What If Journalists Actually Read Gary Shapley Rather Than Parroting His Testimony?

There was a really depressing House Judiciary Committee Hearing with Merrick Garland yesterday. Here’s my live thread.

There was a reprieve several hours in when Ken Buck noted that Republicans were going to be dissatisfied no matter what Garland did with the Hunter Biden investigation.

Buck: Do you know what people would have said if you had asked for US Attorney Weiss’ resignation when you became Attorney General, I’m sorry, US Attorney, yes, US Attorney Weiss’ resignation? They would have said you were obstructing the Hunter Biden investigation. That you were firing a Republican appointee, so that you could appoint a Democrat to slow-walk this investigation, and lose the leadership of that investigation. If you had made the same decision a year later because you were frustrated that the prosecution wasn’t moving fast enough, they would have again said you were interfering with the prosecution. If you, when US Attorney Weiss asked to become Special Counsel, if you had made the decision then to appoint someone else as Special Counsel, people would have criticized you because you would have been taking someone out of the investigation that knew the facts, that could lead the investigation, and put someone in who would have had to come up to speed on the investigation and wouldn’t have allowed major decisions to be made until they came up to speed. So in three different opportunities where you could have acted, you would have been criticized either way, whether you had acted or did not act in that situation. Far from slow-walking, really once the Trump Administration decided that that was the person leading the investigation, your hands were tied. You didn’t have the opportunity to make a decision on the leadership of that investigation.

But before and after that, Republicans relentlessly claimed that Hunter Biden was getting special treatment because the US Attorney investigating him, who wanted more leverage to force a plea deal, had been granted Special Counsel status — which should prove, instead, that DOJ was deploying extraordinary prosecutorial resources against a private citizen. Republicans relentlessly complained that Garland hadn’t interfered in Weiss’ investigation — at all! — to make him charge Hunter Biden more quickly or more aggressively when the entire point was he had agreed in his confirmation hearing not to interfere.

Republicans also repeated, over and over, two claims that Gary Shapley — the so-called whistleblower all these Republicans claim to trust implicitly — had already addressed in his notes. Those two claims are that David Weiss “let” statutes of limitation on the two Burisma years Republicans believe include the most corruption expire, and that he couldn’t get authority to charge Hunter in the venue — Los Angeles — where more recent tax years had venue.

Gary Shapley’s materials had always debunked the first claim: that Weiss “let” statutes of limitation expire. The email he sent his supervisors on October 7, 2022 clearly describes having been told that Weiss had decided not to charge 2014 and 2015.

The hand-written notes Shapley belatedly released provide even more details on this decision. They also make it clear that this discussion was a more extensive part of the October 7 meeting than Shapley reflected in his email and it occurred before any discussion of venue in DC, which would largely be mooted by a prosecutorial decision on 2014 and 2015.

Sure, Shapley stonewalled the committee on these notes for months, but he has now provided Jim Jordan’s committee even more proof that, before David Weiss “let” the statutes of limitation expire on these years, he made at least a preliminary prosecutorial decision not to charge them.

While other witnesses suggest this discussion remained ongoing — it wasn’t final — Weiss had laid out reason by that meeting why he wouldn’t charge.

That decision may well have been influenced by what DC US Attorney Matthew Graves told David Weiss about why he wouldn’t partner on the charges. As Garland explained in the hearing, the reason DOJ requires this consultation before granting Special Attorney status is so prosecutors understand how charges would hold up under local precedent and in front of local judges.

But that clearly wasn’t Weiss’ only reason. For one year, Weiss credited Hunter’s neglect to the grief of his brother’s death. For the others, he found that Devon Archer’s actions mitigated the charges (after Archer testified to Congress, he suggested they had missed the bulk of the things he had been asked in the grand jury). Two reasons remain entirely redacted — from us, but not committee members.

Once you establish that Weiss had made at least a preliminary prosecutorial decision and conveyed it to Shapley, you’ve got a disagreement, not neglect. You’ve got the kind of disagreement investigators have with prosecutors all the time. But you have none of the things that Republicans spent hours yesterday wailing about. Rather, you have an experienced prosecutor’s decision about why such charges weren’t sustainable or merited, just like charges against Don Jr weren’t viable for accepting Russian campaign help, even though he had probably committed a crime, or that it didn’t make sense to charge Don Jr for the crime DOJ could prove, the misdemeanor hacking.

And in Shapley’s latest notes, members of Congress even have the kind of details that will presumably show up in Weiss’ eventual report, some explanation why he didn’t charge those years. There was a reason Weiss didn’t charge those two years, but rather than accepting that the charges weren’t as cut-and-dry as Fox News has led members of Congress to believe, they’ve instead simply pretended no decision was made.

Using Shapley’s notes to establish that Shapley simply misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented Weiss’ comments about his authority take more work: though thus far, every witness — Weiss himself, Merrick Garland, two FBI witnesses, and even Shapley’s supervisor — has refuted Shapley’s claims about what he understood from that meeting (if he wasn’t simply establishing a false paper trail for himself on account of the leak investigation).

Importantly, Shapley’s supervisor said he kept Shapley out of discussions for the deliberative period that followed.

Waldon told the panel that he recommended to Batdorf that Shapley be removed from the case. Waldon said that Weiss told him after the October 2022 meeting that he would “not be talking with Mr. Shapley henceforth, as they were going through their deliberative process.”

“Before I left the special agent in charge position, in February, I recommended to Mr. Batdorf that Gary Shapley be removed as the [supervisory special agent] from the Hunter Biden investigation, primarily due to what I perceived to be unsubstantiated allegations about motive, intent, bias” Waldon said.

So in the same way that Joseph Ziegler’s comments about the October 7 meeting at which he was not present are all hearsay, any other impressions Shapley would have about what followed would also be hearsay.

But the way in which Shapley rewrote what David Weiss said even on October 7 shows that he transformed Weiss’ statement about intent — he “will” charge in CA if the US Attorney there declined to partner on it — into he “would have to ask for permission” — shows that he misunderstood and misrepresented what Weiss said.

In that meeting, Weiss clearly indicated that if CA declined to partner, he still would charge. There’s no way he would say that unless he had the understanding that he would be able to. And Shapley simply rewrote that statement, reflecting confidence he would be able to do that, into one matching Shapley’s misunderstanding of how the Special Attorney process worked, into one where it might be in question. Therein lies evidence, at least, that Shapley misunderstood the Special Attorney process and out of that misunderstanding created the opposite: paranoid claims that Weiss would not be able to charge.

Both of these details suggest that the prosecutorial decision simply wasn’t as cut-and-dry as the two IRS agents have claimed. Both of these details should have — had Garland been free to comment, had Democrats chosen a different strategy (rather than pursuing their own oversight questions) to rebut these claims — simply debunked much of the Republican squalling itself.

But it shouldn’t fall just to Garland (who, reporters know, cannot respond) or to Democrats to debunk these claims. It is the job of journalists to call out Republicans for making claims that have been debunked, debunked by their own cherished witness. And while some outlets have acknowledged that, deep into stories, those journalists who’ve championed Gary Shapley — see this report on which Devlin Barrett has the top byline, for example — are simply silent about the way that Shapley’s own notes undermine these GOP complaints.

Garland did not answer many of the specific questions about the Biden case, including issues raised by two IRS agent whistleblowers who have claimed Justice Department officials stymied and dragged the investigation. Repeatedly, the attorney general said lawmakers would have to ask Weiss — while also suggesting those answers may have to wait until the investigation is complete and Weiss issues a final report on it.

You know who already answered the questions Shapley raised? Shapley’s own notes!! Garland shouldn’t need to explain why Weiss “let” statutes of limitation expire when Shapley’s own notes record him having come to at least a preliminary decision not to charge those years before the statutes lapsed. A competent journalist should be able to do that.

Of course, Devlin Barrett has already provided abundant proof that Devlin Barrett prefers to parrot what Shapley and his handers say than to read what his notes actually record and report on the many ways those notes (and his decision to withhold more accurate hand-written notes for months) discredit Shapley as a source.

If Gary Shapley’s transcriptionists had reported this story rather than simply writing down what Shapley said, it would be far harder for Republicans to stage the kind of cynical attack on democracy they did yesterday. Instead they choose to be complicit in an effort to make the extraordinary targeting of a private citizen into its opposite, a sweetheart deal.

Democracy dies in that kind of complicity.

58 replies
  1. jdalessandro says:

    To think I pay monthly dues to be this horrified. If we had this bunch of clowns from the journalism schools in charge of defending our liberties back in ’73-4, Nixon’s heirs would be working on his 13th term. I see there are some legitimate people like Nichols and Carpenter who follow the emptywheel twitter feed, so what’s the excuse for these guys?
    Thanks for doing the work to put this out there; if only these lazy dolts would do the same. Maybe some gift subscriptions?

  2. PensionDan says:

    When William Barr redacted large portions of the Mueller Report, he was (I believe) required to indicate a reason for the various redactions. I guess the House Judiciary Committee is not subject to such a requirement.

  3. Ginevra diBenci says:

    When I’m doing things like cleaning the bathroom, I wonder about Devlin Barrett. Like, what *is* Devlin Barrett’s long game? Is he trying to get hired at the Times? He sure has the smarm down pat.

    After reading this post, I reverted to my predominant question: Does Devlin Barrett read EW?

    He knows you exist. Why act like you don’t?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Barrett spend decades climbing the MSM ladder: 8 years at the NY Post, 8 at AP, 7 at the WSJ, before joining the WaPo, so 2/3 of his career at hard right media. He seems like the kind of guy who would regard the non-MSM EW as a gadfly, a bump in the road. He would probably not read her to help him correct the record, but for how to defend his record from criticism.

      • emptywheel says:

        He and I were on a Metro together once. He didn’t recognize me and I didn’t press it.

        At this point I’m not going to change his behavior: his gravy train is similar to Catherine Herridge’s, but he has managed to retain his credibility longer. I want the actual journalists who partner with him to realize he will taint their career. Because I think it’s obvious enough that almost half of what he does is right wing propaganda, and it is becoming obvious to news consumers.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          I think some of those journalists actually do care and take note of your concerns. It’s a shame they have to be paired with propagandists. I’m unclear of their options, though. If they belong to a union they could make their voices heard both individually and collectively. They could refuse to go along with the crap. They could go somewhere else.

          I agree that the taint is definitely not good for us, for democracy, and for them. It is literally sickening.

          • Just Some Guy says:

            Another part of the problem with Barrett that has, so far, been left out of the discussion are editors/publishers. Good journalists sometimes get hamstrung by editors/publishers, no matter what the outlet is. Assignments make a huge difference, too.

            Secondly, I would argue that certain beats attract certain types of personalities that report on those beats. It should not necessarily be all that surprising that, say, a national security reporter or a reporter on Capitol Hill might have different takes on the same material that a courts reporter might — as Dr. Wheeler has pointed out.

            A word of caution about painting media outlets with a broad brush, too: a good friend of mine is a journalist* who has worked at three out of the four publications that have also employed Devlin Barrett, and he does not share any of the political beliefs espoused by the WSJ and Post, to name two of Barrett’s employers, nor any of those presumably held by Barrett as evidenced by his half-assed reporting. Assuming that everyone who works at a media outlet is there to “spew propaganda” isn’t really realistic (unless it’s like Breitbart or whatever), not to mention kinda gets one to a sort of Trumpy misunderstanding of how journalism works. There are some media outlets that I don’t ever bother with because of their editorial pages (LOL, the Post and WSJ!), but it would be a bit of a mistake to assume that everyone who works there is some sort of Democrat-hating robot.

            Journalism is in dire straits in this country, for a myriad of reasons. And I agree that Devlin Barrett is probably at best a propagandist. And that hacks such as Barrett deserve strong criticism! But there are a number of hard-working, dedicated, non-propaganda-pushin’ reporters out there, especially in local news, and a number of them are struggling.

            *My friend is not currently employed by any of the four places that have employed Barrett, but while employed by one of them he was on a team that won a Pulitzer, so go figure.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          What’s not clear to me is whether Barrett believes the perspective he writes from, cynically adopts it, or accepts it as normal, as a fish does the water from the Cuyahoga River.

          • Eschscholzia says:

            Hey now! I just reviewed the report and data deliverables of surveys of ~100 headwater streams in Cuyahoga River National Park. Most are in surprisingly good shape chemically & geomorphologically, with pretty intact fish communities. A goal was to help the NPS (& Cleveland Metroparks) park managers identify watersheds with good physical conditions but missing fish or salamanders to prioritize for restoration & recovery, but in most cases both the water and the fish were in pretty good shape. Their prioritization may end up more about choosing good watersheds for protection than mediocre ones for restoration. Even in the main Cuyahoga River the water is in much better shape than one might imagine.

            I’m trying to think of a better alternative for you, as my bet would be on Barrett accepting his perspective as normal. Koi in a Koi pond? Shrimp in a shrimp farm? Fishermen catching “giant” sea bass in the kelp beds?, but that shifting baseline of what is “normal” is too obscure.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Re: “…it is becoming obvious to news consumers.”

          For years I avoided the comments sections in WaPo like the plague that consumed them. Recently, however, I’ve noticed that others (and not just a polite few) are also calling out the Barrett Dawseys for their stenography–very much as if they too had gotten their information here at EW.

          While the “reporters” seem impervious to such critiques, at least so far, some readers have indeed tumbled to the facts.

  4. jdmckay8 says:

    There was a really depressing House Judiciary Committee Hearing with Merrick Garland yesterday.

    Glad I’m not the only one who thought so. Agree with everything you said. I’ll just add, a bunch of other stuff (Burisma, Biden pressuring for dismissal of Shokin…) Jordan and crew presented with excruciating-confidence as proof of Joe’s crimes, all very very blatant lies. Aptly described as “really depressing”.

    In years I did the environmental work in Albuquerque, I developed relationships with a few journalists at our paper of record, and at local PBS stations (we have 2). All of them that stayed interested, always had the same questions for me: “what is the BIG story here”. There were tons of details (proven facts) we laid out proving the jet fuel spill had reached the aquifer and migrated will beyond Kirtland AFB borders. It was all on our web site, easy to find, well ordered.

    This was a time the Air Force was saying publicly they were “right on top of it”, and that the lead had not reached the aquifer. Provable lies.

    Not a one of those journalists ever wrote a word proving Kirtland’s claims false. Not a one. Just hoping to make a splash with the Big story. About 5 years after I was into this, monitoring wells produced jet fuel over a mile off base to the east.

    What you write here about journalists here is not unique. It sucks, I think its evil, and given the scope (vast!!!) has potential to wreak unmanageable havoc.

    • ExRacerX says:

      Agreed. Lazy journalism is the enabler (and at worst, lapdog) of bad government, and it’s been truly painful to witness all the talking-point regurgitation that’s coming out of the press on this hearing, with little real analysis escaping the media black hole.

      I lived in Albuquerque for about 20 years, so thanks for your work on “The Kirtland Plume.” I’m no longer worried about drinking the ABQ water (we moved into the East Mountains), but we’ll still be toast if the base ever gets nuked.

      • jdmckay8 says:

        Ahhh, we’re almost neighbors. I live in NE heights.

        Stopped doing that work (water) in mid 2017. It changed me and my life in fundamental ways. Spent most of my time last 4 years working and living in Vietnam & Thailand.

        • stillscoff says:

          Don’t know if it’s actually near you, but I lived up on a mesa just north of Placitas back in the mid 70’s. Looking at the area on Google Earth I can’t believe how much it has been developed in the intervening years.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I worked on the SCO v. Linux with Groklaw for a couple years and developed a similar feeling towards journalists. They won’t challenge the party line very often, even if the proof is substantial. They are frequently part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Whatever the reporters write has to make it past the editors to be published. Since most editors are RW-leaning at least it’s a tall ask for someone not named Paul Krugman or Charlie Pierce to buck the person who approves the paycheck.

  5. BrokenPromises says:

    Just a note on spelling:

    …. Devlin Barrett prefers to parrot what Shapley and his handers….
    handers should be handlers yes?

    Thanks for your hard work Marcy.

  6. lastoneawake says:

    Thanks for threadapping. My permanently suspended twitaccount is on its last legs for monitoring people I followed.

  7. Fancy Chicken says:

    So yesterday while Garland was getting grilled, I happened to see in Google News a section with reporting from the past 24 hours on the October 7th closed door hearing in the Ways and Means Committee in which a number of IRS and FBI agents testified countering Shapely’s testimony to the Judicary Committee and to his zealotry in the Hunter Biden case.

    Today however that section is isn’t there and doing a number of searches in Google News with different parameters only surfaced a couple of the articles I read yesterday about the closed door hearing.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist so I don’t believe this was some manipulation on Google’s part, but it certainly doesn’t help the average news reader keep up with the Hunter saga if you can’t locate the articles reporting on witnesses taking down Shapely’s accusations.

    Whereas even Betsy Woodruff who’s pretty savvy and other outlets reported 8 days ago that Shapely’s contemporaneous notes from the October meeting supported his Congressional testimony, implying his recollection of events as true, a number of the articles I read yesterday on the closed door hearing reported Waldron, Shapely’s supervisor, Batdorf, Waldron’s supervisor and Ryeshia Holley, an assistant special agent in charge with the FBI all pushed back on the accuracy of Shapely’s contemporaneous notes saying that he misunderstood what was said or was confused by some of the discussion.

    Various reporting over the past few weeks states that there were 7 people at the October 2022 meeting. Thomas Sobocinski, the FBI agent in charge of the case had a closed door interview September 7th. He also countered Shapely’s claims and notes and was also at that meeting- so FIVE people (Weiss included) out of the seven in attendance have said Shapely’s notes were inaccurate!

    However no article I’ve read puts the the transcripts of the two closed door hearings a month apart together with Shapley presenting his contemporaneous notes in between those two hearing to chum up the waters and which got much more coverage than those two hearings based off transcripts ever have.

    But I’m not going to lay that lack of connection to failures of daily legacy media reporting, that’s not how it reports. And the GOP knows that and has taken advantage of that fact while drumming up sound bites for their own audience on Fox & noise.

    Once again I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it is the way the GOP Congressional leaders are conducting these hearings, by holding closed door hearings for witnesses who might contradict their Hunter Biden/Justice Department malfeasance narrative, constricting contradictory sound bites and contemporaneous reporting.

    We are only getting reporting contradicting their narrative days or weeks after a hearing and only through transcripts which are never as exciting as sound bites.

    Beat reporting just isn’t going to stitch this together in a powerful and compelling way, and Google algorithms aren’t very helpful to bring it all together either. It’s going to take reporters who do in-depth reporting from various media organizations on varying platforms to show that not only are there major counters to Shapely’s narrative, but also how the GOP is manipulating that narrative for consumers of Faux News.

    Apologies for being long winded, but I hope this adds some elements for thought on the subject. I come here and support Emptywheel because of the dearth of quality, in-depth reporting which is Dr. Wheeler’s daily gift. However, when I came here my second go round, I had to read for days old posts to not only get up to speed, but also to be able to comprehend what her posts were actually talking about. It takes commitment on the readers’ part to wade through the weeds on complex political issues. That’s also why daily beat reporting does not do in-depth investigative reporting.

    • emptywheel says:

      This CNN report, which I also linked in the post, is probably the best on the countervailing testimony.


      Best as I’ve been able to suss out, there are three different source committees for transcripts, and they’re exercising difffereint levels of protectiveness about letting journos see them. The Tax witnesses are at Ways and Means, for example, which may be holding their transcripts more closely than Oversight.

      If you think about it, the testimony in just the last two weeks has devastated any impeachment inquiry, so I can imagine why Republicans are holding the transcripts close.

      • Fancy Chicken says:

        Agreed. The CNN article was the best one that put the Judiciary Committee hearing and the Judiciary Committee hearing together naming all five participants of the October 2022 meeting.

        And thanks Rayne for the Wayback Machine idea. Butter than clogging up my bookmarks. And glad for the affirmation that searching on Google now seems much less fruitful.

    • Rayne says:

      WRT stories disappearing: I’ve been burned so many times now that I make it a practice to grab links and save them to Wayback Machine in Internet Archive before I even read the story.

      Only story which came up using search “October 7 closed door hearing “Ways and Means Committee” IRS and FBI testified Shapely” was this one in NYT from 15-SEP-2023: Witness Testimony Casts Doubt on Some Biden Impeachment Allegations by Luke Broadwater

      Google’s migration to AI technology for search versus whatever algorithmic approach they used has been problematic. If you’re offered a chance to rate the results, rate the hell out of them or developers will never clue in.

      • Eschscholzia says:

        Thanks for mentioning one can save links to archive.org’s wayback machine! I’ve used archive.org for years (awesome collection of scientific & ether books from 100 years ago), even donated, but I didn’t know I can use it to save a snapshot of a web page with provenance (proving I didn’t fiddle with the content). Useful.

        The link is https::/archive.org/web

  8. The Old Redneck says:

    Depressing instead. The Washington press corps by and large is worthless.
    Journalists who are supposed to be at the top of their game no longer seem interested in one of the basic tenents of journalism: reporting facts which might help people decide who’s right in a dispute. Instead, the contrived controversy itself is the story. It’s always that someone “claims” x, y, and z, not whether those claims have any support.
    I suppose if you asked them, they’d say EW’s reporting is “in the weeds” and for “geeks” and “junkies.” The implicit assumption – that their readers don’t have the capacity to absorb facts or detail – is astoundingly patronizing.

  9. Upisdown says:

    Reading the transcript, I got the impression that Shapley went rogue at some point after the first Trump impeachment but prior to the NY Post laptop story. I’m becoming more convinced that the narrative packaged around the laptop story had already made its way into the investigation via Giuliani, Schweizer, Bannon, or another sympathetic FBI source.

    Shapley’s testimony seemed focused on ties to Joe Biden, and he became obsessed with locating some smoking gun hidden at the Biden guest house or Hunter’s storage unit.

    The summer and fall 2020 timeline for Shapley’s search warrant requests aligns with the now infamous FD-1023 form. The interviews of Rob Walker and request for family members to be interviewed about “the big guy”, to me seem totally out of place in an investigation of Hunter Biden’s taxes or possible FARA transgressions.

    Add in the WhatsApp nonsense and Shapley has all the makings of a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist rather than an IRS agent. When DOJ superiors refused to go along with his windmill chasing, Shapley was sure they were part of a cover-up.

    • ifthethunder says:

      “My life’s work…destroying America’s democracy and getting filthy rich in the process…is nearly complete.” – R.M.

  10. Harry Eagar says:

    As a retired newspaperman, I read the comments with interest. In 45 years, I never asked anybody what the big story was, nor can I imagine anyone asking that. Must be something in the water in NM.

    On a perhaps trivial note: Shapley’s notes are about the worst I have ever seen. Mine might have been the second worst, but were not nearly as bad. Most of the newspapermen and women I worked with kept clean notes, some in elegant shorthand; and one used to put the hot stuff in Latin on the theory that the crooked cops he was investigating wouldn’t know what it was when they seized his papers.

  11. jdmckay8 says:

    In 45 years, I never asked anybody what the big story was, nor can I imagine anyone asking that.

    3 of them said it, repeatedly. It wasn’t a mirage. Most of the media coverage in greater ABQ, of that event, was verbatim regurgitation of Air Force talking points. There was nobody in media corps here that was interested in finding out the truth of the matter. Last few years I was doing it, we abandoned participation with and hope they would “wake up”, completely. Relied almost entirely on our website to get good information/data “out there”.

    My observation is, prior to mid 90’s journalism as a whole was a lot better. Deterioration began about when Gingrich was speaker, and has expanded and gotten progressively worse since then.

    Must be something in the water in NM.

    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that one.

    • ifthethunder says:

      The Telecommunications Act of 1996 led to a few big conglomerates taking over the media. Fewer journalists, bigger paychecks, and the bottom line became even more prioritized. Good journalism is not a money maker.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      I knew Tom Foley through my dad, and shortly after Gingrich took the Speakership from him in the ’94 election, I was getting off a plane from Chicago to Spokane, a plane that Foley was on, and I got my bags and got in my car in the parking lot and drove out past the terminal — and there was Tom standing by the curb waiting for his ride. It was about 9 at night and dead of winter so I pulled over and asked him if he needed a ride; he politely demurred, but with a forlorn look on his face.
      I turned on the radio and the top of the hour news was on, and it was Gingrich bullhorn-chanelling Grover Norquist, with the news crews lapping it up and serving to us with a surfeit of exclamation points, as the ratfucker was rubbing his hands together and getting ready to tear the whole shebang down and drown the baby in the process.

    • CroFandango says:

      Thanks for your work mapping the Kirtland Plume.

      The big commercial TV and print media in Albuquerque has been abysmal since the ’70’s. Almost everything is viewed from a pre-Trump Republican viewpoint.

      The exceptions I’m aware of have been the reporting by the UNM college radio staff, a local Santa Fe newspaper, and in the last 20 years, the PBS station has developed a community focus.

  12. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    I saw excerpts of that hearing on various news outlets last night and ended up screaming at the television…

    If I had watched the entire five hours, I would have probably ended up in a rage-induced coma…

    If I were in a position to address the GOP House, what comes to mind afterwards is a quote from the immortal Ring Lardner…

    ‘Shut up’, he explained…

    And that’s applicable to large swathes of the MSM, for that matter…

  13. Parker Dooley says:

    It’s “Shapley” not “Shapely”. I have no idea about his figure, but this might impede attempts at searches.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      If the pix I’ve seen from the hearings are accurate, his body type is in the continuum of potato to Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Whether that is artistically shapely is an exercise left to the reader. After all, we’re all weird in our own ways.

  14. Molly Pitcher says:

    Apologies for the OT, but Jim Hines, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, just said on MSNBC that there are 3 or 4 members of the House who admire Putin and they are doing everything they can to impede aid to Ukraine and to shut down the government in the current budget fiasco.

    He said that the government will be shut down.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Named, sure, but shaming is not possible with this crew. Joe McCarthy must be spinning like a turbine for his party to be playing public footsie with an unreconstructed Soviet agent like Putin.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          If anyone epitomizes the current batch of kremlin-loving republicans it would be Joe McCarthy. I can see McCarthy taking off his jacket and ranting just like the current crop of blow-hards on the House Judiciary Committee.

          Even way back in those days, the Soviets were very good at owning political assets and teaching the methods of projection – accusing the others of what you are doing.

      • David F. Snyder says:


        At a minimum. These 8 voted against revoking Russia’s trade status.

        • Zinsky123 says:

          Sidebar: Did you see Andy Biggs’ so-called questioning of Merrick Garland the other day? His questions (more like word bombs) were so obtuse and bizarre, as to be incomprehensible. Then, he wouldn’t even give Garland a chance to respond. It was the most bizarre exchange I have ever seen in a Congressional hearing. Garland was puzzled too and smirked subtly and cast a quick glance to a DOJ staffer as if to say, “WTF is this moron talking about??” Biggs was either born with some mental deficiency or has some serious neurological/cognitive processing issues!

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    So, the magistrate judge requires HB to appear in person for his arraignment on the new gun charges, boasting that HB should be treated like every other indicted felon. But this arraignment appears to be docketed as a further proceeding to an existing matter, which would mean it’s not really his first appearance.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      HB should go in and be cooperative on this, letting Abbe Lowell handle the trial. Is the magistrate judge a FedSoc Trumpkin? It doesn’t appear so from his bio and he was sworn in during Obama’s term in 2011. According to Wiki, he’s the one in charge of the criminal re-entry program in DE, so there might be a need for Burke to be sure HB grasps the importance of what is coming his way before sending him to the trial side. I would speculate the two men know each other.

  16. Zinsky123 says:

    This article is just one more example of emptywheel doing the heavy lifting by collating, comparing, analyzing and cross-referencing evidence related to political controversy the mainstream media is too lazy or intellectually deficient to process and report properly. The American people are being ill-served. Thanks again for your brilliant reporting and analysis!

  17. Upisdown says:

    It seems almost planned that the media will take a long time to catch up with the facts, if they bother with it at all.

    Along that line, I’m looking forward to EW’s thoughts on the recent Nora Dennehy revelations. This would have been blockbuster news if the media had covered it in real time. It seems to have been there for the digging if reporters wanted to put forth some effort. Many of us suspected she resigned because of extreme political interference. Looks like we were correct, although it won’t cause the same uproar now as it would have back then.

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