Jeffrey Clark: Physics Takes Over the Investigation Now

Last Thursday was an exciting day for those who have doubted Merrick Garland’s DOJ was really investigating top officials for matters pertaining to January 6.

Not only did multiple outlets describe Republicans involved in the fake elector scheme receiving subpoenas or even, in at least three cases, search warrants for their devices, but Jeffrey Clark’s home in Virginia was also searched on Wednesday. As part of that, according to the hysterical account Clark gave on Tucker Carlson, whatever agency did the search used an electronics sniffing dog and seized all the electronics in the house.

And that makes it a really good time to talk some more about how investigations work in the era of encrypted applications. It’s likely to be months — likely at least six months — until anything comes out of last week’s seizures.

The reason has to do with physics (and law).

We can be fairly certain that Clark — and probably some of the fake electors on whom warrants were served — used Signal or other encrypted apps. That’s because Mark Meadows and Scott Perry were conducting some of this conspiracy over Signal too, as was made clear in a slide in Thursday’s hearing.

Indeed, one reason Clark may have been raided is because he makes an easier target, for now, than Meadows or the Members of Congress who were involved. All of Clark’s communications directly with then President Trump bypassed DOJ’s contact guidelines and most can be shown to be part of a plot to overturn the election, whereas many of Meadows’ communications will be protected by Executive Privilege and Perry’s by Speech and Debate (though as I keep repeating, DOJ will be able to piggyback off the privilege review that the January 6 Committee has done).

To obtain Signal conversations that haven’t been saved to the cloud, one needs at least one of the phones that was involved in the conversation. That assumes the texts were not deleted. In the James Wolfe investigation, the FBI demonstrated some ability to recover deleted Signal texts, but in the Oath Keeper investigation, their Signal deletions forced investigators to seize a whole bunch of phones to reconstruct all parts of the communications.

By law, the government should have some of these Signal texts accessible. Under the Presidential Records Act, Mark Meadows had a legal obligation to share any such texts with the Archives. But because he replaced his phone in the months after the insurrection, at a time he knew of the criminal investigation, he may not have been able to comply. If DOJ can prove that he deleted Signal texts, he might be on the hook for obstructing the DOJ investigation.

So one thing DOJ may have been trying to do, by seizing the phones of at least four players in the fake electors plot on the same day, was to obtain phones sufficient to reconstruct any Signal threads about the plot. Those served subpoenas, both in this and an earlier round of subpoenas, will have to turn over Signal texts too, if they meet the terms of the subpoena. If DOJ were trying to reach the far higher bar of obtaining a warrant against someone protected by Speech and Debate or other privileges — like Perry — they likely would need to use such threads to meet that higher bar.

So back to the physics.

The table below shows how the investigations into a number of high profile investigative subjects have proceeded. While there are exceptions (investigations where the FBI has some excuse or urgency to conduct an interview, as with Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos, are different), investigators often first obtain readily accessible cloud content with a gag order, then use the information from a person’s cloud content to obtain probable cause for a warrant to seize phones. Under that pattern, the phone seizure will alert a subject of an investigation to that investigation. In most cases (the first round of January 6 arrests and Roger Stone are exceptions, each for different reasons), the search of phones precedes any arrest by months if not years.

Whereas, during the Mueller investigation, the FBI could exploit phones in four months time, of late, it has been taking closer to six months to exploit cell phones, even without any kind of special review. Part of this delay is physics: if a person uses any kind of secure password, it takes the FBI time to crack that password (and still more time if someone uses additional security features, as Enrique Tarrio did). In many cases, the DOJ will have to use a filter team to exclude data that is somehow privileged; in all cases, DOJ will then do a scope review, ensuring that the investigative team only gets material responsive to the warrant. When a special review is required, such as the attorney-client privilege review for Rudy or the “journalistic” review for Project Veritas, that process can take much longer. Because DOJ will have to conduct a fairly exhaustive filter review for an attorney like Clark, it might take closer to nine months to exploit the devices seized last week.

This pattern suggests several things about the investigation into Jeffrey Clark (and the fake electors). First, DOJ likely obtained their first probable cause warrants against Clark and the fake electors months ago, probably pretty close to the time (though hopefully before) Lisa Monaco confirmed the investigation into the fake electors in January. In Clark’s case, an investigation may have come from a referral from DOJ IG. So contrary to what many outlets have reported, such as this example from James Risen at the Intercept, the searches of Clark and others are not proof that an investigation is beginning or that DOJ only recently established probable cause. Rather, they suggest DOJ has been investigating covertly for months, at least long enough to obtain probable cause that even more evidence exists on these phones.

But it’s also likely that it will take DOJ some months — until Christmas at least — to exploit Clark’s phone. This investigation will not move as quickly as you might think or hope that this point, and that’s partly dictated by the constraints of cracking a password — math and physics.

All that said, several prongs of an investigation that could implicate Trump may be much further on. As I’ll show in a follow-up (and as I’ve mentioned in the past), the investigation into Stop the Steal is undoubtedly much further on than people assume given Ali Alexander’s grand jury appearance last week. And the FBI has ways of getting content via the Archives, much as they obtained content from Trump’s transition from GSA, that bypass pattern laid out above.

What the government had to have been able to prove before it searched Clark and others last week was not just that that had probable cause against those subjects, but that the cloud content otherwise available to them showed that aspects of the crime were committed using materials only available on people’s phones, likely encrypted messaging apps.

Update: Several people have asked why there would be a privilege review for Clark’s phone, since he would have been a government attorney through January 6. I’m not certain there would be, but if a warrant covered the time since January 6 (which I think likely given what DOJ has done with warrants elsewhere), then any lawyering he has done since he left would be privileged.

Update: As noted in comments, also on Wednesday, the FBI seized John Eastman’s phone. The warrant is from DOJ IG, not DC USAO and bears a 2022 case number. DOJ IG opened an investigation into Clark in 2021, but perhaps something they saw in the Jan6 Committee hearings led to a new prong of the investigation, leading to this search? Given the squirreliness regarding what agency did the search of Eastman, I wonder if both these investigative steps were DOJ IG.

Background material

This annotated file shows the unsealed Mueller warrants, with labels for those warrants that have been identified.

This post shows how the Michael Cohen investigation started with Russian-related warrants in the Mueller investigation then moved to SDNY, including a crucial detail about preservation orders for Cohen’s Trump Organization emails served on Microsoft.

This post shows how the investigation into George Papadopoulos developed; his is the outlier here, in that overt actions took place closer to the beginning of the investigation — but in his case, DOJ used a series of informants against him to obtain information.

This post describes how Trump’s team only discovered Mueller had obtained transition devices three months after Mueller obtained them, via Mike Flynn’s statement of offense.

This post shows that the seizure of Roger Stone’s phones with his January 2019 arrest was just one step in an ongoing investigation.

This post uses the Michael Cohen example to explain how the Rudy investigation might work.

This post shows how the investigation into Project Veritas developed.

This post shows how it took almost an entire year to crack Enrique Tarrio’s password, with a filter team delaying access for another month.

This post describes how the sheer volume of Stewart Rhodes’ Signal texts delayed his arrest.

155 replies
  1. harpie says:

    It’s very interesting and enlightening to follow along with your analytical dissecting of these investigations. Thank You!

    Maybe related to the recent Clark et al warrants: the publishing of the SJC Majority Report called “Subverting Justice” 8 months ago, on 10/7/21.
    7:35 AM · Oct 7, 2021

    I think there’s a TYPO in the chart in the date for RHODES arrest: sb: 1/12/22 ?

    • emptywheel says:

      Adding, I’m not sure how much DOJ would rely on the SJC report, as good as it is. It could be another instance where the requests of a coequal branch of govt make it easier to get testimony. but it’s pretty clear that Jeffrey Rosen et al wanted to share that story abt Clark, which means they could have voluntarily complied with a subpoena from Michael Horowitz.

      In general, I would assume DOJ would put more value in a DOJ IG referral, in part because legally they have to.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Nick Ackerman was on with Ari Melber and he said probable cause information could not be stale, it needed to be recently uncovered evidence

        Melber asked about the significance of OIG issuing the subpoena. Ackerman said it could be significant as the OIG may be the ones who came across the new evidence com/watch?v=BFTKzlXFeAk

        • bmaz says:

          Lol. That is all Ackerman had to say? Did he have time frames and facts, or per his usual, naw?

          • Alan Charbonneau says:

            Yep, that’s all he had to say. Maybe they should’ve asked Rudy for his take?

            • bmaz says:

              That is the Nick Ackerman I have seen forever. But he is not wrong about warrants needing to be based on information that is not “stale”. In practice though, you will find that “staleness” is a rather flexible concept.

    • greenbird says:

      can you help out an old bird ? is there a page ref ?
      i don’t know where to look in the report … tx.

        • greenbird says:

          yep got all that but …
          January 20, 2021
          Joseph R. Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America is last entry, so where’s “10.7.21” to be found, and i promise to leave you alone now. i just get overly frustrated in my rapidly declining years, when i was expecting things to speed up, based on my amplified “knowledge” … ah! – but aging IS the lesson.

          and boy is the teacher MEAN.

            • greenbird says:

              i am tired now. and very far behind. all i can do is apologize and read, which i should have done first, as so much was right there – in the report and about the report. and now i’m fired up to read the dang thing which i would have done sand evil back pain. your patience is appreciated, and i promise to behave like a grown-up bird from now on.

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    This is where the breadth of the conspiracy makes things very interesting. There were literally hundreds of people involved. OpSec is only as strong as the weakest link and having people covered by the PRA creates a built-in weak link. It also means that the FBI’s resources are going to be strained by the target-rich environment.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think that’s part of why it only took 4 months to exploit and privilege review Cohen’s phone but it is taking upwards of 6 months now. Sheer volume going through Quantico. And that’s even with FBI choosing not to exploit some phones that I wish they would have.

      • P J Evans says:

        The RW troll types insist that DOJ isn’t doing anything. When you run into that, point out the number of cases they already have.

        • glenn storey says:

          It’s not just the RW troll types. There are many, many, many Democrat doomsayers who are saying it as well.

          • Rayne says:

            And those doomsayers on the left have been proven wrong repeatedly.

            Their trash talk does not help matters, only emboldens right-wing abusers.

          • grennan says:

            That should be “Democratic doomsayers”, not “Democrat…”

            Meaningful discussion starts by getting everyone’s names right.

              • grennan says:

                You guys have more important stuff to wrangle…the observation may also mean more from a community person than a mod.

                I’ve always thought that at best, use of Democrat as an adjective; Madame Speaker; the Ukraine; government of Great Britain; and so on shows the writer to be uninformed at best and sometimes worth calling out.

                BTW, very good work verifying and correcting the spelling of ‘Hutchinson’…the famous one, Anne, had only one ‘n’, creating a pitfall that endures.

  3. Savage Librarian says:

    Relative to Scott Perry and Pennsylvania, both Alexandra Preate and Annie Howell are both from that state and both have met with the J6 committee. I wonder how much they actually shared.

    ‘I Feel Betrayed’: Woman Sentenced for Jan. 6 Breach Claims She Was ‘Promised’ White House Job, Gets Jail Time Instead – Marisa Sarnoff, 3/2/22

    “…I was asked directly by a Trump adviser and supposed close friend to help collect affidavits from PA residents in eight [8] Pennsylvania counties.”

    “Notably, [Annie] Howell has met with investigators for the House committee investigating Jan. 6. According to her attorney [Heather Shaner], Howell has provided information that has been “investigated, verified and found to be valuable.”

    • Rayne says:

      Mmm. Some form of bribery there, an offer of a thing of value to obtain office.

      Cracks me up she’s worried about custody of her child but not the affect her unethical behavior may have on her kid for a long time. Amazing shortsightedness but par for so-called conservatives.

      • rip says:

        Wonder if we could study some of these types of people – see how their prefrontal cortex looks compared to reasonable, rational people. Deficits in this section of the brain seem to lead to less empathy, less ability to think about consequences and other executive functions.

        • Bobster33 says:

          Maslow, Beck and Wilber have documented this phenomenon. Under their various frameworks, people have levels of ability (or consciousness). Level 4 people (Religion) are people who can follow a system; Level 5 people (Rational) have the ability to recognize components and evaluate the components.

          L4 people do not have the skill set to evaluate someone like Trump beyond his presentation. They see Trump’s presentation of toughness and certainty and they believe everything he says. Watch any clip of the Daily Show intervening Trump supporters. They have no rational skill set.

          Rational explaining has little affect on those who refuse to use rational skills.

  4. Charles R. Conway says:

    Marcy: Thanks. You’re memory is incredible.
    It must be all that Irish fare from the sea, and the County Mayo salmon.

  5. cmarlowe says:

    I have always wondered, can persons whose electronics have been lawfully seized be ordered by a court to provide passwords?

    • Fran of the North says:

      If memory serves, Customs and Immigration were demanding passwords to electronic devices from foreign travelers upon entry. If that is the case, do non U.S. Nationals have fewer rights in that area than U.S. citizens?

      • meryvr says:

        Can’t remember my last user name, sorry in advance.

        Non-US nationals have no right to entry to the US, and can be turned away by any officer solely on their discretion, so refusing to provide passwords, possessing a banana, or just looking at the officer funny are sufficient.

        US citizens can’t be turned away for refusing to provide passwords (or anything else I can think of; even criminals have a right to return, but no right not to be arrested on arrival), but they can expect to be made miserable (microscopic searches, dismemberment of their vehicles, delays, intimidation tactics) and possibly have their devices seized if they refuse.

        [You’ve published comments here most frequently as “Mary R.” Consider reverting to that since community members may recognize you more readily by that username. /~Rayne]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Further to meryvr’s comment, border crossings involving the US are famous for reduced legal rights, even for citizens. Where possible, travel with fewer electronic devices or use a single clean spare that does not contain the usual panoply of information your phone-at-home does.

        You might be able to do that, if your phone accepts it, by buying and using a spare sim card/temporary service, but that won’t affect what you store on the phone itself. A better bet would be a cheaper flip phone, used only for travel, that has a different number and temporary or minimal service.

        For more info, check the ACLU and EFF websites.

        • Bobster33 says:

          Another option is to buy a phone in the foreign country. I used a $13 flip phone in Uganda for years. Calling the US cost 4 cents per minute. ATT wanted to charge me 45 cents per minute with an all Africa plan.

    • Midtowngirl says:

      John Eastman was complaining that the feds “forced” him to unlock his phone with facial recognition. (Which I find hilarious!)

  6. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    EmptyWheel is great.

    About the speech & debate clause, I thought that does not shield against criminal activity by congresspeople, such as in the Senator Menendez case where the SC declined to review lower court rulings that refuted his use of the clause to shield communications related to alleged bribery and public corruption. Furthermore, I would guess that while congresspersons may potentially be shielded from criminal prosecution, non-legislative communications could still be obtained and used against non-congressional parties.

    • emptywheel says:

      They can certainly be prosecuted. It’s just that the bar is quite high, and in this case, the activities would really have to significantly exceed anything that could be said to be the normal course of their legislative behavior.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Speaking of those frequently at bars, I hope the prosecutor throws out the second degree assault charge against the guy who patted Rudy G on the back at the grocery store. What an inebriated snowflake. Civil damages would be a negative sum, too.

          • P J Evans says:

            Rudy has been playing it up for all it’s worth, and then some. Listening to his version, you would think he had been slugged by a 300lb football player, instead of slapped on the back by a woman half his weight.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I would call it a “pat,” not a slap. Wrong angle, too little force and reaction to call it a “slap.” But Rudy will take any recognition he can get, no matter how embarrassing.

              • bmaz says:

                By my reading, they are charging the “perp” under an exacerbated statute that can never be met.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                The Giuliani aide who massaged his poor back after the so-called assault hit him harder than the perp.

                Hope someone takes on the perp’s defense pro bono, assuming the prosecutor doesn’t throw it out, as she should.

          • 4Emilias says:

            I dunno, looked like “legitimate political discourse” to me; not “trial by combat”.

  7. bmaz says:

    Bennie and the J6 Jets have called an “emergency hearing” for tomorrow. Why? Probably because they think SCOTUS is stealing too much of their closeup with Mr. DeMille and the cameras.

    • punaise says:

      b-b-b-b-but, bmaz!

      The spotlight’s hitting something
      That’s been known to change the weather

      • Savage Librarian says:

        “Oh Candy and Ronnie, have you seen them yet? Oh but they’re so spaced out…”

        [ I prefer going into the long Independence Day weekend playing offense rather than defense. So, maybe this hearing will help in that way.]

    • timbo says:

      Lol. Methinks that whatever this sudden hearing is about is too hot for Thompson or Pelosi to keep it under wraps until mid/late July. Perhaps this will actually be a long, hot summer to a GOP in stronger retreat than what they/we were anticipating…

      Speculations are:

      1. Video evidence of Trump committing the crime of sedition.
      2. Evidence that throws into heavy relief DOJ’s failure(s) to charge those who the J6 Committee referred for contempt for flaunting Congressional subpoenas.
      3. An open Committee vote on subpoenas for seditionist Congress critters who have refused to voluntarily testify before the Committee.
      4. More Jeffrey Clark foo.
      5. More John Eastman foo.
      6. Ginni and the seditionist conspiracy at SCOTUS.
      7. Strong evidence of spying by a foreign power and its involvement in the seditionist movement in the US with full or willing support by GOP elected and party officials..
      8. And/or the J6 Bomb Plot revealed.
      9. The weak sauce: the committee is voting publicly on whether to and/or how to hand over information to DOJ.
      10. Aliens are real and here’s why.

    • Critter7 says:

      Now being reported that Cassidy Hutchinson will testify. Perhaps J6 com is taking advantage of Cassidy’s apparent willingness to do that today, afraid that she might change her mind.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; you commented last as “CZ.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

  8. Molly Pitcher says:

    J6 committee just announced a broadcast tomorrow for “recently obtained evidence” 1pm Eastern.

    • bmaz says:

      Lol. Sure. They JUST found it, and are calling an “emergency hearing”. Sure. If was such fresh information, wouldn’t you want to investigate and test it better? That would make sense. The Committee is preening and ever more apparently a joke.

      • Peterr says:

        Alex Holder turned over his documentary video footage on June 23 — four days ago. While I am sure he was interviewed to try to figure out which footage might be most critical to the committee, it is more than likely that Holder did not realize which parts might intersect with non-public information that the committee already had. Thus, the committee staff had to spend a long weekend watching every minute of it and lay it next to other things they already know.

        Why call a fast meeting? I can imagine any number of possibilities . . .

        1) Imagine that there was video of Trump that seriously implicates certain members of Congress, like Jim Jordan or Mitch McConnell. McConnell, as the minority leader, is obviously in a sensitive position with access to lots privileged intelligence. Jordan is the ranking member on the House Judiciary committee and a member of the Govt Oversight and Reform Committee. Jordan was temporarily added to the Intelligence Committee during the first impeachment fight. He also was the conservative alternative alternative to McConnell in the last leadership fight, and while he lost that battle, he has done nothing to hurt his chances at taking over for McConnell as the GOP leader in 2023.

        These two aren’t simply bomb throwers like MTG or Boebert. Through their positions, they have had access to some of the most sensitive stuff on Capitol Hill, and if the committee has evidence that they have abused that trust, that might qualify for a rushed hearing.

        2) Suppose someone like Mark Meadows came to Bennie and said, “In rethinking things, especially after last Thursday’s hearing, I’d like to come in and testify.” If you’re Bennie Thompson, are you going to give him three weeks to possibly change his mind, or are you going to call a fast session ASAP to get him in front of the committee while he still is of a mind to talk to them. I know which way I’d go.

        • Addison says:

          BTW, I’m fairly certain when bmaz sets out to entertain us with a question of “WHY” we think something is happening it is most assuredly not because he wants an answer from the little people, but because he wants to tell everyone what HE thinks. Next time just wait — he will answer his own question AND pat himself on the back.

          [Don’t harangue contributors/moderators here — that’s both Peterr and bmaz. Comments like this one do not add value to discussion and only serve to DDoS the comment thread. /~Rayne]

          • grennan says:

            I’m just a “little person” who thinks you might prefer one of the large number of sites that show the vast difference between “common knowledge law” and “common law knowledge”.

            Here’s what Johnny Rotten told Rolling Stone in 2020:

            ‘ “A lot of people feel the Sex Pistols were just negative,” he says. “I agree, and what the fuck is wrong with that? Sometimes the absolute most positive thing you can be in a boring society is completely negative.”’

          • bmaz says:

            Hi Addison. I am not here to “entertain” you. And, I might note, I was right in that the Double Naught Super Secret Mystery Witness (h/t Jethro Bodine) has been cooperating with the Committee all along, and for a very long time, it is not just magically discovered new information.

            • bmaz says:

              So, you thought Addison had a brilliant point, when I was exactly right? You, nor Addison, have any idea what we deal with hourly here. I’ve spent nearly a quarter of my life dedicated to supporting, defending and contributing to and with this blog, and all that it does. If you and Addison, two who have not done diddly squat, simply want to drop in to shit on me, or anybody else here, you can go straight to fucking hell. You dipshits can go start your own blog, but you are not going to use this one to shit on us.

        • P J Evans says:

          Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting chapter of “As The Committee Rolls”

          Sorry, when I watched the Watergate hearings I was at Granny’s, and she had a couple of soaps they pre-empted.

      • Lester Noyes says:

        Didn’t the committee get a veteran producer of network investigative news stuff to coordinate their TV hearings? Maybe he told ’em to take this new revelation and make it Big News to keep the pot boiling.

        • grennan says:

          Former ABC news exec James Goldsten is producing the video part.

          It’s brilliant putting captions on like one of those PBS things (repeatedly naming people and function is very useful for obscure interviewees but in this case also slaps some of them down to size. People like Ivanka probably don’t think we should need to be reminded who they are.)

          tfg, along with many of his supporters, have become mentalized to video narrative — their mental tv screen has overtaken how they perceive reality. By getting there first, the committee has gone a long way in removing the partisan filter that’s blurred facts.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      Ron Filipkowski speculates…
      “What if the surprise J6 witness was Melania Trump?”

      Hoodlum replies:
      “She’s been digging for gold in an abandoned mine for 20 years, you think she knows anything?”

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Late breaking: apparently Cassidy Hutchinson, Meadows’ aide will testify. Since they’ve spoken to her multiple times before, I’m wondering whether something she already said is now corroborated by the video they’ve recently acquired. In other words, video which would prevent someone from saying, “She was just the coffee girl. She misunderstood what she heard.” Otherwise, I’d settle for #10 on Timbo’s list.

      • Eureka says:

        Kyle Cheney late tonight:

        And don’t forget this story — Hutchinson told the select committee that Mark Meadows burned papers after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry.

        She saw a lot.

  9. mospeck says:

    Fortunately Jeff Clark does not understand much about physics. Yea, there are troubles, but it looks like things will be A ok because (like Everett predicted) everything is going to happen in all different ways all over again
    Version we’re in right now has vlad’s money flying around over here, and Harpoons flying around over there, so it’s like Ice Station Zebra, with CNN reporting that a “radar station that Humenyuk described as Russia’s “eyes and ears” on the island had been hit last week .. Snake Island was the .. opening of the war in Ukraine and is of strategic importance .. During the opening days .. it was the site of a demand from a Russian war ship to Ukrainian defenders to surrender. They replied..”Russian warship, go f**k yourself ” But now those unfortunate fellas on the ship are down in the Davy Jones locker, since they had no more fucks to give

  10. obsessed says:

    If you (EW, knowing what you now know), had been the advisor to the high level coup plotters including Trump, beginning before the election, what is your level of certainty that if they followed your guidance on data matters (but still committed all the same crimes), that they would never be indicted?

  11. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    Emergency hearing of J6 Committee to discuss the brutal assault and intimidation of potential witness Julie Rudiani. Due to his extensive injuries, we are temporarily forced to solely rely on Mike Lindell and Gym Jordan for facts on the J6 tourists. Rudy denies he was intoxicated on Diet Pepsi at the time.

    • rip says:

      We’re still waiting for ruddy to zip up his pants from his last “reorganization”.
      The lengths these people will go to stay in some news cycle. Almost like a psychopathic narcissist.

  12. PJB says:

    CNN is reporting the feds executed a search and seizure on Eastman the same day as Clark, based on a filing by Eastman challenging it in New Mexico. Do we suppose the DOJ wants these two mooks to race each other to be first in the cooperation door?

  13. WilliamOckham says:

    Eastman’s filed a motion for return of his phone, seized by the FBI, but sent to the DOJ IG?

  14. WilliamOckham says:

    The federal agents identified themselves as FBI agents, but they appeared to be executing a warrant issued at the behest of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). See Ex. 1 (noting that after seizure, the phone is to be transported “to Washington, D.C., or to the DOJ-OIG forensic laboratory in Northern Virginia”)

    Maybe my speculation about the FBI being stretched thin in this area was more right than I knew.

  15. Arice says:

    Weird question. Given facial recognition as a “password” on many phones. Can the DOJ just hold a phone up to the person’s face during an interrogation/interview and swipe up? Or is that considered unlawful search and seizure since it’d be without consent?

    • Rayne says:

      If your face is visible in public, it can be used. Ditto fingerprints which can be easily retrieved. Biometrics of any kind are NOT recommended for securing devices.

      Use a complex passcode and change it with regularity; use one on the device, and another on subsequent apps and if necessary, individual datafiles.

      • Arice says:

        Thanks. Jeff Clark looks like a canned ham, so they could probably just use one of those to unlock his phones.

        • Rayne says:

          I encrypt stuff on my phone. They’ll have to get a warrant to access the data kept in the cloud or on local devices. And some files are encrypted — good luck with that.

        • Rayne says:

          Are you dicked in the knob or just testosterone poisoned? Every single woman of childbearing age who participates in protest rallies could be surveilled and arrested by police and their cell phones take from them to be used as ammunition against them depending on the state in which they protest. We’ve already seen this kind of behavior since Ferguson and Floyd protests, targeting Black Americans.

          Take your unthinking bullshit elsewhere if you can’t think more deeply about civil rights and liberties.

        • Eureka says:

          I will never cease to be astounded by comments like these — on this blog of all places — where people apparently give zero fucks about civil liberties and rights.

          Relatedly, in re the current political climate but at a more rudimentary level of moral reasoning: what makes you think you’d know whether you’d even committed a “crime”?

          Adding, didn’t see you had replied, Rayne. Cheers.

          • Eureka says:

            Here you go, Paulka. Let us know when you’re finished reading*:

            A Crime a Day
            In 1982, DOJ attempted to count the total number of federal crimes. The WSJ said ‘Since then, no one has tried anything nearly as extensive.’ Until @CrimeADay

            crimehandbook. comJoined July 2014

            *Offer doesn’t include state/local statues, pre-crimes, crime-ishes, fresh pen-strokes, whimsy, demographics (oh, now we’re getting warmer!), “local custom”, ineptitude, malice. Other restrictions apply.

            • bmaz says:

              Nobody knows how many federal criminal laws are really on the books BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY TO COUNT AND TRACK. Last best estimate I heard was about 5,000, but my guess is it may be higher, given all the regulatory crimes in the CFR. Everything is now a federal crime, and that is ludicrous.

              • Fraud Guy says:

                And with the modern surveillance state, it becomes easier to find purported evidence of one of those crimes every day. As Richelieu said, “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him”.

        • grennan says:

          And have you forgotten the truly deranged things that the Patriot Act enabled in the second Bush administration? If your email mentioned a drier explosion or ice cream bombes you might get an agent at your door.

          One of the points of our judicial system (at least aspirationally) is that we have rights whether we need them or use them. One of the thousands of things that was offensive about tfg as president was his stated belief that only guilty people pled the 5th.

          BTW, the Wash Post had a fairly detailed story this am (Monday) about the Eastman phone seizure, with his lawyer’s objections, some technical implications of the hardware and the law, and how the matter relates to other aspects of DOJ developments.

    • Arice says:

      I think you misread that. The warrant specifically says on page 3 paragraph 3 that they are authorized to compel the subject of the warrant to provide biometrics including pressing fingers against a phone, etc. What they’re not allowed to do is demand that the subject TELL them which finger or other body part unlocks the phone, since that would constitute testimony. But with only 10 fingers on the average human, and 1 face, it’s not a huge roadblock.

  16. Reverse tool order says:

    Huh, this was not in my local newspaper. Quite the example of why I recently made a contribution.

    I was already thanked, so I’m good & feel free to just keep on like this.

  17. harpie says:

    6/23/22 Hearing Transcript:

    LIZ CHENEY: The committee has also learned that Mr. Clark was working with another attorney at the department named Ken Klukowski, who drafted this letter to Georgia with Mr. Clark. Mr. Klukowski had arrived at the department on December 15th with just 36 days left until the inauguration. He was specifically assigned to work under Jeff Clark.

    And Mr. Klukowski also worked with John Eastman, who we showed you at our hearing last week, was one of the primary architects of President Trump’s scheme to overturn the election. The Georgia letter that we’ve been discussing specifically talks about some of Dr. Eastman’s theories, including […] The committee has also learned that the relationship between Dr. Eastman and Mr. Klukowski persisted after Mr. Klukowski joined the Justice Department.

      • harpie says:

        That screenshot is of an email from Ken BLACKWELL.

        4:06 PM

        12/28/20 email from Ken BLACKWELL to Edward C???
        “As stated last week, I believe the VP and his staff would benefit greatly from a briefing by John and Ken. As I also mentioned, make sure we don’t overexpose Ken given his new position. The reason I suggested [GOHMERT COS] Connie [HAIR] discuss this with you, Ed [last name?] is that I know you are sensitive to this situation.”

        HAIR is a good friend of Ginni THOMAS.

          • Midtowngirl says:

            And the party keeps getting bigger!
            Speaking of Ken Blackwell, and Eastman, and some of their mutual friends like Cleta Mitchell, there’s this “foundation” that has been working to disenfranchise non-wealthy, non-white voters since 2013:
            *Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF)*
            its current members are:

            * J. Christian Adams, president (I’d bet a dollar we’re gonna learn a lot about this guy soon)
            * Cleta Mitchell, chair (Trump outside counsel that, among other things, was in on the Georgia call)
            * Neil Corkery, treasurer (Judicial Crisis Network)
            * Shawna Powell, secretary
            * William E. Davis, director
            * John C. Eastman, director (Yep, *that* John Eastman)
            * Hans von Spakovsky, director (Heritage Foundation, Federalist Society, and unapologetic white nationalist)

            And if you pull up the members of Trump’s short-lived Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, you’ll see there’s a bit of overlap. And Ken Blackwell.

            Commission members at time of disbandment
            * Chair: Mike Pence, Republican, Vice President of the United States, former Governor of Indiana
            * Vice Chair: Kris Kobach, Republican, Secretary of State of Kansas, Of Counsel, Immigration Reform Law Institute
            * J. Christian Adams, Republican, former Department of Justice Civil Rights Division attorney
            * Ken Blackwell, Republican, former Ohio Secretary of State and previously state Treasurer
            * Connie Lawson, Republican, Secretary of State of Indiana
            * Christy McCormick, Republican, Commissioner of the Election Assistance Commission
            * Hans von Spakovsky, Republican, former member Federal Election Commission, Senior Legal Fellow, Heritage Foundation; Director, Public Interest Legal Foundation.

            There were also four Democrats appointed to the Commission, but they were always barred from participating.
            One even sued over it: Plaintiff Matthew Dunlap, Secretary of State of Maine and member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity
            District Court, District of Columbia

            I’m not a conspiracy nut, but the more I dig, the more connections I find. Ugh!

            • Midtowngirl says:

              Apologies for the huge data dump, but there’s some great minds on here, and it seemed like a relevant time to share the info!

  18. observiter says:

    I’m thinking about where this is going. After we move past the current characters, let’s say Trump is ultimately charged. I can’t imagine Trump going down (unscathed). Would he spill why he promoted policies he did including nomination of the Supreme Court justices, etc. etc., and name names about who might have been directing him to do so, what he may have gained by agreeing to it.

    I’ve always thought he made a bargain with the extremists in order to be President.

  19. greenbird says:

    gosh. saturday already ? …
    reading IG/staff report. loving it.
    in other news, still feels like ingrown large toenail established in stomach.
    makes for distracting discomfort. but progress continues!
    who liveblogs – if anyone – the hearing manana ?

  20. pseudo42 says:

    “Movant’s phone—an iPhone Pro 12—was seized. Movant was forced to provide biometric data to open said phone.”

    From Eastman’s motion to return property, namely the phone.
    https://storage.courtlistener. com/recap/gov.uscourts.nmd.476086/gov.uscourts.nmd.476086.1.0_1.pdf

    [edit: I intended this as reply to Arice above but for whatever reason my screen is showing it as an independent comment]

  21. bg says:

    I’m reading that Eastman is a resident voter in NM, which may be the main reason–not only that NM had the 5 additional votes the fake electors needed and had a R party chair (former Congressman Steve Pearce, all in on Trump), but that Eastman is a player in NM. I’m gonna ask around about this. The NM fake electors plot thickens.

  22. Eureka says:

    via Hugo Lowell: Holder footage includes calls among spawn and aides the night of the first presidential debate (Sept. 29), of interest because Bannon, the same night, ran his mouth about the pre-election coup plotting:

    January 6 committee focuses on phone calls among Trump’s children and aides weeks before election
    Footage captured by documentary film-maker understood to show former president’s children privately discussing election strategies
    Tue 28 Jun 2022 00.01 EDT Last modified on Tue 28 Jun 2022 00.57 EDT

    The calls among Trump’s children and top aides took place at an invitation-only event at the Trump International hotel in Washington DC that took place the night of the first presidential debate on 29 September 2020, the sources said.

    The select committee is interested in the calls, the sources said, since the footage is understood to show the former president’s children, including Donald Jr and Eric Trump, privately discussing strategies about the election at a crucial time in the presidential campaign.


    On the night of the first presidential debate, Trump’s top former strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview with HBO’s The Circus that the outcome of the 2020 election would be decided at the state level and eventually at the congressional certification on January 6.

    “They’re going to try and overturn this election with uncertified votes,” Bannon said. Asked how he expects the election to end, Bannon said: “Right before noon on the 20th, in a vote in the House, Trump will win the presidency.”

    The select committee believes that ideas such as Bannon’s were communicated to advisors to Donald Jr and his fiancee, Kimberly Guilfoyle, even before the 2020 election had taken place, the sources said – leading House investigators to want to review the Trump hotel footage.

    • Eureka says:

      Also, LOLEric:

      Among the conversations captured on film was Eric Trump on the phone to an unidentified person saying, according to one source familiar: “Hopefully you’re voting in Florida as opposed to the other state you’ve mentioned.”

    • harpie says:

      Thanks for linking to that, Eureka!

      9/23/20 TRUMP refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power
      9/23/20 Barton Gellman publishes on line: The Election That Could Break America
      Reporting on current GOP planning:

      … According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. […]

      Marcy, this morning, on twitter:
      8:20 AM · Jun 28, 2022

      A focus on the first debate would time it to Trump’s pre-planned attack on Biden that was based on documents Billy Barr’s DOJ altered and gave to Sidney Powell.

      9/29/20 First presidential debate TRUMP to PROUD BOYS: “Stand back and stand by”

      • harpie says:

        [There’s a comment in moderation with the links to this 1/29/20 BANNON interview]
        BANNON’s BID for a PARDON:

        9/29/20 John HEILEMANN: What people want, is they want all the votes to be counted.
        [0:03] BANNON: Nobody on the left is claiming that Joe Biden’s gonna win [??] on game day.
        H: Right, because the left understands that Democrats take the pandemic more seriously and more prefer to vote from home.
        B: The vote that counts is when you go into a booth and close it
        [0:16] H: WHY?!?
        B: and, and, because it has no ability to be handled by anybody else.
        [The next bit of conversation [italics] is interspersed]
        H: Steve, we have a system in this country, including the system by which your candidate won in 2016.
        B: By the way, OK, John, yes, John, I agree with you, every vote gets certified

        H: Yes.
        B: [0:33] Should count. But, they’re gonna try to overturn this election with uncertified votes. There’s gonna be crazy lawsuits, on naked ballots, on every different aspect of it. [0:41] Those counting rooms are gonna be knife fights with this scale of votes, we’ll go into January, and that’s when the firestorm starts.
        H: [0:50] That you think will end up being, it’s still January we don’t have a President.
        B: [0:54] Yes.
        H: And a fight that moves to Washington.
        B: Yes.
        H: [0:58] How do you think it ends up?
        B: [0:59] Right before noon on the twentieth, in a vote in the House, TRUMP, TRUMP will LOVE, TRUMP will win the presidency. [end]

    • harpie says:

      I found this, but haven’t transcribed yet:

      THE CIRCUS Unpacks a Chaotic Week An episode full of October surprises. Sarah Jae Leiber Oct. 2, 2020

      >>> Steve Bannon Predicts Congress Will Decide A Contested 2020 Election THE CIRCUS SHOWTIME https[:]//

      John Heilemann sits down with Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist and 2016 Trump campaign executive, to watch the [9/29/20] presidential debate and discuss the outcome of a contested election. [VIDEO]

      • harpie says:

        BANNON’s BID for a PARDON:

        9/29/20 John HEILEMANN: What people want, is they want all the votes to be counted.
        [0:03] BANNON: Nobody on the left is claiming that Joe Biden’s gonna win [??] on game day.
        H: Right, because the left understands that Democrats take the pandemic more seriously and more prefer to vote from home.
        B: The vote that counts is when you go into a booth and close it
        [0:16] H: WHY?!?
        B: and, and, because it has no ability to be handled by anybody else.
        [The next bit of conversation [italics] is interspersed]
        H: Steve, we have a system in this country, including the system by which your candidate won in 2016.
        B: By the way, OK, John, yes, John, I agree with you, every vote gets certified

        H: Yes.
        B: [0:33] Should count. But, they’re gonna try to overturn this election with uncertified votes. There’s gonna be crazy lawsuits, on naked ballots, on every different aspect of it. [0:41] Those counting rooms are gonna be knife fights with this scale of votes, we’ll go into January, and that’s when the firestorm starts.
        H: [0:50] That you think will end up being, it’s still January we don’t have a President.
        B: [0:54] Yes.
        H: And a fight that moves to Washington.
        B: Yes.
        H: [0:58] How do you think it ends up?
        B: [0:59] Right before noon on the twentieth, in a vote in the House, TRUMP, TRUMP will LOVE, TRUMP will win the presidency. [end]

    • harpie says:

      9/29/20 TRUMP family hosts and invitation only event at TRUMP Hotel during the first presidential debate. Documentarian Alex HOLDER films “calls among TRUMP’s children and top aides privately discussing election strategies”. HOLDER is then asked to leave.
      [ERIC [Second Son] to unidentified PERSON: “Hopefully you’re voting in Florida as opposed to the other state you’ve mentioned.”]

  23. Eureka says:

    An anecdote to file away, stating that a tour guide (? official/Park Service vs. informal) at Arlington National Cemetery is telling people that he saw Boebert and Chansley meet at the steps of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 1/5. (Another tweeter in replies reports having been told the same story.)

    [several tweets at: https[://] ]

  24. Eureka says:

    House Financial Services subcommittee hearing at noon today on the crisis of private equity buying up single-family homes for rental.

    The subcommittee has previously found that the five biggest rental-owner firms have concentrated their purchases in Black neighborhoods and those with a higher proportion of single mothers.

    Heather Vogell (ProPublica reporter) thread with additional details:

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