Apprehension and Dread with Bates Stamps: The Case of Jim Baker’s Missing Jencks Production

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I’ve done a couple of posts showing how much fun one can have with Bates stamps — the serial numbers stamped onto every page of discovery that tells you a little bit about how any document was treated. In this post, for example, I showed that when John Durham accidentally-on-purpose released an exhibit with a bunch of Fusion GPS documents, he wasn’t doing so primarily to get them admitted at trial, because he had no intention of using most of them at trial. In this post, I showed that Durham hadn’t looked at key investigative documents that Michael Horowitz had relied upon in the Inspector General investigation into Crossfire Hurricane before Durham claimed he knew better than Horowitz about the predication of the Russian investigation. As of now, by the way, Horowitz is on the schedule to be a witness for Michael Sussmann. Ostensibly he’ll just talk about how valuable an anonymous tip that Sussmann once shared on behalf of Rodney Joffe proved to be, but who knows whether he’ll get a question about comments Durham has made about knowing better than Horowitz about things he hadn’t done the work to understand?

This post about Bates stamps won’t be so fun. It fills me with dread.

In this post and these two threads (Thursday nightFriday morning), I tried to summarize the Greek tragedy of Sussmann lawyer Sean Berkowitz’ cross-examination of Jim Baker. The short version of it is that these two men, men who used to be friends, are stuck in some nightmare Hunger Games created by a right wing mob led by Donald Trump. After years of being dragged through the mud because they dared to try to protect the United States from Russia in 2016, the survival of each depends on taking out the other. Jim Baker only avoids prosecution if he adheres obediently to John Durham’s internally contradictory script. Sussmann only gets his life back if he takes Baker out. While just Sussmann’s lawyer, Sean Berkowitz, and Jim Baker appear on this stage, it’s quite clear that Durham and DeFilippis set it.

Berkowitz started by quoting Baker’s explanation, from his earlier testimony, for why he had never searched his own files for texts with Sussmann.

Q. It’s your investigation, you said. I’m just here to answer the questions. Right? It’s Mr. DeFilippis’ investigation. You’re just here to answer the questions. Is what you said?

The context of that statement, from Andrew DeFilippis’ direct questioning of Baker, is crucial to understanding what follows.

The comment was Baker’s explanation to Durham’s lead prosecutor for why he only found a September 18, 2016 text from Michael Sussmann in March of 2022, almost six months after an entire indictment had been built around what Sussmann had said, instead, on September 19. As teed up by DeFilippis, Baker went looking for and found that text because Durham was just trying to comply with Jencks obligations, the requirement that prosecutors provide the prior statements of government witnesses in their possession to defendants.

Q. Are you familiar with the concept of Jencks materials or 3500 materials?

A. Yes.


A. Correct. Yes. It’s an act of Congress that requires that — the reference to 3500 is a section in the U.S. Code.

Q. So did there come a time when you were asked by the Government to give any statements you might have on the subject of your testimony today?

A. Yes.

Q. And just tell us how that happened and then what you did in response.

A. There was a phone call with the Government. I think it was in March of this year. And it was to discuss discovery-related matters in part in the conversation. And I think it was Mr. Durham who asked me, you know: You need — we have an obligation to hand over discovery to the defense in this case. And can you go look for emails and other communications that you might have had with Mr. Sussmann?

And so in response to that, I — after we got off the phone, I immediately went to my phone and started looking through emails and then I looked for texts. And I did a search for texts with Michael’s last name; and texts came up, and I scrolled through them. They took a while to down — it was clear to me at least that they were downloading from the cloud.

And as I scrolled through and got to the beginning of my set of communications with Michael, this is the first one that I had.

Q. Now, had you — have you spoken to and met with the Government in connection with this case previously?

A. Yes.

Q. And had you previously located this text message here?

A. Not to the best of my recollection. No.

Q. What, if anything, was the reason for that?

A. It’s — I was not — I mean, the way I thought about it was that frankly, like, I am not out to get Michael. And this is not my investigation; this is your investigation. And so if you ask me a question, I answer it. If you ask me to look for something, I go look for it. But to the best of my recollection, nobody had asked me to go look for this material before that. [my emphasis]

Nobody had ever asked him to go look for evidence in his own possession related to the defendant against whom he was the key witness before, Baker testified. There’s a lot that’s unsaid — and batshit crazy — about this. One is that Durham only asked for communications directly with Sussmann, at least as Baker described events that happened just a few months ago.

Anyway, that was Durham’s explanation for how this text got shared with the government in March, six months after Durham had charged Sussmann for lying to hide what Durham imagines were Sussmann’s self-interests in a meeting with Baker on September 19, 2016. And by Baker’s telling, this belated request wasn’t just an example of DeFilippis trying to cover up his past incompetence (again). Durham was personally involved in this.

The only Bates stamp on this exhibit looks like this:

As you can see from Sussmann’s challenges to Durham’s exhibits submitted earlier this month, SCO-###### is one of two standard Bates stamps that Durham uses, the other being SC-########. Note both have a dash.

I knew as soon as I read the transcript that DeFilippis’ suggestion that this was about Jencks was intentionally misleading. Almost certainly, Durham found this text because they were still trying to comply with Sussmann’s demands, first made immediately after the indictment and then over and over after that, that prosecutors find  the communications about Sussmann’s role in killing a NYT story that he knew must exist. Besides, Jencks is an obligation to turn over statements about an investigation in the government’s possession. These texts weren’t, until Durham asked for them, in the government’s possession.

I mean, I guess if they were, and Durham had been sitting on them for six months, then Durham has even bigger problems, which I don’t rule out.

That’s the background to the way Sussmann’s lawyer began his cross-examination. After reminding Baker of this statement, Berkowitz then laid out that, while Baker had met over ten times with Durham’s team, he had declined to meet with Sussmann’s team. Berkowitz introduced a letter he had sent Baker’s lawyer on April 20, asking to meet.

That letter had no Bates stamp. Just the Exhibit number submitting it into evidence.

That suggests Durham’s team hadn’t seen this letter yet — though I’m sure nothing about the letter was a surprise to them. Baker has met with Durham’s team at least twice since Berkowitz sent this letter. Berkowitz asked if Baker knew about the letter but Baker dodged, saying only that he had delegated the decision about meeting with Sussmann’s team to his lawyer, Dan Levin.

Then Berkowitz asked whether Baker knew what it was like to be under criminal investigation.

A. Yes.

Q. That’s Mr. Durham?

A. Yes.

They talked for a while about an earlier Durham investigation, one that lasted from 2017 until 2019 (Berkowitz made Baker repeat the dates), into whether information about surveillance that Baker had shared with a journalist had, or had not, been an authorized disclosure. Berkowitz talked about what might have happened had Baker been charged.

Loss of his legal career.

Being prosecuted.

Berkowitz talked about how that investigation basically boiled down to several conflicting versions of a phone call that other witnesses had given Durham. Their word against Baker’s.

Q. So at least one of their recollections was inconsistent with yours. Right?

A. Yes. Yes.

Q. Memories are a difficult thing, aren’t they, sir?

A. That’s a difficult question to answer. That depends.

That’s how Berkowitz prefaced the first of a long list of things Baker had said in Michael Sussmann’s trial that conflicted with things he had said in the past, a list that carried into a second day (actually Baker’s third day on the stand). At this point, Berkowitz mentioned just one of them — Baker’s inconsistent testimony to the Inspector General in July 2019 — then interrupted.

He put up a text to Ben Wittes that Baker sent the day after Durham was appointed in this matter (so weeks before that particular interview with the IG). Wittes and Baker were talking about TV appearances, but Baker seemed preoccupied by the Durham appointment.

MR. BERKOWITZ: The date, Mr. Cleaves.

THE WITNESS: There we go. Okay. Sorry. May 14th, 2019. Thank you.


Q. And you write: “It went well. It was about the Love piece which was good. CNN Tonight was okay but didn’t cover that at all. And now I get to be investigated for another year or two by John Durham. Lovely.” Correct?

A. Right.

Q. So you expected to be investigated further by Mr. Durham. Correct?

A. Yes, I did.

I’ll come back to the metadata on the text in just a bit.

The text makes it clear how, after being investigated by John Durham from 2017 to 2019, upon learning that Durham had just been appointed to investigate other matters implicating Baker, FBI’s former General Counsel immediately realized the investigation would continue for another two years.

Baker was wrong about the timing. Durham’s investigation just celebrated its third birthday.

This text frames all of Baker’s subsequent cooperation in that light — in Baker’s immediate recognition that the hell he had been going through for the previous two years would continue another two. Or three. Or longer.

This is brilliant lawyering on Berkowitz’s part. But remember as you read along that this is really a Hunger Games conflict staged by Trump and Bill Barr to exploit the US Justice system to create a never-ending supply of revenge theater that will incite the base and lead the press to do shitty reporting for easy clicks. This is an act of revenge targeting anyone who has ever dared to question Trump’s corruption. Or even, question the dangers of Russian interference in American democracy.

Back to Berkowitz. After showing Baker the text reflecting his immediate dread about being investigated by Durham for two more years, Berkowitz described how, the day after Durham’s appointment (actually it was about three days after, and so two days after this text), Baker had his lawyer reach out to Durham and offer to cooperate.

The letter is actually kind of funny. It shows Levin emailing and saying, “Jim asked me to reach out and let you know that he is available if you wish to interview him (he just spoke to the IG today).” Durham seems to have forwarded that email from one of his DOJ emails to another. I sort of wonder if there was a BCC, because Durham was in really close contact with Bill Barr’s office in these weeks. Durham then attempted to write back to Levin but at least as it appears (because he forwarded the email to himself rather than simply replying with a CC to his second DOJ account), Durham simply wrote to himself, responding into a void about meeting with “tour client” soon.

The Bates stamp for this exhibit looks like this:

DX-811 is the exhibit number for this trial (DX shows that it is one of Sussmann’s exhibits, as opposed to one of the government’s).

LW-06_0001 may reflect Sussmann’s Latham & Watkins’ lawyers sharing their proposed exhibits with Durham and Judge Cooper before the trial.

SCO-012114 is the regular Bates stamp associated with Durham’s production to Sussmann. It’s part of the same series (though much earlier in) the Bates stamp of the text that Baker turned over to Durham on March 4. SCO dash ######.

And SCO-3500U-4007 seems to be a Bates stamp specifically tied to Jencks discovery, which as noted above is called Rule 3500. That’s a really handy Bates stamp because it may indicate what Durham is treating as Jencks discovery. It appears in other direct statements made by Durham’s witnesses about this investigation. The calendar entry for the September 19, 2016 meeting between Baker and Sussmann, for example, has one of those 3500 stamps.

The text that, DeFilippis suggested, Durham had only asked for out of a diligent desire to comply with Jencks obligations doesn’t have one of these 3500 Bates stamps. Here it is again, SCO dash ######.

Having shown those three documents — Berkowitz’s request for a meeting with Baker, Baker’s text to Wittes dreading two more years of investigation by Durham, and Levin’s letter to Durham immediately after his appointment offering to come in for an interview — Berkowitz then resumed talking about inconsistencies in Baker’s testimony. He alluded, briefly, to a sworn statement Baker made to the grand jury under questioning from DeFilippis about the role that the General Counsel would have in FBI investigations. Then, after going through what Baker’s current testimony is, Berkowitz asked,

Q. The fact that Mr. Sussmann stated specifically in his message that he was acting on his own and not for a client did not factor heavily into your decision to meet with him. Correct?

This statement is inconsistent with the testimony Baker gave on the stand. Baker disavowed it.

A. I disagree with that.

So Berkowitz did what’s known as “refreshing” a witness’ memory, first by reading him what the 302 memorializing an FBI interview said.

Q. All right. Do you remember speaking with these folks in March of this year — by these folks to be, correct for the record, the prosecution team, Mr. DeFilippis?

A. In March of this year, I spoke to them, yes.

Q. Okay. And in March of this year, is it not true that you told them you do not believe that the fact that Sussmann stated specifically in his texts that he was acting on his own and not for a client factored heavily into your decision to meet with Michael Sussmann the very next day. You told them that?

A. Can you repeat the first part of that again? Sorry.

Q. “Baker does not believe that the fact that Sussmann stated specifically in his text message that he was acting on his own and not for a client factored heavily into his decision to meet with Sussmann the very next day”?

Baker, perhaps realizing that this interview from a few months ago conflicts with the testimony he has just given, had forgotten the question.

A. So, I’m sorry. What’s your question?

Q. You told them that on March 4th of 2022.

Baker didn’t recall giving that conflicting testimony.

A. Sitting here today, I don’t recall telling them that.

Berkowitz offered to show him the proof: a 302 interview report that, unlike the meeting between Baker and Sussmann on September 19, 2016, actually documents what was said.

Q. Refresh your recollection to see the 302 of your meeting, sir?

A. Sure. I haven’t seen that 302 before.

This is an opportunity for Berkowitz to explain, as he did when he used one to refresh Scott Hellman’s memory earlier in the week, what a 302 is and how FBI always creates 302s for fact witnesses.

Q. All right. And to orient the jury is when an agent is present and take notes. Correct?

A. It’s a report of an interview.

Q. And when a witness is interviewed by the FBI, an agent is there to take notes, if it’s a fact witness, and put it into a report. Correct?

A. Correct.

Q. You didn’t do that with Mr. Sussmann. Right?

A. Correct.

Berkowitz asked Baker if he remembered making the statement on March 4. DeFilippis’ single witness to Sussmann’s alleged crime professed, for the second time in short order, not to remember something that happened just a few months ago.

Q. Does it refresh your recollection that, on March 4th of 2022, you told the FBI and Mr. DeFilippis that you didn’t believe the fact that Mr. Sussmann stated specifically in his text he was acting on his own and not for a client factored heavily into your decision to meet with Mr. Sussmann the next day?

A. I don’t recall making that statement sitting here today.

Q. And it’s your testimony

MR. BERKOWITZ: You can take that down.

BY MR. BERKOWITZ: Q. It’s your testimony that that’s not accurate. Correct?

A. It’s my testimony today that, as I think about it today, that that’s not accurate.

More than just forgetting what he said a few months ago, Baker is showing the jury how, if his current belief conflicts with a past one shared under threat of false statements charges, he’ll simply say his past truth is not the truth. Not accurate.

Then Baker thinks of something: the significance of the date.

A. Can I ask you a question? When was that 302? What was the date? What meeting or what interview was that pertaining to?

Q. There’s a lot of different meetings and interviews here. This one was a couple of months ago on March 4th of 2022 —

A. Okay.

Q. — in connection with your trial preparation for today.

A. That was the date that I found the text, yes.

Q. Okay. Did that change your recollections at all or —

Baker explains that discovering a text in which Sussmann had stated that he wasn’t asking for the September 19, 2016 meeting “on behalf of any client,” but wanted to help the FBI had upset him, suggesting that might explain why he gave testimony a few months ago that substantially differs from the testimony he gave on the stand.

A. Well it’s just it was a very — it was a very difficult day for me and it was a bit upsetting.

As a reminder, this day was not just a stressful one for Baker. While I can’t think of an evidentiary basis by which Sussmann could share this with the jury, after Baker found a text that greatly complicated Durham’s prosecution, Durham accused Sussmann of hiding evidence, a stance he was forced to drop after Sussmann obtained a subpoena on his own to disprove that accusation.

Anyway, after noting that Baker met with Durham in spite of the stress of having found the text, Berkowitz asked Baker, for the first time in this Hunger Games conflict, whether he was aware that it was a crime to lie to the FBI.

A. I know very well it’s a crime to make a false statement to the FBI if that’s what you are getting at. Whether they say it or not, I know it.

At that point, Berkowitz pulled out a white board and starting writing down the things that Baker was committing to believing were the truth. He started with “the elephant in the room,” the memory that, if the jury finds it shaky, will sink this entire prosecution.

Q. Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Sitting here today, what is your testimony about what Mr. Sussmann told you relative to clients?

A. At the meeting in person on the 19th of September?

Q. Yes.

A. Okay. My testimony is that he said that he was not there on behalf of any particular client or words to that effect.

Q. Oh, now it’s “words to that effect.” Okay.

DeFilippis objected.

He didn’t want Berkowitz to write this down, I’m sure, because any juror taking notes is going to write down exactly what Berkowitz writes down, thereby solidifying the points in their memory. That’s how my memory works anyway: If I write it down, I’m far more likely to remember it. People think I have a really good memory, but in actuality, I just write a lot more than most people.

DiFilippis probably also didn’t want Berkowitz to write this down because it’ll isolate the key claims that Baker has made, thereby making it easier for jurors to compare his currently operative statements with what he had said in the past. DeFilippis wanted just the court reporter to write this down, in a transcript that won’t ever be shared with the jury.

MR. DeFILIPPIS: Objection, Your Honor, we do have a court reporter.

THE COURT: Overruled.

Berkowitz walked Baker through his currently operative story for the following:

  • What Sussmann said on September 19 about having a client
  • Whether Baker knew Sussmann worked for Hillary that day
  • How long the meeting was
  • What Sussmann said about a news organization ready to publish a story
  • Whether he identified any particular cyber experts
  • Whether those experts — Steve Bellovin, Matt Blaze, and Susan Landau — had vouched for the data
  • Whether Baker or Sussmann had taken notes
  • Whether he had refused to share Sussmann’s name when Scott Hellman and an FBI administrative person  named Jordan Kelly had come to obtain the materials, as Scott Hellman testified earlier in the week

That’s when they break for lunch. After lunch they go over Baker’s meeting with Bill Prietsap, his calls to get Eric Lichtblau’s name later in the week, and his foggy memory about the details from the the March 6, 2017 when the Alfa Bank allegation comes back up. I’m not sure whether this got written onto a white board or not (it sounds like Berkowitz had filled the white board before lunch).

Berkowitz then returned to the many times Baker had given conflicting testimony under oath, starting with his testimony before Congress.

Q. And when you gave voluntary information to Congress, you understood that you were under oath?

A. I don’t think I was under oath, but I understood that it’s a crime to make false statements to Congress.

Q. So you tried to be as careful as you could. Correct?

A. I tried to be as careful as I could in that environment, yes, sir.

Q. You tried to be as truthful as you could?

A. (No response)

Q. Tried to be as truthful as you could?

A. Yes, sir.

Berkowitz then went through and laid out how his prior testimony conflicts with what he’s just laid out on the whiteboard and after lunch.

Again, great lawyering, but the reason this is so dreadful is because this is precisely the kind of Hunger Games conflict that Reality TV show star Donald Trump uses to accrue power.

Berkowitz reminded Baker that his two appearances before Congress in October 2018 could be subject to false statement prosecution, his 2019 interview with the Inspector General (which Baker calls “the I.G. thing”), the two meetings with Durham at which Sussmann was raised in June 2020 (at such time as Trump and Barr were pressuring Durham for pre-election results). All potentially subject to prosecution as false statements or perjury.

Berkowitz ended the day by asking about threats, returning again to the possibility that any single one of these inconsistent statements — the most recent of which discussed thus far was on March 4, 2022, the statute of limitation for which would not expire until 2027 — could be charged as a false statement.

Q. Did they threaten you, sir, with anything — based on the fact that you had previously told folks under oath or subject to perjury — that you had said inconsistent things?

A. Mr. Durham and his team have never threatened me in any way.

Q. But you understood, sir, did you not, as a lawyer, that if you had said something that someone determined was false, under oath, or subject to perjury, you could be prosecuted. Correct?

I suspect that, by the end of the week, Berkowitz will argue that several of Durham’s witnesses have made more easily provable false statements — and more material — to the Special Counsel and others than Sussmann, but Durham is not choosing to prosecute the ones who tell the story he wants told, the story he chooses to refresh. Remember, there are at least three documents already introduced that Durham chose not to use to refresh Baker’s memory to something different than he delivered on the stand last week.

Which brings me back to DeFilippis’ excuse for finding a text that Sussmann was asking for but which Durham had never bothered to look for, and the inconsistent statement — that Sussmann’s notice that he was not there on behalf of any client had a big role in him taking the meeting — and Baker’s attribution of his now-inconsistent answer to stress.

Durham discovered on March 4 that Baker had relevant texts he never bothered to ask for in 16 months of investigation before he charged Sussmann. DeFilippis introduced that text by claiming prosecutors had discovered it by asking — John Durham asked himself, according to Baker — for Jencks material.

That text has no Bates stamp reflecting that it is Jencks material.

There’s something else about that text. It looks nothing like the text that Berkowitz entered describing Baker’s dread as he realized Durham was going to be investigating for two more years. Here’s the text Baker turned over in March, in response to Durham’s request for any communications involving Sussmann, but only communications involving Sussmann.

Here’s the text to Wittes expressing certainty that Durham would investigate him for two more years.

These are both iMessage texts! They look entirely different, though, because one is a screen cap turned over by Baker, and the other was obtained via legal process served on Apple (which is where all the extra metadata comes from).

More interesting still, however, is the Bates stamp on the set of texts involving Wittes. The Bates stamp on that text looks like this:

There’s the red stamp that, I’m guessing, is the stamp associated with a pre-trial proposed exhibit.

There’s the trial exhibit stamp, DX-810.

And then there’s a Bates stamp that does not match any Durham Bates stamp I’ve seen. SCO_######. Underscore, not dash.

Although this is a statement by a witness — the key witness!! — about this very investigation, there’s no Jencks stamp.

Mind you, the government only has to turn over statements about an investigation under Jencks if it is in their possession. So maybe this was never in their possession? If it was, it’d be a Jencks violation and Sussmann could ask to have the entirety of Baker’s testimony thrown out. All of it.

I have no idea where this text string comes from. Perhaps it came from an FBI Inspection Division investigation of all these same people; such material was among the stuff that Durham was permitted to turn over late. Perhaps, as Latham & Watkins did when Durham accused Sussmann of hiding this text, they got a subpoena and obtained it themselves. But it appears, at least, that it didn’t come from Durham.

If that’s right — if, even after discovering that Baker had texts that were absolutely critical to this investigation that he had never turned over, Durham didn’t choose to obtain these texts directly from Apple themselves, or at the very least ask Baker to turn over all texts pertinent to his investigation — there are several implications. First, it’s proof that Durham never ever subjected Baker, the guy who offered to cooperate on day three, to investigative scrutiny for his role in the events from September 19, 2016 that Durham has chosen to criminalize. Nor has Durham tested what might be behind any of Baker’s subsequent inconsistent statements. And when Durham discovered that Baker had had texts that were critical to his investigation almost three years into the investigation, his first response was to attempt to blame Sussmann. When that didn’t work, it appears, Durham didn’t put his prosecution at risk to see what other texts, texts that might be critical to Durham’s investigation but which didn’t involve communications between him and Sussmann, might be in Baker’s iCloud account.

This is brilliant lawyering. But it’s all just a part of Donald Trump’s Hunger Games, revenge theater targeting the people who questioned his complicit ties with Russia. And the wrong people are going to get hurt.

Other Sussmann trial coverage

Scene-Setter for the Sussmann Trial, Part One: The Elements of the Offense

Scene-Setter for the Sussmann Trial, Part Two: The Witnesses

The Founding Fantasy of Durham’s Prosecution of Michael Sussmann: Hillary’s Successful October Surprise

With a Much-Anticipated Fusion GPS Witness, Andrew DeFilippis Bangs the Table

John Durham’s Lies with Metadata

emptywheel’s Continuing Obsession with Sticky Notes, Michael Sussmann Trial Edition

Brittain Shaw’s Privileged Attempt to Misrepresent Eric Lichtblau’s Privilege

The Methodology of Andrew DeFilippis’ Elaborate Plot to Break Judge Cooper’s Rules

Jim Baker’s Tweet and the Recidivist Foreign Influence Cheater

That Clinton Tweet Could Lead To a Mistrial (or Reversal on Appeal)

John Durham Is Prosecuting Michael Sussmann for Sharing a Tip on Now-Sanctioned Alfa Bank

111 replies
  1. Jim Grant says:

    Dr. Wheeler, thanks for your post, you stated “(Trump’s) complicit ties with Russia” would you care to enlighten us? I seem to recall Trump was harder on Russia than his predecessor.

    • Rayne says:

      Trump, harder on Putin. What utter poppycock. I’m sure the translator’s notes from Helsinki tell us just how hard he was…oh wait, Trump deep sixed the notes.
      Trump and Putin at Helsinki summit where Trump looked like Putin's whipping boy.

      This is your fourth comment under this username and each one so far has been nothing but ass kissery for Trump and Putin, and in one of the four racist as well. Get the fuck out. Seriously.

  2. Fraud Guy says:

    At what point to prosecutors realize that Bates stamps are metadata on their investigations and start manipulating them for their benefit?

    • Troutwaxer says:

      Durham hasn’t the wit.

      I should note, BTW, that I’m not sure the underline in the one Bates stamp means anything; I frequently make typos which substitute underlines for hyphens, and I suspect this is a very common error.

      • David B Pittard says:

        Adobe Acrobat provides serial Bates stamps, so it is hard to understand how an underscore would appear as a typo on a single document; even hand-stamping with a stamp that automatically advances by one digit each time it is used does not require typing after the initial number is set.

        • Beth from Santa Monica says:

          Agreed. Bates stamping is automatic, not manual. Unless you’re fixing an error. If there is another document in Dunham’s production(s) with the SCO-094531 Bates number, that would be a) interesting to know and b) telling.

  3. Troutwaxer says:

    “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!”

  4. dadidoc1 says:

    The last paragraph is so true, but it left me feeling nauseated and a feeling of impending doom: “This is brilliant lawyering. But it’s all just a part of Donald Trump’s Hunger Games, revenge theater targeting the people who questioned his complicit ties with Russia. And the wrong people are going to get hurt.”

    • Scott Johnson says:

      Brilliant lawyering?

      It’s the sort of blatant misconduct that should get a lawyer disbarred, and with any luck in a few weeks, Durham fired by Garland and this farce put to bed. The right-wing will howl like banshees, but so what? Fuck them, they will howl anyways.

      And while this has elements of a Greek tragedy, were we to compare this to _The Hunger Games_, it would be like Seneca Crane getting tossed into an arena of his own creation to face off with Katniss Everdeen.

      • bmaz says:

        Uh, brilliant lawyering by Berkowitz. And, no, for the umpteenth time, Durham will not be disbarred ever, likely not even sanctioned. DOJ attys are treated different than regular attys. People need to get a grip.

        • Scott Johnson says:

          Ah, gotcha. And yes, I agree that other than possibly being sacked by the AG, no professional consequences will come to Durham.

          (Which brings us back to an interesting argument: The GOP plays dirty, and makes no bones about it. To what extent should Democrats respond in kind? Firing Durham and putting a stop to this charade, at least for now, would be entirely justified, but there would be much blowback were that step to be taken).

        • bmaz says:

          A step Trump or any other GOP President would have taken in a heartbeat. It is in their DNA, but not that of the Dems.

        • Scott Johnson says:

          Should it be? Or do structural factors (i.e. a viciously right-wing media ecosystem that sweeps GOP wrongdoing under the rug, but would barbecue Biden like a brisket if he were found to have a library fine) basically ensure that only one side is allowed to play rough?

          Keep in mind: the genesis of a LOT of this is the fact that Bill Clinton chatted with Loretta Lynch on an airport tarmac, a minor breach of protocol that was widely portrayed as the worst government abuse ever (except for any other time a Democrat attempted to govern).

          The double standards are appalling… but only if you view equality as a fundamental value. If your political worldview is based on a caste system, and the folks on the bottom have no rights that the folks on top (“Real Americans”) are bound to respect, than double standards cease to be a concern. Any tactic is justified in keeping the riffraff down, whoever they may be.

        • timbo says:

          Or is it just an attempt to equivocate away the fact that Iran-Contra arms for hostages plus graft and violations of any number of international treaties, etc was a bigger deal than Bill Clinton having an actual romantic affair?

  5. Garrett says:

    This is a superb post, very effectively laying out what is going on in this trial. Thanks.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      And it’s a riveting read, too. I felt like I had gotten to the climactic courtroom scene in a (highly) legal thriller, with Dr. Wheeler setting the hook by embedding the Shakespearean anguish of the two main characters, once friends, forced to stab each other in the back.

      Do you have a book contract? More to the point, I pray no one else does. This field needs to stay clear for the champion.

  6. jhinx says:

    I wonder if Baker’s memory is really that muddled, or if he’s impeaching himself (if that’s the right term) purposely, taking one for the team to trash the prosecution. If he’s retiring, maybe he doesn’t care if his profession is deep sixed if he can save Sussman and stick it to Durham simultaneously.

    On the other hand, I see that penalties for perjury can be pretty stiff. Is Baker rolling the dice?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think he’s over a barrel, trying to satisfy too many conflicting purposes. I sense depression and panic, prefacing professional self-immolation.

      His behavior fits neatly into EW’s analogy with the Hunger Games, in which the fates of the contestants are irrelevant to the powers that be. Their purpose is not to win – the game is rigged and there’s little chance of that – but to play their part in maintaining a corrupt order.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        He’s not old. If he’s tired, it’s likely because of his long relationship at the short end of Durham’s stick. It’s not over, but his career as a lawyer might be. He’s trying to jump through hoops that would trip up anyone.

        • Scott Johnson says:

          He’s also nowadays the Deputy General Counsel for Twitter. I imagine that Elmo is keeping him rather busy at his day job (and should Musk’s takeover bid be successful, how long would Baker last there?)

  7. MB says:

    The following headline and paragraph appeared in the Democracy Now Headlines section for this morning’s show. Any comments on this take?

    Hillary Clinton Approved Plan of Spreading Allegations Linking Trump to Russian Bank in 2016
    MAY 23, 2022

    Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager has admitted Clinton personally approved a plan in 2017 to share with the media a since-debunked allegation that Donald Trump’s campaign was covertly communicating with a server at Alfa Bank in Russia. The revelation came during the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman, who is accused of misleading the FBI during its Trump-Russia probe. The allegations about Trump and Alfa Bank first appeared in days before the 2016 election.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Misses forest for trees. The headline screams obsession and confirmation bias, takes the purposes of Durham’s prosecution at face value, and ignores the glaring weaknesses in his evidence. Next thing you know, Democracy Now will call Julian Assange a journalist.

    • Rayne says:

      Next time you cite something like this bring a link to the article; there’s no good reason not to provide a link. We have ample trolls dropping unsubstantiated crap. Regular community members know better.

      Go back and read that 77-word piece at Democracy Now and then compare it to this one at Politico:

      I think you can figure it out on your own.

    • Jim Roy says:

      I believe DN *has* called Assange a journalist. When he has been one.

      And the headline is accurate, right? Clinton *did* approve of sharing the story with the media. Why *wouldn’t* she?

      Otherwise though, I agree. Not DN’s finest moment. Accurate, in this instance, is not enough.

      • bmaz says:

        I am not sure Assange ever really was a journalist. He was just a cult figure and grifter.

        • Scott Johnson says:

          “Send me all your dirty laundry, and I’ll publish it anonymously and beyond the reach of law enforcement”, isn’t exactly journalism.

      • Phil A says:

        I believe that some reporter changed “Hillary approved of the story having been shared” to “Hillary approved the the story being shared”. And, of course the MSM went with that interpretation because that is what they have been doing to her and Bill for 40 years.

        • Greg Hunter says:

          I voted for Hillary in 2016 but I will say if you look back through history, her running for NY Senate in 2000 cost Gore the Presidency and gave Donald Trump ideas.

        • Greg Hunter says:

          All the other conspiracies concerning Clinton were nutty, but they knew the electorate very well. They were playing chess with the voters in 2000 and in parsing the Spanish Electorate they were ahead of their time.

          The taking of Elian Gonzalez by Janet Reno on April 22, 2000 using 150 INS agents going guns up and then sending him back to Cuba on April 25th enraged the Cubans in Florida to the point of rioting, while delighting the Puerto Rican diaspora in NY.

          The Clintons were under water with the Puerto Ricans and Rudy had not dropped out yet.

          I have obsessed over Elian and the Clinton DOJ response ever since he washed ashore as I happened to be in South Florida during his removal and in Tallahassee when the chads arrived. I took all that information in, but when Leon Neyfakh’s Fiasco podcast re-lit the flame as he dedicated his first episode of Bush v Gore to Elian.

          I have written a little referenced paper on the subject and you can belittle my analysis, but no one has explained Elian or why Hillary chose to run for such an important seat when it was critical, as we know now, that Gore win the Presidency.

          Why did Janet Reno persist when she did not have too?

        • harpie says:

          “All the other conspiracies concerning Clinton were nutty, but” THIS one is NOT!!:

          Hillary “running for NY Senate in 2000 cost Gore the Presidency”!!

          So, in you’re telling, Hillary forced BILL Clinton’s DOJ to do that.
          Then, Hillary forced all those Floridians to obsess about it.
          Also, Hillary forced RWNJ media to HYPE the story.
          AND, Hillary forced GORE to concede the election, after
          Hillary forced five SCOTUS justices to rule in favor of BUSH.
          [So, then in you’re telling, it seems Hillary is also responsble for all of BUSH-and-the-CHENEYGang’s crimes, AND U.S. failure to confront climate change.]
          ALSO, Hillary forced TRUMP to run for president.
          [So, Hillary ALSO caused the TRUMP-FIASCO presidency.]

          Hillary is a very powerful person in your imagination.

        • harpie says:

          Just had my first sip of coffee, and am here to say that there are NO apostrophes in YOUR!!!

        • Rayne says:

          Girlfriend has a massive magic wand, you know. Big enough to make us believe she was successful in 2016, too. *eye roll*

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Too bad old Hillary had to lose that safe NY senate seat in 2000–if she hadn’t been on the ballot, Gore might’ve won NY State. And then she had to go and beat Obama in 2008, thus denying our country its rightful glorious place in history.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Durham couldn’t be bothered to vet the one thing his prosecution rests on: the credibility and consistency of his key witness. Unsurprisingly, the inconsistencies in Baker’s statements should create reasonable doubt sufficient to sink a battleship – or any prosecution. They need to be explained. Lying under threat of prosecution for perjury or false statements seems more credible an explanation than a bad memory.

    As with Trump’s campaign to force Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens, Durham doesn’t seem to care whether there is any substance to his charges. He calls it a success if he destroys someone Trump despises, here, a senior DC lawyer – or two – and the networks they participate in, which make DC work. Hunger Games, indeed.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Well, I think the Jencks issue needs to be part of the motion to dismiss with prejudice that’s coming. It will get the discrepancy on record and will force DeFilippis to answer on the record. Even the underscore is an indication of prosecutorial sloppiness worth getting into the trial record for appeals as necessary.

      • bmaz says:

        Dismissal unlikely, the far more common remedy for a Jencks violation is striking the testimony of the witness involved, which would be Baker. That is unlikely too, but possible.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Remind me to hire you if I need to appeal a conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel. If I make do with a court-appointed appellate counsel – one the state chose by waiving its own requirement that that counsel be qualified to take the appeal – I’d be fucked. Would it be rude to add four seats to the Supremes?

        • P J Evans says:

          They’ve clearly decide that courts don’t have any reason to right obvious wrongs. (This and the guy who will get deported because the government wouldn’t fix its own error.)

        • bmaz says:

          I am depressed by the decision, but it was clearly the eventual result after the AEDPA. Championed by none other than Bill Clinton by the way. The “Great Writ” is no longer that great, especially in the most critical death cases.

  9. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    I confess that for a long time I didn’t really get why EmptyWheel produced umpteen articles on a petty trial by petty prosecutors over a trivial statement that appeared to have miniscule impact in a dangerous world.

    Now I get it.

    This is your finest and most important article on the persecution of a patriot, which has evolved into a microcosm of the right-wing corruption of the DoJ, reflecting the broader corruption of government and society. Thank you so much for your enlightening work.

    • emptywheel says:

      Thank you. That makes my day.

      It has been a pretty tough slog in recent months and I get that a lot of commentators here didn’t get why I felt I had to do it. This is why. This is such a corrupt endeavor and just NYT and Politico have ever scratched on any of this (and they’re largely limited by genre).

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        You are writing the first draft of history, Dr. W. Not a “rough draft,” but the first comprehensive story of what is actually happening and why it matters. I already mentioned above that your posts feel like chapters of a thriller (that’s a compliment, just so it’s clear).

        I’d also like to thank you for making Jencks much clearer. I spent yesterday reading the brilliant habeas petition on behalf of Vincent Simmons by Justin Bosun; that case implicated Jencks as well as Brady errors, which Bosun explains well. You helped me understand the Jencks aspect much better.

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      Details matter. They matter immensely. The whole point of “flood the zone” campaigns is to bury the important details under a mound of trivia. It is a simple matter to amplify these trivial details such that even reasonably attentive people don’t have the time to excavate the real story from the noise. Even journalists with the backing of big media companies aren’t able to figure out what matters most. Emptywheel just does this better than anyone.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Re sifting through mounds of bs: another depressing aspect in this depressing narrative is the immense work required to uncover and explain a single grain of sand in a desert of society- and institution-destroying sandstorms. It’s not difficult to imagine ways in which Marcy could be spending her time making contributions that bring a positive benefit to society rather than just trying to almost break even. Hunger Games is a brilliant analogy.

    • tmsquared says:

      Longtime lurker here, agreeing with Cosmo the Cat. I haven’t commented because I’m afraid of Bmaz. :) But this is superb expert analysis. I frequently recommend EW when I’m at other places on the internet that are doing an inferior job of reporting on and analyzing topics she’s addressing.

      • bmaz says:

        Nobody need fear me unless they are a disingenuous interloper. Even then, they usually get enough rope.

      • timbo says:

        Avoid long meandering paragraphs that reintroduce points that have already been debunked and you should be fine? (Now where did I put my manifesto du jour…?)

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I also recommend the site frequently. This is THE BEST coverage of the legal and moral issues of being “Trump’s America.”

      • emptywheel says:


        bmaz really just tries to police the serial stupidity. This comment section has been going on, effectively, for 18 years, so we’re a bit protective of our living room.

        • Ez Zor says:

          Also longtime lurker here and very grateful for this coverage. I have been wondering if Sussman’s team uses your work as a resource. You are doing a lot of heavy lifting here. If I were an associate on the team I’d be here every day.

  10. Peterr says:

    “Durham seems to have forwarded that email from one of his DOJ emails to another. I sort of wonder if there was a BCC, because Durham was in really close contact with Bill Barr’s office in these weeks.”

    Either that, or he then used the second email address to forward it separately to Barr and/or others with additional commentary.

    It would be very interesting to have Sussmann’s team subpoena the DOJ to produce the original email, with any BCC addresses included.

    • emptywheel says:

      There’s a non-zero chance American Oversight already would have it. They FOIAed this heavily.

  11. Bay State Librul says:

    Cosmo Kramer is correct.
    Now, if the jury convicts Sussman, can we say with finality that “our legal system” is bankrupt?
    Maybe not.
    Perhaps the law is more Zenish, where the right wingers hover like buzzards around the corpse of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Remember Benghazi.
    Sweet rice cakes! I hope not.

    • bmaz says:

      No, one dumbass case does not mean squat as to “the legal system”. Seriously this bullshit is infuriating. The cases that people who spew this crap comprise literally .0001 percent of cases, and are pretty much all federal cases, which comprise, at best, approximately 5% of all cases. Please stop with this intellectual horse manure.

  12. Phil A says:

    Wait one minute….

    “at such time as Trump and Barr were pressuring Durham for pre-election results”

    Do you have proof of this? Wouldn’t this kind of interference by the POTUS be the death of any prosecution?

    IANAL, but it seems like it to me.

  13. Pam L says:

    FUD = Fear + Uncertainty + Doubt
    That’s an acronym I first learned in 1979. It was used to generally convey what competitors might say to the customers of the company I worked for in an effort to take business away from us. But oh my, the FUD we had to deal with then was nothing compared to what Durham is dishing out.

    I do appreciate all of your detail, Marcy, even when it’s challenging for me to follow. At a higher level, though, it seems to me that both Baker and Sussmann are victims of poor prosecutorial decisions. I get that Baker is trying to save himself, but really, is he guilty of anything more than a bad memory?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, Mr. Baker seems to be at risk for more than a “bad memory.” He is a graduate of Notre Dame and Michigan law school, and has taught national security law at Harvard LS for over a decade. He is a staunch conservative, who has held and holds senior positions in and out of government.

      The odds that his memory is bad about events of direct interest to the former president, Jim Comey, John Durham, and his once friend, Michael Sussman, are low. More probable reasons include his fear of future prosecutions for perjury or false statements by Durham.

      Michael Sussman is the victim of what you describe as “poor prosecutorial decisions,” but which I would describe as Durham’s Trumpist crusade.

  14. Higgs Boson says:

    Sorry to wonder about something probably trivial, but in (I think) paragraph 21 Mr. Berkowitz says:

    “MR. BERKOWITZ: The date, Mr. Cleaves.”

    Who is Mr Cleaves?

  15. Anathema Device says:

    My thoughts, for what they are worth (which ain’t much):

    1. Dr Wheeler, do you have an extra room in your home just to store your enormous brain? Because you surely need one :)

    2. If I’m ever charged with anything anywhere, I would want Attorney Berkowitz on my side. This is thrilling stuff, seeing it all laid out.

    3. Conviction or acquittal, Durham (or rather, his master) has already won, much as Johnny Depp has already succeeded in destroyed the woman who dared to oppose him. And not for nothing, exactly the same people are pushing the OMGHILLARYCONSPIRACY! drivel, as are pushing the OMGAMBERISTHEREALABUSER! line. (The fact the latter is aimed at young people, especially young women, who have the most to lose from a second Trump term is not a coincidence. One conspiracy is a gateway to all the others, including the Big Lie.)

    They don’t want people looking at facts or nuance or the context of the investigations and accusations. They just want to show that the law and the legal process is broken so that whatever happens to their darlings must be the victim of a vast injustice, not the consequences of their own actions.

    Here in Australia, we just managed to squeak out a win over the Murdoch press by electing a government it very much did not want us to have. With luck, we might be able to put guardrails in to stop the interference being so horrible next time. But in American, the press and media are in a complete mess, the public sphere utterly flooded with garbage, and dreadfully compromised by foreign money and actors. Every level of government is corrupted by and complicit in it. I really fear it’s too late for truth to flourish again there.

    But if it does, it will be thanks to the efforts of people like our gracious host here. Off to Paypal now to drop a few pennies to help the efforts.

  16. elcajon64 says:

    I spent my sixteenth summer operating a bates stamp at my grandfather’s firm. Eight hours a day, five days a week just numbering documents for a single case. All summer. Bates stamps – dread indeed.

  17. Doctor My Eyes says:

    First, a note of appreciation to Dr. Wheeler. A few recent posts since this trial began have been more thoroughly explained than is often the case. I expect it must be tedious to have to explain so carefully things which you understand so well and that are obvious to you. I take this as part of the dread of going through the Bates stamps. Please know that, because of your efforts in this regard, I understood this and the previous posts completely, a rare thing for me on this website. It is good work that you do.

    And one note about the Hunger Games narrative: I have mentioned before that I believe the biggest problem in the US today is corruption–it’s the problem that prevents us from tackling other problems effectively. In a corrupt society, acting with integrity is dangerous.

    Finally, I would attribute the Hunger Games scenario more to Putin than to Trump. In my view what we are seeing is Russia’s utter commitment to preventing US citizens from understanding that the forces that are tearing our society apart originate from Russia, thus preventing effective defense.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Oh, I think there are many active participants in that game. Prominent billionaires, their “think” tank and communications empires, and nearly the entire Republican Party come to mind.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        All excellent candidates. It’s difficult these days to know where one group ends and the other begins. I certainly didn’t have the NRA in bed with Russia on my bingo card. But I do think that too often we make it about Trump Trump Trump when he’s just the visible face of much more clever and dangerous forces. Defense would be a lot more effective if we could name the enemy more clearly. Imho, hating on Trump is largely a waste of time. If Trump died tomorrow, none of these problems would be solved.

    • Glen Dudek says:

      I think that these forces are mostly home-grown (or in the case of Murdoch, naturalized), but abetted and amplified by Russia in their desire to tear down the U.S.

      • Rayne says:

        Bingo. Racism is the country’s original sin; knowing how divided we are about race makes it easy to use this as a lever on our society to destabilize it. Funding development of white nationalism and toxic evangelical Christianism both pries on the lever and supports their own Russian Orthodox Duginism. The Ferguson unrest in 2014 not only offered a topical entry point to begin fomenting racial tensions in the US but it skewed attention away from Russia’s attack on Donetsk in eastern Ukraine and the shooting of MH-17.

        Ditto misogyny with Gamergate, the MeToo movement and beyond. You can bet the brouhaha we’re seeing about reproductive rights AND the Depp-Heard trial have been encouraged by the same elements which worked on BLM and white nationalism.

        I mean, that right-wing chum bucket Candace Owens threw in for Russia against Ukraine, and now she’s ginning up hate against Amber Heard via YouTube? What are the chances these things are related?

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Up until very recently, I always argued that individuals in the US are not that racist. I used to think racism is primarily a cover manipulated for the sake of economic exploitation and militarism (the three evils Dr. King taught us are inextricably connected). I thought that what we see nationally is the result of a lot of effort by powerful and wealthy people to fan the flames of what racism they can stir up, but when it comes down to personally on an individual level, for most of the people falling for all the rw bunk, it’s not really the central motivating issue that it can appear to be. Heartbreakingly, I have finally had to let go of this in the face of relentless evidence that, yes, there are many actual racists who actually hate people who don’t look like them and for whom racism is a central organizing principle. To me, this is so very sad to have to accept.

          And I believe Russia’s highly effective exploitation of US racism has been going on for two or three decades.

        • Rayne says:

          The loss of the draft did a lot to provide room for racism. When average Americans weren’t obligated to work toward a common effort — though racism did and does exist in the military — it was easy for average Americans to see their fellow citizens as “others.” The loss of the draft also left young men who haven’t fully matured to the whims of the economy rather than reaching maturation in a structured environment. It was easy to take advantage of this restless unmoored energy especially once manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas and the internet made reaching individuals a snap.

          I’ve found myself wondering frequently what former KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov would say if he could see the US today, demoralized and becoming increasingly destabilized (though I don’t agree with his conservative opinion of socially liberal society).

        • CroFandango says:

          “The loss of the draft also left young men who haven’t fully matured to the whims of the economy rather than reaching maturation in a structured environment. ”

          Uhm, that whole “reaching maturation in a structured enviroment” thing is really only a benefit for a very few, a horror for many.

        • Rayne says:

          For those who didn’t graduate from high school, for some who didn’t have help with ADD/ADHD or other learning disabilities, entering military service was helpful. It wasn’t meant to be a solution to these challenges but now we have dick-all to help them.

          It’d be nice if we had a non-militarized alternative, like the Civilian Conservation Corp into which young people could go if they weren’t ready to enter corporate workforce. We could certainly use one to work on mitigating climate change while providing structure toward a common goal.

        • CroFandango says:

          I quite agree with your points as elaborated. I would add that it is growing up with structure that develops the skills that allow folks to be able to do well when on their own.

        • Rayne says:

          But we have to be honest and realistic about American life and the damage precarity has forced on families because corporations have been allowed to starve wage earners and government services they need to augment their crappy wages.

          This country is forcing girls and young women to have babies they’re not prepared to have, not educated to prevent, criminalizing their failures, refusing to provide daycare and pre-K education for their children after they’re born, and yet we’re going to expect their children to grow up in a structured environment?

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          One of the legacies of neoliberalism; we’re a collection of individuals, not a society of cooperating people.
          Not that that’s a surprise to anyone here (I hope).

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          I’ve long thought we should have a mandatory 1 year of national service post-HS. Nobody is put at a disadvantage (career-wise) if everyone must serve. CCC 2.0, caregiving, military, whatever. Local governments have an essentially infinite backlog of work that needs to be done, and we should give them the dollars to do it.

          With the impending permanent destruction of jobs we’re going to end up with something like this, except it’ll be voluntary (Choice! Freedom!!) and will be portrayed as welfare rather than of intrinsic worth.

  18. Ddub says:

    This will be just the beginning of victims if these rancid 21st century Torquemadas get going.
    Tide is turning slowly against these corrupt zealots, thanks to sites like this so I ponied up today, Great work!

  19. Zinsky says:

    Brilliant lawyering by Mr. Berkowitz and brilliant legal analysis and investigatory oversight by Ms. Wheeler! After this post, I am feeling more confident about a just outcome for this case, which I hope includes a penalty or ethics charge for the prosecutorial misconduct committed by Mssrs. Durham and DeFilippis.

  20. Tullalove says:

    So out of my league, here, but donating now b/c EW has the best granular coverage about this trial (and other legal trials/moves) that are covered only superficially, and mostly inaccurately, by other outlets.
    Trying to keep up, and ignore if this question is premature or wrong-headed: it’s clear this trial is an (ugly) exercise for Durham to keep his mandates alive as SC. When, if ever, will that exercise be stopped? Clearly, if Sussman is found guilty, the train keeps rolling. But if not?

  21. Maureen A Donnelly says:

    Thanks again and again and again. Writing by hand is the original form of “active learning” in my own experience. These dives into the Durham debacle are riveting. Your keen attention to the details helps wade through the BS. Hunger Games indeed.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Henry Kissinger is worried about the destabilizing effects on Europe if Russia were NOT to succeed in its aggressive war on Ukraine. He cautions the West not to inflict a “crushing defeat” on Russia, but, instead, to allow Ukraine to give Russia some or all of the territory it started a war over. The self-described master of the Great Power game is letting his Germanic slip show.

    His suggestions for how to “preserve stability” are not widely shared. For starters, ejecting Russia from Ukraine, even imposing substantial reparations on it (a big ask), would not be a “crushing defeat.” It would be an application of the Pottery Barn rule: you break, you pay for it. Invading Russia and occupying Moscow, now that would be a crushing defeat.

    The former long-time Harvard professor and presidential adviser turns 99 this week. So one might think he deserves a break, if his thinking has become a little fuzzy. But Henry is not brokering peace or being statesmanlike, even by his perverse, war-criminalish standards. He is marketing his consulting firm to authoritarian clients, whose fees seem commensurate with the outlandishness of the arguments needed to promote them. He is also trying to shift the preferred narrative on what an outcome should look like toward something the hard right here and in Europe, Russia, and the horseshoe left would consider Realpolitik.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah. Hold that thought. No wonder my dentist said my molars show evidence of more wear during my checkup.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Well said. The rearing of the head of Henry the war criminal and powerful seducer of thousands put me in mind of an exercise I wish someone other than I would do–take an inventory of Henry’s foreign policy advice down through the bleeding decades. Call it a sixth sense, but I expect his record of giving helpful advice would not justify printing his opinion on the letters page of my local newspaper.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Vintage Kissinger, like a fine wine:

        I refuse to believe that a little fourth-rate power like North Vietnam doesn’t have a breaking point.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Always on the right side of history was our Henry. His policies were and are beyond bad, they are criminal. What does their popularity say about his clients and the world?

  23. WilliamOckham says:

    I’m a little late to the party on this one (I’ve been on vacation). However, I’m relatively confident that there was no BCC recipient on the John Durham (USACT) to John Durham (JMD) email. That email appears to have been produced by the DOJ using their standard process. If that’s the case, BCC recipients would have been listed if they existed.

Comments are closed.