Maggie Haberman: Heads It’s Only Obstruction, Tails It’s Not Obstruction

Maggie Haberman had a column last week that pissed a lot of people off, in which she wrote 1,600 words presenting what she claimed were “the main possibilities” for why oh why Trump might have stolen Presidential documents.

The only reasons she could come up with were:

  • He gets his rocks off looking at important documents
  • He thinks he’s Louis XIV
  • He has a compulsion to rip up paper
  • He was collecting information about friends and foes

It was facile analysis and in two respects probably erroneous.

But it pissed me off less than it did others (at least at first) because I think it is important to remember that Trump’s narcissism explains a significant part of his theft.

Maggie’s an expert of Trump’s narcissism.

Still, at one level the document is a remarkable confession on Maggie’s part of her own inconsistencies as a Trump enabler (and as I said, in two ways, it may be factually wrong).

That’s because Maggie, who has covered this search for the same two weeks I have, doesn’t even mention the possibility laid out explicitly in search warrant: Obstruction.

To obtain this warrant, the government showed probable cause that Trump ripped up, flushed, and hid documents to obstruct investigations. But having (presumably) read that warrant, Maggie instead claims that Trump rips up documents just for shits and giggles.

Ripping up paper

Although Trump White House officials were warned about the proper handling of sensitive material, aides said Mr. Trump had little interest in the security of government documents or protocols to keep them protected.

Early on, Mr. Trump became known among his staff as a hoarder who threw all manner of paper — sensitive material, news clips and various other items — into cardboard boxes that a valet or other personal aide would cart around with him wherever he went.

Mr. Trump repeatedly had material sent up to the White House residence, and it was not always clear what happened to it. He sometimes asked to keep material after his intelligence briefings, but aides said he was so uninterested in the paperwork during the briefings themselves that they never understood what he wanted it for.

He also had a habit of ripping up paper, from routine documents to classified material, and leaving the pieces strewn around the floor or in a trash can. Officials would have to rummage through the shreds and tape them back together to recreate the documents in order to store them as required under the Presidential Records Act.

On some occasions, Mr. Trump would rip up documents — some with his handwriting on them — and throw the pieces in a toilet, which occasionally clogged the pipes in the White House. He did the same thing on at least two foreign trips, former officials said.

The government has told us all that they have shown probable cause that some of this ripping, flushing, and hiding was designed to withhold evidence from a, or multiple, investigations. But Maggie, apparently, either doesn’t understand that or decided without seeing the evidence that the government simply misunderstands Trump’s quirky ripping, flushing, and hiding fetish.

Where this column struck me as particularly ridiculous, however, is the way it’s a perfect mirror for Maggie’s Mueller investigation coverage.

With Mike Schmidt, after all, Maggie largely set the narrative that Mueller was only investigating Trump for obstructing the investigation. In July 2018 they reported as breaking news that Mueller was just investigating Trump for tweets, not what they called “collusion.” In August 2018, they kept repeating that word — obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct obstruct — as if the only thing being investigated was obstruction. In February 2019, Maggie (with Peter Baker that time) spun Trump describing a bribe and not answering questions about the Stone indictment as the opposite. Last October, when Maggie complained about my piece quoting Roger Stone and Rick Gates describing how they used her and Ken Vogel, she claimed I had predicted Mueller would go further than he had — when the reality is that she has still uncorrected errors about the Manafort investigation, never reported on the investigation into whether Stone conspired with Russia that continued even after Mueller finished, and missed the bribery prong of the investigation. I’m also not aware that she ever matched the WaPo’s reporting that Mueller told Trump’s lawyers that the President was at risk, himself, of prosecution in the CFAA conspiracy with Russia, the same part of the Stone investigation she missed.

During the Mueller investigation, Maggie spent years reporting — falsely, the records unsealed since prove — that an investigation into whether Trump conspired with Russia was really just an obstruction investigation.

This time around the government told us — explicitly!! — that Trump is under investigation for obstructing investigation(s) by ripping and flushing and hiding documents, and Maggie’s “analysis” concludes that all that ripping and flushing and hiding is instead just a quirk.

Which brings me to her second possible error, on top of ignoring the obstruction investigation: here’s how Maggie explains the mention of a French President in the warrant receipt.

Other advisers wondered if Mr. Trump kept some documents because they contained details about people he knew.

Among the items that presidents are given on overseas trips are biographies of foreign leaders, a former administration official said. One version is unclassified and fairly routine. But the other is classified and can contain numerous personal details.

One of the files the F.B.I. seized at Mar-a-Lago was marked “info re: President of France,” about Emmanuel Macron.

It’s hard to tell whether Maggie is reporting here — confirming what most of us have assumed, that the reference to a French President was most likely a reference to Macron. To substantiate that, she cites only the same warrant that mentions the obstruction investigation she somehow missed. If she has confirmed that’s about Macron, this error may be all the more remarkable.

But for the reasons I laid out here, the most obvious reading of that reference is that the information about a French President is linked in some way to Executive Clemency for Maggie’s old BFF, Roger Stone.

The reference to a French President — Maggie tells us it is Macron — may well be contained in an Executive Grant of Clemency for Stone.

If that’s the case, then it’s in Trump’s files not because he saw a scrap of gossip about Macron and stuck it in a box or hoarded a classified pre-trip biography from years ago, which Maggie says are the best explanations, but because he wrote something down about Macron (or whichever President), quite possibly in conjunction with clemency for his rat-fucker.

To be sure, Maggie is not the only reporter covering this search who has entirely ignored the obstruction prong of the investigation. Many reporters have. But for a reporter publishing the book on Trump’s ripping, flushing, and hiding that seems to be at the core of that investigation, it seems a significant oversight.

Update: In an article Saturday that appears, in significant part, to be an attempt to underbus Mark Meadows, Maggie and others included this remarkable paragraph about an investigation into both Espionage Act violations and obstruction.

Where all of that material ended up is not clear. What is plain, though, is that Mr. Trump’s haphazard handling of government documents — a chronic problem — contributed to the chaos he created after he refused to accept his loss in November, unleashed a mob on Congress and set the stage for his second impeachment. His unwillingness to let go of power, including refusing to return government documents collected while he was in office, has led to a potentially damaging, and entirely avoidable, legal battle that threatens to engulf the former president and some of his aides.

This is another story that treats this all as one big misunderstanding and not an investigation into willful conduct designed to obstruct one or more investigations.

Maggie seems quite happy that this claim has been picked up.

The single source it relies on, described as “a person with knowledge of the situation,” speaks of their belief, not their certainty. And aside from people inside the investigation, there is no single person competent to make that claim, in part because only the family are reported to have known of the leather box in which Trump kept the Top Secret/SCI documents seized, and none of the family would know the full inventories of the boxes that were seized from storage closets.

emptywheel Trump Espionage coverage

Maggie Haberman: Heads It’s Only Obstruction, Tails It’s Not Obstruction

The French President May Be Contained Inside the Roger Stone Clemency

Which of the Many Investigations Trump Has Obstructed Is DOJ Investigating?

The Known and Likely Content of Trump’s Search Warrant

The ABCs (and Provisions e, f, and g) of the Espionage Act

Trump’s Latest Tirade Proves Any Temporary Restraining Order May Come Too Late

How Trump’s Search Worked, with Nifty Graphic

Pat Philbin Knows Why the Bodies Are Buried

Trump’s Timid (Non-Legal) Complaints about Attorney-Client Privilege

18 USC 793e in the Time of Shadow Brokers and Donald Trump

[from Rayne] Other Possible Classified Materials in Trump’s Safe

Trump’s Stolen Documents

John Solomon and Kash Patel May Be Implicated in the FBI’s Trump-Related Espionage Act Investigation

[from Peterr] Merrick Garland Preaches to an Overseas Audience

Three Ways Merrick Garland and DOJ Spoke of Trump as if He Might Be Indicted

The Legal and Political Significance of Nuclear Document[s] Trump Is Suspected to Have Stolen

Merrick Garland Calls Trump’s Bluff

Trump Keeps Using the Word “Cooperate.” I Do Not Think That Word Means What Trump Wants the Press To Think It Means

[from Rayne] Expected Response is Expected: Trump and Right-Wing DARVO

DOJ’s June Mar-a-Lago Trip Helps Prove 18 USC 793e

The Likely Content of a Trump Search Affidavit

All Republican Gang of Eight Members Condone Large-Scale Theft of Classified Information, Press Yawns

Some Likely Exacerbating Factors that Would Contribute to a Trump Search

FBI Executes a Search Warrant at 1100 S Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, FL 33480

79 replies
  1. Amy Mullen says:

    Hi Marcy, Thanks for all of the amazing work you do. It’s fantastic and essential.

    I too, found Maggie’s piece off-putting, to say the least. It was if she was writing about an eccentric uncle, rather than the most heinous and devious president in history.



    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Haberman’s article had one real point: buy my book. The Times essentially allowed her free advertising under the umbrella of “analysis,” a category whose adjacency to “news” gives it credibility that is often undeserved.

    • Rayne says:

      Eccentric uncle. That’s really good description — someone close to her whose personal foibles she finds mildly annoying or frustrating but is stuck with visiting them.

      Never mind the foibles include overt planet-scorching democracy-torching fascism, or that her own foibles blind her to seeing the way in which she’s used to whitewash that fascism.

      Welcome to emptywheel.

  2. Ruthie says:

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that with regard to the Mueller investigation as well as the MAL search Maggie disregarded the most damning conclusions. /s

    Tangent: destroying documents is a serious offense, and it bugs me that the focus on Trump’s use of toilets allows that to be overshadowed by an element of titillation. He put them where we go #1 and #2! What are we, 8 yo?

    • KayInMD says:

      I’ve come to the conclusion that the definition of a “process crime” is any non-violent crime committed by a middle class (or above), preferably Republican, white guy.

    • KM Williams says:

      Yes, the media don’t consider Obstruction to be a serious, punishable crime. That is how shallow, ignorant and right-leaning the corporate media is.

      They seem to equate Obstruction with, say, driving 70mph in a 65mph zone. No big deal, no harm… everybody does it sometimes.

  3. RMD says:

    Confronted hourly, it seems, by the assault on reason and logic, I get depressed by the futility of efforts to rebut the ‘firehose of falsehoods’.
    Two terms come to mind, wrt the media, advertising and public relations:
    learned helplessness

    The ‘rebuttal’ if you can call it that, of prevaricators and dissemblers is:
    more firehose

    volume, frequency, repetition

  4. Jeff says:

    Could it be that the National Archive received Alternate documents from the Trump Administration?

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. SECOND NOTICE: Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Jeff” and “Jeffrey.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Pragmatic Progressive says:

      Ohh, it would be great to see how well that classic Kellyann Conway defense works in a court of law; “You’re saying it’s obstruction because FPOTUS didn’t return all the sensitive documents he took, but he did turn in alternative documents.”

    • MyUncleFred says:

      Related to that, one might guess that tfg copies docs prior to returning them to the Feds. In fact, my best guess is that the observed (video) boxes going in and out of the MAL Janitorial Security Closet (JSC) made a stop at the scanner before their return. And, it may be that one factor encouraging the FBI’s visit, was to prevent this from occurring.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Perhaps so, but then where are those copies? Individual-1 might be a toddler but his minions would be smart enough to keep those copies elsewhere, so let’s see where the next search goes. FWIW, Popehat teased a tweet from TFG that said he was filing a 4th Amendment motion about the M-a-L search.

        • Gatorbaiter says:

          And that 4th amendment motion will be perfect, many people are saying it’s the best motion ever filed, they say to me “sir, I’ve never seen such a perfect motion”. They tell me I have a natural aptitude for motions, and maybe I should have been a lawyer.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          Well, given the problems he seems to be having FINDING a strong criminal defense lawyer at this point, he might well end up having to BE his own lawyer…

          And given how much time he’s spent in courtrooms over the decades, at least he has some serious experience there…

          And on a side note, the phrase “Trump’s quirky ripping, flushing, and hiding fetish” is somehow… disquieting…

        • MyUncleFred says:

          If he, or his minions had any sense, the copies would be purely digital, probably on some format of portable drive, and quickly put in a non-obvious place outside of MAL. Heck, it could be buried at Westminster with Ivana.

  5. Peterr says:

    If Trump wanted to rip up documents for S&G, Maggie doesn’t explain why he took these documents to Mar-A-Lago. Rumor has it that Mar-A-Lago has plenty of paper already that Trump could rip up any time he want.

    Or he could rip up Maggie’s NYT, giggling as he sits on his golden toilet as he does so.

  6. Drew says:

    We normally think of obstruction as obstruction of a criminal investigation, but what if the federal investigation involved is a counter-intelligence investigation? In some ways the Mueller investigation itself was about a counter-intelligence investigation that Trump was obstructing, but it doesn’t have to be a continuation of that. Trump keeps on grifting, and his obstruction does not need to even be of the kind of direct plot to put another nation’s government on top (as the 2016 election seems to be)-or at least it doesn’t need to be from the point of view of Trump’s knowledge or conception of it.

    A guy who’s dealings in international business have been, at best, shady for decades has associates and past actions that he wants to conceal (e.g. oligarchs and money-laundering). Trump might have obstructed in order to keep his own nefarious activity from coming to light (and to keep associates who knew about it from being revealed and putting him at risk) while those associates were being targeted for purposes really separate from Trump’s own money laundering, etc. i.e. Trump is a tool, he was being used and he committed the felony of obstruction without understanding how he was being used.

    • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

      I agree that The Donald is an unwitting dupe particularly where the Russian investigation was concerned. He bought into that whole Byzantine (and criminal) world of Russian oligarchs and he’s finally waking up with fleas.

  7. punaise says:

    I’ve noted this in other threads, but here in France the press – across the political spectrum – doesn’t seem the least bit interested in following the Macron (or Hollande, or Sarkozy) angle to this. Not a peep since Aug. 12.

    • Spank Flaps says:

      Even if Macron had not been mentioned in this case, you would expect all European news agencies to have a lot of interest in it, because USA is the head of NATO, and there is a war with Russia happening in Europe.
      Here in the UK, only Channel 4 News is covering the Trump Mar-a-Lago story.
      Just to clarify, 95% of UK news outlets swung heavily to the right when Boris Johnson became PM (see ‘Covid bungs’ – he bribed the Press to become RW propaganda).

        • Rugger9 says:

          Indeed, especially when considering that the European press is unabashedly political in their views and reporting. Macron has parties that don’t like him on the left and right so my theory is there is nothing to find, not even by Marine Le Pen’s rabid rag.

        • Burt Berman says:

          And yes, w/Fox owned Brit/Euro Piers Morgan program still being heavily $ promoted, you’d think they’d be trying, indeed buying, for traction. Oh well.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think right now no one, in the US or France, can get their mind around what it might be. If it were revealed that Stone teamed up with GRU hackers to try to support LePen against Macron and Trump made sure Stone wasn’t prosecuted for it, people might take notice.

      But at this point, virtually all reporters in the US assume the Stone pardon is the one we know about and the reference to Macron (or whoever) is just random.

      • Rugger9 says:

        I concur with the scenario involving Le Pen (and would expect GRU footsie with Orban and BoJo will be discovered in due course), but in that case why mention Macron and not Marine Le Pen?

        • emptywheel says:

          Because LePen was never the President and was not the victim of a hack and so would never be mentioned in a pardon.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Why would Macron have anything to do politically with Le Pen? He never needed her to form a government, for example.

    • Max404 says:

      Might be so simple as: it’s holiday time … for a few more days.
      Or as sometimes (a tad disparagingly by the moneyed class which is alway on holiday) referred to as: “congés payés”.

    • Max404 says:

      Might be so simple as: it’s holiday time … for a few more days.
      Or as sometimes (a tad disparagingly by the moneyed class which is always on holiday) referred to as: “congés payés”.

      • punaise says:

        Yes, those greedy French workers somehow finagled themselves five weeks of paid vacation per year, four weeks of which they typically take during the month of August. The country doesn’t shut down quite as much as Italy does, but things get pretty quiet (except in the tourist areas). After August 15, which is the assumption holiday, things start to get back to normal a bit.

        • rip says:

          En francais, that doesn’t lend itself as well to “that makes an ass of u and me.”

          I’ve been very careful in the last few decades to not use “assume” in ways that can be derided. Or “hopefully” in any way (since I don’t understand that rule.) Or leaving my participle danglingly out there.

        • Ewan says:

          Very often, Le Monde reads NYT and then translate a subset of it, removing the traditional anti-French slant. That doesn’t leave very much to say about Macron. The far far right (fachosphere as it is called) is rooting for Trump, and focuses on antisemitic attacks on the judge, and on how he is probably part of a cabal (to be clear, I am not saying that’s the case, I am saying what I read on twitter feeds displayed by google news in French) . To get a focus on whatever this Macron thing is, you would need Liberation or Le Figaro to investigate. But both of them probably find there isn’t that much interest : if it is something personal and juicy, it is the wrong period of the electoral cycle. If it has to do with Trump and Stone rooting for/pushing for Le Pen vs Macron, well, that’s not really news.

  8. grumbles says:

    I’m trying to think through the equities Maggie must be trying to balance, playing the role she does.

    Because it seems like her output (I hesitate to call this sort of activity “reporting”) is the result of a sort of Venn diagram analysis – here’s the things she can’t say if she is to continue to get drip-fed by Trumpland, here’s the things she can’t say if anyone outside of it is to take her seriously, etc.

    The careful avoidance of discussing obstruction, when it is so bleeding obvious, hints that camp-Trump really doesn’t want to talk about that.

    But the fact that nobody is going to buy the “quirky old codger” story makes me think she’s either lost whatever sense of balance she had, or that Venn diagram just doesn’t overlap anywhere.

    • Peterr says:

      She follows in the footsteps of many an Access Journalist, which is not to be confused with an Actual Journalist.

      But she goes out there every day, living up to the pyrite standards expected of Access folks everywhere.

  9. grumbles says:

    Well fuck this taco stand then, I guess I’m not welcome here. Completely unclear on why not, but whatever.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Look, you’re a newbie here based on the identification information you’re sharing. Because you’re new, your initial comments may have been held up by the moderation system which protects this site from bot and trolling attacks.

    It’s also possible the next comments you attempt to leave will likewise be detained until they are cleared by moderation. If you can’t understand the need for security and accept the wait which comes with it, this place isn’t for you. /~Rayne]

        • Peterr says:

          We were warned by “Latinos for Trump” that if we get a democratic president, there’s be taco trucks on every corner because of the Dem’s open borders policy.

          It’s been 2 years, and I’m *still* waiting for my corner’s taco truck.

          tapping foot impatiently

        • Ruthie says:

          No taco truck yet here in Maine, either, but there is quite a decent Mexican joint a few miles away. Lots has changed since I grew up here, and I ain’t complainin!

        • Rayne says:

          I’ve been hoping beyond hope for a fusion Asian-Mexican jiaozi/yachaejeon/taco truck and yet…

          You’d think Ivanka would have gotten patents granted by China for something useful and profitable like this but nope.

        • matt fischer says:

          Forgive me for gloating that I’ve been spoiled by them here in the Mission District of San Francisco since long before Biden.

        • WilliamOckham says:

          Wait! You guys don’t have taco trucks on every corner? Guess we’re just lucky in Texas. Technically, we don’t have a taco truck on every corner, because that would be silly. However, name a street corner in Houston that needs a taco truck and one will appear.

        • blueedredcounty says:

          San Diego here. I’m walking distance from two different 24 hour taco shops. They were a lifesaver when I was working a 5PM to 2AM shift for 3 years.

          There are several trucks as well, but they’re about a mile away. One advertises tacos mariscos.

        • P J Evans says:

          Here in L.A., you only need to look for places with lots of Latino employees, and there will be a taco truck. Or a table with a canopy, and someone selling frescas and maybe also tamales or empanadas.

    • rip says:

      Hey, grumbles – try again, please. Your name is perfect (not too many matching bytes, but many matching characters.)

      Your Venn-diagram analysis seems spot on. Lots of intersecting interests and perhaps some financial connections. As with anything we do, rendering unto a two-dimensional god does not handle cases where many competing interests are tugging at the “journalists”.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Maggie knows that Trump is passive-aggressive in a big way. It’s how junior sons deal with overbearing fathers and big brothers who are in their way to power and glory. She knows he is sociopathically resentful of authority. Flouting the rules flouts authority and makes him feel more powerful than he is.

    A more obvious aspect of his personality is that he loves to crime and deceive, in big ways and little, yet another way to stick a shiv in the authority he resents, whose rules make it harder for him to achieve anything and which he would blame for any error or lack of achievement. (As opposed to living off the achievements of others, as in manipulating his father’s will to give himself the lion’s share of the proceeds, and living off grifting donations from others.)

    Being deceitful is his defining characteristic, which means he’s always on the lookout for things to use and abuse against others. The secrets and paperwork of the presidency is a gold mine to a miser.

    But Donald remembers enough of his tutelage from Roy Cohn to never leave a paper trail. When that’s impossible, as in the presidency, a good substitute is to leave a huge paper trail. It disguises what you really want to hide (as in the ABC Murders), and makes the hiding of it both open and seem like nothing but a personality quirk, yet further disguises for such a ferociously passive-aggressive man.

    None of this is new to Maggie Habs: she grew up amid power and access hungry New Yorkers. She just doesn’t want anyone else to know, which seems rather passive-aggressive.

  11. Willis Warren says:

    She’s so dumb she doesn’t get his rant about toilets being low flush is because he was flushing his love letters from Putin

  12. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    On the merits of grumbles comment, I learned about access journalism from some years of reading EmptyWheel. Maggie H is the embodiment of that brand. Trump and others around him know she appears to be unfriendly, but she plays the game according to their rules, so she gains access in exchange for mouthpiecing their spin. She gets high billing on NYT and prestigious TV gigs, all the while appearing to be unflattering to the subject of her faux analysis. Haberman is selling a planted story that Trump merely had a paper shredding fetish.

    EmptyWheel is the opposite of that. The analysis here is based on facts gained from hard research. Marcy is beholden to no one. We are not getting played here. Marcy doesn’t sell her soul for a scoop.

    The point of this article: Haberman’s abject failure to mention the obvious – obstruction – informs us that the Trump team has accepted the demeaning crazy uncle depiction as the price for steering the mass audience away from considering that 20+ boxes of documents contained a substantial amount of material that was stolen for the purpose of obstruction, if not bribery and espionage.

  13. atriana smith says:

    Wouldn’t most of the docs he kept have had electronic originals? If so, what happened to them?

    Haven’t seen anyone mention this….

    • nord dakota says:

      Melania is still trying to explain NFTs to him, or he would have those (which probably makes it embarrassingly clear what a poor grasp I have on the very notion of NFTs)

      • bmaz says:

        Yeargh, along with “woke” and “wokeness”, I don’t really understand NFTs either. They seem less secure and capable than cryptocurrency. If that is even possible.

    • MyUncleFred says:

      May or may not have. But what it appears that he’s accused of stealing is the paper copies. In most cases, having a digital copy held be the Government does nothing to eliminate the risk of copies floating around, especially in the hands of sociopaths. And it makes for one more thing to monitor to prevent secrets from being spilled.

      • bmaz says:

        Exactly. Is it a defense, and one that would likely be affirmatively advanced, yes. It is not a good one though, nor one likely to have any success.

  14. Sue 'em Queequeg says:

    “Maggie’s an expert of Trump’s narcissism.” I certainly hope you’re not suggesting it’s a case of game recognizes game. /s

  15. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Over the years I have developed an awed respect for the NYT spin ability as I have read their propaganda on topics with which I’m familiar. Always surprising how they manage to sort of report the news but also obfuscate. Sometimes it’s with paragraph placement, sometimes simple word choice, oftentimes, as here, with shifts of focus. The creativity is impressive.

    If one reports that there was a lion in the neighborhood and may even have attacked the home, but leaves out the part where the lion was in the living room with two young children in its jaws, isn’t that a form of lying?

    For people who aren’t aware, there is a web of interconnections twixt Haberman’s family and Trump entities, and I think there are Russian influences in there? That Citizen Journalists website (sorry, I can’t websurf right now) reveals much, including exposing a gaslighting public exchange between MH and a friend in which they paint a fictitious picture of hardworking everywoman with kids in a minivan filled with crumbs.

    In my mind, MH is never to be taken at face value..

    • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

      Everything in journalism exhibits a conscious decision and is a potential point of bias (MANY biases!). What gets covered, what gets written, what doesn’t get written (or written about), how the (once upon a time) sub-editor writes the headline, where it is placed in a publication, how the lede is written and so on are all indicative of the deliberative nature of journalism.

      All three NYC newspapers indulge in this little dance they all perform (yes, even the NYT) to obtain information on The Donald though they do it to different extents with the Times being the least toadying through the Daily News and on up to the toadying and sycophantic Post.

      In fact, if you go to the Post’s main page right now (just thought I would for a look see) there is barely a peep about The Donald:

      Nadler beats Mahoney (Mahoney cries misogyny)
      Healthcare worker drowns during a Facebook livestream
      13 year old girl charged in fatal beating of a cabbie
      Biden set to cancel $10k of student debt – and what it will cost you
      Rich mom accused of throwing bigoted party by NY fireman denies being racist (BIG spread)
      New Yorkers are still waiting to see if Kathy Hochul is Cuomo 2.0 (Op ed)
      Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck enjoy boat ride during Italian honeymoon HUGE spread/Exclusive Photos)

      Oh and one about The Donald:
      Trump celebrates ‘ALL’ endorsement wins in primary: ‘Great candidates!’ ) This is apparently an ‘own’ of him endorsing some D candidates)

      As you can see what you DON’T print can be as powerful as what you DO.

  16. WilliamOckham says:

    When thinking about potential obstruction, it’s a good idea to go back to what the FBI was authorized by a judge to seize:

    All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071, or 1519, including the following:
    a. Any physical documents with classification markings, along with any containers/boxes (including any other contents) in which such documents are located, as well as any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes;
    b. Information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material;
    c. Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021; or
    d. Any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.

    [Emphasis added]
    That’s three laws and four types of items. How should we map the four types of things to be seized to the three laws that the search was predicated on? Types (a) and (b) are related to 793. Type (c) is 2071. Item (d) is exactly how you would describe obstruction of NARA. However, the emphasized bit above could be used to seize evidence of obstruction of other investigations, so there’s that.

    Now, let’s look at the list of stuff seized and allocate each item to one of the four categories, keeping in mind that any of those items could have been seized under the “collectively stored or found together” proviso.

    Item 1 (the Roger Stone pardon), I assign to Type (b) because of the 1A line. YMMV
    Items 2,10,11.13, 14, 15,19, 23, 25, 26, and 28 are clearly Type (a).
    Item 3 is Type (c)
    (Let’s leave aside Item 4 for now)
    Items 5, 6, and 7 are interesting. For now, I’m treating them as potential Presidential records and/or found in the leather bound box.

    Now we get to the labeled boxes (A1 – A73). If the A signifies that they were found in the store room (very likely based on what our host has shown wrt Schulte), presumably any of the 73 or more boxes could have been seized pursuant to the “collectively stored” proviso. However, the FBI didn’t seize all of those boxes. Here’s the breakdown:

    10 boxes had classified documents and were seized on the CLASS receipt. (Type (a))
    10 boxes w/o (known) classified documents were seized on the CLASS receipt. (?)
    5 boxes w/o (known) classified documents were seized on the SSA receipt. (?)
    48 boxes w/o (known) classified documents were not seized.

    The most interesting question to me is why were those 15 boxes seized while 48 (or more) boxes weren’t? That’s a lot of potential obstruction.

    • MyUncleFred says:

      Your knowledge of the law seems clearly superior to mine. And, all you say fits in the framework that has been discussed here.

      However, there is one thing that bothers me about “b: information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material;”

      Item a references documents specifically. Item be defines non-document forms of communication. I would, based on my sorry background, typically consider this to be an opening to get at electronic records, generally digital (but could be analog recordings). None of the receipts reference digital materials. None of the reporting has suggested that there was an attempt to seek out and/or access computers/phones/tablets/routers/servers/phone records/etc.

      So is the verbiage as noted in the warrant typical legal language that expands the search by subject matter rather than media? Or, is be an expansion regarding media which may be evaluated and confiscated? And if the latter, is there anything to learn from whats been reported regarding b?

      • Savage Librarian says:

        If you look at item #7 on the January 2021 tab from the website below, you can see that a document can be a videotape. Documents are much more than paper, apparently. Those videos taken on January 7 might be of particular interest to Trump. However, the FBI may not have the same definition of document. Or it could be a convenient way for them to obscure video, etc.

  17. Vireo says:

    The NYT has been derelict ever since they falsely reported on the eve of the 2016 election that the FBI had concluded that there was no Trump-Russia connection (reporting which helped elect Trump), after Mother Jones correctly reported that the FBI had found said connection. Their coverage since then has been the epitome of both-sidesism and worse than useless. That’s why I read emptywheel! And WaPo, which has run circles around the NYT for everything Trump-related.

  18. Alberto the Adequate says:

    Sometimes I wonder if the Trump circus isn’t a co-operative venture by all the establishment players to make sure we are distracted by so much bullshit that there isn’t any focus on kitchen table issues that actually make a difference in our lives.

    [Enough. This is your TENTH username since your first comment in May 2022. You have been told repeatedly to use the same username and not sockpuppet. You’re done./~Rayne.]

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