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Crowdsourced Timeline: Tick-Tock to Insurrection and Beyond [UPDATE-3]

[NB: Check the byline. Updates or changes to this timeline will be emphasized (note dark blue font). /~Rayne]

You’ll recall Marcy’s January 8 post, “Investigate Tommy Tuberville’s Pre-Speech and Debate Actions” in which she wrote about Rudy Giuliani’s January 6 phone calls intended for Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

EDIT: One The first call was received by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), which he handed over to Tuberville even as they were preparing to evacuate the Senate chambers. The caller was Trump.

Giuliani’s The second call, from Rudy Giuliani, was left instead on another unnamed senator’s phone.

Giuliani’s voicemail message asked Tuberville to slow down the election certification process on January 6, buying Team Trump time to get more information from states to contest multiple states’ elections with the aim for states to pull their certifications of their elections altogether.

How this would all come together and result in an overturned election wasn’t clear. What was the mechanism by which the states, which had already certified their elections, would reverse those certifications?

Last evening a missing piece dropped, deep in the Friday night news dump zone. The New York Times reported Trump and a little-known Department of Justice attorney, Jeffrey Clark, attempted a takeover of the DOJ, with the intent to use the department’s powers to persuade the state of Georgia to overturn its election results.

Overturning Georgia’s results and fraudulently awarding the state’s electoral votes to Trump wouldn’t have been enough to give Trump the election. But the same powers might have been used to pressure other states or to provide cover for states with GOP elected officials or legislature which favored Trump. We really need to know if Trump made calls to other states like the one he made to Georgia’s secretary of state to lean on him for 11,780 votes.

~ ~ ~

The following timeline has been pulled together from community members harpie’s and Eureka’s comments over the last several weeks as reports were published about the events leading up to and during the January 6 Capitol Building insurrection.

11/12/2020 — Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Chris Krebs said he expected he would be fired for CISA’s website dedicated to debunking election-related disinformation, much of which was spread by Trump and campaign associates.

11/17/2020 — Krebs was fired by Trump tweet after Krebs tweeted, “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims (of fraud) either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.’”

11/17/2020 — Michigan election officials certified the state’s election.

11/18/2020 — 8:04 AM – Trump tweets that Michigan can’t certify its election because of voter fraud.

11/18/2020 — GOP Michigan election officials attempt unsuccessfully to rescind their certification of the state’s election.

11/25/20 — Sham “hearing” in Gettysburg, PA (Rudy, Jenna, Trump via phone).

11/25/2020 — Michael Flynn pardoned by Trump.

11/30/2020 — Trump nominated Charles Flynn to be the Army’s “deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and training.”  submitted a nomination for elevation of Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn to full general. Flynn began his current and ongoing role as Deputy Chief of Staff G3/5/7 in June 2019; he is retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s sibling.

12/01/2020 — Attorney General Bill Barr told Associated Press there was no widespread voter fraud during the November 2020 election, disputing Trump’s claims to the contrary.

12/01/2020 — Michigan’s state senate oversight committee held a 7-hour long hearing listening to testimony about the conduct of the November general election.

12/02/2020 — Rudy Giuliani appeared before Michigan’s state house oversight committee in a hearing about the conduct of the November general election; Giuliani maintained Trump won the election. Neither state senate or house oversight committees “have the power or authority to mandate a recount, audit or review of vote processes anywhere in the state.”

12/08/2020 — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton files suit with U.S. Supreme Court against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in an effort to force elections in these states back to their respective states’ legislatures where they could be invalidated.

12/11/2020 — Texas v. Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin dismissed by SCOTUS for lack of standing; Trump escalates pressure on DOJ leadership officials (*including Barr* and Rosen) to file suit in Supreme Court to overturn relevant states.

12/12/2020 — General Michael Flynn and Family speak at Jericho March in DC.

12/12/2020 — 8:47 AM Trump tweets, WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!!! [time stamp subject to confirmation]

12/12/2020 — approx. 9:00 AM Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio posts a photo (which appears to be taken by someone else) on Parler social media platform. 

12/14/2020 — Jacob Chansley (now recognized as the buffalo-headed shirtless insurrectionist) was reported to Capitol Police for 12/14 for carrying a weapon on Capitol Grounds; “higher ups” okay’d him being there.
[see https://twitter.com/mcbyrne/status/1350137671084089345]

12/14/2020 — Trump announced by tweet AG Bill Barr’s resignation effective 12/23/2020. Barr confirmed his resignation by letter to Trump.

12/15/2020 — Trump summons Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to the Oval Office and makes requests detailed in NYT article; Rosen refuses; he “reiterated what Mr. Barr had privately told Mr. Trump: The department had investigated voting irregularities and found no evidence of widespread fraud.”

After 12/15/20 — [Date(s) TBD] Trump continues to press Rosen in phone calls and in person.

Mid December  — [Date(s) TBD] Clark had been introduced to Mr. Trump by  Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA); he told the president that he agreed that fraud had affected the election results. Mr. Trump quickly embraced Mr. Clark, who had been appointed with Rosen’s assistance the acting head of DOJ’s civil division in September; Clark was also the head of the department’s environmental and natural resources division, confirmed October 2018.

Mid to Late December — [Date(s) TBD] Trump complains about U.S. Attorney-Northern District of Georgia Byung J. “BJay” Pak. Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue warns Pak.

Mid to Late December — [Date(s) TBD] Clark drafts a letter that he wants Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators. Rosen and Donoghue again reject Mr. Clark’s proposal

12/19/2020 — Trump, Sydney Powell and Mike Flynn meet at WH [NYT].

“During an appearance on the conservative Newsmax channel this week, Mr. Flynn pushed for Mr. Trump to impose martial law and deploy the military to ‘rerun’ the election. At one point in the meeting on Friday, Mr. Trump asked about that idea. […]”

12/19/2020 — Trump tweets about the Solar Winds hack.
[see https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1340666651658899457 ]

12/20/2020 — Charles Flynn‘s elevation to full general from lt. general confirmed by the Senate by voice vote to be Army’s “deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and training.”.

12/21/2020 — Sidney Powell was back at the White House again, for third time in four days [NYT]

12/23/2020 — Bill Barr’s last day as AG.

12/23/2020 — Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Charles Kushner, and 23 other individuals were pardoned by Trump.

12/23/2020 — Trump arrived late evening at Mar-a-Lago for vacation through New Year’s Day.

12/30/2020 — Trump to quit FL vacation early, return to DC on 31st:

“The White House announced the abrupt change in the president’s schedule late Wednesday, hours after Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said he would raise objections next week when Congress meets to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.”
[see https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-politics-florida-coronavirus-pandemic-mar-a-lago-87a839746b4d1a6dca7441791bbc20bc]

12/31/2020Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and 10 other plaintiffs from across the GOP filed suit in Texas federal court against Vice President Mike Pence, asking the court to find Pence has the authority to certify the election, possibly throwing out the results in states previously contested by TX AG Paxton.
[see https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/us/politics/justice-department-mike-pence-louie-gohmert.html]

12/31/2020 — DOJ’s Rosen, Donoghue, and Clark meet to discuss Clark’s refusal to hew to the department’s conclusion that the election results were valid. Donoghue is blunt and tells Mr. Clark that what he was doing was wrong.

01/01/2021 — Trump appointee U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Kernodle dismissed Rep. Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit against VP Pence for lack of standing.

01/01/2021 — Clark tells Rosen that he was going to discuss his strategy with the president early the next week. [How and when was this decision made?] [But this meeting ended up happening “over the weekend”: Saturday 1/2/21, Sunday 1/3/21]

01/01/2021 and/or 2 — Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund confers with D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III, who offered to lend a hand if trouble arose.

01/02/2021 — “Roughly a dozen Republican senators are in talks to join Missouri Senator Josh Hawley in objecting to the electoral college results when congress meets Wednesday, according to multiple Republican sources familiar with the ongoing talks.”
[see https://twitter.com/johnkruzel/status/1349198860573421568]

01/02/2021 — Trump along with on the call were WH Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, attorney Cleta Mitchell calls Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger and the GA legal counsel Ryan Germany, pressuring him to “find 11,780 votes” in order to change the outcome of Georgia’s election. Raffensperger and Germany refute Trump’s claims he won GA’s election.

01/02/2021 and/or 01/03/2021 — [Date(s) TBD] Clark meets with Trump.

01/03/2021 — 8:57 AM – Trump tweets about the call to GA-SoS Raffensperger. Raffensperger tweets a reply, saying, “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true.”

01/03/2021 — Midday [time TBD] Clark informs Rosen that he had met with Trump and that the president intended to replace him with Clark, who could then try to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College results. He says that Rosen could stay on as his deputy attorney general. Rosen insisted on talking with Trump.

01/03/2021 — Early afternoon – The Washington Post releases a story along with a roughly one-hour-long audio recording of Trump’s conversation with Raffensperger the previous evening.

01/03/2021 — Afternoon – Rosen works with Cipollone, to convene a meeting with Trump for early that evening.

01/03/2021 — Later afternoon – Donoghue convenes a call with the department’s remaining senior leaders, laying out Clark’s efforts to replace Rosen. Should  Rosen be fired, they all agreed to resign en masse.

01/03/2021 — 6PM – 9PM White House meeting convened with Trump, Rosen, Donoghue, Clark, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Deputy Counsel Pat Philbin, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steve Engel, “and other lawyers.”

01/04/2021 — Sund called House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger to ask for permission to request that the National Guard be put on emergency standby. Irving didn’t like the idea, Sund said; he said it would look bad because it would communicate that they presumed an emergency. He said he’d have to ask House leaders. [DID HE ASK PELOSI?] [Questionable if that was necessary. See 1:15 PM, 1/6/21]

01/04/2021 — Following Stenger’s advice, Sund calls Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the head of the 1,000-member D.C. National Guard, to tell him that he might call on him for help. Walker says he thought he could send 125 personnel fairly quickly.

01/05/2021 — Sund [said he] briefed Irving and Stenger, who said that backup seemed sufficient.

01/05/2021 — More than 100 representatives from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia asked for at least 10 more days, so they could investigate and then vote on the election in their state legislatures. The two-page letter with more than 60 pages of attachments was sent to Pence to purportedly show “the illegalities present in the 2020 election” and provide “evidence of a coordinated and structured multi-state effort to undermine state law protecting election integrity.”
[see https://wisconsinexaminer.com/2021/01/14/these-15-state-legislators-asked-pence-not-to-certify-election-results/]

01/05/2021 — Capitol Building CCTV feeds showed Reps. Louie Gohmert R-TX, Jim Jordan R-OH, Matt Gaetz R-FL, Lauren Boebert R-CO, Marjorie Taylor Greene R-GA, Paul Gosar R-AZ, Andy Biggs R-AZ were involved in giving ‘reconnaissance’ tours to groups 1/5.
[Disclosed on 01/13/2021 via https://twitter.com/FrankSowa1/status/1349574338060685312]  Claim regarding CCTV not verified. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) later shared via Facebook live broadcast that she had seen “members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on January 5th as a reconnaissance for the next day”; she and 33 other House Dems later requested an investigation into these tour(s). 

01/05/2021 — Georgia’s U.S. Attorney Bjay Pak resigned unexpectedly. A “Never-Trumper” U.S. Attorney was mentioned but not named in Trump’s phone call to Georgia’s SoS Raffensperger on January 2; it’s believed Pak was the subject.

01/05/2021 — VP Pence tells Trump he doesn’t have the authority to overturn election results. Trump rejects this. (This needs to be validated as perspectives in multiple outlets are sourced to NYT’s Haberman.)

—————

01/06/2021 — Day of Capitol Building insurrection

TBD — Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) was photographed at the Women for America First event during the rally in front of the White House. [Exact time TBD; unclear how and when she gets to the Capitol Building ahead of the rioters.]

Just before 12 PM — Sund was monitoring Trump’s speech to the crowd on the Ellipse when he was called away by reports of two pipe bombs — near the Capitol grounds.

12:40 PM — The first wave of rioters arrived at the Capitol Building roughly 40 minutes after Trump had begun speaking at the Ellipse.

1:00 PM — Sund called Contee, who sent 100 District of Columbia (DCPD) police officers to the scene

1:09 PM — Sund [said he] called Irving and Stenger, telling them it was time to call in the Guard.

He wanted an emergency declaration. Both men said they would “run it up the chain” and get back to him, he said. [Questionable if that was necessary. See 1:15 PM, 1/6/21] // Sund said he called Irving twice more and Stenger once to check on their progress.

1:10 PM — Some officers arrive from DCPD.

[1:15 PM?] — [Minutes later] aides to the top congressional leaders were called to Stenger’s office for an update on the situation — and were infuriated to learn that the sergeants at arms had not yet called in the National Guard or any other reinforcements, as was their responsibility to do without seeking approval from leaders.

1:50 PM — Sund called Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the head of the 1,000-member D.C. National Guard to tell him to get ready to bring the Guard.

1:59 PM — The Capitol Building was breached. D.C. police had hundreds of officers on the scene.

2:10 PM — Irving called back with formal approval. By then, plainclothes Capitol Police agents were barricading the door to the Speaker’s Lobby just off the House chamber to keep the marauders from charging in.

2:10 PM (est.)Rudy Giuliani Trump called Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) around this time, before senators were evacuated, but reached Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) phone. Lee handed his cell phone to Tuberville who spoke with Giuliani Trump briefly.

2:13 PM — Vice President Pence was escorted off the Senate floor. Sen. Charles E. Grassley begins presiding, but almost immediately calls a recess.

2:15 PM — Senate sealed. [WaPo]

2:17 PM — [Boebert tweets] We were locked in the House Chambers

2:18 PM — [Boebert tweets] The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.

2:XX PM — Exact time TBD – Rep. Ayanna Pressley and staff notice the panic button for her office had been removed without any notice. The button had been functional and used previously.

2:20 PM — Capitol was on lockdown. [NOTE: I have to find a cite for this]

2:21 PM — Jim Acosta from CNN tweets (link to tweet needed):

“A source close to the White House who is in touch with some of the rioters at the Capitol said it’s the goal of those involved to stay inside the Capitol through the night.”

2:22 PM — Capitol Police chief Sund requests National Guard support.

2:23 PM — A dense group of protestors rioters* has shattered the windows of the Capitol. We can hear roaring chants of “USA” outside. [VIDEO]

2:24 PM — [TRUMP TWEETS about PENCE / ECHOES CROWD: “USA”]

CROWD: ‘Where is Pence? Find Pence!’ ” and also “Fight for Trump!” [NYT]

2:26 PM — CONFERENCE CALL organized by D.C’s homeland security director, Chris Rodriguez. Among those on the screen were the District’s police chief, [D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III] mayor [Bowser] and Walker. [head of the 1,000-member D.C. National Guard]

3:04 PM — [DOD said] Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller verbally authorized the activation of the entire D.C. Guard

3:45 PM — Stenger told Sund that he would ask his boss, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for help getting the National Guard authorized more quickly. Sund never learned the result.

More of Contee’s officers had arrived and were helping remove rioters from the grounds. Capitol Police worked with other federal authorities, including the Secret Service, the Park Police and the FBI, to secure lawmakers, eject rioters and sweep the building so lawmakers could return to finish counting the electoral college votes that would allow them to formally recognize Biden’s victory later that night.

5:40PM — First National Guard personnel arrive at the Capitol.

About 7:00 PM — Rudy Giuliani leaves a voicemail message for Sen. Tuberville but on a senator’s phone.

[RUDY:] “We need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislatures to get more information to you.”
“If you could object to every state and, along with a congressman, get a hearing for every state, I know we would delay you a lot, but it would give us the opportunity to get the legislators who are very, very close to pulling their vote.”

After 8:00 PM — Congress reconvenes and completes certification of the election.

—————

01/13/2021 — Trump tells staff not to pay any more of Giuliani’s legal fees (unclear if this is campaign, Trump org, or White House staff, or all of the above).

01/15/2021 — MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell has a meeting in the afternoon at White House; his notes are caught on camera.

7 NOW as Acting National Security
8 him with getting the evidence of ALL the
9 as the election and all information regarding
10 people he knows who already have security
11 done massive research on these issues
12 Fort Mead. He is an attorney with Cyber-
13 and is up to speed on election issues.
14
15 [insurrection?] Act now as a result of the assault on the
16 marial law if necessary upon the first hint of any
17
18
19 Sidney Powell, Bill Olsen, Kurt Olsen.
20 Move Kash Patel to CIA Acting.
21
22 up Foreign Interference in the election. Trigger
23 powers. Make clear this is China/Iran
24 used domestic actors. Instruct Frank
25 evidence on [—–] the [—-]broad
26 account [————–]-ary
27 the line [—————] evidence
28 caus [——————-] attorney

01/16/2021 — WaPo: Acting Defense Secretary Orders NSA director to immediately install former GOP operative as agency’s top lawyer

01/17/2021 — The NSA is ‘moving forward’ to install Michael Ellis, a former GOP operative, as its top lawyer
[see https://twitter.com/nakashimae/status/1350855207270445059]

01/20/2021 — Ellis placed on leave pending an investigation.

“He will remain on administrative leave while his hiring is investigated by the Pentagon’s inspector general.”

~ ~ ~

What seemed random a week or more ago looks much less so today. If you have any item you believe is relevant to this developing timeline, please feel free to share in comments.

NOTE: Please restrict comments in this thread to content germane to this timeline. Thanks.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 11:45 AM 23-JAN-2021 —

  • Corrections made re: first known phone call to Tuberville – call was from Trump, not Giuliani, who made the second call left on a senator’s voicemail.
  • Strike claim about CCTV of Capitol Building tours on January 5, add Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s observation of tours that day along with House Dems’ request for investigation into the tours.
  • Added Trump’s 12/12/2020 tweet and Proud Boy Enrique Tarrio’s visit to White House same day.
  • Added link to Philadelphia Inquirer story about 11/25/2020 hearing.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 2:15 PM 23-JAN-2021 —

  • 01/06/2021 2:21 PM tweet by CNN’s Acosta added
  • 01/20/2021 Michael Ellis’s change in status added

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-3 — 5:40 PM 25-JAN-2021 —

* Once they are engaged in destruction they are no longer protesters but rioters.

Added these items, tweaked others:

  • 11/17/2020 Michigan election officials certified the state’s election.
  • 11/18/2020 Trump tweets that Michigan can’t certify its election because of voter fraud.
  • 11/17/2020-11/18/2020Details about Michigan’s election certification and GOP officials attempt unsuccessfully to rescind their certification of the state’s election.
  • 12/08/2020-12/11/2020  Filing and dismissal of Texas lawsuit before SCOTUS.
  • 12/31/2020-01/01/2021 Rep. Gohmert’s Hail Mary lawsuit filed and tossed.
  • 01/06/2021 Rep. Pressley’s panic button discovered missing.
  • 01/02/2021-01/03/2021 More details about Trump’s call to Georgia secretary of state Raffensperger added.
  • 01/13/2021  Trump wants to stiff Rudy.

After Trump Spent Four Years Inviting Russia to Hack the US, Russia Allegedly Did Just That

Yesterday, Reuters revealed that the same vulnerability used to steal FireEye’s Red Team tools was also used to spy on Treasury and Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which administers the Internet. Then WaPo revealed that Russia’s APT 29 hacking group is believed to be behind the compromise. Multiple outlets — including FireEye itself — revealed that the hack had used a vulnerability in SolarWinds IT monitoring software identified in the spring. FireEye explains the hack has targeted, “government, consulting, technology, telecom and extractive entities in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East,” (presumably reflecting what they’ve seen in their clients as they respond to their own compromise). And CISA issued an emergency directive aiming to stem the damage in agencies beyond just Treasury and NTIA (among SolarWinds’ other US government clients are DOJ and two nuclear labs, as well as Booz Allen, which might as well be US government). Later today, Reuters confirmed that DHS had also been targeted. State, NIH, and parts of the Pentagon have also been targeted.

Let me make clear before I start that thus far, this is nation-state spying, without the kind of sabotage we’ve seen from Russia in the past (if it is indeed Russia). Russia would do what they did with this vulnerability with or without Trump in office (indeed, I have a suspicion their overt hacks of the US will go up under President Biden, mostly because Trump didn’t need any help damaging the US government). While the full scope of the victims is not yet known, it’s quite clear that hackers targeted a slew of entities, governmental and not, with this campaign. So having Trump in office in no way created this campaign nor chose the target.

Nevertheless, it is the case that the President of the United States, as a policy matter, has gone to great lengths to make it easier for Russia to minimize the costs of hacking the US.

Almost four years ago, Mike Flynn called up the Russian Ambassador and asked him not to box the Trump Administration in in the wake of President Obama’s effort to hold Russia accountable for interfering in our elections, in part by hacking multiple participants in it, from both parties. Vladimir Putin complied with Flynn’s request, taking no steps in response. Not only did Sergey Kislyak make sure Flynn knew that his request had played a key role in Putin’s decision, but he told Flynn that the Trump Administration and Russia were on the same side, targeted by sanctions aiming to incur a cost for Russia’s actions. “I just wanted to tell you that we found that these actions have targeted not only against Russia, but also against the president elect.”

Well before Kislyak had suggested to the 30-year intelligence veteran that Russia and Trump were on the same side against establishment America, Flynn had already taken steps to hide his actions, perhaps because some Transition members, like Marshall Billingslea, objected to the pre-inauguration outreach to Russia.

When the whole thing got leaked to the public, Flynn lied even to the Vice President-Elect about his outreach.

But Trump appears to have been in on the secret. “The boss is aware” of Kislyak’s earlier requests of the Administration, Flynn told Kislyak on December 31, 2016. Indeed, Flynn made the first call that he would later lie about from Mar-a-Lago, while Flynn, “worked all day with trump from Mara lago,” as KT McFarland bragged in real time.

When the FBI interviewed Flynn about those calls a month later, he lied about the requests he had made of Russia. But he appears to have told a remarkable truth about one thing. “With regard to the scope of the Russians who were expelled,” from the US in retaliation for interfering in a US election, the FBI agents who interviewed him wrote, “FLYNN said he did not understand it. FLYNN stated he could understand one [diplomat expelled as a persona non-grata], but not thirty-five.” General Flynn, a thirty year veteran, thought an appropriate response to a systematic assault on American democracy was to kick out one suspected spy.

Months later (though this would not be revealed until years later), the newly installed President would make it clear he agreed with his short-lived National Security Advisor. In his first face-to-face meeting with representatives from Russia as President on May 10, 2017, President Trump told Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that he was unconcerned about Russian interference in the election that had made him President, because the US had historically done the same in other countries. Trump’s officials would take efforts to hide the most embarrassing aspects of that meeting (including that Trump shared highly sensitive Israeli intelligence with the Russians), first by altering the MemCon of the meeting and then having Trump’s new National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, give, “a misleading account of what happened during TRUMP’s meeting with LAVROV.” And Russia would have known that Trump and McMaster were lying.

Before Trump would tell Russia, to their face, that he didn’t much mind that Russia had hacked American democracy, he started dismantling the United State’s ability to prevent further hacks. That started with an effort to prevent the FBI from investigating why Flynn had reached out to Russia to undermine sanctions and (as a sentencing memo approved by Bill Barr’s DOJ would later explain) who ordered him to do so. The day Trump learned the FBI had interviewed Flynn, he asked FBI Director James Comey for loyalty. Then, after Trump fired Flynn — ostensibly for lying to the Vice President — he then privately asked the FBI Director to, “let[] this thing go, to let[] Flynn go.” After Comey testified publicly to Congress about the investigation, Trump fired him.

A long line of people would follow Comey out the door, many of them experts on Russia or counterintelligence or cybersecurity. Trump invented reasons in most cases (reasons that, as with Comey, sharply conflicted with his own views about Hillary Clinton). The obvious real reason had to do with retaliation for investigating him. But in those firings and resignations, Trump got rid of numerous people who had long fought Russian organized crime (like Andrew McCabe and Bruce Ohr), and counterintelligence experts like Peter Strzok. Before and after his impeachment, he got rid of other Russian experts like Marie Yovanovitch and Alexander Vindman. Even those who left of their own accord, like Fiona Hill, were demonized for their true testimony under subpoena.

The most remarkable moment came in July 2018, shortly after the Mueller team indicted Russia’s hackers for their attack on our democracy, when Trump met Putin in Helsinki.

Days before the meeting — though possibly after he had been warned the indictment was coming — Trump announced that he and Putin were talking about cybersecurity cooperation.

Then at the actual summit, with Putin displaying Trump like a soggy trophy, Trump sided with Putin’s denials over the US intelligence community in part because of conspiracy theories about the DNC server.

My people came to me, Dan Coats, came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia.

I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server but I have confidence in both parties.

I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC?

Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone, just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily.

I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.

I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today and what he did is an incredible offer.

He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer. Okay? Thank you.

That is, after a lengthy meeting with Putin, Trump simply decided — perhaps because he had to decide — that Russia had not attacked the US at all. His solution, per Putin’s suggestion, was to send people who had been investigating Russian crimes to Russia, something that has gotten people killed in the past.

Meanwhile, Trump started dismantling the cybersecurity defenses built up during the Obama Administration. The first day John Bolton started as Trump’s third National Security Advisor, experienced cybersecurity guy Tom Bossert was fired as Homeland Security czar.

President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, was fired Tuesday as the president’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, consolidates power in the White House.

On Monday night, Bossert was socializing with current and former U.S. Intelligence officials at a conference in Sea Island, Georgia, and a source close to him told NBC News that the adviser was unaware of any intention at the White House to seek his resignation, and that he had no plans to quit.

“New team,” the source said, without further explanation.

Bossert was called in to Bolton’s office early Tuesday morning and told that he was being fired, according to a source with direct knowledge.

Trump’s associates may have figured out that Bossert had provided key details about the events at Mar a Lago in December 2016; he also appears to have provided emails to Mueller’s team that helped them to get those of others like Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon.

Rob Joyce, a top NSA expert, was moved back to the Agency a few months after Bossert left. So even as Bolton was downgrading the pandemic expertise within NSC, he was also eliminating top cybersecurity talent.

That was done because Bolton is a power hungry asshole. But Trump continued eliminating cybersecurity expertise (even beyond that ensuring secure elections) in a fit of pique after the election. At a time when this hack would have already started, Trump fired the head of CISA, Chris Krebs, along with a deputy because they refused to back his conspiracy theories about the election. Politico reported that, in Krebs’ absence, “There is ‘massive frustration with CISA on a sluggish response to agency breaches.'”

Cybersecurity was one area where Trump’s team really was every bit the match of Obama’s — if not better. But Trump fired or removed key people one after another.

Similarly, also in a fit of pique, Trump put one after another unqualified flunky in charge of the entire Intelligence Community, first Twitter troll Ric Grenell and then resume fluffer John Ratcliffe. He did so, in substantial part, because they would ensure that Congress would not get briefed on threats from Russia. He also did so to ensure documents that purportedly undermined the case that he had been elected with Russian help would be released to the public. Under the two men, the government released documents that might have revealed key details about sources and methods to the Russians, both on how they collected on the Russian Embassy and on how quickly the CIA picked up certain pieces of intelligence in summer 2016.

Finally, things have come full circle. After Flynn blew up a perfectly good plea agreement (I’ll show in a few days he still would have been better off with that) largely in the service of making unsubstantiated claims of abuse refuted even by Barr’s DOJ along the way, Barr needed to help him out of the legal pickle and jail time his shitty defense attorney Sidney Powell got him into. As part of that effort, the Attorney General of the United States moved to dismiss the prosecution based off a claim (one that conflicted with a filing submitted by his own DOJ months earlier) that Flynn did nothing wrong by calling up Russia to undermine sanctions imposed, in part, to punish them for a hack. The case was so weak, the team trying to invent excuses for why Flynn shouldn’t be prosecuted for lying to hide his attempts to undermine sanctions on Russia altered documents. And that still didn’t work.

And so, along with a Thanksgiving turkey, Trump pardoned Mike Flynn, his first act of lame duck clemency, for Flynn’s service in protecting Trump from accountability for, himself, undermining those sanctions. Trump came into office telling Russia not to worry about hacking the United States. Trump told them explicitly, to their face, not to worry about hacking the United States. And in pardoning Mike Flynn, Trump made it clear that Russia should not worry — about Trump at least — about hacking the Untied States.

We will presumably get more certainty in days ahead about whether Russia did this hack, as well as the many key targets of it. The real question, however, will be whether Trump will be held accountable for inviting it to happen.

Update: The NYT describes analysis pointing out that Trump continues to sow conspiracy theories about voter fraud while remaining silent about getting pwned by his buddy Putin.

Analysts said it was hard to know which was worse: that the federal government was blindsided again by Russian intelligence agencies, or that when it was evident what was happening, White House officials said nothing.

But this much is clear: While President Trump was complaining about the hack that wasn’t — the supposed manipulation of votes in an election he had clearly and fairly lost — he was silent on the fact that Russians were hacking the building next door to him: the United States Treasury.

Updated with link to Politico and expanded list of targets.

Update: Richard Blumenthal, after attending a classified briefing on this compromise, has repeatedly attributed it to Russia.

Mike Pompeo has similarly stated, as fact, that Russia did it.