Photo: Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

Burners, Burning: The Heat’s Turned up on Mark Meadows [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. Updates appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Well, well, well. According to Hunter Walker in a fresh report at Rolling Stone, Kremer the Younger bought burner phones to use when communicating with key persons attached to the White House.

In the thread attached to my last post, a community member commented about the Kremers saying,

… Only if they knew Trump’s plans, the Kremers might be guilty of conspiracy. …

They didn’t need to know Trump’s plans, though. They only needed to understand part of one or more of the conspiracies and then take some action to further that conspiracy.

Like this:

… Kylie Kremer, a top official in the “March for Trump” group that helped plan the Ellipse rally, directed an aide to pick up three burner phones days before Jan. 6, according to three sources who were involved in the event. One of the sources, a member of the “March for Trump” team, says Kremer insisted the phones be purchased using cash and described this as being “of the utmost importance.”

The three sources said Kylie Kremer took one of the phones and used it to communicate with top White House and Trump campaign officials, including Eric Trump, the president’s second-oldest son, who leads the family’s real-estate business; Lara Trump, Eric’s wife and a former senior Trump campaign consultant; Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff; and Katrina Pierson, a Trump surrogate and campaign consultant. …

Sending someone who isn’t a Kremer to buy a burner phone with cash to evade tracing suggests Kylie Kremer knew exactly what the role of her organization, Women to Save America First, was within the framework of the insurrection.

If this was a legitimate effort to work with the Trump campaign using dedicated communications for easier access, why the skulkery of a third person using cash buying a burner? Why not use a dedicated VoIP number to contact a communications person in the Trump campaign?

Or a no-contract phone purchased with a credit card? Or an additional number added to an existing cell phone contract?

Why was Meadows involved in any way given his role as the Chief of Staff, which should have been wholly separate from any campaign-related effort?

Whether Meadows interacted with Kremers or other members of the conspiracy as COS (a Hatch Act violation) or as a campaign member (not shielded as executive acts), he’s thoroughly shot through any claim to immunity or privilege.

The existence of burner phones used to contact persons in the White House certainly expands the import of this graf from the House January 6 Committee’s letter to Meadow’s attorney after Meadows’ refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena:

… In addition, Mr. Meadows has not produced even a single document in response to the Select Committee’s subpoena. Although you previously indicated that your firm was searching records that Mr. Meadows provided to you, more than enough time has passed for you to complete your review. Please immediately inform the Select Committee whether Mr. Meadows has any records responsive to the subpoena. Your search for responsive records should include (but not be limited to) any text messages, emails, or application-based messages associated with the cellular phone numbers and private email address the Select Committee has identified. If Mr. Meadows has records that you believe are protected by some form of privilege, you must provide the Select Committee a log describing each such record and the basis for the privilege asserted. …

Emphasis mine. Were any burner phones among those cellular phone numbers requested? Has geo-fencing been used to narrow down where those phones were during the lead up to and on January 6?

We don’t know yet. I suspect we’ll find out more in the not too distant future.

The purchase of the burner phones, though, look like an overt act to advance a conspiracy (18 USC 371).

Sure hope both of the Kremers as well as the aide who was asked to buy the burners, the third team member who received a burner phone, and Meadows all realize this is only getting worse for them.

Same for the Trump family members Eric and Lara who must be getting a little itchy after Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen resurfaced.

Especially for Meadows if he continues to blow off Congress with his refusal to comply with the January 6 Committee’s subpoena; it won’t be just contempt of Congress (two counts under 2 USC 192) with which he may be charged and prosecuted.

Hello, 18 USC 1505 otherwise known as Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees.

Perhaps with a domestic terror enhancement?

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 11:45 A.M. 25-NOV-2021 —

LOL Really? Eric’s going to try to SLAPP suit people in small outlets who don’t report the burner phones Kylie Kremer asked an aide to purchase may have been used to call him and Lara?

I love the smell of discovery in the morning!!

105 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I mentioned H.R. Haldeman in comments recently. He was charged with and found guilty of perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for his role in the Watergate cover-up.

    Hope Meadows realizes this isn’t new territory. We’ve done this in my lifetime, held a corrupt president’s aide accountable.

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    Thanks for the Meadows update. I forgot about HR Haldeman’s decent to depravity.
    The burners are buried in Jersey City.
    The 1-6 Commission needs to issue an “interim report” to keep the country from falling off the cliff.

    • Rayne says:

      The burners may be buried, but the phone’s usage must have left a digital trail where they were used. Their digital trail will also stick out if the idiots bought them in California during their March for Trump tour; if they bought them together at the same time, they compounded their error. And then finally the proximity of these phones in use to speakers on the March for Trump tour — like that wackdoodle MyPillow dude Lindell who was a speaker for at least part of the tour — ensures there’s a correlation between the numbers’ usage, the Kremers, and the emerging conspiracy.

      An interim report seems like a good idea on the face of it, but give how readily the targets generate disinformation it may be better to aim for shock-and-awe when one of the big fish is firmly on the line.

        • Fran of the North says:

          Thanks for the pointer. New words, new life.

          “A kiss on the hand might be quite continental, but burner phones are a girl’s best friend.”

          “There may be a time when a lass needs a lawyer. Burner phones are a girl’s best friend.”

          Wait for that smokin’ bass line! “Let’s rock again!”

    • Rugger9 says:

      Perhaps next to Jimmy Hoffa, and I concur with Mr. Fisher, Haldeman was a hatchet man plain and simple. Nixon surrounded himself with tough guys.

      I’ll also agree with Rayne about the digital trail and would expect that NSA would have some intercepts to look at. J6 was certainly an event NSA would follow for the “antifa” angle (DJT would insist) but likely got themselves stuff from PBs and III Percenters instead. Biden should call in those markers.

      Nonetheless, EW hits the nail on the head about the burner phones being an overt act for conspiracy, and IIRC more than a few criminal defendants around the country have had this action cited as proof of intent to obstruct investigations. Perhaps the legal beagle team has some examples.

        • KayInMd says:

          Real bad guys use them too (I have a nephew who used to be one and he used them in his ‘business’).

          (I think this is the name I’ve used before on this site. I’ve tried to register so I can save my login, but haven’t been able to. I’m sorry if I’ve put you to extra work.)

  3. dude says:

    I think you’re giving Meadows too much credit for good sense. He is a dumb as stump and trying hard to be a good little lap dog. He is still in the “I didn’t do anything wrong” state of mind.

  4. The Old Redneck says:

    As Joe Biden would say, this is a big f#*!¥§ deal. Interesting too that RS is running circles around legacy media outlets on these stories.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s the sourcing, like Robert Costa’s and Jon Karl’s sources they used for their books. Apparently the established DC media don’t have sources ex-Washington needed for the cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs crowd.

      • Zirc says:

        It’s ironic that those most reliant on access-journalism and who therefore don’t publish articles that implicate their sources are those who can’t seem to get sources for these stories.


        • Rayne says:

          Why would these sources trust a DC journo, especially one from a big outlet? They’ve had “FAKE MEDIA!” drummed into their heads — I literally ran across those buzz words checking on the speakers listed for a March for Trump event last December — so they’d be skeptical about representation.

          But we should be asking if any of these sources have been burned trying to access established outlets, too. Were they rebuffed because they don’t fit a mental model? Or is there something about Rolling Stone in particular — hello, Taibbi — which makes these sources comfortable with this outlet?

          A wholesale reassessment of access journalism in relation to investigative reporting is well past due.

        • obsessed says:

          >A wholesale reassessment of access journalism in relation to investigative reporting is well past due.

          That would be a great idea for a book. Or a series of posts. The history of access journalism could be the opening. Then the current sorry state of affairs. Then speculation as to how the situation could be improved.

    • Leoghann says:

      There have been big changes in the past few months at Rolling Stone. Noah Schactman took over as editor-in-chief in late July. He had been the top guy at the Daily Beast for 2½ years, and oversaw an escalation of their coverage of every scandalous thing associated with Trumpworld, as well as the Epstein-Maxwell mess. During his tenure, the Beast broke several big stories, based on both the connections he and his staff were building and a reputation for no leaks, except by permission of the leakee. The Beast continued with their social-scene coverage, but in political reporting they raised their reputation from gossip rag to a real news source. So he began at Rolling Stone with all sorts of markers among people on the political scene and a fire in his belly. Like some of us in this community, he grew up with Rolling Stone and remembers the days of their well-researched exposés. When his hiring was announced, instead of the usual thrice-spun corporate-speak, he said “I can’t fucking wait.” And he told the New York Times (apologies to Rayne) “It’s got to be faster, louder, harder. We’ve got to be out getting scoops, taking people backstage, showing them parts of the world they don’t get to see every day.” So far, he’s been putting his coverage where his mouth is.

      • JohnJ says:

        Deserved or not (I do not know), Rolling Stone has always been seen as counter culture since I was a teen. If you wanted a less establishment view, RS was it. Mother Jones was right there with it.

  5. Pete T says:

    I’m reading this in the context of the Jan 6 Commission, but Holy Jumping Jesus it almost seems ripe for an FBI investigation which, I assume, could also be going on behind the scenes.

    Who’s the turkey now?


    Happy Thanksgiving. Please remember the real native Americans.

  6. L. Eslinger says:

    While doing research into “location awareness” for public safety (primarily fire/rescue applications), my organization successfully used data from a range of communications devices (cellular, trunked radios, Bluetooth, NFC, and WiFi) to identify and then track individuals, even when their primary (registered) communications device had subsequently gone out-of-network. We called this “contextually-aware tracking.” This work was done more than ten years ago.

    So what? The wide range of data now available – and often collected and recorded – can allow individuals to be identified and tracked through context (location, time of day, proximity to other devices associated with registered users, and more). The idea that a “burner phone” is still a ticket to anonymity is weak, at best. Even non-network data, such as the video likely recorded at the location of phone purchase, may be retroactively used to improve confidence in the identification process.

    What I don’t know is how much data of various types is now collected, how long it is stored, and how it may be accessed by interested parties. Perhaps the legal experts can weigh in on the last part.

    • Legonaut says:

      It’s D.C. after 9/11. Any two grey cells rubbing together would have to come up with “We collect everything & keep it all for a very long time.” Certainly longer than the months since 1/6, especially now that there are known, public questions that data could help answer.

      “Whaddya mean you destroyed the records in May? Who do you think you are, Gina Haspel? Yer outta here!”

    • Rayne says:

      The length of storage is the tricky part. But if these yahoos bought Android phones (more than likely), they probably had Google apps loaded using a Google account and location enabled even if they tried to bypass surveillance by using an encrypted messaging app.

      These aren’t the kind of folks smart enough to get serious guidance on anonymity, surveillance evasion, and forensics avoidance.

      • P J Evans says:

        If it’s like the last couple of phones I’ve had, the information they needed was in the 200-page unindexed manual. (For the new phone, it required finding and downloading a PDF file, just to find out how to use it. They assume you’ve been using a smart phone for years.)

      • timbo says:

        Google allows you to delete this info now. The thing is that most people do not bother too… and doubly so on a burner phone that isn’t used for very long by people who don’t know any better.

        • timbo says:

          Lol. I have to admit I’m very skeptical about them removing this info myself. Well… maybe they do and maybe they don’t but… it’s required to conform with EU privacy laws or something… plus, they want you to pay to keep tons of such data on their servers now! ;/

    • Rayne says:

      You’re clouding the issue with this story. The phones in that PCMag piece were specifically prepped for surveillance. Not all burner (cheap no-contract cell phones) are loaded with government surveillance app.

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        Thanx for clarifying that, we won’t get anywhere chasing invisible tails down rabbit holes. The only thing that’s gunna stop the rolling coup now is the announcement of a justice department investigation and the enforcement of congressional subpoenas. But as I have advised previously: don’t hold your breath.

      • timbo says:

        And you know that they’re not loaded with tracing capabilities built in how? Seriously, there’s a reason that, for instance, the US has banned certain phone manufacturers from doing business in the US.

        • Rayne says:

          I didn’t say that at all. I said that particular story in PCMag clouds the issue because it’s a wholly different surveillance technology.

          Now you’re conflating problematic communications equipment manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE with the insurrectionists’ burner phones, yet again clouding the issue bringing up a subject which has nothing to do with burner phones purchased in the U.S. for use on U.S. networks.

          Android AND iOS phones permitted in this country already provide plenty of opportunity for law enforcement to track users’ whereabouts let alone their communications.

        • JohnJ says:

          I have written this many times addressing the minimum data a phone is spewing, but don’t remember actually posting it. If I said all this before, I apologize. I am definitely not a cell network guy, so how and where some of this is done may not be accurate, but in some form all this has to happen.

          The cell phone network has to individually identify each phone that hooks to it, as soon as you turn any cell phone on, it negotiates with the towers it sees and hooks to one. That negotiation is just a bunch of numbers that including time (referenced to an atomic clock no less), signal strength, tower ID, and all that phone ID stuff you see when you hit “about this phone”. It needs all that just for you to receive calls, so it is always on. If you want a call from somewhere outside that tower, that means the entire phone system itself has to have access to that information as well.

          So, if your phone is to receive calls it is always sending its ID to cell towers. As you move from one tower’s area to another there are numerous negotiations, including towers that you didn’t successfully hook to.

          It takes a single line of code with a little overhead for file record all that information on the cell tower. With that atomic clock synchronized timestamp mentioned above you can accurately coordinate data from all the towers simply by time. The signal strength seems to be available so location gets more precise as you add towers in range.

          They must have this information to diagnose network failures.

          With all that information, all the prosecutor has to do is match the phone ID to a person in one place and time and you have a wealth of movement and call activity data.

          Notice I did not address the content of the calls. That has no system related reason to be recorded, you need a Stingray for that.

          Apps, shmapps. I called 911 on my flip phone and they turned off my mute and call blocking, then turned on my GPS location and got my location. Just by calling a number. There is no way to prevent someone else with the knowledge to do the same thing.

          People are afraid of being chipped? Dude, you’re carrying that Bill Gate’s chip with you, don’t lose it.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for that, JohnJ. Folks can also find more about the privacy issues related to cell phones including burners at Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense site —

          Kremer mother and daughter likely had two of the three burners mentioned in the Rolling Stone article. We don’t yet know who had the third, but with all three having been bought in Palm Springs, CA, it’s easy for FBI to identify the phone and match it up to someone either traveling with the Kremers or with whom they would be in contact. They likely kept their regular cell phones with them, making it easy to follow a second synced pattern, ex. Burner 1 not in use when Phone 1 was and vice versa, yet both in the same location (let’s say Iowa at a March for Trump event) within feet according to both tower dumps and geofencing. All three burners contact numbers in the (202) area code or they contact phones physically located in the 202 area code, perhaps even within a White House geofence. Burner 3 may always appear within feet of Burner 1 and Cell 1, and at the same time as Cell 3 — law enforcement asks the carrier who is using Cell 3 to make a pretty good guess as to who is holding and using Burner 3.

          Congress could ask the Kremers who holds Burner 3; if they don’t cooperate they’re obstructing the investigation. Just add more time to their prospective jail term. But they may wish to offer the name of that phone’s user thereby validating FBI’s investigation.

          It’s just a matter of time and resources now.

        • timbo says:

          I wasn’t trying to cloud the issue but trying to point out that any phone anywhere is likely somehow compromised by someone for some purpose or other, tracking being an obvious easy ask. Someone else pointed out here that you are giving approximate location if you want to receive calls (basically, as long as the phone is on and/or not in a Mylar bag, etc) and are in range of a compatible cell tower.

          Interestingly, you can attach several numbers to a single cellphone. Also interesting is that you can use a forwarding service to obfuscate where the start and end point of a call is. Not that these folks did things like that tho–I doubt they are that savvy given how they purchased these burners. And it’s doubtful that such obfuscation will work if any forwarding services are being monitored heavily. Still, this is how the phone spammers have managed to elude quick shutdown for the past several years (in theory anyways).

      • Vicks says:

        Or I could just be saying that the FBI knows how burner phones work, (or don’t work) and providing a recent example of their expertise.

        • Rayne says:

          And you could be completely forgetting what this site has written about the surveillance state over the last decade-plus while clouding the issue.

  7. P J Evans says:

    Having replaced a cell phone in the past month, I can say that it does generate records, even if you pay cash. You have to activate it, after all…

      • Raven Eye says:

        On of the reasons that stolen credit card information is worth the high cost to criminal enterprises. You gotta use it fast though. Insurrectionists are not as likely to be in that “club”.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Pretty sure there are still phones available that you don’t have to activate with a payment card. You can pay cash for a fixed amount of voice/text/data.

        • Leoghann says:

          Even when you pay cash for cards with minutes, or “tokens,” you still have to activate it at least once, so the card is in the system as approved. That’s the only way the issuing company can keep track of how many minutes you’ve used.

  8. Bay State Librul says:

    Bleak House

    It looks bad for 2022 come one year hence.
    To protect the 1-6 Commission, can Nancy pull a “Billy Barr” and protect the Commission by pulling a Durham type move?

    • punaise says:

      Indeed, time is of the essence here. Pulling a Bully Barr would be great if such an avenue were possible (I’m guessing not).

    • Arabiflora Q. Public says:

      Was wondering the app’t of a sp counsel as a way of preserving the jan6 investigation but can’t remember the procedural req’s: congressional approval or simply AG prerogative?

  9. punaise says:

    A coup is a burnin’ thing,
    And it makes a fiery ring
    Bound by wild defilers
    I fell into a ring of fire.

    I fell into a subornin’ ring of fire
    I went down, down, down
    And the shame went higher,
    And it burns, burns, burns,
    The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

  10. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    In other news…

    The verdict is in on the Arbery trial and it’s a GUILTY!

    I’m pleased and truly relieved to be able to say that…

    [FYI, corrected spelling of victim’s last name in case one might need to search for this mention./~Rayne]

      • Eureka says:

        And then there’s that defense atty’s closing where she cited Arbery’s “dirty toenails.” I’ve not heard anything recently more evocative of lynching and am still haunted-disgusted by it.

        • Eureka says:

          Yeah IDK, I wanted more info, too. But it brought to mind a lot of southern-charm-style imagery: dead body with toe tags; feet dangling at the heads of lynch mobs; more (such as the epithet name for Brazil nuts; the eenie-meenie-miney-moe “nursery rhyme”…).

        • P J Evans says:

          I knew about Brazil nuts (which I don’t much like), and got trained out of the other before 1960. (We had rabbits. Or tigers.)

        • Eureka says:

          I learned the animal versions from peers (though it never made sense why you’d want to catch one, much less by its toe), then the “original” version — from older peers, and thought it was some new, racist variant (the minds of babes…).

          The Brazil nuts one (also learned as an ‘aside’) and the holiday season kind of go together (which further irked me about the intentions of the evocative statement).

        • Mart says:

          It was disturbing. My “not a racist father” would sing a ditty about “n” toes when cracking open Brazil.
          Nuts. The Google says very common in the sixties, when I heard it. And yes, turns out racist as fuck. Even found old naming references that used the term as an official naming convention. At least there is no systemic racism!

        • Rayne says:

          It was a naked appeal to the conservatives in the jury as research indicates they process disgust differently from liberals.

          This is something messaging left of center hasn’t mastered because they aren’t triggered the same way; because liberals are more likely to muster empathy rather than disgust, they can wade through feeling and emotion to get to facts where conservatives immediately shut down upon being grossed out.

          Fortunately the prosecutor could get past defense’s desperate squick-out barrier.

        • Eureka says:

          She inadvertently produced an unforgettable representation of our times: frame it and hang it in the Louvre of Shame.

          Am definitely thankful some justice has prevailed here, yes.

        • timbo says:

          It didn’t work so there is that. But, yeah, totally disgusting… and I think perhaps cause for even a bar complaint against that attorney?

        • Rugger9 says:

          I suppose that the dogwhistle gambit did have a prayer of working, because remember that the prosecution only happened because of the video and the local DAs had to be shamed into it (after a couple of recusals). So, perhaps she and Gough thought they could count on at least a couple of holdouts.

        • Eureka says:

          “It’s Al Sharpton!” /scary island

          [can’t resist this one tho the Venn of appreciators here might be vanishingly narrow]

  11. posaune says:

    Was that a state prosecution or federal? seems like it was state?
    So any appeal would go to the GA state superior court?

  12. posaune says:

    Thanks. To me it seemed that the defense attorneys were more racist than the defendants. (Of course, they were on courtroom good behavior).

  13. Molly Pitcher says:

    Two days in a row of additional things to be thankful for. I was hoping for a trifecta, but that little weasel R literally gets away with murder.

    I think we must be grateful for the good and work harder against the bad.

    I am thankful for everyone here.

    • punaise says:

      actual question: did something else good (just, right, fair) happen? You’d think i could keep track, so few are the occurrences.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Don’t forget Saturday (41-11). What was interesting to me as well was the vast numbers of empty seats in the Stanford section throughout the game. While the announced crowd was over 45 k, it was really more like 30-35 at the most.

  14. Rugger9 says:

    Apparently according to Title 44 US Code Section 2204(3) the Archivist determinations to release shall not be subject to judicial review except as provided in subsection (e) of this section. Subsection (e) specifically assigns the District Court of DC as the sole venue for any such review for an action brought by the former President which is what we have here. No provision is made for appeal and DJT already lost twice at the District level. It’s why the DCC issued the statement that it did saying it may not have jurisdiction and to go to hearing 30 NOV. Would SCOTUS try and claim it?

    I think this means that all of the records DJT is trying to hide with respect to his staff (and DJT graciously allowed Kerik to talk to the Select Committee by releasing Bernie from an attorney-client privilege that never existed) can be released essentially next week since appeals of the District Court aren’t allowed (because the DC was specified by statute). But, IANAL.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I for one think SCOTUS will parachute in, but the DCC cited this precedent about construction of the WW2 Memorial as why they could not, and SCOTUS in 2001 did not overturn. However, stare decisis only applies when the GQP wants it to.

      National Coalition to Save Our Mall v. Norton 269 F.3d 1092 (2001)

  15. Lillyhobbs says:

    Yeah, I thought you gave them a fake name for the phone and some minutes, paid in cash, and they came already activated. You bought more minutes if you needed them, on a card with a code. I thought the whole point was to be not associated with your real identity.
    Is there a way to really do that (asking for a friend)?
    I would make a bad criminal.

  16. cavenewt says:

    I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere – and I even scanned all the comments here – but it might be amusing to hear what Kremer’s excuse was for buying the burner phones.

Comments are closed.