Michigan’s Fake Electors’ Transcripts Limn Black Holes into January 6

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Back in January this year I looked at Michigan’s fake electors who signed a false certification of election claiming Trump won in November 2020.

All of the signatories were key members of the Michigan GOP. Two in particular were subpoenaed by the House January 6 Committee for documents and testimony: Kathy Berden, who at the time was MIGOP’s national committee person to the Republican National Committee, and Mayra Rodriguez, then MIGOP’s 14th District chair for Grosse Pointe Farms.

Among the documents the J6 Committee released earlier this week were the transcripts for these two individuals’ testimony.

Rodriguez took the Fifth Amendment more than 20 times, refusing to answer questions put to her.

Berden pled the Fifth Amendment more than 70 times.

While pleading the Fifth Amendment means only that one does not wish to incriminate themselves, refusing to provide answers in any way related to rather simple questions which might be answered by others or by other evidence can only cast doubt on one’s credibility.

The number of times each witness pled the Fifth may not be indicative of a specific problem with one witness over the other, but one might wonder if Rodriguez’s earlier testimony affected questioning of Berden a few weeks later.

The transcript for Rodriguez’s testimony was 31 pages. Berden’s testimony came in at 28 pages.

Pleading the Fifth more often may have shortened the volume of material transcribed for Berden.

Here’s a comparison of the two MIGOP fake electors’ testimony — limited to and focusing on one question in particular — which may hint at directions in which the J6 Committee was headed.

Witness: Mayra Rodriguez

Witness: Kathy Berden

Subpoenaed January 28, 2022

Subpoenaed January 28, 2022

Testified February 22, 2022 – total 28 pages

Testified March 11, 2022 – total 31 pages

Question regarding compliance with subpoena for documents

Q: Okay. So did you search for documents? Did you look in your email, for example, for any documents that are responsive to the select committee’s subpoena?

A: Yes. I looked through my emails. I couldn’t find anything.

Q: Okay. And did you look through text messages that you may have had to look for documents responsive to the subpoena?

A: I would not have received a text. So did not look through my texts.

Q: Okay. Not even a text about, like, planning or organizing or showing up at a certain date or time?

A: I don’t believe that I received a text.

Q: Okay. What about saved documents, hard copy documents, if you had any, did you look for those?

A: Yeah. I received nothing.

Question regarding compliance with subpoena for documents

Q: Okay. Part of the subpoena asks you to produce documents to the select committee that were responsive to a schedule, a number of requests that accompanied the subpoena. Did you search for documents or provide documents to your attorneys to search and produce to the select committee?

A: Yes.

Q: Okay. And did that include documents, if any, that would’ve come from your email accounts?

A: Yes.

Q: All right. I understand you have an email account that involves your name as well as [email protected]. Was that one of the email accounts you provided your attorneys with access or searched for responsive documents?

A: Yes.

Q: Okay. And I understand you have a phone number ending in [redacted]?

A: I do.

Q: Okay.

A: I’m sorry.

Q: Did you — that’s quite all right. Nope. Thank you, Ms. Berden.

Did you look at the phone that uses that number for any responsive documents or messages to provide to the select committee?

A: Hmmm?

Mr. Columbo: May we take a moment for just a second, [redacted]

[redacted] Yes, of course.

Mr. Columbo: Ms. Berden is about to explain that, you know, we conducted a forensic examination on her behalf. So you can go ahead, but, you know, you’re getting into maybe things that are technical that happened with her permission and on her behalf.

BY [REDACTED]

Q: Okay. Understood. Was the phone that uses that phone number, did you provide that or allow this examination that Mr. Columbo just mentioned?

A: Yes.

Q: Okay. Very well. And how about any hard copy documents? Did you review or look for any hard copy documents that you may have that could be responsive to the select committee’s subpoena?

A: I can’t think of what a hard copy is.

Mr. Columbo: Thing like papers.

The Witness: Oh, I — yes.

Mr. Columbo: I guess, do you want to ask for clarification?

The Witness: Clarification, please.

[redacted] Yeah, of course.

Mr. Columbo: She wants to know what you meant by hard copy.

BY [REDACTED]

Q: Yeah, sure. I guess, I’ll — the best way to do this would be by providing an example. So we’re going to be talking about several electoral college vote certificates that you signed. I imagine a hard copy of that, of actual paper, physical copy exists somewhere in the world. So did you look to see whether you had any physical copies of documents or physical documents that would be responsive to the select committee’s subpoena?

A: I provided whatever they asked.

Q: Okay. Excellent. And we did receive one audio voicemail and one image of an address label from your attorneys, and I’ll plan to go over those with you today.

There are two things in this brief partial comparison which stand out to me.

— Rodriguez was direct and concise; she is an attorney, which may have helped her form her responses. She was interviewed before Berden, which may have shaped Berden’s later interview, but not by much.

— Berden was far from direct and concise; it’s not clear if she was deliberately waffling or if she was truly as unclear about the nature of the materials the subpoena requested. The format of the hearing over Webex may have contributed to the sense she wasn’t responding directly. A lack of instruction and guidance by her attorney may have been another factor, as it makes no sense she did not understand what she was supposed have furnished since the attorney’s office did the forensic examination of her devices and other materials for her.

— Rodriguez was asked about Berden specifically, where Berden was asked about Rodriguez in the aggregate along with other electors (transcript p. 10, 18). Rodriguez didn’t take the Fifth in relation to questions asked about Berden, but did plead the Fifth about other persons.

The big takeaway for me from these transcripts was an email address. Rodriguez wasn’t asked about a specific email address, understandably since she wasn’t the MIGOP’s national committee woman.

However, Berden had an [email protected] account based on the inquiry by the committee.

Why was Berden using a Gmail address instead of an RNC.com domain email address?

~ ~ ~

One other topic which caught my eye was the difference in communications. Some of this difference could be related to their different roles in the MIGOP, could also be related to age and expectations of how they communicate, or it could reflect a difference in what investigators already knew about communications within the conspiracy and these fake electors.

The investigators asked Rodriguez about text messages.

Q: Okay. And did you look through text messages that you may have had to look for documents responsive to the subpoena?

A: I would not have received a text. So I did not look through my texts.

Q: Okay. Not even a text about, like, planning or organizing or showing up at a certain date or time?

A: I don’t believe that I received a text.

Q: Okay. What about saved documents, hard copy documents, if you had any, did you look for those?

A: Yeah. I received nothing.

Q: All right. And as we go through this, I’ll ask you certain planning or organizing that happened. And if you do think of anything, like you have an email or a text message that you can recall as we’re going through this, I would just ask that you let us know about that. And then we can work with Mr. Blake to get any responsive documents that you end up having.

And I would ask, to the extent that you haven’t already looked through your text messages for any responsive documents, that you do so there as well.

The certainty with which Rodriguez answers is odd and interesting since the investigators asked Berden about all documents but not about text messages in the way they did Rodriguez.

Further, there’s an immaculate handoff of the fake election certificate.

Investigators didn’t nail down in her deposition how Rodriguez was notified and by whom that a fake slate of electors would sign a fake certification. She had nothing in her documents, nothing by text. She doesn’t need plead the Fifth about how she came to be involved; she only pleads when it comes to the reason she was supposed to participate. She doesn’t know any key persons and doesn’t have to take the Fifth as to whether she knows them, but she was still somehow in the loop to participate in the fake slate.

Rodriguez knows there are no-shows for the fake elector slate, but knows nothing of why — we don’t learn from her why two intended electors including the former secretary of state Terri Lynn Land aren’t part of the fake slate. She does plead the Fifth when it comes to who arranged for their replacements though she knows nothing of who organized the December 14 meeting place and time for the meeting of fake electors.

Rodriguez pled the Fifth when asked if she had “any paperwork that you brought with you, namely electoral college vote certificates or affidavits?” The implication is that she has papers at this point, but she had nothing responsive later to the committee’s subpoena whether hard copy or digital.

Again, this is an implication since she refused to confirm this, but it looks as if Rodriguez had documents at the signing on December 14. Was her problem with this question that she doesn’t want to reveal she had them on arrival, or that she received them from others for her signature that day, or something else?

On page 14 Rodriguez says she didn’t “didn’t speak with anyone from out of state.” Yet on page 15 she says she was told to leave her phone in her car on December 14, she says when asked who instructed her, “It would have been a MIGOP staff member.” She volunteers the name Tony Zammit when asked which MIGOP staffer it might have been. This person may have been MIGOP’s Communications Director at the time. (Their identity needs to be solidified because there is a Tony Zammit who ran for a Wisconsin state assembly seat in 2016.)*

Rodriguez then takes the Fifth when asked if Zammit had the documents for the fake electors’ certification.

Okay, then.

There was a consciousness about phones in relation to the day the electors both fake and genuine signed their respective fake and real certification of election. As indicated above, Rodriguez had to leave her phone in the car.

Berden, however, isn’t asked about her phone’s location on December 14. She’s asked instead about a photograph of a mailing address which was found on her phone, produced and submitted to the committee the day before her testimony; Berden takes the Fifth as to why she took the photo.

The context of this question about the photo followed questions about the fake certification mailed to the National Archivist with Berden’s mailing address on it. She’d taken the Fifth about that as well.

Berden’s memory goes fuzzy about a voicemail she received from her sister-in-law who’d called to say, “I have a couple that’s very interested in going to the meeting in Washington, D.C, on January 6th.” She doesn’t recall what that was about but she recalls she didn’t “didn’t answer — re-answer her phone message.” And of course she takes the Fifth as to whether she knew about anything going on in D.C. on January 6.

Berden’s attorney mentions the investigators have the information as to when Berden received that call from her sister-in-law because they’d furnished metadata to the committee “via the electronic vendor.”

It felt like Berden’s attorney was trying to dig his client out of a hole at that point. It was pretty deep after she knew so little, pled the Fifth so much, with the little nits like the voicemail and photo proving she knew far more.

~ ~ ~

In spite of the immaculate handoff and all the stringent avoidance of self incrimination, these two witnesses and likely targets did offer up some details about the conspiracy, while the transcript gives us a peek at a bread crumb trail to find and follow the documents.

Does an [email protected] account explain consistencies and inconsistencies between the states which attempted to field fake electors, and why there are few responsive documents in hard or digital copy?

Does the same [email protected] account suggest communications between conspirators may have been conducted through foldering in a shared account?

Did the MIGOP’s office itself play a larger role — in other words this was not a rogue program run by crackpot party members but the entirety of the state party was involved in some way with only a few lone holdouts?

__________

* Sentence in parentheses added after publication; it had been dropped during editing.

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82 replies
  1. Oldtulsadude says:

    My main takeaway is that criminal investigations should be done by prosecutors rather than donation gatherers.

    • Rayne says:

      Once again, for what feels like the hundredth time, Congress does not conduct criminal investigations.

      Congress needs the truth, however, in order to determine what legislative solutions should be established to resolve the problem. That is not something the executive branch fulfills through its law enforcement function.

      These two Michiganders make it clear the lack of transparency about the certification process leaves room for manipulation, combined with insufficient penalties for interfering with or obstructing the certification process. Congress can put teeth into the ban on persons holding local, state, or federal office for this; it would have mattered particularly in Rodriguez’s case because she ran for public office recently. Other penalties need additional teeth as they may not have proven a deterrence to these conspirators.

      • Peterr says:

        And when the criminal conduct in question involves members of the executive branch, including within the Department of Justice, Congress has an absolutely critical role in investigating what happened.

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          The problem is that it requires recognition and cooperation with norms from the investigated. Without an ability and willingness to enforce its own discipline and jailing, investigations are toothless in the face of stonewalling.

          The referal for contempt goes back to the DOJ anyway. My point is simple: oversight is not investigation; it is information gathering.

          • smf88011 says:

            There is something called “inherent contempt” that I wish would be brought back. With it, the Sergeant of Arms for the different Houses of Congress can take people into custody and hold them until such a time as they are released by the Legislative body or they testify in compliance of the subpoena. I think they should be held in the SE DC jail in general population until they come clean.

            This isn’t attacking someone’s political beliefs – it is about being responsible to follow the rule of law. If someone like Roger Stone was held in Contempt of Congress and placed in SE DC’s jail, I see him running to answer any and all questions put forth by Congress just so he doesn’t have to spend another night in jail.

    • Matt Peterson says:

      At this point I prefer the information when it comes to crimes that involve politics. If prosecutors can then prove crimes great, but information vital to all of our lives only being evaluated by a small group of people feels entirely insufficient at the moment.

  2. Alan_1944h_23DEC2022 says:

    What I have a hard time understanding is why hasn’t each and every signatory to the fake Electors document already been indicted, tried, convicted, and sentenced for election fraud. It is fraud, floor to ceiling. The intent is clearly defined. What it the world is shielding them?

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security; we also have many community members named “Alan” or “Allen.” Your username will temporarily be modified with date/time of your first known comment here. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Badger Robert says:

        Maybe Attorney Smith is deciding which are the best cases and convictions of which particular defendants will have the most deterrent effect.

        • bmaz says:

          Sure. And that includes due process along the way. The DOJ has been doing what you describe for a very long time, Smith is not the fulcrum.

      • wetzel says:

        There is also the reason that either side of this investigation is only seeing a subset of fact-set. These signatories are ‘caught out’. You need the investigation and court findings to truly establish what happened, but these people are the actual ‘signatories of the sedition’, so they’re the biggest dopes in the whole batch, bigwigs at the country club but bag men for the GOP. If you round them all up, what have you gotten? They are already rounded up. They signed the fraudulent documents. What happened with their own culpability is already established, but we don’t know what was happening behind the scenes with other interlocutors, enforcers and tendrils of this conspiracy.

        I imagine there is a bracing quality to the FBI interviews ongoing or upcoming for these people. Just how did the grand old American party of Lincoln ‘snap to attention’ and coordinate this multi-state bonafide seditious conspiracy. The only people across the country able to resist Trump’s mafia psy-ops had staff lawyers who could deprogram in real time, people like Raffensberger in GA or Rusty Bowers in AZ, so there is a lack of patriotism, moral sense, or loyalty to the American constitutional order in the face of fascist transition in the GOP, and it feels like this party can’t have the government until that gets sorted out, they change their name to the Whigs and go back to civics class.

        That is supposedly an unworthy thought to have in democracy, that the other party simply can’t be allowed to have the government, because it mirrors the projection or unwillingness to be governed by the other side that they have of us, that we are illegitimate. Even after the investigation uproots this conspiracy root, stem and branch, the sociological factors supporting fascist transition in the GOP are now supported by experience, and there are powerful international and corporate actors which seem to be ratcheting pressure to keep everyone on that side in line. They aren’t going to wake up like the guards at the end of the Wicked Witch’s castle. The only possible way we will get past this is to finish the prosecution of the conspiracy. Trial by jury has a way of not only settling the facts but also settling how people feel about something.

      • trnc2022 says:

        To add to Bmaz’s vague answer, some of the signers were apparently led to believe they were forming an alternative slate in case DT’s court challenges succeeded. Still seems pretty unethical without having any support for the claims of widespread voter fraud, but probably hard to pin anything legal on any of them who didn’t otherwise engage in coup planning.

      • ThomasJ7777 says:

        The whole country has the perception that the DOJ is dicking around and stalling instead of following through with search warrants, indictments, arrests and pretrial detentions for extremely dangerous criminals that are continuing to commit crimes openly.

        I think most people on this site realize that the DOJ has had a lot of extraordinary political interference, frivolous legal challenges, and outright obstruction by an organized group of criminals with equslly corrupt lawyers.

        But it’s beginning to drag on longer than it should before we start seeing indictments. It’s beginning to look like it is more than just due process that is holding things up.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah? Then people are stupid. The last large criminal conspiracy I participated and defended had only 200-300 participants and it took three years for the top defendants to be charged. And that is extremely normal for such things. This is FAR bigger, more complex and politically fraught.

          And, again, for the record, the shenanigans and obstreperousness of the J6 Committee have been a problem for the speed of DOJ too. People that expect instant gratification on their own desires and politically motivated timelines are idiots. And, by the way, the public is not supposed to know where DOJ is and what evidence they have or don’t have, and this DOJ has been very good at maintaining that grand jury secrecy. Again, don’t listen to the howling idiots.

        • Ed Seedhouse says:

          “The whole country has the perception that the DOJ is dicking around and stalling…”

          The entire country? Really?

          Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide evidence for this, on the face of it, preposterous claim? Even if one person in your country does not have this perception your claim is thereby entirely falsified.

          I suspect all the MAGA people would not agree, for a start.

  3. Badger Robert says:

    Haopy Holidays, Rayne. And thanks for your efforts to make me a little smarter. Hopefully it is not a futile objective.

    • Rayne says:

      When I start a post like this I’m usually learning a bunch myself along the way. Always worth it and if it educates community members, so much the better.

      It’d be nice if media was a little more aggressive looking at these folks. There’s a matrix here which needs to be assembled. I want to compare more of what these two were asked with regard to who they knew/who they admit to knowing/who they plead the Fifth about but holiday obligations may keep me too busy until after Boxing Day.

      Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  4. higgs boson says:

    I think the answer to your final three questions must be “yes”.

    Gmail’s been around for over 20 years at this point, and it seems likely that every short (less than 5 or so characters) email address would have been gone after the first few years (if not months). It seems unlikely that some random person in Michigan would have gotten such a “popular” address and had it all this time. Seems much more likely that this address has been used for monkey business for quite a while.

    I’m probably being Captain Obvious here…. Sorry.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’d guess that the RNC grabbed it when it was first available, just to keep it out of the hands of would-be trouble-makers. Using it for their criming was probably secondary at the time, but became obvious later.

        • chaoslechler says:

          Hi Rayne,

          First off, thanks for everything you do here to facilitate rational discussion on the site. I hope you and your family are keeping warm on this bitterly cold holiday.

          My reading of the [email protected] reference was that it was an address that involved her name plus [email protected] (for example: [email protected]).

          That seems a more likely interpretation of how the question was phrased. I doubt that the email address was actually something as short and possibly valuable as [email protected].

    • tannenzaepfle says:

      I recall Gmail having a minimum length of six characters, even back in 2004 when it launched. A possibility is that the “Gmail” account is a corporate domain but outsourced to and hosted by Gmail. Several of my jobs have used Google suite for email, gdocs, etc. because you get enterprise protection against being hacked and nobody needs to run a server. Since the GOP was hacked before this would make sense.

      • Rayne says:

        The use of “RNC@gmail” in the interview was oddly specific, though, when dealing with an older woman who they may have thought didn’t have technical acumen.

        There’s more to this; could explain in part why there was such consciousness about phones, as someone might have known Google account holders might have location services on, and they might have know they were sharing a Google account. Hoping this is clarified along the way.

        • Chetnolian says:

          My take on the use of a precise email address question is that the questioner could have had a more deep understanding, but people, even the technically challenged, do tend to know the email address(s) they use. I see here an example of a not technically savvy foot soldier, who may only have been told “We need your signature to keep your hero in the White House”, and really did not understand much more, was being organised/manipulated by people who knew exactly what they were doing. It happens every day, usually in non-contentious contexts.

          • Rayne says:

            Yeah, nah, we’ll disagree. If you know anything about organic farming in the U.S. — which is what Berden did with her spouse up until recently — you know there’s a lot of documentation required. Farmers have to produce hard copy records, not just digital ones.

            Some of this transcript was a scam. We just don’t know how much in addition to whatever she was hiding behind pleading the Fifth more than 70 times.

  5. Perris says:

    Perris here

    It bothers me these are called “fake electors”, they’re “illegal electors”, it also bothers me it’s called “the big lie”, it’s “the insurrectionist lie” and “the disgusting lie”

    I understand the historical context of “big lie”, but most do not, and it’s far too benign.

    It also bothers me Flynn continues treachery without being recalled and explain himself in military court to face martiale

    And it bothers me Trumps lawyers documenting there was no fraud in court, isn’t included to fortify Trump’s knowledge of same

    I can’t post the link, it might be flagged as spam, but this is from court transcript, (petitioners are Lawyers representing Trump)

    “Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any fraud in connection with the challenged ballots;
    “Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any misconduct in connection with the challenged ballots;
    “Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any impropriety in connection with the challenged ballots;
    “Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any undue influence committed with respect to the challenged ballots.”

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, your opinion is noted. Pay attention to the language the right-wing uses. Use their own frames on them, ex. “fake news.”

      We could use the language of law; Michigan sees these documents submitted to supplant the true certification as fraudulent, but the right-wing doesn’t use that language when communicating with their base.

      They attempted to fake out the National Archive with their fake certification signed by fake electors. All as fake as Trump’s hair and tan.

  6. Spencer Dawkins says:

    I know this was a short post, but it helped me appreciate how frustrating the fake/fraudulent elector interrogations must have been. Did I see the same witness ask for a clarification TWICE on what “hard copy” meant, after the first clarification was “something written on paper”? I lost brain cells reading that one … 😳

    • Rayne says:

      It’s hard to tell from a text transcript versus a video how much the use of WebEx online conferencing system affected the interview.

      But I don’t believe this woman when she is vacillating about the nature of a hard copy.

      Not when she understood the situation well enough to pipe up and say “The Fifth” or “Fifth” repeatedly without hesitation, without documented help from her attorney.

      • P J Evans says:

        If they said that it’s a paper copy, then she would certainly have known if they had paper. (I learned the term “hard copy” back in the 80s, if not before. That’s when I started dealing with paper as the working version of information.)

        • Rayne says:

          Give her age and the demands of organic farming in re documentation, I feel confident she knew. I don’t understand what caused this filibustering, though. The general avoidance of both Berden and Rodriguez to commit to any knowledge of documentation makes this “hard copy” Q&A sketchy.

          • P J Evans says:

            I noticed some of them pled the 5th when asked their age and where they went to school. That seems excessive, but I’m Uncle Prickly will explain it to us.

            • bmaz says:

              Technically that is not how it works, but it is never prosecuted. And the Committee has about zero enforcement credibility, nor does Congress as a whole.

  7. Nick Caraway says:

    Slightly OT. Dahlia Lithwick of Slate notes another black hole left by the J6 committee: Clarence and Ginni Thomas. While she wrote her article based on the Executive Summary, when I did control-F word searches for “Clarence Thomas,” “Ginni Thomas,” and “Virginia Thomas,” on the main body of the document I found nothing additional. (I will humbly accept correction if I made mistakes in searching.)

    Here’s one graf that stuck out for me.

    “Instead, no matter what they may tell you about the rule of law and the need for consequences and accountability, absolutely nobody in the GOP as it is currently constituted has any interest in stopping the goose that has laid the conservative legal establishment’s golden egg. Love him or hate him, Thomas has been the single most effective jurist in modern history, and even those conservatives who deplore Trump’s incitement and violence and threats will gleefully turn a blind eye to Thomas’ ethical lapses if it means securing enduring wins on abortion, guns, massive deregulation, and ascendant corporate power. Virtually nobody who is winning at the Supreme Court in a decades-long conservative legal project aimed at dismantling environmental protections, subverting minority voting rights, and imposing theocratic supremacy is going to take seriously the myriad ethical conflicts and structural failings that plague the current court. Better to keep pretending that Donald Trump is the problem than concede that the problem is actually that both Trump and the Thomases operate as if the law is for the little people, and the law lets them.”

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/12/january-6-report-summary-clarence-thomas-ginni-ethics.html

    • Charles Wolf says:

      This is not a correction but as an old retired PI, let me say if you begin database searches with less specificity and life becomes easier. You can always increase search details to reduce the search yield.
      A search for “Thomas” probably would have instantly revealed that none of your individuals were present. It also would have revealed possible misspellings of their given names, and instances where initials or titles may have been used. For example, the terms you used would never have found “Justice Thomas” were it present.

  8. WilliamOckham says:

    [Site admin: I am currently unable to login to this site. That might be a sign of a real problem.]

    Did they really release the transcripts as PDF images without text? If no one already has, I will be doing OCR on them all.
    I might even build a database of questions and answers.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve tried opening the transcript links at the J6 committee’s site in both Chrome and Firefox — can’t search them with browser.

      I’ve downloaded them and I can’t search them using Adobe Reader.

      Community nedu has been working on OCR as well. If you have wattage to do this in volume, it’d save us some time and effort. If nedu’s up for it I can put you in touch.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        I’ll just run them all through OCR. Then I’ll make them available to anyone who wants to host them.

        It frustrates me no end that the native file format is the most rigid ASCII text structure imaginable and completely valid business requirements (mostly redactions and the need for invariance) means we get the worst possible PDF from it.

        It looks like Marcy has access to some of these with searchable/copyable text. That might be a feature of Document Cloud.

        • nedu says:

          Didn’t see this comment exchange til just now. A little bit ago, I just emailed in a revised and cleaned-up fileset of OCR’d transcripts.

          (The OCR workflow I used is described in a little more detail here. Job automation and post-processing was handled with standard *nix tools: i.e. sh, sed…)

          The OCR’d text isn’t perfect, although it may already be good enough for some tasks. I can envision a few ways to proceed. One way might be to generate another text fileset using a different OCR engine, and then diff the outputs to detect things that one or the other recognizer misclassified.

          A follow-on project might be to build a word index for the corpus… (i.e. lookup from words back to file/page/line/col numbers.)

          And finally, I don’t know if or how many more transcripts the J6 Committee intends to release…

        • WilliamOckham says:

          I’m a software developer. I’m never going to spend 4 hours doing a repetitive task like that when I can spend 40 hours writing code that does it for me.

  9. WellsBeach says:

    Re creating a searchable copy of the pdf transcripts: I downloaded the Cippolone transcript and “opened” it in MS Word 2019. The conversion took a little while and created an “uneditable” 11.7 Mb file. I then did the “create editable file” conversion (again it took a little while) and wound up with a 1.3 Mb file which appears to be mostly, if not completely intact and searchable, (273 pages). I haven’t fully explored it but thought I would pass this on for others to consider. Just came down with Covid and have a really cool attention span!

  10. WellsBeach says:

    Note to moderator: My previous post about using word may have been a little optimistic as the copy is not very intact as far as page/line numbers go. I does seem to convert the text pretty well. Delete the post(s) if you wish. Happy Holidays.

  11. BenF57DC says:

    Chairman Thompson and his committee could have forced these witnesses to testify by granting them immunity. They didn’t because such grants can poison future prosecutions. Call me cynical, but I expect the House Republican leadership to attempt to grant immunity to witnesses for the purpose of poisoning prosecutions. It wouldn’t take more than a few Republican representatives to defeat such maneuvers, so it would be an interesting test of integrity.

    • bmaz says:

      Got news, “congressional immunity is not worth shit without backup and agreement by DOJ. So that is not going to work.

  12. David F. Snyder says:

    Good noticings, Rayne. I presume the grand jury can dig deeper into some of the missing info as far as criminal aspects go, but it would indeed be good to have legislated transparency governing the process more. These are the types of shenanigans I expect to see when Texas finally flips blue (they already have happened, I suspect).

    • bmaz says:

      Would be a hell of a lot easier for DOJ to do so if the J6 Committee were not relentlessly jerking them around. So screw that Committee’s “missing info”, DOJ owes them no cleanup whatsoever.

      • David F. Snyder says:

        I agree, no cleanup is warranted. But if there’s clear evidence those, er, recalcitrant witnesses can provide that would help secure convictions, may the DOJ procure it despite the J6C committee’s stomping around.

  13. Molly Pitcher says:

    I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    Just barely got to Nashville before the ice bomb hit. -2 the first night and we finally hit a balmy 20 today !! Everything is frozen. Had 20 minute blackouts every hour to hour and a half yesterday.

    Only had a few moments to check the emails before returning to the family, but wanted to express my appreciation for everyone here. I hope you have the best of time with those you hold dear.

    I raise my mug of mulled wine to all.

  14. GWPDA says:

    All I can say here is that Michiganders are pikers when it comes to the Fifth. During her investigation, ‘Dr.’ Kelli Ward took the Fifth 250 times – including refusing to identify that she is the AZ GOP chair, and refusing to admit that she went to Duke. As one of the keymen in both the second AZ fake elector fraud and the Giulani-propelled national fraud, she’s now trying very hard to hide from Mr. Smith. (The first AZ fake elector fraud attempt was caught very quickly and was composed of a completely different collection of nutters, when the AZ Republic on 14 December reported that “Copies of the documents obtained by The Arizona Republic show a group that claimed to represent the “sovereign citizens of the Great State of Arizona” submitted signed papers casting votes for what they want: a second term for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

    Mesa resident Lori Osiecki, 62, helped created a facsimile of the “certificate of ascertainment” that is submitted to formally cast each state’s electoral votes as part of an effort to prevent what she views as the fraudulent theft of the election.

    “We seated before the legislators here. We already turned it in. We beat them to the game,” she said.

    Osiecki said she and others associated with a group called “AZ Protect the Vote” have attended the postelection rallies protesting the results, including the daylong meeting in Phoenix that included Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. She left that gathering upset that Gov. Doug Ducey wasn’t supporting the president’s efforts and she wanted to take further action. She and the others chose electors as a result.” Osiecki was paid by the Blake Masters campaign, for undisclosed work – “Masters has also paid Mesa resident Lori Osiecki, who was one of a different group of 11 fake electors. She helped create a copy of the “certificate of ascertainment” that each state submits to cast their electoral votes. Osiecki and the others, who identified themselves as “The Sovereign Citizens of the Great State of Arizona,” sent signed, notarized certificates to the National Archives purporting to be electoral votes for Trump and they also sent a copy to the Secretary of State’s Office.

    The state seal was on the cover sheet of the documents, as well as at the top of each subsequent page. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sent a cease-and-desist letter to Osiecki demanding that her group no longer use Arizona’s state seal. The state requires people to get the secretary of state’s permission to “use, display or otherwise employ any facsimile, copy, likeness, imitation or other resemblance” to the state seal, which Hobbs said the group didn’t do.

    Hobbs also referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation. Using the state seal without authorization is a class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

    Masters’ campaign has paid Osiecki $500 in “salary” and $250 for “mileage,” according to FEC filings. [AZ Mirror 1 Sept 22])

    • bmaz says:

      Heh, yes, the nutters tried very hard to paint that Guliani meeting as a “hearing”, and were pissed when local and national news would not cover it as something formal and meaningful. Even Ducey and Brnovich were not getting involved in that nonsense at the Hyatt, instead they certified the vote at the Capitol. One of the few things I will give those two credit for. Lori Osiecki is lucky it went no further, lest she be charged with a multitude of state and federal crimes.

  15. harpie says:

    Hi Rayne, please let me know if you mind me putting some O/T observations here. :-)
    [No problem with J6TL material, harpie, go for it! /~Rayne]

    From the J6C report: some context re: TRUMP’s 1/5/21 9:59 PM BIG NEWS IN PENNSYLVANIA! tweet and subsequent FALSE statement re: PENCE
    [See this comment: https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/03/03/thanks-to-your-bullshit-were-now-under-siege/#comment-924805 []

    [pdf485/845][For instance, a letter that Eastman described to Jacob as a “[m]ajor new development” on the evening of [1/5/21] [9:29 PM] January 5th contained the signatures of 21 members of the Pennsylvania Senate.254 Eastman claimed that it “now looks like PA Legislature will vote to recertify its electors if Vice President Pence implements the plan we discussed,” but the letter asked only for a “delay” in certification to “allow for due process.”255 The Select Committee learned from the most senior Pennsylvania Senate Republican [Jake CORMAN] that he signed the letter because of pressure he was feeling due to the voluminous post-election outreach from President Trump, Trump allies, and the public.256 And, he only agreed to sign a letter directed to Congressional leaders – not the Vice President – after raising in a conversation with Vice President Pence’s brother, Congressman Greg Pence, his desire to avoid pressuring the Vice President.257]

    [pdf516/845] fn254 Documents on file […] (Chapman University Production), […] (January 5, 2021, email from John Eastman to Greg Jacob with an attached letter dated January 4, 2021). In an interview given after January 6th, Eastman argued that the Vice President still should have acted on the basis of the statement of a minority of the Pennsylvania legislature because “it was over Christmas, and they were having trouble getting ahold of people to sign the letter.” [National Review link] […]

    fn257 Select Committee […] interview of Jake Corman, (Jan 25, 2022). Corman told the Select Committee that he understood the Vice President’s role at the joint session was not substantive.

  16. harpie says:

    Chris KREBS: https://twitter.com/C_C_Krebs/status/1605769648527613952
    10:38 PM · Dec 21, 2022

    Cool, cool. Just the former National Sec Advisor [FLYNN] pushing an Iranian info op to the former Acting Director for National Intelligence [GRENELL].[…] [screenshots]

    A little TL from the information in the screenshots]:
    11/10/20 Date of FAKE letter [WHY this date?], hosted by a likely Iranian website, which purports to be from Chris KREBS (CISA) to Matt GORHAM assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, which falsely claims that voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems had been compromised. This letter is the subject of communications between FLYNN and GRENELL on 12/11/20 at 3:56 PM

    11/12/20 — Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Chris KREBS starts website dedicated to debunking election-related disinformation [he is fired on 11/17/20]

    12/11/20 3:56 PM FLYNN to GRENELL: [Referencing FAKE 11/10/20 letter, allegedly from KREBS to GORHAM, hosted by a likely Iranian website.

    Ric, per our call. This needs to be kept in very tight channels. I’d like to determine if this letter is authentic. If it is, we have bigger problems than even I can imagine. Thank you. Mike
    Michael T. Flynn, Lt. Gen., USA (RET).

    Here are some of the questions J6C asked FLYNN about this:

    Q General Flynn, are you the person who sent that email dated December 11, 2020 at 3:56 p.m., as shown there in exhibit No.11?
    A The Fifth.
    Q in this email, you reference a [earlier-date/time?] phone call with him and say you’d like to determine whether the letter that you attached was authentic. Why did you say that, General Flynn?
    […Referencing letter allegedly from KREBS to GORHAM, allegedly written on 11/10/20 …]
    Q Do you know who drafted this letter that’s shown as exhibit No.12, General Flynn?
    A The Fifth
    Q Did you write this letter, General Flynn?
    A The Fifth
    Q Where did you get this letter in exhibit No.12 that you later sent to Mr. Rick Grenell in the email we just looked at in exhbit 11?
    A The Fifth
    Q Is this letter that we’re showing here authentic, meaning that Christopher C. Krebs from CISA drafted it and intended to send it to the FBI?
    A The Fifth
    Q Did anyone ever represent to you that this letter was authentic? [end of screenshot]

  17. Just Some Guy says:

    If I was deposed by anyone for any matter whatsoever, the last thing I’d want is an attorney representing me with the last name Columbo.

  18. harpie says:

    FINALLY! The answer to the change in the President’s Daily Schedule [And LOL!]

    harpiesays:
    January 27, 2021 at 8:32 am

    This is a reference to the fact that sometime after the election…I’m frustrated that I can’t now figure out exactly when, every Trump daily public schedule consisted of:

    President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings.

    Judd Deere to J6C:

    “Beginning sometime around mid to late December, the President discovered that, for the first time, my understanding, that we released a public schedule of his to the public. He wanted to change the way we did that.”

    https://twitter.com/nicholaswu12/status/1607851938304884737
    4:32 PM · Dec 27, 2022

  19. harpie says:

    From WREN’s deposition: TRUMP called RUDY on the morning of J6 and
    told him to speak at the Rabble Rousing, which had evidently NOT been part of the plan.

    10:07 AM GIULIANI Assistant [Christianne Allen] to WREN [text]:

    “Hello. Just wanted to double check that they’re in and everything is okay, question mark. POTUS called Rudy and said he wanted him to speak. And then sent me Alvaro’s (ph) contact information.”

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