Beryl Howell Held Elon Musk’s Xitter in Contempt

One of my favorite lines in the Trump January 6 indictment described how, when everyone left Donald Trump alone in the dining room on January 6, he tweeted out a tweet that might have gotten Mike Pence killed.

At 2:24 p.m., after advisors had left the Defendant alone in his dining room, the Defendant issued a Tweet intended to further delay and obstruct the certification: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

It’s just one of 19 Tweets included in the indictment:

  1. On November 25, anticipating Sidney Powell’s lawsuit invoking Dominion voting machines
  2. On December 3, magnifying Rudy’s false claims about Georgia
  3. A Tweet from Gabriel Sterling on December 4 debunking Rudy’s attack on Ruby Freeman
  4. A December 4 attack on PA’s GOP legislative leaders after they refused to reject the popular vote
  5. The December 19 Tweet announcing the January 6 protest that launched the insurrection
  6. A December 21 Tweet falsely claiming vote fraud in WI
  7. A December 23 Tweet attacking Cobb County officials verifying signatures
  8. Trump’s December 23 retweet of Ivan Raiklin Operation Pence Card Tweet
  9. Trump’s January 1 reminder about the January 6 event
  10. A January 5, 11:06 AM Tweet claiming Pence could reject the vote certifications
  11. A January 5, 5:05PM Tweet announcing “we hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office
  12. A January 5, 5:43PM Tweet reminding that the rally opened at 11AM the next day
  13. A January 6, 1AM Tweet claiming that Pence could “send it back”
  14. A January 6, 8:17AM Tweet repeating that all Pence had to do was “send them back to the States, AND WE WIN.”
  15. The famous 2:24PM Tweet targeting Pence
  16. The January 6, 2:38PM Tweet calling on rioters to “Stay peaceful!”
  17. The January 6, 3:13PM Tweet calling for “No violence!”
  18. The January 6, 4:17PM Tweet releasing the video asking people to leave the Capitol
  19. Trump’s January 6, 6:01PM Tweet about a victory “viciously stripped away”

Before DOJ could unroll the indictment in its current form, it had to have proof about who actually Tweeted out each of these.

Aside from the dining room Tweet, it’s not entirely clear he did: Several times the indictment describes Trump “issuing” a Tweet, which might involve others.

That’s probably just one of the reasons why, on January 17, Jack Smith’s team obtained a warrant to provide, “data and records related to the ‘@realDonaldTrump’ Twitter account,” with a nondisclosure order.

Elon Musk’s Twitter not only didn’t have any lawyers home to accept the request, but they balked at providing the data, which was originally due on January 27, because they wanted to tell Trump about it first.

Ultimately, then Chief Judge Beryl Howell had to hold Twitter in contempt for 3 days before it turned over all the requested data on February 9. The DC Circuit just upheld Howell on all counts — the imposition of the gag, the contempt and the fine.

We shall see, going forward, whether DOJ asked for more than that — including any DMs that Trump might have sent to the Stop the Steal crowd, whose efforts were exploding on Twitter at the time.

Update: The warrant may also have asked for information that would be useful to measure Trump’s fundraising; that’s one thing DOJ was focused on in that period (and remains focused on). The warrant also came close to the beginning of the Proud Boys trial, which DOJ kicked off with Trump’s “Stand Back and Stand By” comment.

97 replies
  1. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Well, right off the top of my head, I’d say that any Trump tweet that had three syllable words in it, both spelled and used correctly, probably wasn’t actually done by Trump himself.

    On the other hand, any tweet done in ALL CAPS, riddled with really weird syntax, punctuation, and juvenile nicknames, is much more likely to be Trump’s personal work.

    Just saying…

    Just saying…

  2. Peterr says:

    From the opinion, p. 5:

    On January 17, 2023, the government tried to submit the papers through Twitter’s website for legal requests, only to find out that the website was inoperative.

    Feature or bug? It sure makes for a nifty way to avoid being served.

    • ColdFusion says:

      Still, shouting “Nobody’s Home!” and closing the curtains isn’t a valid delay.

      (slightly updated my username, sorry will stick with it)

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Your change of username is noted, your fifth including past usernames “Coldfision0012,”Coldfusion0012,” “Thorin12,” and “thorin-.” Let’s not get in the habit of changing them as often as underwear — that’s sock puppeting. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      LOL There’s one more reason why Elmo and his cadre of financiers bought the dead bird app formerly known as Twitter: to extend the obstruction of government on behalf of Trump and his sponsors.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Next thing you know, that same cadre of financiers will be buying Trump’s golf courses in Scotland and Ireland, presumably having done as little due diligence as Elmo did in buying Twitter.

        • Rayne says:

          What makes you think they don’t already “own” them, that is to say, expect to have access via LIV?

        • scroogemcduck says:

          I had work-related reason to look into one of the Scottish course’s finances years before Trump bought it. It was losing money hand over fist, and always looked like it would only have value to a rich twit who wanted to be able to tell people that he owned it. The latest accounts show that Don Jr and Eric haven’t exactly turned it around.

        • scroogemcduck says:

          Trump bought that one from a Middle-East state-run company. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see it and perhaps others being acquired by a similar outfit.

      • TPA_Kyle says:

        I ran fast from Twitter long ago as I found it to be a cesspool of disinformation. I revisited Twitter recently and, despite having a carefully curated follow list, I was subjected to the worst of the GOP screamers in my feed. The disinfo is cranked to 11. Not going back again.

        • Fraud Guy says:

          I just follow people I like and usually respect, ignore the blue checks, except for periodic traipses through the block button when a thread is heavily polluted with dreck.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Speaking of “xitter,” did Marcy come up with that? It’s brilliant! The phonetically correct way to pronounce it is “zitter,” but it’s so close to “shitter” that that’s what comes to mind when you say it.

        • scroogemcduck says:

          It’s definitely pronounced “shitter”, as in the sentence “Elon Musk bought Twitter and made it Xitter!”

  3. flounder says:

    Now when the News-clout celebrities complain about how long the investigation took, they can train their fire at Elmo for holding things up!

  4. Peterr says:

    I think the opinion has some problems with dates, or else Beryl Howell possesses a time machine. From pages 8 and 9:

    Accordingly, the district court ordered Twitter to produce the records specified by the warrant by 5:00 p.m. on February 7, 2023. If Twitter did not purge its contempt by that time, the district court ordered “escalating daily fines” that were “designed to ensure Twitter complies with the search warrant.” Id. at 213-14.

    Twitter missed the 5 :00 p.m. deadline. Although Twitter timely produced some records, its production was incomplete. After a follow-up call with the government on the next day, Twitter produced supplemental infornation in the early hours of February 9, 2023. The district court held a second hearing on February 9, 2023, during which the court meticulously reviewed the requirements of the warrant and resolved any remaining disputes. At that hearing, Twitter made several new representations related to its production of responsive materials. See, e.g., I.A. 242 (“[Government Counsel]: This is the first time I have heard a complaint about a date limitation on IH.”); id. at 254 (“This is the first time we are hearing about another preservation between January 3rd and January 9.”); id. at 254-55 (“I have never heard of ‘fleets’ in part of any discussion that we have had …. It still will be relevant, it still will be responsive.”). Twitter completed its production at 8:06 p.m. on February 9, 2023.

    The February 9 date continues to appear in later paragraphs, but I think all those February 9 dates should be February 8.

  5. Fraud Guy says:

    [scene: completely imaginary office in San Francisco]
    Elon: “$50,000 a day, that’s nothing!”
    Atty: “Doubled, per day”
    Elon: “Still nothing!”
    Engineer: “Actually, in 2 weeks it will be about $1 Billion.”
    Elon: “What?! You’re fired! Is he right?”
    Accountant: “Yes. We’ll hit $1.5 million in 3 days. Then 3, then 6, then 12…”
    Elon: “I can’t sell more stock! Fix this!”
    Attorney: “You already agreed to the fine schedule, so all we can do is comply.”

    • Ithaqua0 says:

      I have signed up to comment, after years of learning lots of great stuff (and correcting a lot of pundit-driven misbeliefs on my part,) just so that I can tell F.G. that “Elon: “What?! You’re fired! Is he right?”” is one of the funniest lines I’ve read in years. And it sounds so… *Elon*.

    • WolverineEngineer says:

      Perhaps Mr. Musk intended to ignore the contempt fine altogether, until one of his knowledgeable employees informed him that — in one month — the fine would exceed the GDP of the entire world. (No, selling all of his Tesla stock wouldn’t cover it.) After reading about the famous wheat-and-chessboard-problem* Mr. Musk probably decided that an expeditious response would be called for. (*Alternatively known as “The Persian Chessboard” problem (Carl Sagan) or — as I just discovered — the Legend of the Ambalapuzha Palpayasam).

  6. Mister_Sterling says:

    Someone tell me Trump wasn’t angry and reckless enough to use DMs that day. Because that’s really the holy grail Smith would have wanted.

  7. DinnerAtAntoine's says:

    And there may be IP addresses, which might give location information of where he accessed twitter or where he tweeted from. Though arguably maybe more than 1 person could have been logged in as “him” on twitter.

    • Bugboy321 says:

      IP address would only be a reliable locater if it was a desktop or phone routed through wireless. Cellular GPS tracking for 911 purposes? I’m gonna guess the SP already has that, but he still has to prove it was him tweeting. That’s why the one he sent while alone is so important.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Curious that xitter raised an executive privilege claim, as a reason to avoid disclosing Trump’s e-mails, then maintained that it had no interest in the outcome, only that it be able to communicate with its account holder, Trump, so that he could raise it.

    • Peterr says:

      Who knew that Twitter was so concerned about customer service? Almost makes you think that they have some other motive here . . .

        • bloopie2 says:

          Having had a lot of contact with my cable company “customer service” team lately, I feel compelled to ask: How bad is “average” service? Until I got far enough in the weeds with my project (lining up fiber optic service to replace coaxial) that I was shunted to an outside contractor, there was little hope of getting someone who could do more than read off a script.

          It’s interesting, though, to see this “no tell” type of warrant used against Trump (yea) when all my previous readings about it had been in connection with uses against “good guys” (boo). How one’s reactions can change … .

  9. harpie says:

    […] on January 17, Jack Smith’s team obtained a warrant […] We shall see, going forward, whether DOJ asked for more than that — including any DMs that Trump might have sent to the Stop the Steal crowd, whose efforts were exploding on Twitter at the time.

    This is what Marcy wrote on January 17:


    […] Not only did the Proud Boys allegedly pursue the same plan that Trump was pursuing — obstructing the vote certification on January 6 — but they were in communication with people who were in communication, and central to, Trump’s plan: most notably, Alex Jones, Ali Alexander, and Roger Stone. They were in communication with people who were in communication with people close to Trump during the attack. […]

    [FYI – bq tags fixed, let me know if I need to edit any further. /~Rayne]

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        And for reminding us that those names have been conspicuously absent from any of the indictments. If Alex Jones and Roger Stone don’t qualify as co-conspirators, who does? I’m guessing that there’s a degree of separation from Trump, but don’t they intersect with (say) Boris Epshteyn?

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Can’t recall if this ever went anywhere…

        “Scavino’s fight with the select committee over his subpoena is not his only legal battle connected to the investigation. He sued in January to prevent Verizon from turning over his phone records to the select committee, but his effort to resist the panel’s subpoena for his documents and testimony had proceeded in near total secrecy. The lawsuit is still pending.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          While Scavino, as I’ve always understood his role, served as Trump’s gateway to Twitter (aside from those times Trump tweeted on his own, which we often recognized by their freestyle approach to language conventions), he never ventured beyond his scope as comms director. Impervious to ideas and obdurate in his defense of Trump, he doesn’t seem to have the creativity needed for conspiring.

  10. SunZoomSpark says:

    I hope my name spelling is consistent with my previous posts, and that my youtube link is appropriately formatted.

    Also, I am clearly no Savage Librarian but I here is my offering

    To the tune of Bad Sneakers – Steely Dan

    Five names that I can
    Hardly stand to hear
    Including yours and mine
    And one more chump that isn’t clear
    Trying to force me to stop talking
    So I’ll play the 1A card
    But I fear some retribution
    And life on the prison yard

    Yes, I’m clearly insane
    Trying to extend my reign
    And I’m so oh alone
    Ivanka, when will you be coming home?

    Poor speaker with
    a Penile Cremini, it’s said
    Could shoot pence on 5th Avenue
    And rape’s now so expensive
    I’m a
    Huge grifter with lots of
    maga money to spend

    You Johnny, you turning up the heat
    You think that you can gag me
    And that you have got me beat
    Do you take me for a fool
    Do you think that I don’t see
    That cell plus secret service
    That they’re prepping just for me

    Yes, I’m clearly insane
    Tying to extend my reign
    And I’m so oh alone
    Ivanka, when will you be coming home?

    Poor speaker with
    a Penile Cremini, it’s said
    Could shoot Pence on 5th Avenue
    And rape’s now so expensive
    I’m a
    Huge grifter, with lots of
    maga money to spend

    [Moderator’s note: YouTube link is fine. Your name is fine assuming you stick with this one. You have (9) comments under this name and (4) under “SunZ00mSpark” including the last one. /~Rayne]

      • MPG_10AUG2023_1059h says:

        Hey 19 years for the pearl of the corner sounds about right.

        [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. Because your username is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. This is your second username as well; you’ve previously commented as “Mainly Mike” which met the site’s standard. You may wish to revert to that name. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  11. WhisperRD says:

    Musk offered more resistance to the US DoJ than he’s done to authoritarian governments abroad asking him to shut down the accounts of opposition parties.

    [Welcome back 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. You posted last as “Rick Desper” — pick a name and stick with it. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  12. Tech Support says:

    There was a time, lo these many moons ago, when Twitter was considered a bastion of safeguarding user privacy:

    That decline began well before Elon bought Twitter, so I’m not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. However I’m willing to acknowledge that there are probably some Twitter lifers in the organization who haven’t been fired and still feel they are fighting the good fight, and also that there are legitimate 1A questions with respect to the nondisclosure orders.

  13. SunZoomSpark says:

    Will stick with o not 0.
    I must admit that Stormy’s shroom description was my inspiration

    • Fran of the North says:

      I completely missed the fungus for the forest. Thanks for helping those of us who aren’t firing on all cylinders to connect the spores to their fruit.

  14. vinniegambone says:

    The insurrection will.not be televised , it will be tweeted and DM’d. Curious that if they did find anything from this warrant that does provide links to inurectionist that none of it was used in the proud boys, oath keepers trials. Obviously DOJ had evidence sufficient to convict those now in priso without it
    Saving the best for last, I am hoping.

    Makes protective order that much more important.

  15. Peterr says:

    More fun from the appeals court opinion, pp. 30-31:

    Twitter contends that it “substantially complied with the [w]arrant” because “there was nothing [it] could have done to comply faster” after the court issued the February 7 order. Opening Br. 4 7. Twitter also blames the government for failing to clarify the warrant’s obligations. Id. at 47-48. We are unpersuaded. The district court noted that Twitter complied with the warrant “only after it had already delayed production since January 27, the original deadline.” I.A. 387 (emphasis in original). The court opined that, had Twitter “been diligent and serious in its good faith intention to comply with the [w]arrant,” it would have brought any issues to the government’s attention “on January 19, 2023, or subsequently upon review by in-house counsel on January 25 and 26, 2023, or even during ongoing conversations with the government through February 1, 2023.” Id. at 388. Instead, the court found that Twitter repeatedly represented to the court that it stood ready to comply, even as Twitter waited until after the February 7 deadline “to raise,for the first time, multiple questions about the [w]arrant’s document demands.” Id. at 387 (emphasis in original). Under those circumstances, the district court was on firm footing when it ruled that Twitter had not substantially and in good faith complied with the warrant. See Food Lion, 103 F .3d at 1019 ( concluding that a company did not substantially comply when it “did not seek a clarification” of an order requiring production or “ask for an extension” before the production deadline).

    This sounds like 3rd grader Elon blew off working on his book report, got an extension for turning it in, then on the new day it was due tried to tell the teacher that the assignment was unclear and he deserves more time to get it done, despite remaining silent during the multiple discussions in class about the nature of the assignment prior to the due date. Sadly for Elon, the teacher was unpersuaded.

  16. PJB2point0 says:

    I’d be interested to hear analysis of Trump’s latest gambit, that a SCIF be ordered constructed at MAL so he can discuss classified discovery material more conveniently. Does Judge Cannon have authority to order construction of a SCIF? Wouldn’t she need some DNI or other executive branch buy-in? If she did grant this request, would that be a propitious basis for DOJ appeal to the 11th Cir?

    • Peterr says:

      In theory, she has that authority. In practice, the fact that the docs will be available in an already in-place SCIF in the vicinity of the court is sufficient to tell Trump to pound sand.

      • Patrick Carty says:

        In my past security clearance experience, nothing is a SCIF unless the government agency involved (in this case the DoD) certifies it as a SCIF. I’ve never known that a judge of any rank has such authority.

        • Peterr says:

          True about certification. But if a judge decided that it was required for the circumstances of a particular case that the govt should be required to create a SCIF somewhere, that’s what would happen.

        • IainUlysses says:

          I think if Trump succeeds he’s gonna be shocked at how SCIF rules are enforced when he isn’t president.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Presumably, given the nature of a SCIF, it would be physically guarded at all times, whether documents were in it or not, and be extensively video surveilled, with log ins and outs, etc. All the things Trump deemed unnecessary when he held the documents there as a private citizen.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Trump’s lawyers already claim not to be able to distinguish between his access to these documents as President with his severely limited access to them as a former gubmint employee.

          They continue to seem confused about the security that existed around MAL when Trump was President with the “Come on in and spend money here!” way he runs it as a private citizen. And they continue to seem confused that the USSS detail protects his person, not his house or anything in it, except where incidental to the former.

        • Shadowalker says:

          I think that may violate constitutional separation of powers. While she may order a SCIF be setup; she cannot order the documents be stored there even on a limited basis. The 11th Appellate even hinted as much of the restrictions the courts must adhere to in matters of defense and national security in their opinion on the first appeal.

          “ The engrained principle that “courts must exercise the tradi- tional reluctance to intrude upon the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs” guides our review of the United States’s proffered national-security concerns. United States v. Zubaydah, 142 S. Ct. 959, 967 (2022)”

          This would also setup an unnecessary precedent for any future prosecutions. This is not their first rodeo.

        • Peterr says:

          A court directing where classified materials involved in a legal case need to be held is not without precedent. The Court has to make sure that both parties have appropriate access to the materials, so that a fair trial can be held. The Executive branch has to make sure that national defense information and other classified materials are appropriately protected. There have been plenty of cases before Trump ever set foot in the Oval Office where the two branches have addressed these matters.

          I *think* the compromise worked out in many a case involving classified materials is that the Executive branch continues to “own” the documents, but the court may require that they (or copies) be held in a particular place accessible to the court and the parties to facilitate the handling of the case at hand. That might be a SCIF in a federal courthouse, or a SCIF in another federal location. If it is the latter, all the cleared attorneys would also be given appropriate access to that location (i.e., on a military base, in a federal office building, etc.).

          And if the govt doesn’t make the documents accessible in a manner the judge deems to be appropriate and equitable to both parties, the govt doesn’t get to use those documents at trial. This gives the govt a strong incentive to keep the judge happy, even as they protect the classified materials.

        • Patrick Carty says:

          Yes Trump had a certified SCIF at MaL when he was president. These days he is a private citizen, not the Commander in Chief. Additionally he is charged (presumed innocent) with dozens of felonies and is out on bail. Put that on your SF86 application and see if you get a SCIF in your basement. This is just another delay tactic.

      • scroogemcduck says:

        If she did order that, I expect it would create a neverending shitshow of follow-on litigation about where the SCIF should be located and how to balance the Government’s rights against the rights of his MAL guests to enjoy their caviar and foie gras without being under constant surveillance.

      • PJB2point0 says:

        That would be excellent, thanks! I am intrigued by the separation of powers issue that would be teed up.

    • Grumble says:

      I find the SCIF argument infuriating. It sets a bad precedent to put a SCIF on the personal premises of a defendant charged with mishandling classified data.

      As to the convenience of having a SCIF on premises, the ship SS Convenience sailed years ago when it would have been convenient for Trump to not pack up boxes of classified material, or to have returned all documents voluntarily when asked, or to have returned all documents when subpoenaed. At this point, Trump’s lawyers can damn well bestir themselves to a nearby facility and Trump can damn well pay their mileage and parking.

  17. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    I’m wondering what went on behind the scenes on the Xitter side leading up to the statement by Xitter’s attorney at the hearing on the contempt motion that Xitter could comply with the warrant (and Court’s Order to comply with that warrant in order to purge the contempt) by 5 pm on the afternoon of the day of the hearing on the contempt motion. Similarly, I’m wondering what went on behind the scenes on the Xitter side after the contempt hearing, leading up to Xitter’s failure to comply with the warrant (and the Court’s Order) by 5 pm.

    I’m also wondering if the attorney who did not object to the formula for computing the contempt fine covered their posterior sufficiently to avoid having to bear the economic brunt of at least some portion of the contempt fine. The appellate opinion makes clear that, under normal circumstances (i.e., without agreement to the formula by the party being held in contempt), the Court of Appeals would never approve of the formula used by the District Court unless that formula included a cap,.

    I see a number of self-inflicted wounds, but I can’t tell who was holding the gun that fired the shots.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I don’t think the DC Circuit was as clear as saying they would never approve of a fine that did not have a cap. They said it would be normal practice. But they – and Twitter – accepted this formulation in regard to a company that had Twitter’s resources and over such a routine request, where the keys to the cash register were always in Twitter’s pocket.

      Twitter’s lawyering also bears the hallmark of a case that was slowly passed up the chain of command, from newbies to the more experienced. Sadly for each new Twitter lawyer, they were on the hook for what happened before they got it, regardless of how much they might have wanted to unring the bell.

      • Peterr says:

        It also bears the hallmark of a legal case proceeding through the legal system in the aftermath of a hostile takeover of the company. And Elon’s takeover of Twitter was without a doubt a hostile takeover.

        Top-level executives got shown the door, and this probably included various top-level lawyers. There may or may not have been a bunch of polite “here’s where things stand on this case” conversations, or the former lawyers may have been told “you’ve got 10 minutes to clear out your desk while security looks over your shoulder” and the newcomers had to start cold. Either way, that’s going to screw up a lot of cases, as your last sentence makes clear.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Yes, very much so. Top lawyers are a key part of a business’s culture, and Elmo wanted to obliterate Twitter’s culture as well as its business.

          His pattern suggests key personnel would have been frog marched out the door within minutes and had their personal effects mailed home some time later. (Like Trump, he seems to enjoy the induced shame.) By design, that would have precluded continuity, business or legal.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Two things that strike me about the Ken Chesebro memo that the NYT wrote about today is the ambition and the arrogance. He was clearly giving political, not legal advice, and repeatedly wrote that he could give more, but off the record, which is not the careful lawyering he probably thought it was. He accepted as given that the people he was advising could and would orchestrate a national campaign to direct the timing and work of Republican state legislatures across the country to do their unconstitutional bidding.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      One thing about the memo that piqued my interest was Chesebro’s saying (I think in the first ¶) that if the reader wanted to find the previous memo, to click on the link. Does this imply that the conspirators were operating some kind of LAN where all the memos were stored, so that all had access to them as and when they needed it? That might be something interesting to discover.

      • harpie says:

        Good thing I wasn’t in a library, because I shouted out loud when I read about that particular connection!

        […] Mr. Chesebro had worked as Mr. Tribe’s research assistant as a law student and later helped him in his representation of Vice President Al Gore during the 2000 election.

        [He then misrepresents Tribes writings and says:]

        “[Tribe is] a key Biden supporter and fervent Trump critic,” [] [“It would be] the height of hypocrisy for Democrats to resist Jan. 6 as the real deadline, or to suggest that Trump and Pence would be doing anything particularly controversial”

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Bush v. Gore was advertised as a ruling that was never to be used as precedent. Chesebro distorts the argument made by his mentor Tribe in Gore in order to own the libs yet again. The single greatest achievement of the right is the construction of its enemy, those libs who are out to steal your country and your children and your very lives, if you let the woke toxin seep into your bloodstream.

        This is literally a fable. Republicans run against a fairy tale. Chesebro, like JD Vance and other prominent GOP blowhards, perceives this as leading to his own possible gain. At the very least, he will be lionized among “elite conservative legal circles” for years to come, if he plays his cards the way they tell him to.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      The BI story says he helped on the Mueller investigation, that he was “called in” because he is a Russian speaker and has extensive contacts. But he wasn’t put on the Mueller team in spite of those qualifications. And he’s not on Jack Smith’s team either. That might suggest that there are concerns that his network of contacts, some of them, may target him to feed disinformation.

      And if he’s not on Jack Smith’s team, then he might have been asked to limit his reaching out to sources and/or digging around for information, for fear that he might screw up the Smith team’s work. All this is speculative, of course, but after all, he works for the FBI, he doesn’t work for himself; he ain’t Mulder.

      • emptywheel says:

        I find Schwartz’ reporting unreliable, including in the way he represents this stuff. He did the same on a closely-related topic, McGongigal. So I’m holding off on this.

  19. ChipOffTheOldBlock says:

    Speaking of X — the good news is that if a non-registered user tries to access emptywheel’s page, posts show up; the bad news is that the most recent tweet (Xeet?) that shows up is dated May 14, 2022. Just more shining competence on the part of the skeleton crew left at X.

    • David Brooks says:

      When I look, her xits seem to be presented in descending order of Likes. Maybe there’s an ordering preference, but I don’t see it.

      • ChipOffTheOldBlock says:

        Mea culpa — at a cursory glance it looked like it was most recent first, but scrolling down there is some bizarre non-reverse-chronological order.

        • David Brooks says:

          And I wasn’t entirely correct. It’s almost descending order of likes, but there are a couple of order reversals in the first dozen. It’s not the sum of likes, comments, rexits either. Maybe it’s some less obvious engagement metric.

  20. Narpington says:

    Presumably they’ll be looking for tweets from the “GoldPlatediPhone” device.

    I just went to (owned by domain registrars Dynadot Inc since 2016) and there’s a countdown indicating something, inconsequential, humorous or otherwise might happen in a week or so, “one xeet to rule them all”.

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