John Durham and the First Fight over a Doctored MemCon of Trump’s Meetings with Russia

A year ago, John Durham was investigating who leaked the fact that Mike Flynn had secretly worked with Russia to undermine sanctions that served, in part, to punish Russia for helping Trump get elected. Mike Flynn and KT McFarland had been claiming that David Ignatius forced them to lie about conversations that they made active efforts to cover-up even when they were secret, an obviously bullshit claim, but one that DOJ adopted as credible nevertheless.

The problem with that prong of the investigation (even beyond the fact that Flynn and McFarland were already covering Flynn’s calls before they had been made public) — as I pointed out when it was reported — that the most likely sources of the news that Flynn had been having secret conversations with the Ambassador were several groups that could leak this information legally: Original Classification Authorities, outgoing or not, or members of Congress. For the record, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page appear to have assumed the leak came from Congress. But if James Clapper or Jim Comey or another OCA leaked it as part of a counterintelligence inquiry into why Flynn did that, it would be entirely legal. All the more so given that Trump was not yet in office.

Given the new details we have on the Durham investigation — including yet more proof he and his investigators grossly misunderstand counterintelligence — I’d like to return to another leak: that Trump shared highly classified Israeli intelligence with Sergey Lavrov in their meeting on May 10, 2017. Given recent events, I think there is a decent chance that Durham investigated and may still be investigating this one, too.

As I noted, among the last Mueller 302s released to BuzzFeed were three or four that dealt with this leak, a coincidence in timing that is among the reasons I suspect Durham may have reviewed these 302s. They first described how after a meeting around the time Jim Comey was fired, an FBI counterintelligence detailee to the White House got called into Acting Homeland Security Advisor John Daly’s office after a meeting and grilled in a way that the detailee seemed to find inappropriate. Among other things, Daly asked the detailee what he thought of Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

A second interview with the detailee conducted on the same day appears to describe the aftermath of the meeting on May 10, 2017, at which Trump shared this intelligence. It appears the detailee read the MemCom of the meeting and realized what Trump had done. He appears to have first alerted his boss of what happened (it’s unclear whether that boss was at the White House or FBI), and then escalated it. He tried to tell Tom Bossert, but instead told Daly, which led to the grilling by Daly laid out in the first interview. After that meeting, the detailee told Bossert what happened. The detailee’s notice to Bossert led him to take measures to minimize the damage, as described by the original report on the meeting.

Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout. Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.

One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

Over two years before similar events would lead to impeachment, Trump’s aides were trying to doctor the record of his calls with Russia to hide how he had damaged our allies.

According to the 302, Bossert applauded the detailee for alerting him of the problem. “Thank god you came to us.”

But then after the story leaked to the WaPo and NYT, the detailee was summoned to Bossert’s office, only to be grilled by both Bossert and Daly. After the detailee was grilled for 20-30 minutes, someone else was, as well. Almost immediately after his grilling, the detailee saw HR McMaster give a press conference at which, per the detailee, McMaster “gave a misleading account of what happened during TRUMP’s meeting with LAVROV.” Like Flynn had earlier that year, McMaster was lying publicly about something the Russians knew was a lie.

After he was grilled, the detailee appears to have informed FBI chain of command, including Bill Priestap.

Shortly thereafter, it appears that the detailee learned from Bossert that he was not getting a job he expected. The detailee asked when that decision was made, Bossert appears to have lied either about the job offer or about the decision to alter the MemCon in real time.

Not long after, the detailee left the NSC. Before he did, he put copies of emails recording all this as well as the partially redacted MemCon he had seen in a safe. The 302 suggests that the White House fired all the other people who had seen the MemCon.

Among the other 302s released last week include a record of FBI obtaining copies of Bill Priestap’s discussions with Ezra Cohen-Watnick and what appears to be the detailee at the time, which almost certainly includes notes relaying the events surrounding the MemCon. There’s also an almost entirely redacted 302 from Ted Gistaro, which was at least his second interview. Gistaro was Trump’s briefer both at Mar-a-Lago during the Transition period when Flynn was secretly calling Sergey Kislyak and probably still during the May 2017 period. Another 302 might be the FBI picking up the documents that the detailee had left behind.

All that is to say that among the very last documents that Bill Barr’s DOJ cleared for public release deal with a very complex set of problems central to questions of Trump’s relationship with Russia during the days that FBI would expand its counterintelligence investigation to incorporate Trump, as well. There’s the matter of the leak, which has never been charged. The original WaPo, which appears to have relied on more sources, cites both current and former officials, including at least one who remained close to Trump officials.

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.


“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”


“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said.

A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”

Given that Bossert called NSA and CIA to alert them, there would be many candidates for this, including the OCAs for the intelligence and the partnership with our ally. Indeed, the journalists on the original story cover CIA and the Pentagon, not FBI. But the grilling of the detailee suggests that the White House suspected him.

Then there’s the matter of what the FBI should do with this information — and it seems fairly clear that the detailee was one if not the primary source of the information for the people overseeing the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. It is absolutely within Trump’s right to give our enemies classified information. It also undoubtedly damages the US (as the Trump-friendly source[s] for the story seem to agree).

If Andrew McCabe included this exchange among the things he considered before opening a counterintelligence investigation into Trump, I can see how Durham — who has exhibited over and over that he doesn’t understand counterintelligence — would deem it inappropriate, particularly if egged on by Bill Barr. If an FBI counterintelligence detailee at the White House had a role in its dissemination, all the more so.

But I can also see how, from a counterintelligence investigation, McMaster’s lies about this (on behalf of Trump) would raise concerns about Trump’s compromise. As with Flynn before him, the Russians would know that Trump was lying about his coziness with Russia.

Barr has set Durham up such that he can issue a report that the Attorney General — whoever it is — will be expected to make public (though if the report violates the rules that got Jim Comey fired, there would be a good excuse not to). If this is part of Durham’s investigation, Barr may be trying to suggest that the counterintelligence investigation into Trump was wholly inappropriate.

There’s a problem with that, of course. Trump had already probably committed a crime in working on a pardon for Julian Assange, well before he was even elected. That is, neither the leak to Ignatius (by whomever) nor the leak about the Russian meeting (by whomever) can be said to have inappropriately kicked off the counterintelligence investigation into Trump. His actions in October 2016 had already done that.

But, even if Durham showed any inkling of understanding of the counterintelligence matters he is investigating,  there’s no reason to believe he would know that there are seemingly ongoing matters that implicate Trump even before he was elected.

And if this is Barr’s play, of course, it may be undercut once Trump leaves office. Already, HR McMaster has, years later, criticized Trump’s efforts to coddle Russia. If asked to do so under oath in the next Congress, he may have far more to say about the damage Trump did to the country because he was so insecure about Russia’s help in the election.

Update: Bill Leonard, the former head of ISOO (and as such the guy who was in charge of the entire US classification system during the W administration), has corrected me on my assertion that Trump could legally share this information. He could under US law, but doing so violated international law. He explains:

Based upon reporting, the information Trump compromised was provided to the U.S. by an intelligence partner pursuant to a bilateral agreement.  Under international law, this bilateral executive agreement obligated the U.S. to protect the information.  Within the U.S., we have elected to utilize the classification system to protect such shared information.
While as President, Trump is free to abrogate the bilateral agreement, there is no indication that this was his intent.  Thus, pursuant to International law, he was obligated to protect it which he clearly failed to do.
Reverse the situation.  Foreign leaders do not have the right to unilaterally disclose U.S. classified information that has been shared with their country pursuant to a bilateral agreement.  The same restrictions pertain to a U.S. president.
Classification is but one of the many authorities this president has abused.  It needs to be called out as such.
61 replies
  1. Fraud Guy says:

    Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practice to deceive

    So much energy and effort by this administration spent to cover up obvious lies where everyone has receipts.

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    McMaster is a sleaze ball.
    He is all in against China.
    You have coined a new word “detail-ee” — a holder of hot stuff?
    I like it…. Trump had many detail-ees in every fucking Department.
    Are the detail-ees shredding as we speak?
    Good article about the Bull-shit Durham investigation.

    • Matthew Harris says:

      In this case, it just means that someone who is on “detail”, someone assigned as a liaison, in this case an FBI person working at the White House.

  3. Rapier says:

    While it is true that it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it, it usually goes unremarked that when circumstances change and a new understanding is required that salary and status person will usually adopt the new understanding, often without skipping a beat.

    Which is a clumsy way of saying Durham possibly now has very clear understanding of what he was previously ignorant of. Of course it’s just as likely that a 66 year old who stayed on for the Trump administration after 35 years as an Assistant US Attorney toiling in the hinterlands had drifted into Fox News wingnuttery. A place from where few have ever returned.

    Which is all possibly neither here nor there in the big picture but appointing him as an IC seems to indicate Barr has confidence Durham will continue on being an old man yelling at clouds. He better hope so.

    • bmaz says:

      Eh, Durham was a GOP cover up artist from well b ack in the Bush years. And Obama kept him around to suffocate the torture tapes and black sites investigations so he could “look forward”. This kind of “work” is all Durham has done for a very long time. The actual US Atty work in his district was led by Nora Dannehy who resigned in disgust.

        • bmaz says:

          No, need a far more experienced person with DOJ Main. She is a decent person for a lower level job though, including maybe D-Conn.

        • mossyrock1 says:

          i am hoping for yates because she is good in the spotlight has a great accent and the gop gets pretzley when they have answer to her.

          • bmaz says:

            Sally Yates would be one of the worst possible people imaginable. She is fucking horrible as to rampant mass incarceration, the death penalty and denial of clemency. I honestly have no idea why people focus on transient people that had one single good three day run of standing up to Trump. Other than that, Yates is fucking horrible. If you have any interest whatsoever in real criminal justice reform, Yates is the last person you should hope for. By the way, tell me exactly what Yates has been good at other than that brief Muslim ban thing? Because the answer is very little. Let’s get new blood and not just recreate the horrible policies of the Obama era.

            • KayInMD says:

              BMAZ- Who would be good? I’ve no knowledge of federal prosecutors , so no idea if names being bandied about are any good or not. I know that just because I saw someone do something I liked doesn’t mean they have *any* skills at managing a huge bureaucracy, or what their policies might be. You and others on here are much more knowledgeable.

              p.s. I’m usually just a lurker, and one reason is because I can never remember what nym I’ve used in the past. I *think* this is the one. If not, I apologize.

  4. John Langston says:

    Insofar as Durham running an investigation after Trump’s term, I say keep it going. If Barr can turn the Mueller probe upside down, then a new AG can turn it right again. So long as the investigation continues the facts should come out. Someone should’ve leaked that Flynn was undermining US policy as means to “cut it out”. No one forced Flynn (and Mcfarland) to lie about it. Same is true for McMaster. Keep it a secret, or provide “no comment” but don’t lie about it to the American people.

    Durham can carry Barr’s water or stand up and find the truth. But there’s no magic dust that will un-tell the lies that were told and can undo the cover up with the Russians after the facts are known. Those bells can’t be unrung.

  5. Rugger9 says:

    I’d prefer the old Soviet term commissar for DJT’s minions but the detailee is supposed to be the liaison between their home agency and their assigned agency in addition to cross-training and networking benefits.

    Part of the current role for DJT’s commissars is to create as much havoc for Biden to untangle as possible, and since several of these have been placed in the civil service (i.e. not political appointees) they will be harder to remove once burrowed in. W’s administration did the same thing to ensure Obama would be hindered in his reforms. Maddow did a segment last night about the ongoing DOD purges, in which I think she missed the point that DJT is setting up a war with someone, and based on the recent events in Iran that’s where I think it will be.

    Wars rarely go as assumed or planned, there are always nasty surprises, coincidental events that make huge differences and human behavior elements that change the direction of how things proceed. In the case of Iran, boots will be needed on the ground to keep the IRGC from showering the Strait of Hormuz with anti-ship missiles (quietly supplied from Russia and the PRC to test our defenses and keep us bogged down in the Gulf) from the many hundreds of locations Iran could use. Stand-off attacks such as Tomahawks, drones or air strikes have been shown over the years to be ineffective to stop such a plan by the Iranians unless we get all of their missiles.

    DJT won’t care about that, of course, and as long as the US is getting the brunt of the casualties the Emirati royals, Saudi royals and Bibi Netanyahu will egg DJT along. Alternatively, they may choose to “assist” with getting DJT out of his ~ 500 million dollar debt bomb coming in 2022.

      • Rugger9 says:

        The military won’t do it. However, between the CPB “brownshirts” and the Proud Boys there will be plenty of trouble here.

  6. harpie says:

    I’m not sure Bossert was “applauding” this FBI detailee to the NSC. His comment could be read with the following emphasis, giving it a somewhat different feeling:

    “Thank god you came to us.”

    Bossert [aside to audience]:

    Now we’re going to frame YOU for leaking this to the press, [because you’re just a disgruntled Comey supporter] …and, that promotion you wanted…lol.

    • Rugger9 says:

      That’s how I read it as well, and it’s clearer if you add the word “first” at the end. Bossert understood this was his chance to bury the story.

  7. BobCon says:

    The description of Trump’s easy disclosure of highly classified information to Russian officials underscores how much legal jeopardy Trump faces after January. I doubt he really gets what kinds of trouble he can stumble into, and I think all of the people saying Biden should avoid prosecutions are ignorant of how this could play out.

    What are the odds some oligarch is caught by surveillance dangling a development opportunity in the Middle East, while Trump casually shares classified info in return?

    • Dave_MB says:

      Yes, but the President can classify of declassify information at will. For good reason, on a whim or just because he’s that freaking stupid.

      That is a horrific breach of national security, but not illegal when the President does it. But you’re right it does illustrate how blithely Trump stumbles into trouble.

      • BobCon says:

        That’s why I included the phrase “after January” — ex-presidents are subject to the same laws as anyone, although I am sure Trump will somehow claim he has powers in exile to declassify at will. He is a walking talking time bomb.

          • BobCon says:

            I have no doubt there will be multiple efforts over the next six weeks to get the message across how much legal danger he faces after January, whether he admits defeat or not.

            He will not read any briefings I am sure, but there still will be attempts to tell him, and the memos will be flying to his attorneys and his inner circle warning them of the importance of telling him what will happen to him if he reveals classified information without authorization from Biden or designated authorities.

            I would not be surprised if he is briefed on the potential for his contacts in the US and overseas to be subject to surveillance, and the risks that his transmission of classified information to them may be picked up as a result.

            He may well still be unable to fully accept his loss after January, but if he acts out by doing what he did tonight by bragging about US missiles, he may find himself in a lot of trouble. And I would not be surprised if his living in denial leads him to do something really stupid like lie to the FBI when he is questioned about disclosures of classified information. It’s going to be hard for him to accept he isn’t able to snow them anymore.

  8. harpie says:

    He appears to have first alerted his boss of what happened (it’s unclear whether that boss was at the White House or FBI)

    When NSC Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman, a detailee from the Army [?] felt he needed to report Trump’s “we’d like you to do us a favor, though” conversation with Ukraine, he first took his concerns to top NSC lawyer Eisenberg, who is the one who decided to move the record of the call onto a highly classified system.

    I don’t know if Vindman considered Eisenberg his “boss”, but still, how long has Eisenberg been in that position? Or, who was in that position in May 2017?

  9. John Paul Jones says:

    Wikipedia says –

    “In 2017, Eisenberg was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President, National Security Council Legal Advisor, and Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and part of the National Security Council.”

    So he’s been there from the beginning. NB: The end of the sentence (“part of”) doesn’t make sense because it was copied and pasted from this sentence:

    “While appointed by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and part of the National Security Council, Eisenberg reports to White House Counsel Don McGahn.”

    Which is from the Committee to Investigate Russia website.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I often disagree with Rachel Madow, but I think she was spot on in describing Trump’s current conduct as “franchising” politics – and the presidency. He’s turning his “seal of approval” of a politician, topic, issue, policy, or program into a moneymaking venture and a prerequisite for not facing the wrath of “his” Base.

    He is using his denialism and vexatiousness – longtime Trump traits – to puff himself up like an angry blowfish. He’s attempting to look larger and more aggressive than he is in order to persuade all comers not to attack him, not to prosecute or sue him, not to openly disagree or fight with him, and definitely not to replace or run against him in 2024. (Not that he’ll be healthy or compos mentis enough to run, but campaigning is money.)

    How does he turn his usual bluster into power? By controlling his Base. There, his denialism and victimhood come in handy, because it mirrors his Base (even though he regards them as peons he wouldn’t let change his soiled bed sheets.) His denialism is, not coincidentally, immensely lucrative. He’s generating roughly $50 million a week at it, probably his best paychecks ever.

    The money is being divvied up several ways, but much of it is going to a Trump Super PAC. (He also gets benefits from money that goes to the RNC and other GOP orgs.) The rules that apply to Super PACs allow him to use the money for personal expenses. He could even take a salary, if it weren’t so obviously taxable. Trump has no reason to stop what he’s doing and every reason to keep doing it.

    Trump is also endangering national security. He’s been doing that since before he was elected. But now he’s doing explicitly what the 9/11 Commission warned against: obstructing Biden’s access to defense and intelligence agencies, putting an effective transition in jeopardy and leaving a gap bad actors, large and small, could take advantage of.

    One of those is Putin, whom he’s helping by decapitating Pentagon leadership and its industrial complex advisory board. Rumor has it that’s also aimed at approving – without oversight or objection – sweetheart contracts for grifters like Erik Prince. Trump might also be shopping for intel he can somehow monetize at a later date.

    To cap it off, Trump is likely to mount a competing “inauguration” on January 20th, to assuage his ego, to distract from the real thing, and most of all, to keep his Base stirred, distracted, and anxious to send him their Rooseveltian dimes. In short, Trump has monetized the presidency, as he promised he would. When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time, and act on it.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Maddow cited a source to the effect that $700 million has been raised; which could handily take care of some of his foreign debts, or at least help stave off the creditors.

      • P J Evans says:

        I read about $207 million from his superPAC, of which about 9 million has gone to the lawsuits he claims it’s intended to pay for.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I heard that $207 million number for the Super PAC, hence the $50 million/week estimate, and five hundred million overall. That number would be divided among a larger group, as would the $700 million number Madow mentioned.

        The Base seems marvelously easy to manipulate – though the GOP has been working at it for decades – and especially devout during the holiday season. But we don’t know how much of that is five and tens from flyover country donors and dark money amounts from billionaires.

        I would hope that once the Dems have a Senate majority, they put a spike into the rules enabling this abuse. But as discussed on the preceding thread, no amount of well-written regulations can make up for an entire party acting in bad faith. I don’t know what to do about that, except to keep electing more and better Democrats, the kind that think people like Emanuel, Schumer, and Manchin are in the wrong party.

      • BobCon says:

        He may well screw around with that money, but he is going to be under the microscope for breaking the law by misusing donations.

        He is not going to be able to dodge submitting testimony and evidence anymore. And his ability to tell the truth, listen to his lawyers and shut up, or otherwise act like a responsible client is probably worse than ever.

        • mossyrock1 says:

          who knew there could be so much blood ? i want trump to be tried for depraved indifference and neglect of duty and abandonment of the principles of his oath as president. if we dont lock him up we will nver be safe. is elba inhabitable ? let him build a tower there.

  11. harpie says:

    This is what I’ve been looking at using this EW post and the following post by @PORTLUSGLAM, whom I don’t know much about, but Wendy Siegelman links to sometimes:

    ROGUE AGENT: How Rudy Giuliani got paid by the Government of Ukraine to influence U.S.

    […] During 2017/2018, Giuliani served as a secret back-channel between Trump, Ukraine, & Russia, negotiating ARMS-FOR-SILENCE & CYBERSECURITY quid-pro-quos. […]

    January 12: After Rudy Giuliani withdraws himself from Secretary of State consideration, President-elect Trump names him his “informal” Cybersecurity Advisor

    February 6 [approx]: Sater and Cohen deliver [Ukrainian Member of Parliament Andrei Artemenko’s] Peace Plan to National Security Advisor Michael Flynn

    February 13: Flynn is fired for lying about his phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak

    February-April: TriGlobal Strategic Ventures (TGSV) negotiates Giuliani Safety and Security LLC (GSS) contract with City of Kharkiv [Ukraine] Mayor Gennadiy Kernes — funded by Ukrainian oligarch Pavel Fuks

    May 1: GSS team travels to Kharkiv for kick-off of their “security consulting” contract with Mayor Kernes

    May 3: FBI Director James Comey testifies before congress, revealing FBI probe into Trump Campaign and Giuliani’s N.Y. FBI leaks

    May 9: Trump fires Comey

    May 9: GSS announces the Kharkiv contract and its kick-off on GSS website

    May 9: Giuliani, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Ambassador Kislyak, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin arrive in D.C.

    May 10: Trump meets with Lavrov and Kislyak, offering them classified intelligence
    [Marcy]: I’d like to return to another leak: that Trump shared highly classified Israeli intelligence with Sergey Lavrov

    May 10: Vice President Mike Pence meets seperately with Klimkin and grants a photo op with Trump

    May 10: Giuliani visits White House and meets with Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert about cybersecurity

    May 11: Bossert [assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism] announces admin’s first Executive Order on cybersecurity [thanks Giuliani]

    [Marcy]: [Bossert] placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.
    One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

    May 11: TRUMP TWEETS:

    Let’s Make [A DEAL] Peace!

    May 16 TRUMP TWEETS [Source=WaPo story Marcy links to above]

    1] 7:03 AM · May 16, 2017
    As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining….

    2] 7:13 AM · May 16, 2017
    …to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.

    3] 8:10 AM · May 16, 2017
    I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community…..

    May 16 [Marcy]: But then after the story leaked to the WaPo and NYT, the detailee was summoned to Bossert’s office, only to be grilled by both Bossert and Daly.
    After the detailee was grilled for 20-30 minutes, someone else was, as well. […]
    After he was grilled, the detailee appears to have informed FBI chain of command, including Bill Priestap.

    May 16 [Marcy]: HR McMaster gives a press conference at which, per the detailee, McMaster “gave a misleading account of what happened during TRUMP’s meeting with LAVROV.”

    • Eureka says:

      [Not your point, I know, but I can’t help but add:]

      May 16 McCabe/other FBI/DOJ folks freaked out; Rosenstein jokes [or “jokes”] about wearing a wire in one of the two meetings

      May 17 Rosenstein [finally] appoints Mueller …

      … [UGH]

    • Hika says:

      Given Giuliani’s ineptness with his iPhone, does anyone buy his “cybersecurity” cred. or is that just a convenient mask for Rudy to go hither, thither and yon as a bagman for Trump, carrying information that cannot be safely sent by other means?

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Oh, and my compliments to the supposed “rabid partisan,” Marcy Wheeler: a true soothsayer in the mold of Izzy Stone.

    • Hika says:

      Most of what’s wrong with US politics is encapsulated in the idea that a devotion to getting to the facts is ‘partisan’.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Also a dig at a critic of EW on twtr, who called her that, with the handle, the Tooth Sayer. Probably a nickname picked up at a dentists’ convention, while a few attendees were chatting over popcorn and candy apples.

  13. Eureka says:

    Pillow talk: ~” …They will be going to prison — but — in the meantime” [now that is some persuasive art right there] they just have to “pull down” GA, PA, NV by the 14th so no one gets 270 and it goes to the House and Trump wins (sic) [whereupon “they” all go to prison, “guilty” of not committing the crimes more promptly]:

    Aaron Rupar: “Here’s Mike Lindell just now brazenly laying out Trump’s last-ditch plan to steal the election [video]”
    5:58 PM · Dec 5, 2020

      • Eureka says:

        Civics is not their strong suit.

        Meanwhile, Loeffler & Perdue got but fleeting, grudging attention at the Trump rally “for” them, and Judge Box O Wine is ripping into Bill Barr. Saturday night’s alright for fighting lately with this pack.

          • P J Evans says:

            The country doesn’t want her as its lawyer. Not based on the “kraken”.
            She’d probably turn a jaywalking ticket into homicide.

            • Chris.EL says:

              So! A mention of **doctored** documents in “mainstream” Twitter:
              Via Popehat…
              “Brad Heath
              Replying to
              Georgia [I’m assuming he means the State of GA?] notes that Sidney Powell & Co. “attached altered documents” to their complaint. The filings were cropped to remove the dates; she then argued the documents were “undated” in the lawsuit. This is a no-no.
              7:19 PM · Dec 5, 2020

    • MB says:

      Best done in very small increments! The Fantasy Island News Network. Chris Ruddy is insane. But he’s happy to help his buddy Donald out.

  14. Frank Probst says:

    Long time lurker, occasional poster, with the exact same comment that the long-timers here are tired of hearing:

    All FBI agents should carry a portable electronic device with them to all interviews that they KNOW will lead to a 302. That way, an audio file can be archived with the 302, so that when conflicts occasionally arise about what was actually said, there’s a “tape” of what was actually said.

    I hope that some day in the future we will reach this height of technological prowess.

    • P J Evans says:

      Hi , Frank! (long time not see)
      The rest of us are at that level. The FBI, for some reason, is at least 15 years behind, technologically speaking. (It’s been like that since J Edgar died.)

    • bmaz says:

      We remember you Frank! Glad to see you again. As you probably recall, they did supposedly instigate a new policy the Obama years as to taping. Problem is that it had so many holes an d exceptions that it has not really led to more taping at all.

    • rip says:

      I think all citizens, FBI agents or not, should be recording their interactions – just in case.

      Just in case the local LEO decide to make you or someone nearby a target.
      Just in case the (im)POTUS decides to give you a call and a demand for some quid, especially if you are in the federal gov’t.

      Technology has improved so much that tiny recording devices can hold hundreds of hours of audio and periodic camera shots for hours. Easy enough to edit and remove those no longer needed.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Thanks to all who remember me fondly! I miss having bmaz or Rayne tear me a new one, but I had a case of news overload and just had to take a break for a while. Will try to stay more engaged.

  15. punaise says:

    I have no idea what constitutes an open thread, so pardon the O/T re Giuliani & Covid (The Specials):

    Stop your messing around (ah-ah-ah)
    Shoulda masked for your future (ah-ah-ah)
    Too late to straighten right out (ah-ah-ah)
    Intubation in town (ah-ah-ah)

    A message to you, Rudy
    A message to you

    • vvv says:


      I’ll add:

      How you get a rude and a reckless?
      Don’t you be so crude and feckless
      You been drinking brew for breakfast
      Rudie can’t fail (no, no)

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