BREAKING (WaPo’s Stenography): Prosecutors Are Asking about Rudy Giuliani’s Ties to Militias

The WaPo has published their second piece in a row that does embarrassing transcription work for Trump flunkies claiming they’re not under investigation for January 6.

I tweeted about the latest admission that four journalists from WaPo know fuckall about the actual investigation (or that into Rudy at SDNY) here. I tweeted about how alarming it was that people who called themselves journalists wouldn’t disclose that Jonathon Turley was the Former President’s impeachment lawyer here.

As I noted, apparently none of the four WaPo journalists are familiar enough with the investigation to know where to look to test their questions about whether DOJ is investigating Trump. But I guess it’s a good thing that WaPo relied on the expertise of their embedded Mar-A-Lago journalist (!!!) for these issues.

Nevertheless, WaPo does break news in the thirtieth paragraph of the story. It reveals that Rob Jenkins, a lawyer representing a bunch of militia defendants, keeps getting asked about Roger Stone and Rudy Giuliani‘s ties to militia members.

Rob Jenkins, a defense attorney representing multiple people linked to the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, another far-right group, said prosecutors have been “pretty aggressive” in “seeking out information … that points to others’ involvement and culpability.”

They are interested, he said, in “preplanning, and participation in those preplanning on the part of the individuals who may not have come to D.C. on Jan 6 but were certainly part of the planned effort.” That includes both leaders in the groups and people who spoke at the rally on Jan. 6, including close Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Roger Stone, he said.

“There was a lot of talk,” Jenkins said. “But I haven’t seen anything that would make them criminally liable.” [my emphasis]

Jenkins serves as sponsor for out of district lawyers, so it’s hard to measure who he’s representing personally. But among others, he shows as an attorney of record for:

Joshua Pruitt, a Proud Boy who just got his bail revoked

William Pepe, alleged to be member of the Proud Boy Front Door conspiracy

Christopher Worrell, a Proud Boy accused of spraying cops with toxins

Paul Rae, a Proud Boy who accompanied Joe Biggs everywhere on the day of the insurrection

Ryan Samsel, who — after he had some words with Joe Biggs — kicked off the entire riot

In other words, what the WaPo reported — in paragraph 30 — is that prosecutors believe not just the Former President’s rat-fucker, who has long paraded his ties to militias like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, but also the Former President’s personal lawyer, might have ties to the people who played key tactical roles in the insurrection.

That’s not a surprise. Rudy tweeted proof of that exactly a year ago.

But for some reason, the WaPo decided to bury the fact that prosecutors are pursuing this angle (even while claiming — Rudy’s phones notwithstanding — that prosecutors are not investigating what went down at the Willard), in paragraph 30.

In an article asking whether prosecutors are investigating Trump, the Washington Post buried evidence that prosecutors believe Rudy has ties to the militias who organized the event in paragraph 30.

One might think it newsworthy that an attorney for the Proud Boys revealed that prosecutors are, in fact, investigating Rudy’s militia ties. But the WaPo took from that, instead, that DOJ is not investigating Trump or anyone who might have been coordinating with the militias from the Willard Hotel.

111 replies
  1. greenbird says:

    more late-nights heading our way, betcha.
    if i knew how to do the bolded text, i would:
    “But for some reason, …”

    thank you, irreplaceable Dr. Wheeler.

  2. Tim Tuttle says:

    It’s very concerning that so many paid national journalists are either completely incompetent, lazy, have an agenda, or (fear the worst) simply don’t understand what’s happening right in front of their eyes.

    Democracy requires a thoughtful, clearheaded, intelligent, aggressive, nonpartisan press.

    Thank you for what you do.

    Long Strange Trip

    • Wajim says:

      “Democracy requires a thoughtful, clearheaded, intelligent, aggressive, nonpartisan press.”

      And at what point in the span of the existence of the United States have we ever had such a press?

      • gmoke says:

        Upton Sinclair described USAmerican journalism in 1919 with his book The Brass Check (my notes at Decades later, the great George Seldes, whose InFact mailing list was the core of IF Stone’s newsletter at the beginning, did it again in his autobiography, Witness to a Century (my notes at

        Even with the “improvements” that have been made since, we still have a press corps that not only can’t see the forest for the trees but, often, can’t see the trees for the leaves, something I learned by going to listen to big name journos at Harvard for quite a few years.

        Joan Didion made hash of them all on a deeper level in her book Political Fictions. I’m surprised that Woodward and Isikoff didn’t slink off into obscurity after she took the scalpel to them so deftly.

    • bowtiejack says:

      I think the disease of “entitlement” has affected
      a lot of people, especially including anyone who
      cosplays as a journalist.

  3. Vinnie Gambone says:

    So with all that planning what are the chances the pipe bombs were not part of the plan?

    Somewhere within the orbit of those known to be assigned/ involved with QRF,s the pipe bomber is likely to be found.
    Has Trump ever been asked his thoughts on the MAGA Unabomber ?

  4. BobCon says:

    I speculated with regard to Michael Schmidt’s flimsy article claiming Pence’s possible refusal to testify to the 1/6 Committee might be fatal was showing that the ground was shifting in the PR defense strategy. This piece in the Post seems to back this up.

    The old line from the sources that do the thinking for Zapotosky, Schmidt, et al, was that 1/6 was basically the work of random weirdos but unlinked to any serious conspiracy. Just ten days ago, Zapotosky was paroting their line in an article about Garland’s first anniversary speech.

    The new line appears to be well, OK, there was a conspiracy, but there doesn’t seem to be any real effort to connect it to the GOP.

    The line Schmidt, Zapotosky, and the rest will be taking in a while will be, OK, it wasn’t just random weirdos, there was an organized conspiracy, and OK, it wasn’t disconnected from the GOP, but it was only limited to these people….

    As the list grows, they’ll still be carrying water for the apologists instead of ever admitting they’ve handed over all of their framework to people who regularly, intentionally lead them astray.


    • John Paul Jones says:

      Agreed. And it’s also not that hard to read court filings, etc., and yet NYT and WaPo reporters, at least so far as J6 goes, haven’t bothered to do so. I think they and their editors have a greater fear of being labelled as conspiracy nuts than they have of actually finding the truth of the situation. The false electors proves there was indeed some level of conspiracy; the letter Jeffrey Clark proposed to send to Georgia references the false electors directly, which would tend to show that he had, to an extent, been read in on that conspiracy; which broadens the scope of said conspiracy. It’s as if the world is giving these reporters one of those diagrams with numbered dots, but they are neglecting to use their pens because they don’t like the shape they think it will make. And that’s not what the job of reporting is supposed to be about.

    • Leoghann says:

      I think the usurper’s four years in office made the entire 5th estate lazy as hell. They had five years in which the story came to them, in the form of constant, public misbehavior. All those reporters who should have been learning to look at the deeper story instead turned into gossip columnists. And so many who are naturally lazy, or not smart, or just cynical, don’t want to accept that it’s past time to get back to work.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        Could also be a bit of Stockholm Syndrome in there somewhere, too…

        Decades of repeatedly being pistol whipped, metaphorically speaking, for trying to do your job right does tend to leave marks…

      • madhaus says:

        Trump’s strategy for dealing with the press dates back to the 1970s: cover up criminality by handing them scandal.

      • BobCon says:

        If anything, I think this understates how long the capture has been going on. People like Marc Short and Kellyanne Conway didn’t sprout up in January 2017 — they’ve always been there and they’ve always been terrible sources. But they are convenient terrible sources, and they know how to work not only at the level of reporters but also editors and even execs.

        People at the Short/Conway level aren’t digging into the basic details of the case — they know the pundit lawyers to recommend for that piece. But they are working overtime to create the larger framework that 1/6 was a single gas bubble, it has no connection to the “real” GOP, and prosecution is pointless.

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        The WaPo reporters are doing what their editors tell them to do. The editors do what the WaPo .1% billionaire Owner wants them to do.

        Bezos apparently thinks it is in his financial & personal interest to support the fascist totalitarian GOP, tear down the Democrats. Why does he think this?

        • rip says:

          That is the question. “Why does he [bezos] think this?”.

          Cui bono? Obviously the streams of power and money are part of these equations.

          How do the oligarchs/etc. benefit by having democracy cratered, making 90%+ of the population into rote serfs or slaves?

          I don’t think the outcomes are happy for either the 90%+ or the purported 0.01% that control the levers.

      • J R in WV says:

        Actually, the common and historical term for the press in a free democracy is “The Fourth Estate” beside the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial branches. Don’t know who the fifth estate might be, actually.

        I grew up in a small town newspaper family business, and Fourth Estate was a pretty common term around the offices.

        • RMD says:

          I too was not familiar w 5th Estate. Searched the term.

          The Fifth Estate is a socio-cultural reference to groupings of outlier viewpoints in contemporary society, and is most associated with bloggers, journalists publishing in non-mainstream media outlets, and the social media or “social license”. The “Fifth” Estate extends the sequence of the three classical Estates of the Realm and the preceding Fourth Estate, essentially the mainstream press. The use of “fifth estate” dates to the 1960s counterculture, and in particular the influential The Fifth Estate, an underground newspaper first published in Detroit in 1965. Web-based technologies have enhanced the scope and power of the Fifth Estate far beyond the modest and boutique[1] conditions of its beginnings. Wikipedia

        • Geoguy says:

          I wonder if Leoghann was combining the terms 4th estate with 5th column? (this engineer’s bad attempt at humor)

        • Rayne says:

          That’s what I thought when I first read Leoghann’s comment though ‘5th estate‘ has come to mean the peripheral commentariat and quasi-journalistic endeavors adjacent to journalism’s 4th estate.

          LOL – the new social class reliant on patronage.

  5. Al Ostello says:

    Brilliant as always. Thank you Marcy Wheeler! I offer this on point quote and hope to deliver a smile or a laugh.

    “no one could have predicted that the party of Nazis, racists, misogynists, compromised Russian assets, pedophile wrestling coaches, sex-trafficking party boys, blackout-drunk rapist judges, and bone saw murder apologists would also be the party of sore loser insurrectionists” — Jeff Tiedrich

  6. BobCon says:

    “I think they and their editors have a greater fear of being labelled as conspiracy nuts than they have of actually finding the truth of the situation.”

    And what is so frustrating about it is that it seems to be a weird closed circle that they are worried about labelling them that way — there are even people at the Times and Post who will tell them to their faces that their sources and analysts are garbage, spell out for them the incidents where they have been misled, and tell them where else they should look.

    One of the things that is clear about the Post and the recent Lori Montgomery incident, or the Times and the nutty union dispute, is that there are insular cliques within these papers who are actively fighting against better reporting in order to protect an old network and system that undercuts them at every step.

    The level of ideological capture is astounding for businesses that place so much brand value on being reliable. IT’S NOT THAT HARD TO FIX THIS!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The fear seems to belong to editors and publisher, and would trickle down to reporters with half a brain. But I don’t think the fear is about being labeled a conspiracy theorist or taking sides. The “side” they would be taking, btw, would be truth and democracy’s. But that’s like a corporate lawyer mistaking that what’s good for the corporation – the theoretical client – and what’s good for top managers is the same thing, when it’s really a career ender.

      I think what they fear is more akin to a senior manager, who fears being discovered as a union sympathizer, or a Bonesman who fears being found out as a leaker to outsiders. Ostracism from the elite, which fears an informed populace and an excess of democracy as much as it did in Samuel Huntington’s 1970s.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        There’s also that media is addicted to Trump levels of click bait, which they wouldn’t get if they investigated harder and used fewer euphemisms and bothersiderisms. And, like Nancy Pelosi’s position on banning stock trading in Congress, restraining or investigating elites and holding them to account is not a way to stay one of them.

      • BobCon says:

        I think instead of explicitly using a term like conspiracy theory it would be couched in toxic personal references.

        Pushing too hard against the minimalist narrative wouldn’t get pushback in any substantive way — reporters would get a lecture how on this beat they steer a path between Tucker Carlson and Chris Hayes, while dodging all of the obvious questions about how those poles are chosen or what it means to moderate between them.

        The warnings would be about personal networks and personalities more than any actual journalism. Reporting too directly about GOP leadership complicity with 1/6 wouldn’t be bad on factual grounds, it would be bad because it would alienate specific sources and make you sound too much like Chris Hayes.

        It’s a superficial savvy argument has more to do with preserving clique dynamics, while refusing to think about how those dynamics actually work or what they mean.

      • Raven Eye says:

        Editors run the reporters, and the publisher sets the expectations for the editors. And the owner sets the expectations for the publisher.

        The financials come into this, but the owner (or owners) establishes to what degree.

  7. skua says:

    WaPo has a pretty good reputation.
    But how long till they recognize these failings produced by their workculture and correct them?

    Overwrought Dems will soon be wondering if these journalists have been issued rules of engagement.

  8. pablo says:

    Damn, I canceled my 30+ NYT subscription 3 years ago for this kind of shit, now do I have to do the same to my WAPO sub?

    • Rayne says:

      I’m sticking it out a while longer to see if Matt Zapotosky (who seems to be the common ingredient) pulls his head out of his butt soon. I don’t want to throw in the towel yet because we still need other reporting like that by Ellen Nakashima.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      The letters/comments are priceless, well worth reading. And liberal by a (at least) 10-1 margin.

  9. Maureen A Donnelly says:

    you are a global treasure. thanks for the insights (with swears). love supporting your work. imagine being the person with the board who connects the criminals in this massive effort to overthrow the government of the United States. They broke the UK . . . Putin seems to be the only winner–him and the 1% in the US. thanks again for all of the sobering news of corruption in our government and the “MSM.” the MSM is often part of the problem. do they all really want autocracy?

  10. Bay State Librul says:

    From the 2 cents department:

    I think Garland embraces Biggie’s second commandment “never let ’em know your next move”

    I hope the DOJ will be sittin’ in Trump’s kitchen, waiting to start hittin’, armed with the Mob’s snitchin’

    • gmoke says:

      I will repeat this core concept from Joan Didion’s Political Fictions and the article “Clinton Agonistes”;

      “Perhaps because not all of the experts, authorities, and spokespersons driving this news had extensive experience with the kind of city-side beat on which it is taken for granted that the D. A.’s office will leak the cases they doubt they can make, selective prosecutorial hints had become embedded in the ongoing story as fact.”

      Garland is known, reportedly, for no leaks in his investigations. This is the dog that didn’t bark and should be taken into account, my dear Doctor Watson.

    • phred says:

      I don’t know, but I suspect the problem is one of differing skill sets.

      The reason I read EW religiously is because she, like me, is a reader. Her work derives from a remarkable grasp of detail gleaned from scrupulous reading of documents.

      DC based journalism is entirely based on “access”. It matters who you know. Who will pick up the phone when you call. Who will stop and talk to you when you hang out at the Capitol or Supreme Court or White House. It is all about personal interaction and conversation.

      These are entirely different skill sets. And I think it is often hard for access journalists to admit when they have been snookered by political people whose own skill sets involve manipulating people to achieve particular political objectives.

      We need more reader-journalists, but organizations tend to hire and promote those with similar approaches, skills, and outlook as the hiring managers, so I’m not holding my breath.

      In the meantime, we have EW and the Sedition Hunters and the journalists at outlets other than WaPo who don’t rely solely on who they know. We need to read and support them.

      • matt fischer says:

        Dr. Wheeler is doing much of the work J6 journalists seem unwilling or unable to do. At the very least they should be visiting EW for her superlative CliffNotes.

      • GKJames says:

        Sure, access is a key feature of political reporters’ work (surgically lambasted by Dan Froomkin at But access and reading aren’t — or at least shouldn’t be — mutually exclusive.

        The records on DOJ prosecutions are public. One can easily imagine that legitimate journalists would use (read) them to educate themselves and only then color what they learned with whatever inside info (gossip, essentially) they were able to get via access.

        That they choose not to do so, compels the question: why not? One answer might be that reading takes time and that competitive gotta-be-the-first pressure prevents it.

        Another could be that informing the public is an interest subservient to the business model that demands clicks. Which means the mainstream press gives its mainstream customers what they want: bouts of higher blood pressure through innuendo and conflict (real and imagined), especially between personalities.

        Am guessing, of course. It would be interesting to have journalists respond to their critics by explaining what they do and why. Maybe, in the end, all we’d find out is that they’re just not very good journalists (as some of us define the term).

        • skua says:

          Reading may bias heavily against high levels of access.

          Spinners and narrative-setters may steer clear of reader journos who include problematic or off-message material in their articles.

        • phred says:

          In principle, I agree with you.

          In practice, there are only so many hours in the day. And I don’t think time spent reading is rewarded to the same degree that phone calls, literally standing around in hallways, and talking with sources is by bosses at major outlets.

      • emptywheel says:

        That’s why it’s so nutty that Josh Dawsey is on this. They’ve gone to the Mar-a-Lago court scribe to find out whether Trump will be added to a sedition case, when Dawsey’s bread is buttered by remaining the Mar-a-Lago court scribe.

    • Rita says:

      Is it possible that the WaPo and NYTimes editors and reporters are so invested in access journalism and conventional political reporting, which treats the major parties as horses competing in a horse race, that they are unable or unwilling to see larger implications and consequences?

      If the DOJ does its talking through indictments and does not leak, that leaves the defendants and possible co-conspirators to leak what they want leaked and to frame the narrative. Good reporters should understand that.

      • Gerard Plourde says:

        “Is it possible that the WaPo and NYTimes editors and reporters are so invested in access journalism and conventional political reporting, which treats the major parties as horses competing in a horse race, that they are unable or unwilling to see larger implications and consequences?”

        Sadly, I think that is (and, truth be told, has always been) the case. Once ensconced in a position where they know the sources, reporters are disinclined to dig deeply. They go to the press briefings, file their reports and are often content to leave things at that. Most don’t do investigative journalism, (and probably aren’t equipped to). Even during Watergate, the story wasn’t being developed by the White House and Congressional reporters. Woodward and Bernstein were assigned to the metropolitan desk at the Post and the whole thing was initially was a crime story about a burglary.

        That’s why people like Marcy (and Rachael Maddow) are so valuable. They pay attention to the details that most reporters miss.

    • phred says:

      Hmmm, I posted a reply here awhile ago that has disappeared. Did I have a typo in one of the required fields? I didn’t include any links so it couldn’t have been that.

      Anyway, like Rita, I think the issue is driven by access journalism, but I won’t rewrite the whole thing now, just in case the earlier one reappears…

  11. fgw says:

    Almost everything I know about the January 6 investigation I learn from the emptywheel twitter feed, but I thought the article presented some valid observations. No harm in reading alternative viewpoints, I don’t see that the vehemence in the post and the last few comment threads is necessary or productive. Not even Marcy can be certain this isn’t going to end up similarly to the Mueller investigation – that it doesn’t get all the way up because the evidence and the law won’t carry it there regardless of guilt. No matter how many phones Rudy had (sorry, shouldn’t troll – especially here). Hope it does. For example, aren’t some of the quotes in the sedition incitement a problem? “All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.” Trump’s lawyers have to like that, I’m afraid. “Thousands of ticked off patriots spontaneously marched on the Capitol” I think there was another that, like these, can be construed as evidence against coordination all the way up that I can’t find right now. Admittedly, I have no idea what analysis of the whole body of texts the FBI has access to would reveal, no doubt many here have read much more than I have. I also appreciated the point the article made about the lack of apparent (emphasis on apparent) investigation by the DOJ of the Eastman/Clark/false electors angle or the National Guard/Armed Forces command. This also troubles me. Do we know what steps the DOJ has taken, if any, to analyze that part of the plan? My feeling is the DOJ would have difficulty getting to Trump via Giuliani and Stone without investigating the actual Trump administration (such as it was). Is that really so off base?

    • BobCon says:

      The point is NOT about how Zapotosky et al are drawing different conclusions from the same evidence.

      It is how they are completely bungling what the evidence even is.

      It’s a running problem with his reporting. Shortly before the conspiracy indictments came down, Zapotosky was arguing against the likelihood of conspiracy charges based on a silly reading of the overall demographics of the 1/6 participants.

      It was a complete non sequitor — it’s a year later, and yet his analysis seems completely unclear on the central issue of the difference between the core actors and the larger crowd.

      The actual facts do not mean Trump or top level conspirators will or will not be indicted for the conspiracy. But this Post crew may as well be staking its reporting on claims that Trump has an identical twin brother, or robots did it, or it’s all the fault of Zodiac signs.

      There are legitimate challenges to the case. But Zapotosky, Dawsey etc. running to Tribe to provide them shows they’re just doing color by numbers reporting to fill out a preprinted schematic, not looking for anyone who can even explain what the issues are.

      • fgw says:

        “But this Post crew may as well be staking its reporting on claims that Trump has an identical twin brother, or robots did it, or it’s all the fault of Zodiac signs.”
        Thanks, appreciate your thoughts and I will think about it – but this for example seems a bit over the top – as frustrating as this whole thing has been and will continue to be. I was mostly trying to say I would appreciate keeping things a bit more dispassionate for the sake of credibility

        • Gerard Plourde says:

          Conspiracy investigations usually work from the bottom up. A chain of evidence has to be built from the low-level actors to the higher-ups and there is a quote in the story that explicitly confirms that this is how it is proceeding. The fact that the WaPo reporters either don’t have access to reporters who are familiar with these types of investigations or haven’t bothered to learn how they work from other sources shows how unequipped they are to report on this complex story.

        • BobCon says:

          The other really concerning thing is this is a year later. They have had a lot of time to get the infrastructure in place to handle evidence as it comes up.

          They should have a number of viable working theories at this point, reporters prepped to follow leads as they emerge to narrow down those paths, and a clear set of competent sources with deep experience in prosecutions and investigations.

          Instead they seem to be staffing as if this was December 2020 and they weren’t even sure what shape a conspiracy might take, if at all. The only working theory seems to be a baseline GOP talking point of isolated bad apples, and their sources are Turley and Tribe.

          They may as well follow the BBC’s example and bring in Dershowitz.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        “But Zapotosky, Dawsey etc. running to Tribe to provide them shows they’re just doing color by numbers reporting to fill out a preprinted schematic, not looking for anyone who can even explain what the issues are.”

        You have to know enough to know what questions to ask.

    • chris picciolini says:


      Trump may have ginned up the rally goers, but that doesnt make trump liable for their texts or a fistfight. private texts bitching about the election being stolen are not illegal, Stasi much?

    • vvv says:

      “Not even Marcy can be certain this isn’t going to end up similarly to the Mueller investigation – that it doesn’t get all the way up because the evidence and the law won’t carry it there regardless of guilt.”

      That’s just wrong.

  12. Al Ostello says:

    Hi Marcy Wheeler, Please consider using Youtube, kind of like Glenn Kirschner does. Each of your great articles about J6 here could be a video. Glenn Kirschner has a great perspective being a former U.S. Army prosecutor, BUT there is nothing on youtube with such a deep dive than what your awesome work provides. It would spread like wild fire. TY

      • chetnolian says:

        Please don’t distract our Marcy from doing the work she does so well by asking for pictures! In this, it’s the words that matter,

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Absolutely. Her work seems built on ignoring the easy, push-a-button and watch path, which does not require much thinking, and the do-not-disturb-the-elites sign many media wear. She does the hard research, writing, and rewriting necessary to tease out the truth from a web of ignorance, lies, and distraction.

        • Al Ostello says:

          The simplest and easiest way is for her to do youtube is audio only. Simply read her article when finished. Many people like myself with only netflix only listen to news via youtube.

          Here is Marcy on youtube as a guest…which is how I found her. She should be guesting on msnbc:

    • Troutwaxer says:

      I think this is a great idea. You can put your links in the comment section (you probably already know this) and once you’ve got cameras running w/editing software it’s not hard to interview someone… and there’s a lot of Open-Source post-production software you pay nothing for. It’s not perfect, but fine for basic editing.

    • JohnJ says:

      I watch YouTube a lot; science, repair of ANYTHING on the planet (I don’t think I would have a single working appliance without YouTube), sim-racing, real racing, but never for news or opinion.

      I can read Dr. W as I have time, and to be honest, I many times have to read over paragraphs to get the densely packed information in these postings. That doesn’t work with YouTube.

    • Gerard Plourde says:

      “there is nothing on youtube with such a deep dive”

      That’s sadly because the amount of this sort of information (mostly abstract concepts not enhanced by anything visual) that the video medium can convey in a short time is far less than what can be transmitted in print. Speakers typically speak at about 125 words per minute (Public speakers are usually told to slow that down to about 75 words per minute to actually be intelligible to most listeners).

      • earthworm says:

        concur, gerard p
        videos for emptywheel’s kind of information are a waste of time. i can read a lot faster than watching a video, and can reread to get better understanding if i do not comprehend it the first time.
        would consider it a disaster for this site to become a visuals-assisted one. luckily i doubt that will happen.

  13. Tom in MD says:

    I don’t really understand how it helps trump & the other conspiracists to perpetuate the idea that they’re *not* being investigated, especially if they really are. Wouldn’t it be more on-brand for them to rant about a witch hunt? So why do you assume that the sources the WaPo reporters are quoting are people in Mar-a-Lago? Couldn’t they be DOJ people?

    • Rayne says:

      The perpetuation of the falsehood that they’re not being investigated is intended to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about US and states’ governance.

      We need to think of this entire Trump regime and its narratives from an international perspective using the frames we would use about any other country experiencing similar challenges. Trump is a destabilization operation, one which has not ended. This country is experiencing grave destabilization when it can’t provide services to its people because of resistance to cooperative, collaborative behavior.

      And when people wittingly or unwittingly platform or repeat Trump FUD, they are amplifying the destabilization process.

      • BobCon says:

        There are also two tracks of communication. The right wing track is full to the brim with a persecution narrative already.

        I think the GOP is at least moderately concerned on the mainstream communication track about where the evidence is going, and they’ve decided to push a narrative of a regular, respectable GOP saddled with an oh so regrettable fringe.

        • Rayne says:

          Well that “regular, respectable GOP” is going to look rather stupid/culpable should it come out that benign-looking old flake Sen. Grassley was fully apprised of the conspiracy and ready to do what Pence didn’t, as just one example.

          One-time maverick sidekick Sen. Graham has chosen to double down and brazen it out, whistling past the graveyard as his pressure on GA election officials gets little discussion in media as part of the conspiracy, as another example.

        • BobCon says:

          I think there is a fair amount of denial on the side of the press too.

          The lesson the press drew from Mueller is that it’s hard to make a case against Trump, but they’re ignoring the blindingly obvious that Trump had Barr running massive interference with Mueller.

          Barr no doubt is still working in the background to gaslight and obscure, but he can’t delay a critical piece of evidence anymore by sending it around Cape Horn by clipper ship.

          It’s impossible to say how far up the ladder things will go with Garland instead of Barr. But it’s kooky how much the Post and Times are dragging their heels — they run the serious risk of looking as bad as the Times all through ’72 and much of ’73 when Reston and Rosenthal eagerly swallowed the lies of people like Kissinger that Watergate was, like 1/6, the work of a few bad apples at the lowest level.

        • dwfreeman says:

          This is largely an open source case. If you want to know the facts, events, timelines and players who shaped this comprehensive scandal, believe me you can find it and draw your own conclusions on how and why it happened.

          Whether you believe it or not, the press is driving the investigation of this case by the House Select Committee. Most of the subpoenas it has issued are based on news accounts and Jan. 6-related coverage by open source reporting from both accredited media and others.

          You don’t have to rely on stories and opinions in the NY Times and Washington Post as the last word on whether the DOJ is investigating this case. At this point, the issue is discovering how it happened, what it means and how we can prevent it from happening again.

          This a comprehensive scandal in which Trump’s MAGAt mob played a small role as a plausible denial distraction to disguise the real coup attempt, delaying the Electoral College vote as part of a political script first hatched by right-wing planners months before the 2020 election to ensure GOP power continuity in the White House and beyond. The reason: recognition that it can no longer count on winning national elections given the age of its average voter and trending US demographics. The party fears losing its political grip, so this was the response with a narcissist leader open to any and all means possible to retain his presidency.

        • Beth says:

          Yep, Grassley has dug himself in a deep hole. He and his staff need some persistent questioning from the J-6 committee.

          [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Beth” or “Elizabeth.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • Rayne says:

          I have doubts Grassley will be called by J6 unless Grassley’s name appears more frequently in communications between Nov-Dec 2020.

  14. Willis Warren says:

    I hope you’re right about all this, Marcy. It’s easy to be skeptical because no one knows the difference between political posturing and actual investigations anymore.

  15. Andrew R says:

    I have considerable experience fielding calls from these specific reporters. What’s interesting is that they are well sourced inside DOJ and will print pretty much anything two “independent sources” in an agency dictate to them. So the chin scratcher is “why does someone high up in DOJ want the world to believe they aren’t investigating DJT and his cronies?”

    • Rayne says:

      Yes — the dog not barking. The black hole noticed only by its event horizon.

      What’s your guess? Do they need to keep a tight lid on it because there are so many people implicated and leaking about one may damage the case against others? Are they worried about damaging the J6 investigation or state-level investigations? Are they waiting for something from the states’ investigations?

      Or are they giving the subjects and targets enough room to hang themselves with sloppy, unforced errors of hubris? (Looking squarely at Bannon right now.)

      • Andrew R says:

        Rayne, it could be something as pedestrian as them being tired of so many inquiries about the investigation into Trump that they just wanted to tamp down curiosity. I don’t think Rudy, Bannon, etc would be lulled into complacency by a “it appears” WaPo article.

        • P J Evans says:

          They’d cheerfully help source articles like that, if they thought it would help keep their crimes hidden.

      • BobCon says:

        Reading the trainwreck Post article, there is no reason to believe anyone in DOJ is selling a narrative about any direction at all. Zapotosky et al’s claim about what “appears” depends heavily on denials by potential conspirators to back up its claim of no DOJ investigation, not on anything that can be sourced toinvestigators themselves.

        The best Zapotosky etc. can do is cite “people familiar with the matter who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing case” which really ought to read “GOP defense hacks only because everyone knows responsible prosecutors are careful about ruining investigations with leaks.”
        I think a big part of what may be happening here is a parallel to reporting on Clinton in 2016.

        Basically Giuliani and the GOP knew official DOJ was observing a hands off policy in terms of engaging with reporters during the election, so he rushed to fill the void.

        He was feeding them a firehose of BS from a constricted set within fed offices in NY. He went on background characterized as a source close to investigators, and reporters were able to meet the technical requirements of confirmation from official sources with whatever stooges he supplied.

        Credulous and complicit reporters jumped at the bait.

        I think there is a strong chance that someone who is either running PR for the defense team of the conspirators and/or someone in Barr era DOJ who worked on some of these issues is running the same playbook.

        They’re dangling whatever tidbits they can with a framing that will fit an official DOJ policy of not commenting on possible lines of inquiry. They know how to direct reporters to enough sources who will confirm this framework, because that is the only thing they are allowed to say if they are investigators, or because they are on the side of the GOP PR and defense effort.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL you’d think by now they’d have clued that any GOP in DC is:
          — an unindicted co-conspirator;
          — an accessory to a crime;
          — an accessory after the fact;
          — out of the loop and really knows nothing but wants to offer conjecture.

          And after this many stabs at it with massive fail, it’s on us to recognize this isn’t merely credulity but another Ken Vogel emerging.

        • Andrew R says:

          I’ll politely disagree with you, BobCon, that the Post article happened without participation (at minimum confirmation of a theory) from someone at DOJ. But your point about Barr-era DOJ holdovers with their own agenda is a really good one.

        • Andrew R says:

          I don’t understand why you are bird-dogging me like this, Bmaz? What have I done to offend you? Everyone else, including you, is allowed their opinions but when I express mine I’m “gas-bagging?”

          I think you’ve really crossed the line from moderator to troll.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, you have been clacking about the DOJ, with no particular knowledge of criminal law, for well over half a year.

      • Andrew R says:

        Are you addressing me, BMAZ? Not sure what you mean. Maybe have me confused with someone else. Haven’t even posted here in the period you referenced.

        • Andrew R says:

          Surely you can see my email since you are a moderator. Please email me and tell me what you are talking about.

          [I’m going to step in here; you’ve made at least 20 comments since 2018, but there have been enough variations in the identity you’ve used to comment that your appearance looks like sockpuppeting. We also have other Andrews in the community with similar usernames. Make a note of the identity you use here and stick with it consistently going forward to avoid friction with moderators which includes bmaz. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • Andrew R says:

          Thanks for the explanation, Rayne. That’s helpful. Like I said, until the above comment (which makes no claim of inside 411 about DOJ or criminal law) I, personally, haven’t commented in EW in a year. And the last topic I remember participating in in meaningful convo about is either Mueller report or the Impeachments. I’ll take note of using the same handle all the time. Definitely don’t want to be confused for a sock puppet.

    • Ryan says:

      This seems much more pertinent than the rage about editors and access.

      I can think of good reasons DOJ would want to downplay the ambition of their case until they can tell the story.

      • Ryan says:

        Was editing but timed out.

        My sense is that the GOP instinct to diminish and disassociate from J6 will be useful. At the appropriate moment, they’ll find it useful to disassociate from each potential defendant. There’s likely even interest in seeing DOJ succeed.

        But if you tell them now that Trump is the target, the pressure to attack and disrupt the whole prosecution becomes enormous.

  16. Max404 says:

    Follow the money (also). Some of these reporters take home impressive salaries, and if they can hit the jackpot with a book, it’s bug bucks.

    Once I knew a guy, casually, who got an offer to be a staff writer on a magazine of national footprint. He was blown away by the sum. No way he’d rock that boat.

    But he wasn’t Izzy Stone.

  17. The Old Redneck says:

    There’s no excuse for the sorry state of corporate journalism. Reporters used to have to go to libraries and courthouses to read public records. Now you can read a huge volume of information without ever leaving your desk. There has never been more available information.
    This should be a golden age for journalism. But it’s just the opposite, because most reporters don’t want to be bothered with reading, understanding, and explaining the details of complex stories.

    • P J Evans says:

      I wonder if they’ve been trained/told that the average reader has a 5th-grade grasp of English, so write down to that level…forgetting that 5th-graders are less educated, not less smart.

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