The Last Time Billy Barr Ordered a Politicized Investigation, DOJ Altered Documents for Public Consumption

It is a fact that someone (or someones) who were part of the Jeffrey Jensen review of the Mike Flynn prosecution altered documents for public consumption. That is not speculation. It is not hyperbole. It is a fact, one that other outlets had better start replicating and enhancing if they want to prevent Barr’s green light on investigations into election irregularities, announced last night, from doing the same.

At a minimum, DOJ removed protective order footers from a set of documents shared with Sidney Powell on September 23, in advance of the first debate.

The altered January 5, 2017 Strzok notes, altered to suggest a January 5, 2017 meeting might have happened on January 4, 2017, 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, altered to include a date, with the footer redacted out:

The realtered McCabe notes, with the footer unredacted:

The two other documents released that day, a newly repackaged set of Page-Strzok texts (with newly released personal information that constitutes a new violation of the Privacy Act) that DOJ now claims not to have had a purpose to release and a set of FBI analyst texts the identities of which DOJ seems very concerned about hiding, also lacked protective order footnotes.

The three documents (above) subsequently released with the protective order replaced all had dates added to the initially altered document, a misleading date in at least the case of Peter Strzok’s January 5, 2017 notes and misleading redactions used to suggest something false about the date added to the McCabe notes. DOJ claims those added dates were inadvertent, but the fact they happened with documents that had otherwise been altered (and on a document, the Strzok January 5, 2017 notes, that had already been released once without the date) makes that claim highly unlikely. When prosecutor Jocelyn Ballantine submitted a filing admitting that the dates had been altered, she falsely claimed that Strzok and McCabe’s lawyers had confirmed nothing else was altered.

There are several other problems with the altered set of Andrew McCabe notes (including that notes about prep for the Global Threats Hearing got released with no declassification stamp), problems that merit more attention from experts.

But those aren’t the only pieces of evidence that the Jeffrey Jensen investigation evolved from inventing an excuse to blow up the Flynn prosecution into an opportunity to set up campaign attacks for the President. Pro-Trump FBI Agent Bill Barnett gave an interview that was materially inconsistent with his actions during the Flynn investigation (and that claimed to be unaware of key pieces of evidence against Flynn). When DOJ released it, they redacted it in such a way as to hide complimentary comments from Barnett about Brandon Van Grack that would have completely undermined DOJ’s claimed reasons to throw out Flynn’s prosecution.

There are more signs of irregularities with this “investigation.” But this list by itself proves that DOJ, in an investigation personally ordered up by Billy Barr, used the “investigation” to package up propaganda to help Donald Trump. The package even seems to have served to tee up an attack Trump made on Joe Biden in the first debate.

As noted, last night Barr authorized what had previously been forbidden for over forty years, DOJ’s conduct of investigations into claims of irregularities ginned up by the very same lawyers — Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani — who invented the complaints about the Flynn prosecution. One of Barr’s investigations has already altered official documents to sustain false claims. That means there’s reason to believe he would do it again, to serve the same cause. Indeed, Trump’s election loss gives Barr’s a greater incentive to repeat the process, to ensure he is not replaced by someone who would treat these alterations as a crime.

A Bill Barr politicized investigation altered documents to serve propaganda in the past. We should assume it will happen again.

117 replies
  1. joel fisher says:

    I wish someone would tell me I’m crazy for saying that this is part and parcel of an attempt to create an atmosphere of controversy so that the GOP legislatures in 3 or more states that Biden won can simply decline to certify the results. I should be on meds, right…..right?

    • Mitch Neher says:

      I can’t grant your wish, Mr. Fisher, without committing myself to an institution for the mentally ill . . . in good conscience.

      In bad conscience . . . You’re crazy “for saying” it.

    • madwand says:

      I’m certifiable also, this is unfortunately not over and there are a bunch of indicators. This act of Barrs, the firing of Esper, who blocked active duty troops from Washington during the protests, the GSA not signing off on transition funds and support, multiple lawsuits with most being dismissed, but one that may reach the Supreme Court. Add it up and it certainly doesn’t look like a smooth transition.

    • Tony el Tigre says:

      We should all be on meds at this point.

      What you described is their likely intent but they are so incompetent, and the goal such a hail mary, that it’s unlikely they will succeed. I think.

      • Mm says:

        The problem with this article is that I think that the House votes by states not by individual representatives. I think that the republicans actually control more state delegations.

        • joel fisher says:

          I’m worried; but less so when I think of Nancy Pelosi. I’m reminded of how nothing happens in the House without her giving the okey-dokey from on high. Couldn’t the House simply not take up the state by state count? The more I think about it, it’s hard to imagine Pelosi approving of the state by state count coming up after corrupt state legislatures refused to ratify Biden’s victory.

          • Rwood says:

            I’m in the minority when it comes to faith in Pelosi. She’s squandered more opportunity’s to check trump than I can count. My unpopular opinion is that she needs to go.

      • mass interest says:

        “Esper is most notable for having come out and said that the military would not intervene in domestic affairs at the behest of the president. Perhaps the new acting secretary of defense might take a different view.”

        Seems like Trump, in addition to replacing Esper with a more sympathetic individual, is going more broadly after the Pentagon. Plus his effing with election validity.

        I keep thinking Trump could be setting up circumstances where he could declare martial law and bring in the troops, so to speak. Illegality seems to mean nothing to him insofar as going after what he wants.

    • subtropolis says:

      I think it’s just theatre for an audience of one. McConnell needs Trump onside for the Georgia special election. That’s the only reason that Republicans (save for the Q Believers) are humouring him right now. They know that he’s toast; they’re much more interested in saving their own majority. Hence, Barr’s recent visit to McConnell’s chambers.

  2. GKJames says:

    It never ceases to amaze how Trump et al are one continuous exercise in projection. What they accuse Democrats of doing is precisely what they themselves do. Doctored ballots, “found” ballots, disappeared ballots, hacked machines and, of course, misrepresentations to the courts: it’s realistic to expect nothing less.

      • MB says:

        Yep. DARVO is a well-known acronym used in academic cult studies literature. Seeing as a how Trump is the cult leader of the world’s largest political cult, this and many other related concepts need to be more widely known…

  3. Eureka says:

    To this history of altering documents to suit propagandic aims — in this new context of investigating voting “irregularities” — for the interaction effect it’s worth recalling what went down with DOJ’s MDPA investigation of those few ballots discarded by mistake in Luzerne County, PA, by a newbie election worker who was immediately fired.* Then, DOJ put out multiple rounds of misinformation, and, uncharacteristically so, in the midst of an ongoing investigation. Not long after that, Barr issued new policy that DOJ could publicly discuss investigations about voting Maround the election. [Aside, Trump’s new suit (to stop certification of PA results) is filed in MDPA…]

    *ballots were opened or spoiled because the envelopes looked the same as the ones for ballot *applications*; this one-two day employee discarded them in further error. Meanwhile, the GOP rode a frother-wide media free-for-all for days, using it to expand horizons for authoritarian ‘remedies.’

    • harpie says:

      Adam Klasfeld is all over that “new” suit:
      8:21 PM · Nov 9, 2020

      Let’s make this absolutely clear: Trump wants to block Pennsylvania’s certification of his emphatic electoral defeat [LOL!] without actually alleging even suspected evidence of voter fraud in any of the seven Democratic counties he sued.

      His complaint: “As part of the November 3, 2020 General Election, there are at least two Counties that had suspected instances of mail-in ballot fraud.”

      Those are Fayette and Luzerne Counties, neither are defendants, both went to him by double-digits.

      One of those instances was trumpeted by Bill Barr’s DOJ prematurely in a press release they had to correct.

      The other unproven allegations that were being investigated involved instances you can count on one hand and not use your thumb.

      • Eureka says:

        Thanks, harpie, we overlapped. I also took my AG’s advice (but for the sleep part) and blew off the details of Trump’s shenanigans for the night, so am glad to have Klasfeld’s breakdown.

        (NOT) BREAKING:

        The Trump campaign’s latest filing is another attempt to throw out legal votes — my team and I were already prepared for this.

        Sleep tight. We will protect the laws of our Commonwealth and the will of the people.
        8:31 PM · Nov 9, 2020

      • Chris.EL says:

        Okay, this could be a little out of left field, but does Trump have standing to sue?

        What I’m getting at is should it be the Republican party or the electors; a “chain of command” progression? Sorry if a silly question.

        No meds needed; some blueberry pie would help though.
        Here’s some entertainment from NOVEMBER 7, 2012: !!!!!

        [This loooonatic got elected president???]

        From NYMag:

        “ELECTION NIGHT NOV. 7, 2012
        Donald Trump Wins Election Night’s ‘Most Unhinged Conservative’ Award
        By Dan Amira
        Long before the popular vote had been finalized — we’re talking hours and hours, if not days — the world’s most celebrated village idiot, Donald Trump, took to Twitter to call for revolution because Obama had won the election without receiving the most votes. (Not long after, Obama took the lead in the popular vote.) For this wonderfully insane tirade — some of which has since been deleted, but which we have preserved in its entirety — Trump wins Daily Intel’s Election Night Most Unhinged Conservative Award…”
        [The tweets are in the article on line.]

    • Eureka says:

      Those workers in Luzerne County were, apparently, habitually ‘curing’ ballots (including by shoving them [back] into envelopes). Trump’s latest suit allege-whines that blue/predominantly democratic counties were advising voters to cure mail ballot problems, while red counties were instead “following the law” or some such.

      Luzerne county just voted Trump+14.4 (Trump 56.7% to Biden 42.3%). Yet I’ve not seen word one (since the tilted brouhaha) about the unorthodox methods deployed there (which would be outside of any standard practice; though in any event I personally do not wish to see anyone disenfranchized for a simple screw-up by themselves or anyone else, that’s on Trump).

      Can’t wait to ctrl-f through that suit to see how exactly he is addressing what’s known re Luzerne Co (tho his goal is getting all mail ballots tossed, knowing Biden is sharply there-favored statewide).

      ETA: LOL see harpie’s comment, and Klasfeld’s LOL; I regrettably removed my own LOL in an editing error. Did I say LOL?

      • Rugger9 says:

        This would however fit in with the standard GOP practice of projecting their own actions as evidence of broad D conspiracies. Let’s remember almost all of the known voter fraud cases (such as Ann Coulter’s and the ones in KS, as well as Stokke in NV) involves GOP people “testing” the system to prove fraud. Our tell this time was the ask (IIRC in NV) for people to come forward with claims at the GOP presser, just go over to the table in the corner.

        Unless Luzerne and Fayette counties are defendants here, PA should insist that the judge toss the suits since the wring defendants are being charged.

        • Eureka says:

          Umm Hmm. They are nothing if not blessedly predictable. On another front of their schemes, Caruso just reported from Harrisburg that the state GOPers have thus far failed to mount this hackneyed angle of the coup attempt (as Trump was exhorting again today on twitter):

          Stephen Caruso: “Morning everyone. I am on the Pennsylvania state Capitol today. You may have see[n] reports about Pa. GOP state lawmakers pushing for a legislative election audit. I will be in the digging into this today.

          [… long thread, incl. POTUS tweet]

          “House GOP Leadership team walks out and is basically unchanged, minus expected movement. I.e., any last minute Trump-inspired coup did not happen as of right now.”

        • Rugger9 says:

          Hmmm…. It seems our PA postal worker that claimed ballots were backdated in Erie was paid $130,000 by the GOP to make the allegation. Lindsey Graham then cited this as evidence of ballot fraud, let’s see what he does now that the postal worker recanted.

          If 130,000 sounds familiar, it was what DJT paid for Stormy’s silence. Also, the postal worker episode is an awful lot like the adventures by Wohl and Burkman who paid women to claim Biden (and others) did repulsive things. I think the postal worker needs to be prosecuted as well as all of the GOP party types that signed and paid off on this.

          • P J Evans says:

            AIUI, the $130K was donations to a gofundme that’s been shut down because of the fraud.
            Also, his job is likely to disappear even faster than it already was.

          • Rugger9 says:

            It seems Mr. Hopkins has un-retracted his retraction, but still has offered zero evidence of his claim. The fact this went through Project Veritas, James O’Keefe’s scandal fabrication shop well known for paying its actors for gotcha purposes is a clear indicator of the value. Project Veritas was behind many “stings” involving Planned Parenthood and attempted to bug Claire McCaskill’s phone while she was in the Senate. O’Keefe should have been jailed for that alone.

            One hopes Mr. Hopkins got paid up front, because this might be the last money he gets.

            • bmaz says:

              His “evidence” is useless either way because of his not just vacillating, but directly conflicting, statements. Not to mention that he is tied to O’Keefe and Veritas. Did not get incarceration, but O’Keefe was prosecuted and convicted for his operation on Senator Landrieu.

              • Rugger9 says:

                You’re right, it was Landrieu.

                I would also think that as soon as the defense attorney asked “how much did you get paid for this?” it would be the end of Hopkins’ use as a witness.

              • Eureka says:

                O’Keefe’s apparently cooking up more trouble for himself (and/or the guy) by claiming there are recordings of federal agents in a two-party-consent state:

                Owen Barcala: “Big if true, since Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state and I sincerely doubt the federal agents consented to James recording the interview”

                “See 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5703, which makes interception of communications a third degree felony, and § 5704(4), which provides an exception where “all parties” gave prior consent [screenshots]”


                James O’Keefe: “We have recordings of the federal agents, who COERCED this man through a 4 hour interrogation Without representation, who stands by his original affidavit re: backdating ballots. Standby for recordings doubling down on backdating ballots. This is soviet style truth suppression”

      • Eureka says:

        I love these people, fine public servants. On voter fraud in the unsued Luzerne County and GOP bounties, Lt. Gov. says:

        John Fetterman: “Hey, Governor Patrick- it’s your counterpart in Pennsylvania. I’d like to collect your handsome reward for reporting voter fraud. I got a dude in Forty Fort, PA who tried to have his dead mom vote for Trump. I’d like mine in Sheetz gift cards pls. ps. The Cowboys blow.


        “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, one of the biggest Trump boosters in Texas, says he’ll pay up $1 million to encourage and reward those who report voter fraud. If info leads to arrest/ conviction for voter fraud. expect at least $25,000, he says.”

        John Fetterman: “One MILLION Dollars!!!!!”

        Man arrested for voter fraud in Luzerne County
        Police say he tried to apply for an absentee ballot for his dead mother.

        PS: the @PATreasury account is a great one to follow, general interest. I couldn’t believe my eyes a couple years back when I saw matter-of-fact content on income inequality (also, humor). As it stands, Treasurer is one of the statewide offices we lost to the GOP so whoever’s running it won’t be for long. RIP another enjoyable public servant who seeks public engagement with gov services.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s a paragraph of Barr’s memo:

      […] The Department’s general policies with regard to election fraud investigations are contained in the Justice Manual. Those policies require, among other things, consultation with the Public Integrity Section’s Election Crimes Branch (“ECB”) in some instances. Those policies already allow preliminary inquiries, including witness interviews, to be conducted without ECB consultation. In instances in which they are consulted, the ECB’s general practice has been to counsel that overt investigative steps ordinarily should not be taken until the election in question has been concluded, its results certified, and all recounts and election contests concluded. Such a passive and delayed enforcement approach can result in situations in which election misconduct cannot realistically be rectified. Moreover, this ECB practice has never been a hard and fast rule, and case – specific determinations and judgments must be made. While most allegations of purported election misconduct are of such a scale that they would not impact the outcome of an election and, thus, investigation can appropriately be deferred, that is not always the case. Furthermore, any concerns that overt actions taken by the Department could inadvertently impact an election are greatly minimized, if they exist at all, once voting has concluded, even if election certification has not yet been completed.[…]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Even while justifying his perverse action in favor of Trump, Barr says the quiet parts out loud.

        1) He wants to “rectify” an election result before it is declared – in favor of his destructive authoritarian boss.

        2) A forty-year precedent is not a “hard and fast rule” that requires respect. Not even under the circumstances for which it was intended, which are exactly the ones we have here.

        The DoJ has no role in deciding or materially influencing elections. As the government’s chief prosecutorial and law enforcement agency, it’s supposed to keep its paws off them. There are other agencies of government designed to monitor and insure election integrity – which is primarily a state function.

        The DoJ’s prosecutorial job is to investigate legitimately suspect circumstances after they are concluded, to prosecute conduct it can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and to document circumstances requiring legislative or other reform.

        Bill Barr is a corrupt functionary for a corrupt man, who fears for his freedom and fortune should his tenure as a public employee end, which it should about midday on January 20, 2021.

        • Jenny says:

          “To all my colleagues at the Department of Justice, let me say that it is a privilege to serve with you. I will do all I can to support your work in advancing the cause of justice.”
          William Barr

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Former corporate general counsels learn before they get the job how to spew the corporate dogma and piss on it at the same time.

            • OldTulsaDude says:

              The most dangerous sentence from Barr’s memo above: “While most allegations of purported election misconduct are of such a scale that they would not impact the outcome of an election and, thus, investigation can appropriately be deferred, that is not always the case.”

              It reads to me as though Barr is claiming in this one sentence that election fraud on a scale large enough to swing an election is not only possible but has already occurred. If my understanding of his claim is correct, why are we the people not demanding from him citations of those cases that changed an election outcome?

              • Eureka says:

                I don’t know what he’s alluding to, but as to scale one possibility is the stuff they are churning in various RW outlets about the fictitious “Hammer” and “Scorecard” (see 936a comment below for link).

                I could see them tying this nonsense to the Schulte case as well (and wonder if they had planned to exploit said case wrt attribution for 2016; they are, of late, playing out most of their prior plotlines — ones deferred or aborted by things like the Mueller investigation and impeachment — this season).

                • subtropolis says:

                  You said it yourself, though: it’s a fiction. Barr ought to be called upon to cite those cases of large-scale election fraud to which he alluded.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              We should be demanding facts. But since Barr has not apparently begun any investigations – something we should demand to know – but only authorized them, he will have none to provide. That’s what the MSM should be covering. That is, that he has NO facts and is authorizing investigations to cater to the whims of a sociopath.

              Yes, politicians on both sides of the aisle should decry Barr’s unprecedented arrogation of power, using the resources of a department that traditionally has no role in and normally works hard to stay the fuck away from elections.

              • Rugger9 says:

                Absolutely we should demand the evidence now because Barr’s pronouncements have a chronic pattern of falling apart when subjected to any examination, to the point of showing that Barr’s take is the opposite of what the relevant document says.

                FWIW, the number of votes under contest is nowhere close enough to swing the states, i.e. AZ has 180 ballots being challenged when Biden leads by over 15,700 votes. PA could throw out 7800 late arrivers but Biden is ahead by more that 45,600, and so on. The concern for me is that SCOTUS will pull a “Citizen’s United” and expand the decision to topics not asked for a sweeping opinion invalidating the election for some form of do-over to help DJT.

                This is about laying markers for future elections where gerrymandering gets worse (based on recent SCOTUS opinions about legislative control) and more suppression gets approved. As for gerrymandering, I guess progressives need to move into those districts to swing them.

              • P J Evans says:

                Pompeo is in on this, also. “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” is not something he should say.

        • Chris.EL says:

          From Raw Story .com

          “Republicans accused of conspiring to commit election fraud in Pennsylvania

          “Hours before President Donald Trump went on national television Thursday to declare the inherent illegitimacy of ballots received after Nov. 3, local Republican officials recruited volunteers to call Pennsylvania voters and urge them to get their ballots in by Friday—three days after Election Day,” The Daily Beast reported late Thursday evening.

          “The request, election lawyers say, appears to flagrantly run afoul of state law. Under Pennsylvania law and a recent state Supreme Court decision, absentee and mail-in ballots are valid as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 6. Any Trump supporter who sends in their ballots either Thursday or Friday would not have it postmarked within the acceptable deadline—creating the precise situation that the president himself has deemed fraudulent and corrupt,” The Beast explained. ” …

  4. Eureka says:

    THIS guy. On the other side of this FUD (? rat-FUDding ?) operation:

    Infamous ‘Hoax’ Artist Behind Trumpworld’s New Voter Fraud Claim
    He tricked the Bush administration into thinking he could detect terrorist signals in al Jazeera broadcasts. Now Dennis Montgomery has a new set of believers.
    by WIll Sommer
    Updated Nov. 09, 2020 3:14AM ET / Published Nov. 08, 2020 9:04PM ET

    As Donald Trump refuses to concede the election, some of his most loyal allies have become obsessed with a bizarre new conspiracy theory about the race, insisting that Trump only lost the election because a deep-state supercomputer named “Hammer” and a computer program named “Scorecard” were used to change the ballot count.

    The head of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has called the claim about supercomputer election fraud “nonsense,” and urged Americans not to promote it.

    But the mythical supercomputer claim has been embraced by prominent Trump backers, including former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, former Trump 2016 campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, right-wing pundit John Cardillo, and Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson.

    The election fraud claims center on [Larry Klayman client] Dennis Montgomery, a former intelligence contractor and self-proclaimed whistleblower who claims to have created the “Hammer” supercomputer and the “Scorecard” software some Trump fans believe was used to change the votes.

    (internal links removed; they are a trip, as is the one down memory lane)

    Good opportunity to familiarize oneself with the parlance that’ll captivate the Fox-watchers for the next four years or so.

  5. Eureka says:

    Dilanian just got caught pottymouthing *twice* on live tv when Melvin called him to air (saying ‘Oh Shit, Fuck’ – to his notes? — or perhaps there was a phone).

    He was about to report on how Grenell refuses Biden any intelligence, PDB; no acknowledgement of the Transition until results certified and GSA “declares” a winner, they’d said earlier. Not sure if NBC has any new details vs., say, what CNN reported last night. Can locate the blooper clip but not any actual (new) story atm:


    CNN last night:

    1145a he just returned to air; they have confirmed no PDB is new reporting; they change keyword to GSA “a

    • Eureka says:

      Not enough time to sneak that in edit above: the new reporting is that NBC has confirmed that Biden is not receiving a PDB; the keyword re GSA has been changed to “ascertained” from “declares” a winner; Biden won’t receive the different quality (really searching for the right word here, given current admin leadership) briefing on intel matters until then.

      • BobCon says:

        On the subject of PDBs, the Washington Post has this article about fears about Trump revealing classified intelligence after he is gone.

        The fear is less about details from PDBs, which he doesn’t read, as more general information. He could, for example, reveal the existence of a missle program currently under development.

        The article notes that Trump has no legal immunity if he reveals classified info as soon as he is out of office.

        • Eureka says:

          It would be fitting were he nabbed for brokering minor details about Space Force (that’s the closest we’ll get to resembling Comedy Central’s “The End of Trump”).

          MB: yes, hence the word search. However, I suspect the Biden camp could pick up on some subtly-placed info which would elude censorship from Trump’s lackey-overseers.

      • MB says:

        I had heard that the PDBs were simplified for Trump, limited to 1 page and containing drawings and pictures so that the First Moron could grasp their content. I’ve also heard that Trump frequently ignores even the simplified PDBs.

        So…even if Biden did have access to Trump’s PDBs, he might want to see the grownup version of them in order to better formulate his proposed policies.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Another reason Trump won’t give Biden access to the PDB: he’ll read the full briefing and understand it. That will put him way beyond Trump in understanding what’s happening.

          Plus, Biden and his top people will start to read about what’s happening that Trump is not disclosing, but which should be disclosed. Examples might include evidence of Russian election interference and foreign appreciations of what an incompetent destructive ass Trump is.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Rumor has it that they kept dumbing down the PDB until it got to one page and Trump still wasn’t reading it. So, they went back to a more typical executive summary, a small portion of which is apparently read out to the president by an aide, whose identity changes with Trump’s whims. Even at that, Trump won’t sit still for it every day.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As Chris Lu points out, citing a WaPo article today, the delay in getting BushCheney people in place promptly was cited by the 9/11 commission as a “critical vulnerability” that contributed to 9/11.

    That psychopath Donald Trump doesn’t give a shit is no surprise. But is it equally true of all Republicans in the House and Senate, and all the bureaucrats in government?

    • BobCon says:

      Not all of the bureacrats. Even if some political appointees are spraying cold water all over, there are career bureacrats who doing everything they can to facilitate a transfer to new leadership.

      Pretty much every embassy right now, for example, is starting to deal with sending packing boxes to the home of every ambassador, giving them the deadlines for getting their stuff shipped home before they will have to pay for it, letting them know when their health insurance runs out….

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Getting the old people out is not the same as getting new people in. But it’s a start and something the Obama administration didn’t seem to put much effort into.

        • Chris.EL says:

          From Twitter,

          Ryan Browne @rabrowne75
          ~5:00 pm EST 11/10/20
          Pentagon finally confirms near total decapitation of civilian leadership in the last 24 hours. Secretary of Defense Esper fired Monday, the top Pentagon Policy official, top Defense Department intelligence official, and chief of staff to the Defense Secretary all out today.

    • Eureka says:

      Hi Pete, the SoS announced last night that there are 10k of those segregated ballots (they are not included in the vote total– YET). They would not change the outcome. So we’re in the clear there. 10s of thousands others left to count as well that are not under any challenge — Biden’s lead is expected to increase.

      So all of Trump’s threats worked to get people to get them in sooner, by methods other than USPS, or to abandon their mail ballots and vote provisional.

      I still think Judge Sullivan’s orders for postal sweeps etc. made a crucial difference. Wish I knew the number of ballots collected on Tues *and possibly delivered on Tues* before polls closed (so would be included in ‘regular’ total).

      Where things stand today:

      10,000 Pennsylvania mail ballots arrived after Election Day — too few to change result if thrown out

  7. Stephan says:

    The GOP seems to be in the process of a Coup d’Etat in slow motion. I suspect they’ll concentrate to manufacture an ‘alternative’ Electoral College vote, they can use the claim legitimacy. After all, it seems, all they actually need is the degree of recklessness and corruption that produces the 270 votes required. The law suits might just be deflection and a propaganda tool, noise, and buying time till they are prepared to do it.

    • Earthworm says:

      isnt evidence required for a lawsuit to have standing?
      Not the other way around, i.e., bring a lawsuit and then fish for evidence —

      • vvv says:

        You are on the right track.

        “Standing” is required of the parties to the suit, more or less analogous to, “having a dog in the fight”.

        But yes, a lawsuit must be in “good faith” and thus have some evidentiary basis to be brought. (Even in my state, IL, where we have “suits in discovery”, there’s a minimum showing necessary to proceed, which showing also includes standing.)

  8. sand says:

    The Secretary of State is now making “jokes” about the lawful transition of power, just like a pilot might get on the intercom and joke about crashing into the side of a mountain, you know, to show the passengers that he has a sense of humor.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump is apparently bullying Loeffler and Perdue – and they’re complying – into a burn the house down approach. That includes demanding that the GOP GA SecState resign.

    That’s not because he did anything wrong or incompetently, but, as with the Hunter Biden and the Ukraine, it’s merely to create the false impression that something improper happened in the GA election. It’s fiction as stage management. It might also be because he wasn’t corrupt enough for Trump.

    That’s not politics, it’s a running coup.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The incompetent but mysteriously successful nebbish, Kash Patel – a Trump favorite and a Devin Nunes protege – surfaces again. He has just been made new Acting SecDef Miller’s chief of fucking staff. That makes him an information bottleneck through which important things in the Pentagon flow.

    This is not what you do to set up people on your nomenklatura for a job you hope to give them in a future GOP administration years hence. It is not what you do just to tear up a department, in the manner of a crazed Eddie Haskel burning the Monopoly board after being bankrupted by the Beaver. It might be what you do to keep everyone in line and their mouths shut for a few months. But it’s also what you do to implement a coup.

    Trump is not better at one thing more than another. He’s incompetent across the board, which is a saving grace and might allow us to avoid a full out attempt by him to remain in office. But it will set up a stab-in-the-back legend that will nurture the Base for years. If we’re lucky, that will only mean Trump’s begging for litigation money – really to pay for his past and future campaigns, and his personal habits, which he charges to them – is more successful than it should be. But Trump is a vicious psychopath, who views getting even 10x over like Vince Lombardi viewed winning. – citing a pay-walled WSJ article:

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    MSNBC needs Claire McCaskill’s commentary as much as it needs James Carville’s, or CNN needs Rick Santorum’s. She makes Chuck Toddler appear intelligent and challenging. But almost all their commentators continue to treat Trump’s refusal to accept defeat as a rude, precedent-breaking, irritating, sometimes humorous personal failing.

    It is all those things. But Trump is also a ruthless, vindictive, psychopath, for whom leaving office is a ticket to hell. He’s also president. Is he really as powerless as Don Knott’s Mr. Limpet or Bob Hope’s Peter Potter, the Painless Dentist?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ari Melber, too, takes Donald Trump and Bill Barr literally. His assessment is that Bill Barr’s memo last night is laughably weak, it’s a damp squib no one should be frightened of, and, impliedly, it’s not worth resigning over.

      That may be accurate, as far as it goes. But given Bill Barr’s history with this and the Bush Sr. administration, what’s really laughable is that your analysis of what Barr and Trump are up to would stop there.

  12. Stephan says:

    This describes much better what I want to say. You do not need to publish my comment, or better do not actually, I just want you to make aware of this possibility. It’s no accident I post this to you, you have always been right at the curve or ahead of it. This coup is stopped the easier than everyone is aware of what’s going on.

    “The Constitution, states’ laws, and precedent indicates that if there was indeed a legitimate dispute and a state couldn’t certify their election by December 14, state legislatures could use that “uncertainty” to select their own slate of electors. There are Republican state legislatures in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona. Trump doesn’t need to win in Court. He simply needs to tie things up in enough of those states until December 14 when legislatures appoint electors to cast ballots for their states. That is why he is claiming fraud and irregularities with no evidence.”

  13. Savage Librarian says:


    Suck it up, Mr. Schmuck,
    Cold turkey for a lame duck,
    We give thanks you’re out of luck,
    But you’ll still try to pass the buck.

    Unlike Colin & Scarlett Jost,
    with Meals on Wheels, coast to coast,
    You can’t lift a glass to toast,
    Or even sit through a well earned roast.

    The only folks to give you props
    are not the ones who do mic drops,
    Pulling out all the stops,
    You just don’t have the chops.

    “It’s the show. It’s the clues,”
    It’s the respect to pay the dues,
    Risking jeopardy for what ensues,
    Even if you might finally lose.

    Suck it up, Mr. Schmuck,
    Cold turkey for a lame duck,
    We give thanks you’re out of luck,
    But you’ll still try to pass the buck.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The plot thickens. Actually, it’s coffee in which a spoon would stand straight up. An aide to disgraced Mike Flynn – Ezra Cohen-Watnick – has just been promoted to the senior DoD position of Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

    This is his second move this year at the Pentagon. He was first made deputy assist. secretary for counternarcotics and global threats, a mid-level position. A few months later, he was promoted to acting assistant secretary for “special operations/low intensity conflict.” That made him the equivalent of a vice president. His latest promotion, in effect, makes him an executive vp with an office just outside the CEO’s door.

    The speed with which C-W passed through the administration is as mysterious as his priorities. Mike Flynn put Cohen-Watnick, now 34, on the NSC. He was the first guy John Kelly got rid of when he became COS. Gen. McMaster tried to get rid of him earlier, to no avail. Before that, C-W was educated at Penn, was trained in clandestine espionage by the CIA at “the farm,” and held jobs at DIA and as a top aide to Jeff Sessions at the DoJ.

    At a minimum, Trump is putting a concrete lid on DoD intel. But that’s a passive role that C-W is unlikely to have accepted. Nor is it consistent with Miller’s appointment as Acting SecDef and Kash Patel’s promotion to Miller’s COS. One thing is for sure: the general consensus is that Trump has no more avid supporter than Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

    • BobCon says:

      I’m curious what the point of this is with so little time — maybe digging out classified info?

      Maybe also trying to dig out and fire supposedly disloyal people?

      There are early signs the defense industry wants to play nice with Biden and the Pentagon is sick of Trump, I could imagine the Trump side of the GOP sees an opportunity to upset a Biden drive to establish regular order at DOD?

      • Rwood says:

        Alone these things might not mean much, but taken together they point to something ominous.
        New non-scalable fence placed around White House.
        Barr weaponizes the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s baseless fraud claims.
        Trump fires DOD leadership and replaces them with “loyal” people.
        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell throw his support behind President Trump’s legal challenges in the wake of his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. This done minutes after meeting with AG Barr.
        Five days before the presidential election, the Trump administration dispatched attorney Trent Benishek of the White House general counsel’s office to the General Services Administration.
        Secretary of State Pompeo says: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration”
        To what end?

  15. Molly Pitcher says:

    Four Seasons Landscaping the Trump event that keeps on giving.

    “empoweredvoters #DarylBrooks – #RudyGiuliani’s star witness in alleging there was #electionfraud – is not only a convicted felon who was imprisoned for three years for exposing himself to 7- and 11-year old children, and not only is he allegedly a deadbeat dad who owes child support payments, but this “Pennsylvania poll watcher” is also a New Jersey resident, not a PA resident.

    “Brooks was incarcerated in the 1990s on charges of sexual assault, lewdness and endangering the welfare of a minor for exposing himself to two girls ages 7 and 11, according to news accounts.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Brooks has run for various offices, including U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    “I started watching it and all of a sudden I was like, ‘there’s New Jersey’s perennial candidate claiming to live in Philadelphia and Giuliani claiming him to be a poll watcher and Philadelphia resident,” Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said in a phone interview.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    James Gee, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), also said he immediately recognized Brooks.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    “Yeah, I know Daryl. It’s so fitting that he would be there,” Gee said.” [Politico]”

  16. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    Rick Wilson’s epithet-filled rant at the Daily Beast suggests that Trump will ultimately slink away from the office of the President. I suggest that Trump and his minions are playing for keeps, and that people need to stop thinking that what Trump et al. are doing is something other than a very serious effort to stay in power using illegitimate means. Everyone who wants to avoid Trump remaining in power needs to take steps, using all legitimate means, that they can take to avoid that outcome. That is the only way that Trump will depart. The press needs to comprehend that this is not a game and is not being done to gain some tactical advantage once Biden takes control.

    • ThoughtMail says:

      Your analysis is pointed and cogent. He told you himself that you would get tired of (his) winning. Yes, he is playing for keeps. Winning, for him, is all that matters.

      I’m constantly astonished at the commentary here and elsewhere, that discounts how dangerous he is when uncontrolled. Dangerous and uncontrolled – but I repeat myself.

      The little-more-than whining that I’ve seen for the last 10 years (from both sides) is evidence enough that no good thing will come for humanity.

      American exceptionalism? It surely is.

      • I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

        My assumption that some people, but certainly not all, are not taking things as seriously as they should, and thus should up their game. That would include, but not be limited to, any Republicans who are not power hungry sociopaths and many members of the media. No criticism of the principals here is intended.

  17. Eureka says:

    I have no idea where to start this clickhole but it’s hilarious (well, and bigoted in every way possible). This is how GOP pol-types spend their lonely existence, catfishing for Trump voters (at least Vlad’s guys get paid for this) (hang in til you get to the part about Miss Patti LaBelle’s son/nephew):

    Gregg Housh: “This Republican botnet seems to be having problems. [off you go….]”

    Rep. Malcolm “Biden/Harris WON” Kenyatta: “Oh Dean….You crazy as hell. Signed, An actual black gay guy. [screenshot of busted GOP imposter who forgot which account he was on]”


    • harpie says:

      I don’t know how Marcy processes so much information so quickly and precisely [!], but there are about 5 variations on the above theme on her twitter timeline just from this morning.

      12:03 AM · Nov 11, 2020

      This is a useful table — though not sure how @dangillmor thinks that money-generating corruption isn’t happening.

      It’d be useful to have another column to show who believes/is running each effort: bc some GOPers think they’re just indulging POTUS. [link]

      Links to:
      11:57 PM · Nov 10, 2020

      I revised this table to reflect that it’s the baseless nature of the Trump legal challenges to votes that is (one part of) the problem. [CHART]

      • harpie says:

        Re: the baseless nature of the legal challenges [again, Marsha Blackburn]
        1:44 PM · Nov 10, 2020

        During a floor speech today that was ostensibly about COVID relief, Sen. @MarshaBlackburn said, “Media outlets have refused to discuss allegations of voter irregularities.”

        I reached out to her office and asked which allegations she was referring to.

        Her spokesman said this: [screenshot] “I don’t have anything for you right now. I’ll let you know if anything changes.”

        So, the senator is accusing the media of refusing to cover “allegations,” but when reporters try to cover them, she apparently doesn’t know which allegations she’s talking about.

      • harpie says:

        More about the LUDICROUS allegations of “voter fraud”:
        4:42 AM · Nov 11, 2020

        This is a useful thread for doing the reading you don’t need to, but again, it is important to maintain the distinction between poll “challengers,” which most of these appear to be, and “watchers,” which they do not. [link] [THREAD]

        Links to:
        12:21 AM · Nov 11, 2020

        The Trump campaign released that 234-page stack of affidavits from poll watchers [CHALLENGERS?] in Detroit tonight. So far, it’s mostly allegations that they couldn’t get as close as they wanted to the counting, couldn’t re-enter the room after they left, etc. Pretty standard election stuff. [THREAD]

    • harpie says:

      11:37 PM · Nov 10, 2020

      Trump appears to be replaying something that Dick Cheney and David Addington used to keep parts of Stellar Wind going.

      NSA is PART of DOD. So when Kash Patel goes to DOD as CoS, and tells USD Intel Cohen Watnick he can do something overriding NSA …
      Then Michael Ellis at NSA can tell NSA legally they have to follow orders.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The rank and file can’t make that judgment call, nor can most of the officer corps. But the top generals can push back on it, legally and politically.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Let me amend that. The odds of someone lower on the ladder not obeying an order because it was illegal would depend on many factors, starting with how obviously illegal it was, were there witnesses, and so on.

          • Rugger9 says:

            There are fundamental ones we would know are wrong, like engaging in violating Geneva and other obvious crimes. When lawlessness prevails in GOP administrations there will always be those who will follow the prevailing wind.

    • harpie says:

      [Responding to a tweet from Arthur Schwartz]
      11:09 PM · Nov 10, 2020

      TFW the Trump camp worries more about master case officer Gina Haspel than master case officer Vladimir Putin. [screenshot of Schwartz tweet]

      Reminder that Arthur Schwartz, the failson‘s buddy, shared secret grand jury information about the Assange prosecution with former Sputnik propagandist Cassandra Fairbanks, and she shared it with Assange.

      The information COVID Donny wants to release likely shows NOT that Hillary Clinton set up the entire Russian investigation — how could it?!?! It post-dated Roger Stone’s coziness with Guccifer 2.0 by months!!! But more likely served to cover up Stone’s coziness.

      Remember: COVID Donny was chasing an improbably lucrative Moscow deal DURING the election. There’s no reason to believe that he doesn’t hope to renew that opportunity, especially bc he’s even more underwater.

      Burning US collection on Russia would be a lovely way to do that.

    • harpie says:

      [Responding to a tweeted video from Marsha Blackburn]
      7:14 AM · Nov 11, 2020

      I’m not one to reflexively commend the FBI, but McCabe had a central role in Marathon Bombing response.

      Blackburn is condemning that here with false claims. [link]

      Links to:
      2:55 PM · Nov 10, 2020

      [FALSE CLAIM>>>] Andrew McCabe got caught carrying out a plot to take down @realDonaldTrump on taxpayer dollars. He is the epitome of what we do not want at the @FBI. [VIDEO]

  18. Marinela says:

    So the Republicans are not saying anything about Trump changes at Pentagon, because they don’t want to affect Georgia runoff races.
    And Trump knows this. And it could mean Trump is going to be unchecked once again.
    Biden on the other hand is constrained because he wants to unite the country. And Trump knows this.

    I have a bad feeling about all this.

    Democrats in Congress should at least try to find out why Trump is doing all of these changes.

    And not accepting the results is not ok. The voters fired Trump.
    Even democrats should not indulge in this narrative that if he feels he wants to sue in courts, he will loose anyway. He lost the election, he is not accepting the results, so now he burns the country because he wants to cheat?

    Why is everybody walking on egg shells around Trump. He is a “strong” man.
    MAGA crowd would never worship a weak man, would they?

    The whole thing is so idiotic, and terrifying.

    Feels like Trump is robbing us of the joy of winning this election.

  19. harpie says:

    Trump used VETERANS DAY as a PROP for a photo op for his 2024 campaign.

    Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent at The Times of London was
    waiting for TRUMP to arrive at ARLINGTON CEMETARY:

    11:11 AM · Nov 11, 2020
    Where is Donald Trump? It’s 11.11am and no sign of him at Arlington ceremony yet.

    11:21 AM · Nov 11, 2020
    It is 11.19am, raining hard and in Arlington cemetery military personnel are standing in the wet waiting for the president.

    11:25 AM · Nov 11, 2020
    he’s finally showed up. A minute before he was scheduled to depart again.

    He arrived late and stayed for six minutes. Then at

    2:53 PM · Nov 11, 2020
    Trump posts this gross VIDEO of his CEMETARY PHOTO OP:

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Twenty-five minutes late for a ceremony to honor the dead? For a hundred years it has been on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, to commemorate the Armistice for the First World War.

      The disrespect for the men and women who served, their families, and their countries is boorish and palpable. It’s as if Trump is always reliving the greatest thrill of his life: buying his way out of Vietnam with a fake bonespur.

      The man is lucky any member of the military follows his orders. We’re lucky their oaths are to defend the Constitution, not an individual public employee. That might be his first experience of bad luck.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Maybe he stopped at McD’s on the way, and that takes time.

        Let’s also remember that while Meadows never served, he was born an Army hospital at Verdun because his father was serving in France at the time and I would think the significance of 11/11/1918 would have rubbed off somehow (especially there at Verdun). But, Meadows has been (we think) isolated by COVID-19 and we have de facto CoS Stephen Miller and/or Jared, neither of whom give a damn about servicemembers and apparently botched the logistics.

        Then again, it was also raining and as we saw in France DJT blew off visiting the American dead there because he might get his hair mussed.

  20. harpie says:

    Ryan Goodman and Andrew Weissmann take Barr’s memo apart here:

    Barr isn’t just humoring Trump. He’s weaponizing law enforcement.
    A new Justice Department memo could lead to bogus investigations
    Ryan Goodman / Andrew Weissmann November 12, 2020 at 6:00 a.m.

    We talked about this at this comment:

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