DOJ Put Someone Who Enabled Sidney Powell’s Lies — Jocelyn Ballantine — in Charge of Prosecuting the Proud Boys

Because of Joe Biggs’ role at the nexus between the mob that attacked Congress and those that orchestrated the mob, his prosecution is the most important case in the entire January 6 investigation. If you prosecute him and his alleged co-conspirators successfully, you might also succeed in holding those who incited the attack on the Capitol accountable. If you botch the Biggs prosecution, then all the most important people will go free.

Which is why it is so unbelievable that DOJ put someone who enabled Sidney Powell’s election season lies about the Mike Flynn prosecution, Jocelyn Ballantine, on that prosecution team.

Yesterday, at the beginning of the Ethan Nordean and Joe Biggs hearing, prosecutor Jason McCullough told the court that in addition to him and Luke Jones, Ballantine was present at the hearing for the prosecution. He may have said that she was “overseeing” this prosecution. (I’ve got a request for clarification in with the US Attorney’s office.)

Ballantine has not filed a notice of appearance in the case (nor does she show on the minute notice for yesterday’s hearing). In the one other January 6 case where she has been noticeably involved — electronically signing the indictment for Nick Kennedy — she likewise has not filed a notice of appearance.

Less than a year ago when she assisted in DOJ’s attempts to overturn the Mike Flynn prosecution, Ballantine did three things that should disqualify her from any DOJ prosecution team, much less serving on the most important prosecution in the entire January 6 investigation:

  • On September 23, she provided three documents that were altered to Sidney Powell, one of which Trump used six days later in a packaged debate attack on Joe Biden
  • On September 24, she submitted an FBI interview report that redacted information — references to Brandon Van Grack — that was material to the proceedings before Judge Emmet Sullivan
  • On October 26, she claimed that lawyers for Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe had checked their clients’ notes to confirm there were no other alterations to documents submitted to the docket; both lawyers refused to review the documents

After doing these things in support of Bill Barr’s effort to undermine the Flynn prosecution (and within days of the Flynn pardon), Ballantine was given a confidential temporary duty assignment (it may have been a CIA assignment). Apparently she’s back at DC USAO now.

Three documents got altered and another violated Strzok and Page’s privacy

As a reminder, after DOJ moved to hold Mike Flynn accountable for reneging on his plea agreement, Billy Barr put the St. Louis US Attorney, Jeffrey Jensen, in charge of a “review” of the case, which DOJ would later offer as its excuse for attempting to overturn the prosecution.

On September 23, Ballantine provided Powell with five documents, purportedly from Jensen’s investigation into the Flynn prosecution:

I outlined the added date on the first set of Strzok notes here:

There was never any question that the notes could have been taken no earlier than January 5, because they memorialized Jim Comey’s retelling of a meeting that other documentation, including documents submitted in the Flynn docket, shows took place on January 5. Even Chuck Grassley knows what date the meeting took place.

But DOJ, while using the notes as a central part of their excuse for trying to overturn the Flynn prosecution, nevertheless repeatedly suggested that there was uncertainty about the date of the notes, claiming they might have been taken days earlier. And then, relying on DOJ’s false representations about the date, Sidney Powell claimed they they showed that Joe Biden — and not, as documented in Mary McCord’s 302, Bob Litt — was the one who first raised the possibility that Flynn may have violated the Logan Act.

Strzok’s notes believed to be of January 4, 2017, reveal that former President Obama, James Comey, Sally Yates, Joe Biden, and apparently Susan Rice discussed the transcripts of Flynn’s calls and how to proceed against him. Mr. Obama himself directed that “the right people” investigate General Flynn. This caused former FBI Director Comey to acknowledge the obvious: General Flynn’s phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak “appear legit.” According to Strzok’s notes, it appears that Vice President Biden personally raised the idea of the Logan Act.

During the day on September 29, Powell disclosed to Judge Sullivan that she had spoken to Trump (as well as Jenna Ellis) about the case. Then, later that night, Trump delivered a prepared attack on Biden that replicated Powell’s false claim that Biden was behind the renewed investigation into Flynn.

President Donald J. Trump: (01:02:22)
We’ve caught them all. We’ve got it all on tape. We’ve caught them all. And by the way, you gave the idea for the Logan Act against General Flynn. You better take a look at that, because we caught you in a sense, and President Obama was sitting in the office.

In a matter of days, then, what DOJ would claim was an inadvertent error got turned into a campaign attack from the President.

When DOJ first confessed to altering these notes, they claimed all the changes were inadvertent.

In response to the Court and counsel’s questions, the government has learned that, during the review of the Strzok notes, FBI agents assigned to the EDMO review placed a single yellow sticky note on each page of the Strzok notes with estimated dates (the notes themselves are undated). Those two sticky notes were inadvertently not removed when the notes were scanned by FBI Headquarters, before they were forwarded to our office for production. The government has also confirmed with Mr. Goelman and can represent that the content of the notes was not otherwise altered.

Similarly, the government has learned that, at some point during the review of the McCabe notes, someone placed a blue “flag” with clear adhesive to the McCabe notes with an estimated date (the notes themselves are also undated). Again, the flag was inadvertently not removed when the notes were scanned by FBI Headquarters, before they were forwarded to our office for production. Again, the content of the notes was not otherwise altered.

There are multiple reasons to believe this is false. For example, when DOJ submitted notes that Jim Crowell took, they added a date in a redaction, something that could in no way be inadvertent. And as noted, the January 5 notes had already been submitted, without the date change (though then, too, DOJ claimed not to know the date of the document).

But the most important tell is that, when Ballantine sent Powell the three documents altered to add dates, the protective order footer on the documents had been removed in all three, in the case of McCabe’s notes, actually redacted. When she released the re-altered documents (someone digitally removed the date in the McCabe notes rather than providing a new scan), the footer had been added back in. This can easily be seen by comparing the altered documents with the re-altered documents.

The altered January 5, 2017 Strzok notes, without the footer:

The realtered January 5, 2017 Strzok notes, with the footer:

The second set of Strzok notes (originally altered to read March 28), without the footer:

The second set of Strzok notes, with the footer.

The altered McCabe noteswith the footer redacted out:

The realtered McCabe notes, with the footer unredacted:

This is something that had to have happened at DOJ (see William Ockham’s comments below and this post for proof in the metadata that these changes had to have been done by Ballantine). The redaction of the footers strongly suggests that they were provided to Powell with the intention of facilitating their further circulation (the other two documents she shared with Powell that day had no protective order footer). In addition, each of these documents should have a new Bates stamp.

DOJ redacted Brandon Van Grack’s non-misconduct

On September 24, DOJ submitted a report of an FBI interview Jeffrey Jensen’s team did with an Agent who sent pro-Trump texts on his FBI-issued phone, Bill Barnett. In the interview, Barnett made claims that conflicted with actions he had taken on the case. He claimed to be unaware of evidence central to the case against Flynn (for example, that Flynn told Sergey Kislyak that Trump knew of something said on one of their calls). He seemed unaware of the difference between a counterintelligence investigation and a criminal one. And he made claims about Mueller prosecutors — Jeannie Rhee and Andrew Weissmann — with whom he didn’t work directly. In short, the interview was obviously designed to tell a politically convenient story, not the truth.

Even worse than the politicized claims that Barnett made, the FBI or DOJ redacted the interview report such that all reference to Brandon Van Grack was redacted, substituting instead with the label, “SCO Atty 1.” (References to Jeannie Rhee, Andrew Weissmann, and Andrew Goldstein were not redacted; there are probable references to Adam Jed and Zainab Ahmad that are not labeled at all.)

The result of redacting Van Grack’s name is that it hid from Judge Sullivan many complimentary things that Barnett had to say about Van Grack:

Van Grack’s conduct was central to DOJ’s excuse for throwing out the Flynn prosecution. Powell repeatedly accused Van Grack, by name, of engaging in gross prosecutorial misconduct. Yet the report was submitted to Judge Sullivan in such a way as to hide that Barnett had no apparent complaints about Van Grack’s actions on the Flynn case.

I have no reason to believe that Ballantine made those redactions. But according to the discovery letter she sent to Powell, she sent an unredacted copy to Flynn’s team, while acknowledging that the one she was submitting to the docket was redacted. Thus, she had to have known she was hiding material information from the Court when she submitted the interview report.

Ballantine falsely claimed Strzok and McCabe validated their notes

After some of these alterations were made public, Judge Sullivan ordered DOJ to authenticate all the documents they had submitted as part of their effort to overturn the Flynn prosecution. The filing submitted in response was a masterpiece of obfuscation, with three different people making claims while dodging full authentication for some of the most problematic documents. In the filing that Ballantine submitted, she claimed that Michael Bromwich and Aitan Goelman, lawyers for McCabe and Strzok, “confirmed” that no content was altered in the notes.

The government acknowledges its obligation to produce true and accurate copies of documents. The government has fully admitted its administrative error with respect to the failure to remove three reviewer sticky notes containing estimated date notations affixed to three pages of undated notes (two belonging to former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, and one page belonging to former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe) prior to their disclosure. These dates were derived from surrounding pages’ dates in order to aid secondary reviewers. These three sticky notes were inadvertently not removed when the relevant documents were scanned by the FBI for production in discovery. See ECF 259. The government reiterates, however, that the content of those exhibits was not altered in any way, as confirmed by attorneys for both former FBI employees. [underline original]

According to an email Bromwich sent Ballantine, when Ballantine asked for help validating the transcripts DOJ did of McCabe’s notes, McCabe declined to do so.

I have spoken with Mr. McCabe and he declines to provide you with any information in response to your request.

He believes DOJ’s conduct in this case is a shocking betrayal of the traditions of the Department of the Justice and undermines the rule of law that he spent his career defending and upholding. If you share with the Court our decision not to provide you with assistance, we ask that you share the reason.

We would of course respond to any request that comes directly from the Court.

And according to an email Goelman sent to Ballantine, they said they could not check transcriptions without the original copies of documents.

Sorry not to get back to you until now.  We have looked at the attachments to the email you sent yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.  We are unable to certify the authenticity of all of the attachments or the accuracy of the transcriptions.  To do so, we would need both more time and access to the original notes, particularly given that U.S. Attorney Jensen’s team has already been caught altering Pete’s notes in two instances.  However, we do want to call your attention to the fact that Exhibit 198-11 is mislabeled, and that these notes are not the notes of Pete “and another agent” taken during the Flynn interview.

Additionally, we want to register our objection to AUSA Ken Kohl’s material misstatements to Judge Sullivan during the September 29, 2020, 2020, [sic] telephonic hearing, during which Mr. Kohl inaccurately represented that Pete viewed himself as an “insurance policy” against President Trump’s election.

I have no reason to believe the content was altered, though I suspect other things were done to McCabe’s notes to misrepresent the context of a reference in his notes to Flynn. But not only had McCabe and Strzok not validated their notes, but they had both pointedly refused to. Indeed, during this same time period, DOJ was refusing to let McCabe see his own notes to prepare for testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Nevertheless, Ballantine represented to Judge Sullivan that they had.

It baffles me why DOJ would put Ballantine on the most important January 6 case. Among other things, the conduct I’ve laid out here will make it easy for the defendants to accuse DOJ of similar misconduct on the Proud Boys case — and doing just that happens to be Nordean’s primary defense strategy.

But I’m mindful that there are people in DC’s US Attorney’s Office (not Ballantine) who took actions in the past that may have made the January 6 attack more likely. In a sentencing memo done on Barr’s orders, prosecutors attempting to minimize the potential sentence against Roger Stone suggested that a threat four Proud Boys helped Roger Stone make against Amy Berman Jackson was no big deal, unworthy of a sentencing enhancement.

Second, the two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice (§ 3C1.1) overlaps to a degree with the offense conduct in this case. Moreover, it is unclear to what extent the defendant’s obstructive conduct actually prejudiced the government at trial.

Judge Jackson disagreed with this assessment. In applying the enhancement, she presciently described how dangerous Stone and the Proud Boys could be if they incited others.

Here, the defendant willfully engaged in behavior that a rational person would find to be inherently obstructive. It’s important to note that he didn’t just fire off a few intemperate emails. He used the tools of social media to achieve the broadest dissemination possible. It wasn’t accidental. He had a staff that helped him do it.

As the defendant emphasized in emails introduced into evidence in this case, using the new social media is his “sweet spot.” It’s his area of expertise. And even the letters submitted on his behalf by his friends emphasized that incendiary activity is precisely what he is specifically known for. He knew exactly what he was doing. And by choosing Instagram and Twitter as his platforms, he understood that he was multiplying the number of people who would hear his message.

By deliberately stoking public opinion against prosecution and the Court in this matter, he willfully increased the risk that someone else, with even poorer judgment than he has, would act on his behalf. This is intolerable to the administration of justice, and the Court cannot sit idly by, shrug its shoulder and say: Oh, that’s just Roger being Roger, or it wouldn’t have grounds to act the next time someone tries it.

The behavior was designed to disrupt and divert the proceedings, and the impact was compounded by the defendant’s disingenuousness.

The people at DOJ who claimed that this toxic team was not dangerous in the past may want to downplay the critical role that Stone and the Proud Boys played — using the same kind of incendiary behavior — in the January 6 assault.

Whatever the reason, though, it is inexcusable that DOJ would put someone like Ballantine on this case. Given Ballantine’s past actions, it risks sabotaging the entire January 6 investigation.

DOJ quite literally put someone who, less than a year ago, facilitated Sidney Powell’s lies onto a prosecution team investigating the aftermath of further Sidney Powell lies.

Update: DC USAO’s media person refused to clarify what Ballantine’s role is, even though it was publicly acknowledged in court.

We are not commenting on cases beyond what is stated or submitted to the Court. We have no comment in response to your question.

Update: Added links to William Ockham’s proof that Ballantine made the realteration of the McCabe notes.

Update: One more point on this. I am not claiming here that anyone at DOJ is deliberately trying to sabotage the January 6 investigation, just that putting someone who, less than a year ago, made multiple representations to a judge that could call into question her candor going forward could discredit the Proud Boys investigation. I think it possible that supervisors at DC USAO put her on the team because they urgently need resources and she was available (possibly newly so after the end of her TDY). I think it possible that supervisors at DC USAO who are also implicated in Barr’s politicization, perhaps more closely tied to the intervention in the Stone case, put her there with corrupt intent.

But it’s also important to understand that up until February 2020, she was viewed as a diligent, ruthless prosecutor. I presume she buckled under a great deal of pressure after that and found herself in a place where competing demands — her duty of candor to the Court and orders from superiors all the way up to the Attorney General — became increasingly impossible to square.

Importantly, Lisa Monaco’s chief deputy John Carlin, and probably Monaco herself, would know Ballantine from their past tenure in the National Security Division as that heretofore ruthless national security prosecutor. The only mainstream outlet that covered anything other than DOJ’s admission they had added post-its to the notes was Politico. And the instinct not to punish career employees like Ballantine would mean what she would have avoided any scrutiny with the transition. So her assignment to the case is not itself evidence of an attempt to sabotage the prosecution.

77 replies
  1. Quake says:

    This is an extremely important post. If Ballantine’s recent conduct is excused and her present role is upheld by DOJ it’ll be hard to avoid the conclusion that the fix is in.

    • Ruthie says:

      Incompetence or ignorance seems like an unlikely reason for her appointment; I fear you may be right. The question is why? How does it benefit the Biden administration to avoid implicating the organizers of the insurrection?

  2. MyUncleFred says:

    The above makes me wonder why Ballantine is allowed to retain a law license, much less her position at Justice.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Thank you for that link! For what it may be worth, I sent the following. As you say, odds are nobody but a low-level clerk or intern will actually read anything submitted here, but they probably keep track of trends, so if we can get a few hundred people to follow suit there may be some action taken.

        Dear Mr. Garland,

        I wish to express concern over the appointment of Jocelyn Ballantine to the prosecution team pursuing charges against Joe Biggs for his alleged role in the January 6th insurrection attempt. This is not to disparage her abilities, as she is said to be an effective prosecutor. However, her actions during last year’s effort to overturn Michael Flynn’s conviction render her wholly unsuitable for this appointment. (The two cases are obviously linked in that each concerned unlawful efforts to ensure the election or continuation in office of the same president.) As a reminder, a faction within DOJ (headed by the then AG) sought to overturn the conviction using all means available. In the process, Ms. Ballantine committed three highly inappropriate acts.

        (1) She submitted to a federal judge documents that had been redacted of essential information.

        (2) She provided unlawfully altered documents to an unscrupulous lawyer named Sidney Powell; these were used for political purposes.

        (3) She falsely claimed to the judge that the defense team had reviewed documents and agreed that said documents were unaltered when in fact they had refused to do so.

        At one time DOJ acknowledged the redactions and alterations but claimed that they had been inadvertent. However, textual evidence clearly disproved this claim. Further details may be found in this piece of investigative journalism:

        It is important to emphasize that the Biggs prosecution is one of the most central and sensitive cases out of the hundreds stemming from the January 6th insurrection. However excellent the qualifications possessed by Ms. Ballantine, her actions last year render her wholly unfit to be assigned to this crucial and politically sensitive case.

        Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    I don’t know why Biden and/or Garland are cutting any slack for these 5th column holdovers to get what benefit, exactly? Farm Ballantine et al to the Northern Marianas looking at the sweatshops.

    As for the fix being in, it would be worth pounding the WH comment line (and your congresscritters too) about this, because there are literally dozens of better AUSAs even in DC. Make enough of a stink and this “bipartisanship” fetish goes down. It’s clear the GQP is not interested in working together, witness what Rep. Mast did yesterday to Blinken.

    • emptywheel says:

      My operative theory is that someone at DC USAO did this. Likely Ken Kohl, who unlike Ballantine I think WOULD deliberately sabotage the investigation.

      • Rugger9 says:

        While we can all agree that Merrick Garland has a lot on his plate, these moles need to be rooted out from where they are before they blow up investigations like the Orange County (FL) DA did for the Zimmerman case. Civil Service rules might preclude firing them outright, but there is no good reason to keep them in DC.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          There are all sorts of places into which the DoJ might dump a seriously compromised attorney – Cleveland is one the FBI famously used – without firing her, but which send the message that her future at the DoJ is as promising as a degree from Chapman or Trump University.

          The DC USAO seems intent on both rehabilitating Ballantine – and the cohort of which she must be a part – and allowing her to potentially sabotage the most important Jan. 6th prosecutions. That suggests its past time to clean house. I realize that Democrats do that as willingly as a recruit cleans the latrines, but someone’s got to do it. We’re talking about whether or not we remain a democracy.

          Stellar work, Marcy: in the weeds, but providing a view from the mountain top, the kind of reporting that makes a difference, but which the MSM largely refuses to do. DC can plug that hole in the dike of the legal system, or let Ballantine take a backhoe to it until the system fails.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Indeed, how is he not at Ice Station Adak managing the national forest there (it’s a joke)? I also remember a post about a month ago or so for another defendant representing themselves claiming that the DoJ attorney had made some kind of procedural deal permitting the dismissal of the case (IIRC, I don’t have time at the moment to dig it out). There was some speculation then about the holdovers and other burrowed Trumpistas and reports like this (and about Lisa Monaco, DAG) make me wonder whether a complete housecleaning is in order.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Kohl being the one who stated, as far back as January 9th (when investigations were in their infancy) that he did not anticipate any investigations of or prosecutions for incitement or insurrection, correct?

  4. What Constitution? says:

    So will Susan Collins step to the microphone to reassure everybody that Ballantine has “learned a lesson” and it won’t happen again?

    I’m frankly appalled that she still has her old job, let alone that she’s been appointed to the new task.

  5. Peterr says:

    I have no reason to believe the content was altered, though I suspect other things were done to McCabe’s notes to misrepresent the context of a reference in his notes to Flynn. But not only had McCabe and Strzok not validated their notes, but they had both pointedly refused to. Indeed, during this same time period, DOJ was refusing to let McCabe see his own notes to prepare for testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Nevertheless, Ballantine represented to Judge Sullivan that they had.

    It baffles me why DOJ would put Ballantine on the most important January 6 case.

    It baffles me why Sullivan didn’t come down hard on Ballentine for lying to the court. That would have solved the issue for DOJ by getting her out of the courtroom completely.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Well, one can hope that Judge Sullivan either gets his chance to deal with these and/or lets his opinion of Ballantine’s work be known around the DC system. Unfortunately, I suspect the Government picks the team they want. AG Garland needed to step in on these prosecutions to make sure no one is compromised or suspect when arguing for the government. Can the judge deny an attorney otherwise in good Bar standing from presenting a case on behalf of the government?

  6. Krisy Gosney says:

    Thanks for reporting this. What can a citizen do to help put the pressure on the powers-that-be to get her off this case?

  7. The Old Redneck says:

    First of all, kudos to Amy Berman Jackson. This is some of the most lucid legal writing I’ve seen in a long time, explaining why Stone’s dangerous and irresponsible conduct was serious and required punishment.
    As to Ballantine, is it possible that she’s chastened, and that the DOJ thinks she’s worth bringing back into the fold?

    • skua says:

      “back into the fold”
      A successful prosecution of the organizers of th Jan 6 overthrow attempt may be necessary to stop Trump being re-elected.
      Placing that in jeopardy to rehab a Barr Barr Barr sheep ….
      I don’t know – just how important is a functioning society and the lives of Americans?

      I’m not saying these are your priorities The Old Redneck but if they are DOJs then they’ve lost the plot.

  8. WilliamOckham says:

    One point about the realtered McCabe notes. The metadata in the PDF indicates that the author of that document was a user account named JBallantine. This user created that PDF by printing a Microsoft Word document. That Word document’s title was Microsoft Word – Document1. The only way for that title to show up in the PDF metadata is by using Word’s print function on a document that hasn’t been saved yet. And, if the document hadn’t yet been saved, we know that JBallantine was the original creator of this document.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I wonder if the author of that document was trying to avoid creating an evidentiary trail by creating but not saving it. There is a distinction between the person assigned a computer and the computer itself. But I should think any DoJ lawyer who lets anyone else use their computer would be on the hook for whatever that person does with it.

      My limited experience with MS s/w is that it seems to save everything, at least for a while, whether manually saved or not. OTOH, over the last twenty years, being proficient in the metadata aspects of electronic documents has become a requirement, especially for trial lawyers. Perhaps it’s not quite fair to condemn a lawyer because of a single slip-up. But I’m beginning to need a calculator to keep track of Ballantine’s slip-ups.

      • P J Evans says:

        I think it would save to the account of whoever is logged in on that machine. I know that on the rare occasions when someone else used my work computer, their stuff wasn’t saved to my account.

        • bidrec says:

          I worked for a brokerage that periodically lost its disk drives to subpoena. There was an issue with Word (in the ’90’s) that a letter that was dated with Microsoft Word’s date macro would change the date on the letter from the date that the letter was created to the date that the file was opened. So the solution was to take the physical drive.

        • Leoghann says:

          There is a much easier solution to that issue: type the date in, instead of using the date macro. At least, that’s what worked for me.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        I have no insight into the state of mind involved here. From my perspective, the critical thing is that for this particular document, we know that the author listed in the metadata was the one who created the document. Normally, you can’t be sure about stuff like that. If someone else creates a Word document, and you open it to print it, who gets listed as the author in the PDF metadata depends on … many different variables.

        There’s a bit of Microsoft Word esoterica here. If you have a Windows PC and a copy of Word, you can see this for yourself. Open up Word with the standard “Blank document” template. Notice the window title is “Document1 – Word”. Until you manually save the document, Word tracks that document as Document1. If you open up another blank document, it will be Document2. Also, notice, there’s no file extension. Now, when you save a document in Word it is (for all practical purposes) impossible to save it without an extension. If the document gets saved as Document1, the file name will be Document1.docx and the window title will reflect that.

        Likewise, any time you see “Title” metadata in a PDF for a document that originated in Word, it will include the file extension. If the file name is Document1 and there’s no file extension, the file has never been saved and the only possible author is the person who created the file.

        That matters, to me at least, because there’s no way that Ballantine can claim that she didn’t know exactly what she was doing on this one.

  9. Brad Cole says:

    The problem for the Garland claque (a.k.a. the pro democracy wing of the DoJ) is that they are anti purges, therefore feel they can’t punish the Sessions-Barr-Opus Dei wing of the DoJ (a.k.a. the neo Mussolini faction) who do engage in purges whenever they can.
    Must be a bit uncomfortable at the watering holes.

  10. Tip Hat says:

    Based on what he has shown so far Merrick Garland got to be Biden’s worst cabinet pick. With Garland, Wray, DeJoy, Rettig at the helm feels like Trump still has the power. We didn’t vote to have a Federal Society moderator as AG.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think that’s 100% wrong.

      I also think there’s very little chance that Garland put Ballatine in charge of anything. More likely John Carlin had visibility on it. In his personal experience, he would know Ballantine as a diligent, fairly ruthless national security prosecutor, not someone who caved under a great deal of pressure and did a 180 on the Flynn prosecution.

      • Rugger9 says:

        However, the court filings show that Ballantine did knuckle under for Flynn’s case (might be worth a security clearance review). This is not the kind of thing that should be allowed to get mulligans.

    • I Never Lie and am Always Righr says:

      What, specifically, makes you think that Rettig is currently doing Trump’s bidding or is in his pocket?I’ve known Rettig a long time. Just my humble opinion, but he’s not a Trump Tool. Not even close to being one.

    • emptywheel says:

      The reasons why DOJ dropped the prosecution would evolve after that. Tim Shea’s argument was transparent bullshit. The problem is, the later theory that Ballantine did sign off on was only slightly less transparent bullshit, and to sustain it required doing things like reinventing the date of the Peter Strzok notes.

    • notjonathon says:

      It seems that DOJ deliberately wants to blow the prosecution.
      If I had a longer life in front of me, I might openly bewail the downfall of the Republic. Maybe I should just hunker down and try to enjoy “the golden years”.

      Marcy is a voice in the wilderness, it seems.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      A note of hope: sometimes the most diligent is one who has transgressed, been called to task, and feels shame.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Amen to all y’all. I’ve been in the weeds researching the nexus of oligarch dark money and Dominionist theocrats (like Leonard Leo, Fed Soc king), and having a hard time not feeling helpless against their power–as evidenced in the Texas abortion law and countless voter suppression moves, among other things.

          Marcy’s warning about Ballantyne at once impresses the hell out of me and strikes terror in my paranoid heart.

  11. yogarhythms says:

    “Ballantine did three things that should disqualify her from any DOJ prosecution team, much less serving on the most important prosecution in the entire January 6 investigation:”
    Sculpture in mixed media: MW personalizes fondant of Ballentine cold chiseled with alacrity.

  12. Savage Librarian says:

    If Kenneth Scheffel was still alive I wonder if he would think it was time for Jocelyn to face the music. He was chair of the music department at Wittenberg University. His daughter, Jocelyn, married Thomas Ballantine.

    There is a Thomas T Ballantine who may work for the FBI and who went to Stanford. There was one reference I found of Jocelyn once working at DEA.

    Earlier in the day I tried to find biographical info about Ken Kohl but I couldn’t find much and I could not access a LinkedIn file. But when I tried again later in the day, that file was readily accessible. Now it is not again.

    It said he has belonged to the Federalist Society since 1983. The lengthy resume listed 9 awards, one of which was the Anti Defamation League Shield Award. It appears as if he has worked for the federal government for more than 3 decades. But, as we know, there is a big difference between what is written in a resume and what happens in real life!

  13. pablo says:

    Let’s see how this Saturday turns out. These mutants have a way of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

  14. WilliamOckham says:

    I think the most important thing about the document alteration shenanigans is to get Ballantine on the record about how the “Subject To Protective Order” footer was removed from the documents she released to Powell. The evidence that she was the one who made the re-alteration of McCabe’s notes could be leverage to accomplish that.

    As EW points out, there appears to be a direct link from the removal of that footer to Trump’s “prepared attack on Biden that replicated Powell’s false claim” during the debate.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A fraudulent document production coordinated with a White House political attack sounds corrupt on its own as a corrupt politicization of the DoJ.

      Garland and his DAG, who runs the department day-to-day, might want to look into that and the DC USAO’s conduct wrt Ballantine. This is not a nickel ante game of poker.

  15. harpie says:

    OT [Sorry for all the bold…didn’t know where to stop…]
    11:07 AM · Sep 15, 2021

    McKayla Maroney is ANGRY, excoriating the FBI in her testimony, saying that they covered up for a child molestor for more than a year after she reported Larry Nassar’s abuse [VIDEO] […]

    When asked by Sen. Blumenthal if they knew of any gymnasts who were abused by Nassar after the FBI began investigating in July 2015, all four gymnasts said yes.

    Aly Raisman: “Over 100 victims could have been spared the abuse. All we needed was one adult to do the right thing.” […]

    Maroney says that she was exclusively interviewed by men, no female agents.

    Biles said that she was blindsided by agents in her first interview, “pulled into a hotel room” […]

  16. harpie says:

    1/6/21 morning at the
    HYATT REGENCY DC, 400 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington DC. 20001:
    [This Hotel is about two blocks NORTH of CAPITOL Grounds.]
    10:07 PM · Sep 17, 2021

    Per records released to me under #FOIA .. federal law enforcement alerted each other that a Florida Congressman & his chief of staff reported hearing plotting & planning at Hyatt Regency hotel on morning of Jan 6 [screenshot]

    From the screenshot:

    (U//FOUO) Per USCP, a congressional staffer was at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (DC) this morning (6 January 2021) and overheard an individual, wearing fatigues, state “we are going to storm the FBI at 2PM.” WFO Criminal Division is contacting the staffer to obtain further details and will conduct logical follow-up to identify the male subject.

    I’m not sure if it helps timing wise, but just after that on the screenshot is this:

    (U//FOUO) As of 1115 hours, partner agencies indicated approximately 300 Proud Boys dressed in black, some with orange hats, are present on Capitol Complex grounds.

  17. harpie says:

    Zoe Tillman methodically takes apart the narrative of today’s “Justice for J6” “protest” organizers and supporters [THREAD and LINKED article]:
    8:47 AM · Sep 18, 2021

    New: “Justice For J6” Says They’re Rallying For Non-Violent Offenders. Most Alleged Capitol Rioters In Jail Are Charged With Violent Crimes.

    Conservatives looking for ways to attack the Capitol riot prosecutions have pushed the “political prisoners” narrative. The overwhelming majority of people in jail are charged with:
    – assaulting cops
    – conspiring to attack the Capitol
    – destroying property [THREAD] [LINK]

    From Tillman’s linked article:

    […] Matt Braynard, a conservative activist whose Look Ahead America group is organizing the rally, has insisted the event is about supporting “nonviolent offenders.” But Braynard, who briefly worked for Trump’s 2016 [LINK] campaign, has blurred that line, simultaneously promoting the “political prisoners” concept and the notion that the latest rally is, in fact, about the incarcerated defendants. […]

      • harpie says:

        […] After Trump lost the 2020 election, Braynard reached out to his campaign again, this time with a memo on how he thought they could find “illegal ballots.” He says he didn’t get a response, so he tweeted it out. Braynard says that his tweets caught the attention of Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who followed and DM’d him asking him if he was in touch with the campaign about his ideas. (A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Trump Jr. does still follow Braynard on Twitter.)

        The next day, Braynard says he was invited to Trump campaign headquarters at 9 p.m. […]

        This seems to be yet another one of those stories of someone seemingly kept at arm’s length from the campaign, but still working diligently for the same goals.

        It might not be the same person, but…
        GA SOS RAFFENSPERGER mentioned someone named BRAYNARD in his 1/2/21 conversation with TRUMP/MEADOWS/MITCHELL

      • harpie says:

        TRUMP: […] And the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you’ve recalculated. Because the 2,236 in absentee ballots. I mean, they’re all exact numbers that were done by accounting firms, law firms, etc. And even if you cut ’em in half, cut ’em in half and cut ’em in half again, it’s more votes than we need.

        RAFFENSPERGER: Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong. We talked to the congressmen, and they were surprised.

        But they — I guess there was a person named Mr. Braynard who came to these meetings and presented data, and he said that there was dead people, I believe it was upward of 5,000. The actual number were two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted. So that’s wrong.

        TRUMP: Well, Cleta, how do you respond to that? Maybe you tell me?

        MITCHELL: Well, I would say, Mr. Secretary, one of the things that we have requested and what we said was, if you look, if you read our petition, it said that we took the names and birth years, and we had certain information available to us. We have asked from your office for records that only you have, and so we said there is a universe of people who have the same name and same birth year and died.

        But we don’t have the records that you have. And one of the things that we have been suggesting formally and informally for weeks now is for you to make available to us the records that would be necessary […]

        • harpie says:

          As I always do when this phone call is mentioned,
          I’ll link to MARCY’s hilarious “live tweeting”:

          3:55 PM · Jan 3, 2021

          gonna live tweet this.

          Mark Meadows explains at the beginning that Cleta is not attorney of record but she’s been involved.

          Trump (who lied abt his inauguration size) says he knows he won bc of rally size. […]

    • harpie says:
      10:22 AM · Sep 18, 2021

      Guess I don’t have to say this anymore since today’s rally organizer is just saying it himself now [screenshots] [WaPo link]

      It can’t be clearer that Braynard doesn’t even care if people show up today. There’s going to be hundreds of reporters focused on him, quoting him, broadcasting him, etc. That’s been the goal the whole time. He is a propagandist and media is just giving him the mic. Frustrating

      What BRAYNARD is quoted to have said:

      Already this rally is a success.

      [The number of attendees doesn’t matter because]
      there’s going to be so much media.

      It’s not really a numbers game, it’s a message game.

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