

Graham continues to pursue oversight related to the FBI’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane.

And while I followed up to clarify the seemingly shocking detail — that SJC intended to call McCabe as a witness without obtaining any of his records! — it appears to be the case that DOJ didn’t even share those documents with SJC.

I tried again, noting that she hadn’t answered the question I asked.

To clarify, even though you had prepared to have Andrew McCabe testify this month, you intended to do so without his records?

Also, would you like to issue a statement about FBI’s altering documents in the month of September 2020, which is entirely unrelated to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and what I asked about? Or does Chairman Graham not intend to exercise oversight over ongoing misconduct happening right now? To clarify, because this will be clear in any post, I’m asking whether Chairman Graham, having been informed of a potential crime happening as we speak on a matter that he has direct oversight over, is going to do anything about it?

I’ve had no response, from which I guess it is fair to conclude that former JAG Officer Lindsey Graham is going to do nothing about what might be a crime in progress.

FBI, for what it’s worth, yesterday referred my questions about why Executive Assistant Director John Brown certified what was almost certainly a classified document for release that lacked any declassification stamp as authentic to DC’s US Attorney’s Office.

I asked again if FBI had comment about the further alterations exhibited in the McCabe document, but got no answer there, either (I’m wondering what will happen if I report that FBI is doctoring documents to the FBI tip line).

It’s really weird that all these people who are supposed to guard the rule of law in this country are so disinterested in what might be a crime in progress.

Update: After I posted, the FBI reiterated that they still want me to ask DOJ why their EAD certified what appears to be a formerly classified document that lacks a declassification stamp.

We are still referring you to DOJ since this pertains to ongoing litigation.

I’m asking again for reference to what policies in question EAD Brown just certified to.

47 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Slightly amusing to see the FBI asking you to talk to its bureaucratic overlord about what it is doing to its investigative documents before it submits them to a federal court. Must be a potato too hot to handle.

    • emptywheel says:

      If they ask Brown if he’s aware that he certified a document that has been tampered with, he’d have to tell the court. So they’re making sure he can’t be asked.

  2. graham firchlis says:

    Lindsey Graham has always needed a strong, dominating hetero man in her life. For years that role was filled by John McCain, whose largely artificial swashbuckling public persona gave Lindsey a spine to lean on, however factually deficient.

    But McCain’s death left an intolerable void. To whom could Lindsey turn? The most ostentatiously macho man available, one with more blustery bravado and more real power than her dead idol.

    Lindsey shifting fawning adulation to Trump mystified many, given the animosity Trump heaped on McCain and Graham’s previous condemnation of Trump. But the grip of Lindsey’s compulsion overwhelms all rationality.

    With her previous all-consuming flame extinguished, Lindsey was drawn irresistibly to Trump as a moth to a porch light. She won’t break away, because she can’t face her essential hollowness.

    • rip says:

      I can’t say that I agree with your imputation about sexuality vis-a-vis dear Lindsay. PC and all that.

      However, the draw of the erogenous zones and related neurological functions can cloud rational thinking.

      • Rayne says:

        Agreed — please take note, graham firchlis.

        Sen. Graham has made no announcement of pronoun or identity change. Until notified formally in a public venue, Graham is he/him or the gender neutral they/them.

        We don’t shame gender identity or sexuality any more than we shame race. These are innate attributes.

        I don’t have a problem with shaming hypocrisy, spinelessness, and corruption, though.

        • RMD says:

          Thank you Rayne for your eloquent redress of something that crops up too often without comment.
          Some folks seem to think it’s ok to sneer and malign someone on the basis of assumptions about the target’s supposed sexual orientation.

          It’s not ok.

        • graham firchlis says:

          No shaming of sexual identity intended, none felt, surprised it reads that way. It is the rentless hypocrisy I condemn, and meant to mock.

          Graham is a routine opponent of gender equality, I grew up and have lived a long life here in the SF area. We are a rich and varied culture, all to be treasured. Bigotry has no place in my life, can’t abide it. Graham’s bigotry torques particularly because when I look at him my educated gaydar screams Drama Queen. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Gay friend can’t stand Graham’s politics, somehow finds him dishy.

          But I could be wrong.

          Substitute he for she throughout and my point remains the same, a deeply pathological condition. I’ll say no more.

  3. Ginevra diBenci says:

    EW, with all due (meaning the utmost, ineffable) respect, I question your use of “disinterested” throughout this post. That word denotes a lack of personal investment or stake, which in fact should be desired in those arbitrating the important issues you raise. It seems to me that you mean uninterested or detached, qualities you rightly portray as noxious to democracy.

  4. CapeCodFisher says:

    This might have already been mentioned, but in a Politico article the other day it was reported that Marcy was the person who uncovered the alterations of documents. It named her as a national security expert. Good job keeping the heat up…

  5. Zinsky says:

    I love the fact you are tweaking Barr’s DOJ real-time, by pointing out their utter incompetence and treachery in responding to Judge Sullivan’s on-going beat down of Flynn’s ersatz legal team. I don’t think they even realize how foolish they look. Brilliant! Keep up the great work.

  6. pdaly says:

    I’m curious if it has already been discussed. Is the crime emptywheel is referring to “fraud upon the court”?

    IANAL, so I only have the websearch definitions to go on.
    It seems submitting a fraudulent document as part of a court exhibit is not itself a Fraud Upon the Court, but, I assume, PRODUCING the altered document and claiming it is a true copy of the original document could be fraud upon the court?

    So lawyer Sidney Powell submitting to Judge Sullivan the ‘altered altered’ DOJ documents on behalf of her client Flynn has not committed a fraud upon the court?

    Do the creators of the altered documents have to be court members themselves in order to be accused of fraud upon the court?
    Does a member of the FBI fit the definition of a judiciary member and therefore an FBI worker producing or an FBI official certifying an altered altered document CAN be accused of a Fraud Upon the Court?

    I also wonder how the DOJ document production works.

    Do the redacted versions of the DOJ documents that Powell submitted to Judge Sullivan already exist BEFORE Powell even makes a request to the DOJ for those documents on behalf of her client? or does the DOJ only produce redacted documents upon request?

    IF the latter, then does any document creation date that predates Powell’s request look like evidence of evidence tampering to help Powell’s client?

    If a different lawyer (in this case, since it is Flynn vs. Flynn-friendly DOJ, I guess there are no opposing lawyers) were to ask for the same documents, does the DOJ start ‘from scratch’ and create a new redacted copy of the document, or does the DOJ keep the most recent version available for distribution to the next requestor?
    If the latter, then is there is a system for keeping track of iterations of the redacted document?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For starters, you have to ask who did the alterations – Powell or the DoJ (or both in a conspiracy – unlikely). Were they intentional or mistakes? How did they affect the meaning of the documents and the larger issues to which they refer?

      • pdaly says:

        So if we (meaning some lawyer with standing) were to ask DOJ for a copy of the same documents in question, those documents should look identical to Powell’s submissions, if Powell did not alter them?

        Or if DOJ made several versions of the same document, then DOJ should be able to produce for us all versions?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Powell’s version of a specific document should match the version of that document used by both Sullivan and the DoJ. Discrepancies should be identified as separate documents.

          Sullivan can and, at this point, probably should ask for the originals, given the games the DoJ has played with the copies.

          • pdaly says:

            Got it, but sounds as if FBI’s ‘keeper of the records’ is vouching for Powell’s version, so wouldn’t Powell claim (even if she were in cahoots with pro-Flynn DOJ) if confronted by Judge Sullivan, she ‘didn’t know’ about the alterations?

            • pdaly says:

              Although I guess she cannot express honest regret about the inaccuracies since her letter to Judge Sullivan was aimed at preventing Strzok and McCabe from pointing them out to her and to the court.

            • bmaz says:

              Earl is right. Not only because of the best evidence rule I have mentioned previously, but also because Sullivan has the inherent supervisory power to do so.

              The technical legal term in law is “custodian of records”. Such a custodian can certify records, and, if subpoenaed, appear and confirm records that are promulgated in the regular course of business. Think the billing office manager at a medical practice.

              This is NOT that kind of situation. Originators should be in the chair testifying, not a mere custodian of records.

      • emptywheel says:

        Actually, I wouldn’t be so sure that’s unlikely at this point. I think the McCabe notes at least suggest it may have been coordinated, because FBI anticipated the redacted protection order stamp, DOJ reiterated it, and the only reason to do that is if Sidney has a plan for the docs, possibly in coordination with Trump’s campaign lawyer.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Isn’t that coordination, or the possibility of it, the essence of what you are trying to pierce?

  7. Fran says:

    Just abso-FKing-lutely WOW.

    Sidney Powell put together a losing case.
    BUT for the DOJ to put together an ongoing criminal case …. it’s mind blowing.

  8. MattyG says:

    I’m trying to follow this from the start. The unaltered dates are material and also lend support to claims conistent with larger wrong doings on the part of Flynn and his superiors. But did the alterations have the effect of implicating Strzok (of whatever improprieties/failings the DOJ now claims), or of defelecting attention away from crimes Flynn was found guilty of commiting? Or both?

    • emptywheel says:

      I can imagine how two of the dates — the 1/5/17 Strzok notes and the 5/10/17 (sic) McCabe notes — were meant to serve a narrative, that Biden invented the improper reason to keep investigating Flynn (Logan Act, which is neither true nor improper), and then McCabe and Strzok executed, in McCabe’s place, by taking steps immediately after Comey got fired.

      • MattyG says:

        Yes, and McCabe. Early unaltered dates are consistent with the “justified ongoing case scenario” that supported conviction.

        Interesting though that the string pullers deem it necessary to and get this deep into the weeds here – now – after securing an easy guilty verdict. Something must have sparked the need to act in such a curious fashion. And whatever compels them to tamper with evidence appartently justifies coming across as rank amateurs.

        Could it be something as simple as doing whatever it takes to delay sentencing? Will certain information be revealed aloud during sentencing that must be avoided at all cost before the election? Just spitballing but the motivation feels like more than compulsive spastic narrative building.

        • timbo says:

          The simplest explanation is that it is incompetence by political hacks that were given “important” jobs that were in the limelight and blew basic document handling procedures and requirements when it comes to submitting evidence to Federal court proceedings. Beyond that, the idea that there was someone trying to get Powell and the Trump campaign/WH lawyers these documents in some sort of quasi-legal fashion (at best) seems to hold some water. Sadly, it seems that only a new regime in Washington DC, one more committed to fairer and appropriate application of the laws, more respectful of the rules and role of a strong and independent Federal judicial branch, more mindful of preserving the better aspects of our national institutions in general, may be required to get to the bottom of what has and is happening in the Flynn case(s).

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