Tucker’s Putin Envy

There was a part of the Global Threats Report presented to both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees last week that deserves more attention. In the middle of the section on Russia’s influence operations, the report predicted that Russia will “try to strengthen ties to U.S. persons in the media and politics in hopes of developing vectors for future influence operations.”

It is the judgment of the intelligence community, per the report, that Russia is trying to cultivate “US persons in the media and politics” as part of its foundation for future influence operations.

Russia presents one of the most serious foreign influence threats to the United States, because it uses its intelligence services, proxies, and wide-ranging influence tools to try to divide Western alliances and increase its sway around the world, while attempting to undermine U.S. global standing, sow discord inside the United States, and influence U.S. voters and decisionmaking. Moscow probably will build on these approaches to try to undermine the United States as opportunities arise. Russia and its influence actors are adept at capitalizing on current events in the United States to push Moscow-friendly positions to Western audiences. Russian officials, including Putin himself, and influence actors routinely inject themselves into contentious U.S. issues, even if that causes the Kremlin to take a public stand on U.S. domestic political matters.

  • Moscow views U.S. elections as opportunities for malign influence as part of its larger foreign policy strategy. Moscow has conducted influence operations against U.S. elections for decades, including as recently as the U.S. midterm elections in 2022. It will try to strengthen ties to U.S. persons in the media and politics in hopes of developing vectors for future influence operations.
  • Russia’s influence actors have adapted their efforts to increasingly hide their hand, laundering their preferred messaging through a vast ecosystem of Russian proxy websites, individuals, and organizations that appear to be independent news sources. Moscow seeds original stories or amplifies preexisting popular or divisive discourse using a network of state media, proxy, and social media influence actors and then intensifies that content to further penetrate the Western information environment. These activities can include disseminating false content and amplifying information perceived as beneficial to Russian influence efforts or conspiracy theories. [italicized bold original, underline my emphasis]

This is not new news. Obviously Russia has been cultivating both journalists and politicians in recent years, often by inviting them for big shindigs in Russia, after which, over the course of years, they come to spout more and more Russian propaganda uncritically.

It’s is noteworthy that the IC stuck this detail amid discussions about election interference and Ukraine mobilization, because Russia has had renewed success of late getting entertainers and politicians to magnify inflammatory and often false claims about Ukraine.

The judgement came out the same week that Tucker Carlson (whose Ukraine invasion anniversary special was breathtaking even by his standards of propaganda) provided more details of the time, in summer 2021, he was informed that the NSA had discovered his back channel contacts to Putin.

The story starts when Tucker squeals that he’s envious of the podcasters because they got to go to Russia, but he might be arrested if he went. Throughout the show, his interviewers operate on the assumption that Russia is the threat to Tucker, but he suggests State or FBI is.

Tucker: Now I’m envious.


Full Send: But everyone told us not to go obviously, but. We knew we were with good people. So after that, it was all good, but.

Tucker: Oh, I want to go. I’ve never been there!

Full Send: You feel it though, it is real scary. There’s like military checkpoints.

Tucker: Oh yeah!

Full Send: It’s … it’s serious shit.

Full Send 2: Would you have gone with him or no?

Tucker: I can’t go to Russia. I honestly think I would be arrested.

Full Send: Yeah, they get you.

Tucker: Which is outrageous because, I’m a journalist, and I’ve been all over the world. I feel like I’ve been everywhere except Russia. And Russia is a combatant in a war that’s changing the world, and like I should go see it. And I was planning it and then I got stopped by the US government from doing it.

Full Send: Oh, you were gonna go? What were going to do?

Tucker: Interview Putin. Why wouldn’t I?

Full Send: You had it set up? Damn!

Tucker: I was working on it and then they broke into my text messages — the NSA broke into my Signal account, which I didn’t know they could do —

Full Send: Oh so Signal’s not even safe!

Tucker: Signal is not safe. It’s not safe. Signal’s not safe.

Full Send: I know people think WhatsApp’s safe.

Tucker: WhatsApp?!?! WhatsApp is not — you know what’s safe? And ask any mafia Don. Park your car in front of the liquor store. Leave your phone in the vehicle, in your Caprice Classic, and walk out behind the liquor store, in the vacant lot back there with the WINOs, to talk to the person you want to talk to.

Full Send 2: How many times have you done that?

Tucker: Zero. Cause I’m like lazy. I’m like whoa! And I’m — actually I always say to myself, I’m not hiding anything. I don’t have a secret life. I’m pretty upfront. And some people like it and some people don’t. Of course, but, I’m not hiding anything. But I was definitely hiding my plan to go interview Putin, just because it’s an interview. It’s no one’s business.

Full Send 2: So how did that happen? How do you know the NSA broke into your Signal?

Tucker: Because they admitted it.

Full Send: Really?

Tucker: Oh yeah!

Full Send: Can you tell us about it? Like how did you find out?

Tucker: I got a call from somebody in Washington who’s — who would know. Just trust me. So I went up there for another reason. But this person said, you know, you going to come to Washington anytime soon? This was a year and a half ago, and I was like, yeah, actually I’m going to be up in a week. He’s like, meet me Sunday morning. So weird. Like, who does that? Just text me, you know what I mean? Just text me. No. So I go and this person’s like — and this is someone who would know — Um, are you planning a trip to go see Putin? This was the summer before the war started. I was like, how would you know that? I haven’t told anybody that, I mean, anybody. Not my brother, not my wife, nobody. Just because, you know, it’s one of a million things you’re working on, but that was one of them. I want to go interview Putin. Why wouldn’t I want to go interview Putin?

Full Send 2: Of course.

Tucker: I want to interview Xi, I want to interview everybody. Right? That’s kind of my job.

Full Send: We want to get Kim Jong Un on here one day.

Tucker: Of course! Of course! We met him.

Full Send: You did? We gotta talk about that. Holy shit.

Tucker: Yup. Super interesting. But anyway, um, how would you know that? Because NSA pulled your texts with this other person you were texting. How did you know that? And so I immediately, I was intimidated, I’m embarrassed to admit, but I was, I was completely freaked out by it. I called a US Senator, who I know — not that well, but it seems like a trustworthy person, and I told him the story, I just want to tell you this, and then I went on TV on Monday and I’m like this happened. And so they had — Congress asked NSA and NSA’s like, yes we did this, but for good reason. What would be a good reason to read my — you know, what? But the head of NSA, it’s fine, cause everyone’s in on it, Republicans and Democrats are all in on it. And by it I mean the assumption that there’s no privacy whatsoever, that they have a right to know everything you’re saying and thinking,

Full Send: That shit’s scary.

Tucker: And that’s just not a right as far as I’m concerned. By the way, if you have no privacy you have no freedom. [my emphasis]

Parts of Tucker’s commentary provides more detail on the incident than previous reporting did, which I covered here and here. As Jonathan Swan reported, the IC collected communications showing a back channel effort to set up a meeting with Putin.

Tucker Carlson was talking to U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries about setting up an interview with Vladimir Putin shortly before the Fox News host accused the National Security Agency of spying on him, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.


The intrigue: Two sources familiar with Carlson’s communications said his two Kremlin intermediaries live in the United States, but the sources could not confirm whether both are American citizens or whether both were on U.S. soil at the time they communicated with Carlson.

  • This is relevant because if one of them was a foreign national and on foreign soil during the communications, the U.S. government wouldn’t necessarily have had to seek approval to monitor their communications.

On Maria Bartiromo’s show in 2021, Tucker pointed to what was undoubtedly reporting done in the wake of his initial story — quite likely Swan’s own story (indeed, Tucker could well be one of Swan’s two sources) — and claimed it was proof the NSA was leaking information about him.

In the Bartiromo appearance, Tucker spoke in terms of a single email arranging an imminent trip to Russia.

In last week’s podcast, in addition to reiterating that Tucker is not trying to hide anything but oh yeah he was trying to hide his back channel to Putin, even from his spouse, Tucker adds two details: After he learned about it, he reached out to a (male) Senator to look into it, and the communications obtained include Signal texts, not just a single email.

In the past, I had suggested that Tucker’s tipster might be a member of Congress — a Gang of Eight member like Devin Nunes or Kevin McCarthy — or someone close to them (like Kash Patel). The fact that Tucker called a Senator in response (then Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio would make sense given the details he provides), and not someone he was closer to like Nunes, makes it more likely his initial tipster had a tie to the House. The focus on the Senate response may suggest this came up again in the Global Threats hearing, during the closed session.

The detail that, per Tucker, in addition to the email he sent about arranging a then-imminent trip to Russia, they also got Signal texts is more interesting, but it doesn’t mean he was the target or that they broke into his phone.

It does suggest that there could have been two different tracks going on: the discussion, over email, about a trip to Russia, one his producer knew about, and another more sensitive discussion going on via Signal.

We do know, however, that Tucker hasn’t hidden past interview preparation. Indeed, his outreach to Viktor Orbán was quite overt and gleeful. So his explanations about why he would want to hide preparation for a Putin interview don’t hold up.

Remember: When Tucker sent his now former investigative producer to try to FOIA this information from NSA (via a FOIA that was guaranteed to fail), he asked for 30 months of data, going back to January 1, 2019. That’s more than a single email to set up a meeting with Putin.

Rather than taking this as a tip that the back channels via which he was (at least) trying to set up a meeting with Putin are considered — even by Republican Senators — legitimate intelligence targets, possibly Russian spies, Tucker has instead spun up conspiracy theories. And that has, in turn, led him to suggest he faces a bigger threat from the US State Department than he would from Russian military checkpoints.

Update: On Twitter, MD suggested that Rand Paul may have been the Senator Tucker approached, given that he wrote a letter to General Nakasone. It’s an interesting possibility, especially given Russia’s cultivation of Rand and his father as well as the suggestion that whatever Senator he approached was ultimately satisfied with the explanation.

110 replies
  1. Njrun says:

    There’s an easy way to determine who is spouting Putin’s talking points. The things Tucker, Greenwald, Taibbi, et al, say are regularly quoted approvingly on Russia media, or echoed by Russian pundits.

  2. rattlemullet says:

    Well other than seeing John Stewarts humiliation of Carlson many years ago, I have never heard any of his fox screeds. With all the Putin envy going around I don’t see anyone moving to Putin’s promise land of freedom. Must have a fear of windows. My only hope is that Dominion or the free market will remove him from the blue god.

      • rattlemullet says:

        Television. Back when I lived in Dickerson MD, riding the rural roads at night in the early 70’s televisions produced a blue light glow emanating through the windows. We deemed it the Blue God”

        • Rayne says:

          Please avoid using such obscure or highly local references without definition in the same comment. “Blue God” is more commonly used in reference to a strain of cannabis or a Hindu deity.

          No replies needed — please get back on this post’s topic which is Tucker Carlson.

    • earthworm says:

      yes, does anyone have data on how many Americans have left for Russian Federation?
      Why do tankies such as Carlson praise a leader or system they do not want to live under?

  3. Ida_Lewis says:

    Tucker Carlson is America’s answer to Edward VIII. If only we could send him to Bermuda for a while.

  4. GSH says:

    This whole thing reads like a Lee Child’s novel, way scarier if you let your imagination run loose.

    • Rayne says:

      Other way around — it’s so bloody obvious even a high-volume fiction author could write this. Carlson has such a bloated sense of self he yields easily to his own hubris and makes no real effort to think about what he’s doing, a total lack of imagination employed.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That’s not what Rayne wrote. And why the back channel exists is a different question than why he used it, when he didn’t feel a need to use it with earlier suspect trip(s) to Russia.

  5. David F. Snyder says:

    Isn’t it past time for someone to take Tucker off air? (“I’m just asking questions!”)

    Seriously, is it a universal given that in order to get access to insider information that the media must agree to be mouth pieces for their sources’ spin/propaganda/misinformation? Or am I just being curmudgeonly?

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Who’s going to take him off the air? Not his bosses, the Murdochs; Carlson makes them lots of money. And we better pray not the government, or we’ve got bigger problems than his stupid show.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    How handy that Tucker can call up a Senator or Representative and get detailed information about his own predicaments not otherwise known to the public. Seems worthy of investigation.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      I thought I detected an odor of bs wafting off his way of describing it:

      I called a US Senator, who I know — not that well, but it seems like a trustworthy person, and I told him the story,

      Sounds like just an average joe rather than a manipulative power broker with tentacles extending into government.

  7. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Does anyone see a problem with the following model of journalism: avoid pissing off sources to maintain access and avoid pissing off audience to maintain reach.

    But my feeling is that this situation runs deeper than adhering to perverse motivations in order to be a successful business. Fox News created their audience and molded their expectations, stirring up a hatred of “liberals” and “government”. From their inception they appealed to survival instincts to build the brand, depicting “liberals” and “government” as existential threats. Fox News willfully created the situation in which anything seen by their core audience as treating evil, cheating Democrats as legitimate would be received as unAmerican and a fundamental betrayal.

    When looking for motivation, the question is why Fox News created this worldview in their audience from the beginning. From the outset Fox News sought to stir up anger and hatred, to create a polarized society–they are to journalism what Newt Gingrich was to politics. Who was behind this assault on US society and politics? Was it the Russians from the beginning? Was it the Saudis? (In 2010, the second-largest holder of voting stock in News Corp. was Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king.) Was it because the obscenely rich are always at war with the people they want to exploit? Was it because of the ideology of Rupert Murdoch? I don’t know the answer to this question, but there is surely a straight line from Fox News and Gingrich to the current right-wing embrace of Putin.

    When I see people acting crazy, spewing Russian propaganda irrationally and predictably, I always wonder whether they are compromised. In any case, Carlson is just another cog in the Fox News wheel–he didn’t start this show that he now stars in.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      “Does anyone see a problem with the following model of journalism: avoid pissing off sources to maintain access and avoid pissing off audience to maintain reach?”

      This reminds me of Alastair Cooke’s story of advice given to him by H. L. Mencken:
      “Never accept a free ticket from a theater manager, a free ride from the chamber of commerce, or a favor from a politician”

      Cooke added to this anecdote: “He lived absolutely by this rule. He wanted to have his say, and he knew that a very gifted man who isn’t interested in money is very hard to tame.”

      We could add that those who are interested in money are easy to tame. Or even own.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      My understanding is that Roger Ailes was the force behind Fox — Murdoch was the money. Ailes, who cut his teeth in Republican campaign politics, had the vision that Fox would be a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. IMHO, Fox was always supposed to create and reinforce this worldview in its viewers. And now it appears that Fox can’t break away from that even if any of its entertainers/management wanted to.

  8. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    My oh my. Just what would Glenn “no collusion is a fact” Greenwald have to say about all this?

  9. Surfer2099 says:

    I’m currently waiting to see Tucker’s show advocate for all Trump supports to withdraw all their funds at the bank in order to put more pressure on causing a financial collapse. Anything to help out a friend!

    • FL Resister says:

      We are reaching a level of absurdity where cognitive consonance is a survival tool well worth developing.
      Psychopathic rich boys with the loudest microphones and most expensive tech toys are poisoning systems that were built with safeguards and checks and balances to protect the public from deleterious effects of their careless stupidity, hubris and venality.
      This week Elmo, as Marcy calls the guy who thinks he controls Twitter, saw what hot gossip can do to a bank.
      Pence popped up his bright silver head with insipid remark about holding Trump accountable. Now that’s hilarious. Har-Har lawd!

    • Theodora30 says:

      I seriously doubt that an heir to the Swanson Foods empire would want to see the markets collapse. Tucker surely has huge amounts of money invested in the US stock market.

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    If a Kremlin intermediary had dual or multi citizenship, and lived in the US but was in another country in which he had citizenship when communications with Carlson took place, you’re saying that the US Government wouldn’t necessarily have had to seek approval to monitor their comms, right?

    And would this also hold true even if one of his multi citizenships was in the US?

      • NoCal Carlo says:

        The U.S. government does not prohibit its citizens from having dual citizenship . . . unless that person wants to work in certain sensitive areas. A friend of mine had dual U.S. / Australian citizenship, and she had to renounce her Aussie citizenship in order to work (as a civilian) on a sensitive DOD project.

        • Marinela says:

          Same here. To get Security clearance on the company I used to work, they ask I renounce my Romanian citizenship. I could refuse, but I would not be able to get the security clearance.

          I think the “other” country may allow you to revert your decision.

        • bidrec says:

          During the Vietnam War there was at least one case of an American veteran going to France to visit his mother’s family and being drafted by the French to satisfy his military obligation as a French citizen.

      • Shadowalker says:

        Depends on the other nation. Canada allows it. Germany on the other hand, revokes upon naturalization completion, plus I think they require formally renouncing any other citizenships should a foreigner wish to become a German citizen.

        • matt fischer says:

          It’s not quite so clear-cut with Deutschland. I have family and friends who claim both American and German citizenship, and carry both passports.

        • Shadowalker says:

          It never is. There are exceptions to this rule which are done on a case by case basis. What those exceptions are is not exactly clear.

          “ In addition, they must give up their previous citizenship. In certain cases or for certain groups of persons, however, multiple nationality may be considered.”

      • RJames0723 says:

        I’ve always been a bit unclear on this and decided to do a quick Google on the matter. Seems the SCOTUS ruled in Perez v. Brownell (1958) that a person could lose their US citizenship if they voted in a foreign election, among other things. This ruling was overturned by Afroyim v. Rusk in 1967. Being quite young when this all happened, I now know where my confusion originated.

      • punaise says:

        News to me – I hold two passports.

        [and a couple of visas
        You don’t even know my real name]

      • whocansay says:

        Also, I read somewhere years ago if you enter a third country on your non-US passport you will be refused US consular assistance or aid should the need arise. Fair enough.

        • punaise says:

          Can’t speak to that, but customs / immigration and the airlines frown upon juggling passports at points of entry and departure. Best to travel abroad with the US version, since (in my case) entering the US with a French passport would be problematic for residency matters.

      • Theodora30 says:

        Dual citizenship was forbidden until the Supreme Court struck down laws that forbade it. I know several people with dual citizenship.

      • Dirt Lane says:

        One of my daughters has U.S., Italian, and Moroccan citizenship. Another has U.S. and Italian.

    • Thorvold says:

      If the targeted person had US citizenship, or dual citizenship where one of them was US, then that person would be considered a US Person for targeting purposes and could not normally be targeted under EO12333 authorities (what is normally used for collection of foreign communications outside the US). With authorization, they might still be subject to collection under other authorities like FISA 702 (like Carter Page) but that would be something that would have to be approved on a case-by-case basis. If they do not have US citizenship or a Green Card, then whether they were on US soil at the time of the communication would be the only consideration. On the other hand, if they are an acknowledged Kremlin intermediary, then they would be considered an “agent of a foreign power” and the rules change quite a bit and they are very likely to have been intentionally targeted for intelligence purposes.

      If they are foreign and were targeted and a they got a text/email from an unknown source (in this case Tucker Carlson), then until it is determined that Tucker is a US Person, the text is fair game to be collected and analyzed. This is called “incidental” collect, because the US Person is not the target. The government would not be allowed to intentionally target a foreign person to get the US person’s information, (called reverse targeting), but that does not appear to be what happened here.

      • emptywheel says:

        Page was targeted under traditional FISA, not 702.

        And the IC is free to read TUcker’s comms whether or not his interlocutor knew who he was, if they were targeting the other person. Indeed, that’s the point: If you target a Russian spy you want to know who he’s trying to recruit.

        • Thorvold says:

          When I was talking about a communication from an unknown source, I meant unknown from the government’s point of view. You are correct that it wouldn’t matter whether the target knew who it was. Once Tucker’s identity was known, then they would have to minimize any reporting that contained his name and potentially customize their queries to exclude his messages, but the comms themselves would still be fair game for collection. Even if there was an e-mail exchange with Tucker, if the analyst managed to filter it to only show the target’s half of the conversation, then they could still read and report on it.

        • emptywheel says:

          They could still read it even if they knew it was Tucker, but yes — if it were the NSA, and not the FBI, they would have to minimize his name.

  11. GKJames says:

    Is “meeting with Putin” doing an interview with him for subsequent broadcast, or something else?

  12. DRK says:

    Is it just me, or does Tucker sound like an excited high school sophomore who’s just giddy about hanging out with the captain of the football team?

  13. e.a. foster says:

    wonder what Tucker Carlson would do if his followers “abandoned” him?
    When I first noticed T.C. on T.V. my first thought was, this man is not “normal”. Its all about him and how he benefits.
    He reminds me of people who don’t care what they do to make money, as long as they make money.

    His interest in interviewing Putin is “entertaining” but really does Putin want to be interviewed by him.

    Carlson might want to be careful who he gets into “bed” with. sometimes you can die of diseases when you are no longer useful. Carlson is flapping his gums about a lot of things that simply makes him look stupid. Of course as some one noted he makes his employers a lot of money. Sort of like a trained seal except more dangerous.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      What would Tucker do? Morph into whatever persona was most popular and profitable. He’s not really that hard to figure out.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        To wit: the history of the Daily Caller. Tucker Carlson’s salient characteristic seems to be his plasticity.

    • rip no longer says:

      How is that different than some of the other mares in putin’s stable: trump, (r)epuglicans, OAN, Washington Times/Examiner?

      They’re all dispensable messengers that may have a quick removal from usefulness.

  14. Peacerme says:

    I was just on tic tok the other night. They had Putin’s speech from 2/25 on the thread. Nearly 10,000 comments saying “at least he believes in god and goes to church.” Saying “he’s more trustworthy that our govt.”, saying “that the west and Ukraine want to destroy Russia.”

    Very disturbing. While I am inclined to believe that it’s mostly bots it’s scares the crap out of me that the most ignorant people of our nation are being convinced that Putin is an upstanding leader more honest and less corrupt than Biden.

    If we don’t put together a more effective way to destroy or out this kind of propaganda we are in even more trouble than I ever thought. How many people can Putin put on his team if he is reaching out directly to people in social media. Does he even need anything other than propaganda and some funding to turn the USA inside out. We need a bigger better plan to confront this.

    • P J Evans says:

      A lot of political conservatives are also religious conservatives, whether fundamentalists, pentecostalists, or straight-up theocrats. They’re not used to looking behind the facades, either.

    • Marinela says:

      I remember Putin saying that Americans are easily impressionable.
      May be true with some people, but if that would be true on a larger scale, these people that supposedly believe that Putin is better than the American government, would go to Russia.
      I bet if you count the number of Americans going willingly to Russia, compared to Russians coming to leave in the US, that math tells it all.

      But yes, propaganda is exhausting, for the rest of us that are wired with normal brains.
      What I say, if they like Putin so much, you are free to go and live in Russia. Follow your dream…

      I like to see Carlson and Trump live in Russia since they are so approving of Putin.

      What is bizarre is that republicans are labeling democrats as communists, and at the same time they promote Putin’s propaganda talking points, from a country stagnant because it’s recent communist past and mentality.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Relieving language of its meaning is what authoritarians do. It absolves them of their failures and crimes, enabling them to portray black as white, as they invent a false reality and change it day to day according to their needs. And it helps turn their constituencies from citizens into emotional followers.

        • Lit_eray says:

          Required reading to a deeper understanding: “The Origins of Totalitarianism” by Hannah Arendt. Published in English in 1951. One can substitute contemporary names and not affect the narration. It is basically three long historical essays. 1st is “Antisemitism”. 2nd is “Imperialism”. 3rd is “Totalitarianism”.

  15. Vinnie Gambone says:

    ” A cynical, mercenary, demagogic corrupt press will produce in time a people as base as itself. ”
    Joseph Pulitzer

  16. emptywheel says:

    Page was targeted under traditional FISA, not 702.

    And the IC is free to read TUcker’s comms whether or not his interlocutor knew who he was, if they were targeting the other person. Indeed, that’s the point: If you target a Russian spy you want to know who he’s trying to recruit.

  17. Arthur M. says:

    “Russia’s influence actors have adapted their efforts to increasingly hide their hand, laundering their preferred messaging through a vast ecosystem of Russian proxy websites, individuals, and organizations that appear to be independent news sources…”

    How about appearing to be independent reality TV shows?

    Mark Burnett has created reality TV shows that focused on the Mir Space Station, dividing up Americans into tribes, laundering Trump’s reputation, laundering Palin’s reputation, and of course, laundering Putin’s reputation.

    Amongst Russia’s nefarious influence actors, Tucker should probably envy Burnett.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Arthur M, your comment interested me. Burnett has succeeded in obscuring his own role in the production of “Donald Trump”–the image of a successful businessman, as opposed to the reality of Fred Trump’s oft-bankrupt son–by ducking publicity for a decade and cloaking himself in a mantle of born-again Christianity.

      Burnett still may possess material from The Apprentice that would make the Access Hollywood tape look cute and endearing by contrast. Despite many requests, he has maintained a wall of silence; obviously, Trump’s political rise served some interest of Burnett’s in addition to profiting the NBC empire beyond game shows.

      My research focuses on true crime TV as it has (d)evolved over time in response to cultural trends. I started with Dateline, lots of Dateline, intending to expand my universe beyond it, to graduate as it were. But Dateline remains my twisted fascination. Trump’s old network seems to retain a symbiotic relationship with him, Mark Burnett, and whatever “values” they could be said to stand for. And that relationship or influence seems to me to extend into the pantheon of the news division, the place where they claim we find “true stories.”

      The stories may still be “true,” but so is the footage from Jan. 6 that Tucker Carlson showed to his audience last week. The question is what has, increasingly, gone missing. I think Mark Burnett has more than a little to do with that.

  18. Harry Eagar says:

    Red Peril, Yellow Peril. To persons of a certain age, it sounds familiar.

    Yes, those Russkies are dastardly. But since the US has done a lot more than interfere in elections, it has overthrown numerous democracies, which is more than the commies have ever done, I have a hard time summoning the expected degree of indignation.

    • P J Evans says:

      You must not remember Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). Or the Baltic countries. Or Poland.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        Even when excluding the Soviet era and Ukraine, there’s the illustrative examples during the Putin regime of Chechnya, “South Ossetia” in Georgia, Belarus in 2020, and (possibly) Moldova now.

        Oh and Syria.

    • Tom-1812 says:

      Try reading about the atrocities being committed by Russian forces in Ukraine even as we speak. All you have to do is do an online search for “Russian war crimes in Ukraine” and I’m pretty sure you’ll feel more than “the expected degree of indignation.” And I’m one of “those persons of a certain age” myself.

    • Critter7 says:

      Vladimir Putin’s Russian military has invaded Ukraine. And is killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure as part of its war strategy. Have you noticed?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s not a contest. Nixon-Kissinger’s illegal bombing of Cambodia was a war crime. It doesn’t absolve Russia of its own violence and perfidy. Regardless, I would not recommend staying in Russian hotels above the second floor.

    • Rayne says:

      If you can’t tell the difference between a democratic republic, a federal semi-presidential republic under an authoritarian dictatorship, and a unitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic, you are part of the problem.

      Your lack of indignation after Bucha is likewise as telling. In short, fuck you.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Check out AP news coverage (from last year) of Russia’s deliberate targeting of medical facilities, that is, rocket attacks, day after day, week after week, on said facilities. The only reason these have slowed down is the disappearance of newer missiles from their inventory, not because they want to stop doing it.

  19. harpie says:

    2:15 PM · Mar 15, 2023

    In the span of a year, a seemingly unrelated gaggle of recently formed companies bought nine properties about two blocks east of the U.S. Capitol — all within steps of one another. // But the sales were not coincidental. […]

    Here’s the article at the Internet Archive:
    Steps from the Capitol, Trump allies buy up properties to build MAGA campus https://web.archive.org/web/20230315232126/https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/03/15/dc-maga-campus-patriots-row-meadows/
    Paul Schwartzman March 15, 2023 at 7:00 a.m

    • harpie says:

      Here’s a photo of Brandi’s coverage today [until now] on web archive up:

      1/7/21 TARRIO blames the “normiecons” for having “had no plan”:

      Now Jan 7 Official Presidents Chat.
      Stewart: The worst part of yesterday was the failure of normiecons to follow through
      Tarrio: Yep. They had no plan
      Stewart: They still expect someone else to save them

      Jan 7 Official Presidents Chat continued with Tarrio and John Stewart aka Johnny Blackbeard:

      Tarrio (appearing to speak of normies) They should have sat in. God didn’t put me there for a reason. We would still be there.
      (Recall he was arrested)

      • harpie says:

        Rehl then says: Great news, everyone should have held the capital, this is out of control. they literally are using this as a reason why they should certify fraudulent votes, its like a set up or cop out. i don’t like it.

        Mulroe: Rehl said they should have held the Capitol.
        Did Dubrowski see similar sentiments elsewhere?
        Yes. […]

      • harpie says:

        Re: MILLER’s testimony re: “1776 doc”, “Winter Palace”:

        9:03 AM · Mar 16, 2023

        […] … as far as the *govt’s* case goes, the contents of the 1776 Returns document—which describes a weird sit-in type plan for federal bldgs, but not the Capitol–is not important. The revolutionary allusion to The Winter Palace is, & there’s little doubt Tarrio got that. /14

        • harpie says:

          Brandi 12:26 PM · Mar 16, 2023:

          Using an exhibit dated 12/26 from Skull and Bones chat, Tarrio writes “-whispers- 1776”

          Then Pattis [for BIGGS] shows msg where he says Tarrio received 1776 Returns doc from Erika Flores on 12/30/20.

          The idea Pattis is trying to present here: Tarrio used phrase before getting doc from Erika.

          But that doesn’t preclude altogether the allegations that Tarrio may have written it.

      • harpie says:

        Parloff 11:40 AM · Mar 16, 2023:

        S[mith for NORDEAN]: so he [BERTINO] should have knowledge about the planning?

        [Agent]: based on my info, he was involved in the planning.

        Stewart: you know the normies stopped 25% of the way. bldg should still be fucking occupied

        S: we can infer that occupying bldg was not part of a plan? /99

        Agent: based on my review, he’s saying once the normies got into the bldg there was no plan about how to go the rest of the way. /100

        Smith arguing with agent […]

    • harpie says:

      [LMAO at these handles!]

      Bertino then sends a msg in chat talking about next steps ahead for PBs, the country:

      Joshuas Maxstud: “we arrived at major fork in road… if we go full 1776 people are going to die and lives are going to be ruined… maybe that’s what it takes, I don’t know

      Maxstud continues: “the fact that people think antifa instigated the capitol ish tells me they arent ready.,
      Bertino: This is exactly what I’m thinking

      • harpie says:

        Parloff, 11:30 AM · Mar 16, 2023:

        S[mith for Nordean]: what’s link between misinfo and the use of this meme?
        Smith begins to argue with ruling.
        Judge begins to pick up sidebar phone.
        Smith drops–doesn’t want interruption
        Mulroe [for Gov.] wants sidebar. /93

      • harpie says:

        Brandi 12:03 PM · Mar 16, 2023:

        Pattis [for BIGGS] asks Dubrowski if he knows about the book, 1984 and its meaning; I lost the thread, but in sum, Pattis is asking if the phrase the answer to 1984 is 1776 is rhetorical?

        Mulroe objects a moment later, asks for Pattis to get to something relevant.
        Kelly agrees.

        Pattis starts quoting Thomas Paine.
        Objection again. Mulroe asks for sidebar.
        Kelly says no need, tells Pattis to move on.
        12:12 PM · Mar 16, 2023: [PATTIS]: How do you think King George reacted to the Boston Tea Party? Would he have called [ i couldn’t hear it] terrorists?
        Mulroe now asks for admonition of counsel.
        Pattis: I don’t need admonition, I’m talking about this case….
        Kelly: Sir, let’s go to the phones.

      • harpie says:

        Brandi 12:03 PM · Mar 16, 2023:

        Pattis [for BIGGS] asks Dubrowski if he knows about the book, 1984 and its meaning; I lost the thread, but in sum, Pattis is asking if the phrase the answer to 1984 is 1776 is rhetorical?

        Mulroe objects a moment later, asks for Pattis to get to something relevant.
        Kelly agrees.

        Pattis starts quoting Thomas Paine.
        Objection again. Mulroe asks for sidebar.
        Kelly says no need, tells Pattis to move on.

        […] 12:12 PM · Mar 16, 2023
        Pattis: How do you think King George reacted to the Boston Tea Party? Would he have called [ i couldn’t hear it] terrorists?
        Mulroe now asks for admonition of counsel.
        Pattis: I don’t need admonition, I’m talking about this case….
        Kelly: Sir, let’s go to the phones.

      • harpie says:

        [comment in moderation before this,
        where PATTIS quotes T Paine at 12:03 PM]

        Brandi: 12:28 PM · Mar 16, 2023

        Pattis [for BIGGS] keeps trying to quote Thomas Paine and Judge Kelly reminds him 2x – “the evidence in the case, sir.”

        Pattis: The evidence in the case you’ve reviewed here would suggest they were misplaced patriots
        Dubrowski: I don’t know what that means

        Pattis: They felt their election was stolen and they used the trope 1776…
        Dubrowski says he doesn’t know how defendants viewed themselves

    • harpie says:


      Parloff: 12:16 PM · Mar 16, 2023

      P[ATTIS for BIGGS]: our founding fathers, according to Biggs, were considered to be terrorists. were boston tea party patriots considered terrorists?
      Agent: i have no info about that.

      Pattis: the “deplorables,” that’s a concept hillary clinton introduced for trump supporters?
      playing more from the Civil War podcast.
      P: when he said something sparked that, do you know what he meant?
      i assume he meant beginning of riot /115

      Brandi 12:16 PM · Mar 16, 2023

      Biggs in clip from his pod says, “Something sparked this, I don’t know who.”
      Pattis [for BIGGS] asks what sparked this means
      Dubrowski says he takes it to mean the beginning of the riot on 1/6.

      Pattis also asked a moment ago about a comment Biggs makes in pod about “deplorables”
      Hillary Clinton originated this concept for Trump supporters?
      Dubrowski: yes

    • harpie says:

      Brandi 2:14 PM · Mar 16, 2023

      Before jury came back in, Kelly told Hernandez to use the time w/govt if she wanted to confer about this issue. [re: doc she wants to introduce] He said same to Mulroe. [who has asked before for the doc to be provided]

      Neither party approached each other.
      Silence for a few mins.

      Kelly: Look at all this time we have Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Mulroe for that matter

      Hernandez grabs mic: I’m running on four hours of sleep…I’m not joking about how many ideas I can keep in my head at once…

      Kelly says nothing.
      Jury is in. Now cross resumes.


    • harpie says:

      I see I missed this while I spent a while stuck in traffic:

      5:04 PM · Mar 16, 2023

      H[ERNANDEZ]: We’re gonna end with an officer crying on the stand?
      They (the govt) knows it because it happened before. The court has the ability to control # of witnesses and evidence that is going to come in. Nothing introduced is relevant to our clients […]

      Marcy responds:
      5:45 PM · Mar 16, 2023

      This is, quite frankly, fucking offensive. An utterly central part of the way this conspiracy links to others is how Joey Biggs left the Capitol, walked around it, and reentered where his former boss had assembled a mob.

      PB lawyers don’t want to talk about that bc the witness might cry.

      The don’t want to talk about how Joey Biggs showed up to lead the mob his former boss, Alex Jones, had brought to the Capitol, into it.

      YES! Fucking offensive.

  20. harpie says:

    Today’s THREAD:
    7:21 AM · Mar 17, 2023

    […] [8:28 AM] When we left off Thursday, the govt’s final witness USCP Officer Marc Carrion took the stand to face direct examination by prosecutor Nadia Moore. He didn’t get out much testimony out due to objections from the defense. Then things took an ugly turn after the jury left.
    Hernandez told Judge Kelly that Carrion would “burst into tears” on the witness stand, iin effect, to curry sympathy and Sabino Jauregui agreed. He insisted that he heard Carrion’s voice crack like he was preparing to cry. I didn’t hear the voice crack and neither did @rparloff

    • harpie says:


      The government is poised to rest its case today and as we look ahead to next week, defense attorney Nick Smith says he expects Eddie Block, the Proud Boy photographer, to testify. But Block, who is in a wheelchair, wants to bring a service dog.

      As the court considers it (there shouldn’t be a problem), AUSA Jason McCullough says: “The government is pro-dog, just for the record.”

    • harpie says:


      Moore reframes the question – why is it dangerous to be sprayed in eyes?
      [Carrion]: Because you can’t see.

      (You gotta wonder, is the juice worth the squeeze on this for the defense. [re: constant objections] How does jury interpret these types of objections when answers still come out and are even repeated)

    • harpie says:

      Brandi at 10:08 AM

      Roots: Did you see any evidence at all that the crowd on the east side was guided by other people on the west side of the bldg?

      C: I can only say later after door was breached, we found radios and walkie-talkies and could hear conversations, basically communication happening

      R: You saw conversations happening among protesters?
      C: Yes on walkie-talkie
      R: Can you recall anything you heard?
      Hernandez objects, 403. Overruled.

    • harpie says:

      Brandi: 10:15 AM

      Jury leaves and Hernandez moves to strike all of Carrion’s testimony because, she says, none of what Carrion said was relevant to this case specifically.

      Moore: I didn’t ID [Joseph] Biggs (in the exhibit) because Carrion doesn’t know him….

      Kelly says he would have and you can see I cut off another set of questions […]
      Kelly: I’m inclined to deny it (Hernandez’s motion to strike all of Carrion’s testimony) but he will weigh it over the weekend.

      10:16 AM · Mar 17, 2023

      Kelly: Now that we’ve pivoted towards the defense’s case, I imagine you would all love to be able to start to get ready for that out of court…

      (Sounds like its rested to me!) […]

      • harpie says:

        10:15 AM · Mar 17, 2023

        Carmen Hernandez moves to strike testimony of this officer. Was never linked up to any of the defs in this case.

        AUSA Moore: In the Govt’s exhibits shown we’ve previously ID’d def Biggs, AJ Fisher, Zach Johnson, [James] Haffner, [Ron] Loerke. /58

        Judge: i’m inclined to deny your motion but will think about it over the weekend. We’ll wait till Monday for govt to rest. How do you want to proceed. Tuesday is a half day for the jury, due to a juror’s problem. My inclination is to recess & be back Monday. /59

        • bmaz says:

          Hernandez is full of it. Both sides are given latitude to “complete the narrative story”, not every bit of testimony elicited has to be specific to a defendant (although Kelly has tried to keep most of it that way). Would be surprised if this did not stay in the record.

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