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The Press Continues to Help Billy Barr Whitewash His Complicity in January 6

Among the things Bill Barr did in his second tour as Attorney General were to:

In short, over an extended period, Bill Barr laid the groundwork for the two-month effort to undermine the election that culminated in a coup attempt. The outcome of Barr’s actions — the disparate treatment by the department of Trump supporters, the empowerment of right wing terrorists, the continued influence of Powell and Rudy —  was foreseeable. Nevertheless, Barr persisted with those policies that laid the groundwork for the January 6 insurrection.

In spite of that record, Barr continues to find journalists willing to spin a fairytale completely inconsistent with this record, one of Barr standing up to Trump as he pursued this path.

Consider this account of Bill Barr’s decision to quit from Jonathan Swan.

It provides a dramatic account of how Barr denounced Trump’s conspiracy theories — all rooted in claims about the delayed counting of mail-in ballots that Barr had stoked for months.

The president’s theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were “bullshit.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and a few other aides in the room were shocked Barr had come out and said it — although they knew it was true.

It describes Barr’s frustration with Trump’s demands about the Durham investigation without mentioning that Barr repeatedly fed those expectations.

He was sick of Trump making public statements and having others do so to whip up pressure against U.S. Attorney John Durham to bring more prosecutions or to put out a report on the Russia investigation before the election.

It also allows Barr to call Rudy and Sidney “clownish,” without mentioning that those very same clowns had gotten Barr to squander the credibility of DOJ on similarly outlandish conspiracy theories, including but not limited to the Mike Flynn prosecution.

For good measure, the attorney general threw in a warning that the new legal team Trump was betting his future on was “clownish.”

[snip]

The president had become too manic for even his most loyal allies, listening increasingly to the conspiracy theorists who echoed his own views and offered an illusion, an alternate reality.

[snip]

But Barr’s respite ended after Election Day, as Trump teamed up with an array of conspiracy theorists to amplify preposterous theories of election interference, arguing that Biden and the Chinese Communist Party, among others, had stolen the election from him.

It presents the conflict over using the military to quell summer protests, without mentioning Barr’s own role in militarizing the response (to say nothing of treating BLM more harshly than right wing terrorists).

By the late summer of 2020, Trump and Barr were regularly skirmishing over how to handle the rising Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody. As the national movement unfurled, some protests had given way to violence and looting. Trump wanted the U.S. government to crack down hard on the unrest.

The president wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act and send the military into U.S. cities. He wanted troops in the street.

[snip]

Besides, Barr asked, what was the endgame for adding the military to the mix? Federal forces could end up stranded in a city like Portland indefinitely.

Trump grew more and more frustrated, but Barr pushed back harder, standing his ground in front of everyone in the room. He was ready, willing and able to be strong, he said. But, he added, we also have to be thoughtful.

In short, this dramatic profile presents a fictional character, wise old Attorney General Bill Barr, who stood up against the President’s worst instincts, wisely resisting the urge to politicize investigations, trump up claims of voter fraud, chase the theories of Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, and back a violent crackdown against Trump’s opponents.

Except that profile is entirely fictional. That Bill Barr is a myth carefully crafted with the help of obliging reporters.

The reality is that over two years of not just tolerating these efforts, but usually taking affirmative steps to foster them, Billy Barr helped to create this monster, even though he was one of the people with the obligation to stop it.

With his corruption as Attorney General Bill Barr fostered this monster. He should get no credit for skipping out before the predictable outcomes of his own actions blew up on January 6.

Rudy Giuliani and Jack Posobiec Claim a False Flag

Yesterday, the FBI arrested John Sullivan, one of the guys who took video showing Ashli Babbitt’s shooting in the January 6 insurrection. As the arrest affidavit describes, in an interview the day after the riot, Sullivan claimed he had been acting as a journalist at the riot.

SULLIVAN claimed to be an activist and journalist that filmed protests and riots, but admitted that he did not have any press credentials.

[snip]

23. At various times in his statements to law enforcement, to others inside the U.S. Capitol that were recorded in his video, and to news outlets, SULLIVAN has claimed he was at the U.S. Capitol only to document and report. In addition, your affiant is aware that, at various times, SULLIVAN has claimed to be a journalist. He has admitted, however, that he has no press credentials and the investigation has not revealed any connection between SULLIVAN and any journalistic organizations.

The affidavit describes that, at some protest in DC, Sullivan made anti-Trump comments.

The United States obtained a video of SULLIVAN, posted on YouTube, in which, while attending a protest in Washington, D.C., SULLIVAN can be seen telling a crowd, over a microphone, “we about to burn this shit down,” “we got to rip Trump out of office . . . fucking pull him out of that shit . . . we ain’t waiting until the next election . . . we about to go get that motherfucker.” SULLIVAN then can be seen leading the crowd in a chant of, “it’s time for a revolution.”1

But it quotes from a video he shared with the FBI repeatedly speaking of “we,” including himself in the mob. On several occasions, Sullivan convinced police to stand down (including in front of the Speaker’s Lobby, just before Babbitt was shot). And it provides evidence that Sullivan broke a window in one of the offices.

h. At one point in the video, SULLIVAN enters an office within the U.S. Capitol, as seen in the screenshot below. Once inside the office, SULLIVAN approaches a window, also seen in the screenshot below, and states, “We did this shit. We took this shit.”

i. While at the window, a knocking noise is heard off-screen. The camera then pans to show more of the window and a broken pane can be seen that was not broken on SULLIVAN’s approach to the window:

SULLIVAN can then be heard saying, “I broke it. My bad, my apologies. Well they already broke a window, so, you know, I didn’t know I hit it that hard. No one got that on camera.” SULLIVAN then exits the office.

Sullivan is charged with violent entry of Congress and impeding police officers during a civil disorder. He is not charged with breaking the window.

Even before his arrest, left wing activists had described concerns in that community, going back some time, that Sullivan was a provocateur working with others, including his brother James, who has ties to the Proud Boys and runs a pro-Trump organization.

But shortly after Sullivan’s arrest was reported, right wing propagandist Jack Posobiec pounced on his arrest, claiming it showed that BLM was behind the attacks and and that Sullivan’s actions led to Babbitt’s death (remember these screen caps have GMT, so subtract 5 for ET).

Then, in the middle of the night Rudy’s time, he posted a text from what appears to be John’s brother James.

Rudy presents this as proof that the riot was conducted by Antifa. But it instead seems to show that John’s brother (the phone number is in Utah, where they’re from) claimed to be, “working with the FBI,” had gotten his “agent” and three others out of trouble (Rudy did not show when he received this text, so it may have predated John’s arrest). It also showed that Sullivan seemed to have ties with someone named Kash, who might be Patel, the Devin Nunes flunky who got installed as DOD’s Chief of Staff. Patel would likely have had a key role in ensuring the National Guard delayed any response to the riot last week.

A Nazi sympathizer and the President’s lawyer seemed prepared to speak from the script that Donald Trump seems to have written the day before the riot, when he moved towards naming Antifa a terrorist organization. The OANN propagandist and chief purveyor of fraudulent claims about the election are attempting to use the arrest of John Sullivan to claim that their own people did not plan out this coup attempt.

In the process, however, Rudy Giuliani may have tied the President and the Proud Boys, and the Pentagon together in the plot. And Rudy’s calls to Tommy Tuberville after people had already died, that ties people n Congress to the attempts to assassinate members of Congress.

Update: I’ve been persuaded that “Kash” is someone else who was detained after the raid, so deleted references to Kash Patel. That person, Kash Kelly, is probably a convicted gang member awaiting his sentencing.

Update: Corrected that the anti-Trump comments may not have been at this protest.

Roger Stone’s Call for Donald Trump to Steal the Election Simply Continues His Efforts from 2016

As Media Matters reported the other day, on an InfoWars appearance the other day, the President’s rat-fucker, Roger Stone, called for Donald Trump to seize ballots in Democratic parts of Nevada claiming voter fraud, send federal forces to disrupt the election, and invoke the Insurrection act to start arresting his opponents.

During his September 10 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.

Stone argued that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshalls and taken from the state” because “they are completely corrupted” and falsely said that “we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.” He specifically called for Trump to have absentee ballots seized in Clark County, Nevada, an area that leans Democratic. Stone went on to claim that “the votes from Nevada should not be counted; they are already flooded with illegals” and baselessly suggested that former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) should be arrested and that Trump should consider nationalizing Nevada’s state police force.

Beyond Nevada, Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”

Stone also urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”

While MMFA notes that Stone was instrumental in setting up the Brooks Brothers riot in 2000, it doesn’t note how Stone’s calls simply continue his efforts from 2016.

Roger Stone spent significant time in 2016 — particularly in the first half of August, the same period when he appears to have gotten advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ upcoming leaks — predicting the election would be rigged against Donald Trump.

Closer to the election, Stone’s efforts to use “exit pollers” (which, this year, he wants to federalize) to suppress minority voters mirrored efforts made by Guccifer 2.0 (and, we’ve since learned, Maria Butina and Sergei Kislyak).

Stone’s voter suppression effort is not surprising. It’s the kind of thing the rat-fucker has been doing his entire life.

Except it’s of particular interest in 2016 because of the specific form it took. That’s because two aspects of Stone’s voter suppression efforts paralleled Russian efforts. For example, even as Stone was recruiting thousands of “exit pollers” to intimidate people of color, Guccifer 2.0 was promising to register as an election observer, in part because of the “holes and vulnerabilities” in the software of the machines.

INFO FROM INSIDE THE FEC: THE DEMOCRATS MAY RIG THE ELECTIONS

I’d like to warn you that the Democrats may rig the elections on November 8. This may be possible because of the software installed in the FEC networks by the large IT companies.

As I’ve already said, their software is of poor quality, with many holes and vulnerabilities.

I have registered in the FEC electronic system as an independent election observer; so I will monitor that the elections are held honestly.

I also call on other hackers to join me, monitor the elections from inside and inform the U.S. society about the facts of electoral fraud.

More interesting still, the GRU indictment makes it clear that GRU’s information operation hackers were probing county electoral websites in swing states as late as October 28.

In or around October 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators further targeted state and county offices responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. elections. For example, on or about October 28, 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators visited the websites of certain counties in Georgia, Iowa, and Florida to identify vulnerabilities.

Whether or not GRU ever intended to alter the vote, Russia’s propagandists were providing the digital “proof” that Republicans might point to to sustain their claims that Democrats had rigged the election.

That is, it’s not just that Roger Stone did what Roger Stone always does, cheat, in really cynical ways.

It’s also that Stone’s efforts closely paralleled those of Russian intelligence operatives, as they worked hard to get Trump elected.

And that curious parallel raises the stakes for Stone on this election.

That’s because, as of April, there were court filings targeting Roger Stone that invoked conspiracy and Foreign Agent charges that remained substantially redacted, presumably because the investigation was ongoing. The most recent BuzzFeed FOIA release (which leaves unredacted or redacts under privacy claims materials that in past releases were redacted for ongoing investigations) seems to reflect that any ongoing investigation has been finished or killed by Billy Barr. That’s not surprising, given that Barr’s intervention in Stone’s sentencing led the four prosecutors who had been working the case to resign. But it also means that if Trump is replaced by someone unwilling to save him from prison time, lapsed investigations (with statutes of limitation that extend at least until 2021) might become active again.

Roger Stone has already shown a willingness to sell out this country to get his friend Donald Trump elected. And since 2016, he has grown closer to sanctioned white supremacist groups sowing violence. Now, his freedom likely depends on finding a way to help Trump eke out another win. And Roger the rat-fucker has been training to thwart democracy his entire adult life.

How Amy Berman Jackson Got Roger Stone to Step in It and Then Step in It Again

As you no doubt have heard, Amy Berman Jackson imposed a gag on Roger Stone yesterday in response to his posting a picture of her with a cross-hairs on it.

But I’d like to look at how she did so, not just because of the way she crafted it to withstand what may be a legal challenge from Stone’s lawyers, but for how she got Stone on the hook for lies that may get him jailed anyway.

At the beginning of the hearing, she puts Bruce Rogow, Stone’s attorney, on the record about several issues. She gets him to certify that the post in question came from Stone’s Instagram account, as well as the timing of its posting and removal.

THE COURT: And I note that the defendant is present. Who’s going to be handling the argument for the defendant?

MR. ROGOW: I am, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay. Well, why don’t you remain there. And you can be seated, Mr. Farkas. Mr. Haley, could you please provide a copy of something that I’ve marked as Exhibit A to Mr. Rogow?

MR. ROGOW: Received, Your Honor. I have a copy.

THE COURT: I would like to know if Exhibit 1 is the Instagram post for which the defendant docketed the notice of apology, found at docket 38, on February 18, 2019?

MR. ROGOW: It is, Your Honor.

THE COURT: So, Roger J. Stone, Jr. is the defendant’s Instagram account?

MR. ROGOW: Yes, sir — yes, ma’am. I’m sorry.

THE COURT: And the post depicted in Exhibit 1 was posted and later removed on that Instagram account on or about February 18?

MR. ROGOW: It was.

THE COURT: Okay. You can return the exhibit to the deputy clerk. And it will be sealed and made a part of the record in this proceeding. I’m not done with you. So what is your position on behalf of the defendant on whether the media contact order in this case should be modified? [my emphasis]

It probably didn’t help matters that Rogow — who has already broken local rules twice in this case — misgenders ABJ. And from the transcript he seemed surprised she was having him — an officer of the court — certify these things from the start.

Rogow tries to deliver his flourish — that he (insanely!!) was going to put Stone on the stand. ABJ lets him, but then proceeds to get him to restate the basis for his objection to a gag. Rogow presents it as a strict prior restraint issue, arguing that as a defendant Stone should have even more right to speak than a member of the press would.

MR. ROGOW: My position is that it should not be modified, that Mr. Stone should have another opportunity to comply. And I want to put Mr. Stone on the witness stand so that he can — you can hear him, Your Honor, and hear him explain what happened, why it happened, and how he apologizes for it, as he did in that filing a couple of days ago. But he would like to have another opportunity to comply with this Court’s original order. And I think that is our position with regard to that.

THE COURT: All right. Well, if you choose to put Mr. Stone on the stand, I’m going to give you that opportunity. I do have a few questions for you first, and then I may save my other questions for Mr. Stone. In docket 28, your submission in response to my solicitation of submissions about the media contact order, you relied heavily on Nebraska Press Association, a case involving prior restraints on the press. Does the — and I don’t know if it’s pronounced Gentile or Gentile or Gentile case — indicate that Nebraska — the Nebraska Press test, the clear and present danger test that you hung your hat on, has to be applied when the restraint is on a participant in a criminal trial?

MR. ROGOW: It does not.

THE COURT: All right. So how does it apply then in this situation?

MR. ROGOW: It applies by analogy. And I think even stronger with regard to a defendant which is on trial for his or her freedom. The Nebraska Press case, of course, deals with restraints upon the press. In a situation with Mr. Stone, we’re talking about a restraint upon the defendant. The Supreme Court has never addressed the restraint upon the defendant in the First Amendment context, as far as I’m aware, which is what I said in my filing to the Court.

That’s when ABJ makes her move. She asks him how this prior restraint issue applies under the Bail Reform Act, which requires a judge to use the least restrictive means to keep a trial and the public safe. Rogow doesn’t understand where she’s going, so concedes that the Bail Reform Act permits her to impose new conditions to keep the community safe.

THE COURT: All right. He’s currently on bond pending trial on an indictment charging multiple felonies, and subject to conditions of pretrial release. How do the principles that you’re talking about operate in connection with the Bail Reform Act?

MR. ROGOW: Well, they operate to the extent that the Bail Reform Act focuses on whether or not there is a risk of flight or a threat to the community, for the most part. And in this situation there is neither a risk of flight nor a threat to the community. The question in this case is whether or not there was a violation of this Court’s order, an order that the Court entered, with warnings. And Mr. Stone will address that. But our position is that the Bail Reform Act is not the issue in this case in terms of revocation of the conditions of his release.

THE COURT: Well, what if I want to modify the conditions of release? What’s the test for what a Court has to find to impose a condition of pretrial release that’s necessary to protect another person or the community? [my emphasis]

Rogow then introduces a standard — clear and present threat — that has no basis in case law, which ABJ calls him on, which he immediately concedes, then tries to reclaim.

MR. ROGOW: Well, if you found that there is a real threat to another person in the community, an actual clear and present threat to that person, then of course you could apply Your Honor’s power to restrain that person, including revocation of the conditions of release, or change of the conditions of release.

THE COURT: Where does the Bail Reform Act require a clear and specific threat to a specific person?

MR. ROGOW: It doesn’t require in those terms, a clear and present threat, Your Honor, but —

THE COURT: Right. You keep using those terms, and now you’ve told me that it hasn’t been applied in this situation to a participant in the trial and it doesn’t apply in the case of the Bail Reform Act. So why do you keep using that test?

MR. ROGOW: Because I think the test is the proper test to use in a situation where a person is about to go on trial, and is a defendant in a case, and has a right to bail, a right to release on conditions that the Court sets. And so it seems to me that at that point, if the Court is going to not allow him or her to be released, that there ought to be very specific facts. I use clear and present because clear and present seems to be a test that gets applied in many situations where important liberty interests are at stake. [my emphasis]

So she asks him again for case law, and he defers by saying he didn’t expect her to raise this issue because it’s not within the basis of his own argument against a gag.

THE COURT: All right. And what is the best legal authority you have for the theory that you’ve just laid out?

MR. ROGOW: Well, I didn’t have any legal authority on that issue because that was not the subject of my response with regard to the gag order. So I really don’t have any authority off the top of my head, Your Honor, to tell you what case or what statute holds with regard to the conditions of release in a situation like this. And I’m focusing on a situation like this, where you have a specific single instance where this occurred.

Having gotten him to admit that — at least as he stood there, not realizing where she was headed — he had no case law to dispute her, ABJ then gets Rogow on the record regarding how much of what he did claim — that Stone was effectively a journalist — really pertained to speech he needed to conduct for his livelihood.

THE COURT: You said the following in your very impassioned submission about the proposed media contact order: You said, “While it is true that most criminal defendants do not wish to be heard, either publicly or in the course of their trial, Mr. Stone is not such a defendant. His work, for more than 40 years, has been talking and writing about matters of public interest. “He’s published half a dozen books, many stating controversial viewpoints. He’s penned many hundreds of articles and has been the subject of many hundreds more, published in myriad publications. Whether it is his pursuit of a posthumous pardon for Marcus Garvey or the style of his clothes or the state of the nation, Roger Stone is a voice. “Given those realities, a prior restraint of Roger Stones’s free speech rights would be an unconstitutional violation of Stone’s right to work, to pursue his livelihood, and be a part of the public discourse.” That raised some questions in my mind, particularly in the wake of the recent events and his explanations for them that may bear on his conditions of release. And so my first question is: How exactly does he pursue his livelihood? [my emphasis]

ABJ gets Rogow to distinguish Stone’s blather from the things he gets paid for — effectively, PR. Rogow then proceeds to certify that his client is an expert of sorts in PR.

MR. ROGOW: He consults with different business and other political persons. That is one of his kinds of work. The other is he comments, obviously, and gets paid for his commentary. He speaks and gets paid for his speaking.

THE COURT: All right. So when he consults, he consults on the subject of communications or public relations? Is that his —

MR. ROGOW: It could be. It could be both.

THE COURT: — field of expertise? All right. Now, he told Pretrial Services Agency he was employed at Drake Ventures, LLC. So what is the nature of the work for which he reported an income of $47,000 a month? Is that the communications consulting?

She establishes a few more details about Stone’s business, then permits Rogow to call Stone to the stand — but not before she warns him that Stone will be sworn (Rogow knows that, but this will be important if and when he gets charged for lying on the stand) , then also warns Rogow she’ll have questions for him again when Stone is done.

THE COURT: All right. So as long as you understand he’s going to be subject to cross-examination. I have a number of questions. If you are saying to me that you would like me to pose them directly to your client, instead of to you, I will do that; he will be sworn.

MR. ROGOW: I am saying that, Your Honor.

THE COURT: All right. You can call Mr. Stone to the stand. I may still have questions for you after, since you entered your appearance in this case.

MR. ROGOW: I understand, Your Honor.

THE COURT: And I expect you to be able to answer my questions. All right. You can call your client to the stand. Understand that the United States will have the right to cross-examine him in the scope of his direct.

MR. ROGOW: I do. I do.

THE COURT: All right.

Remarkably, Rogow seems unprepared when ABJ tells him to go first.

MR. ROGOW: Thank you.

THE COURT: You may proceed.

MR. ROGOW: May I remain? I thought Your Honor was going to ask the questions.

THE COURT: You can start.

What happened next has been the focus of most of the coverage of this. Under Rogow’s direction, Stone tried to appear sorry. ABJ interjects, when Rogow tries to tie Stone’s livelihood to his speech, to challenge that.

Q. How could we be assured, Mr. Stone, if the Judge remains with the order that she had entered allowing you to speak freely, how can we be assured that there will not be a recurrence of something like this, or anything like this?

A. First of all, I’m very grateful to Your Honor for the initial order, because I do have to make a living. And I am sorry that I abused your trust. I —

THE COURT: Is anybody paying you to speak about this case?

THE DEFENDANT: No.

THE COURT: Okay. So an order that you couldn’t speak about this case wouldn’t affect your ability to make a living?

THE DEFENDANT: That is correct.

When Rogow finishes, ABJ then gets Stone on the record about several issues: who owns the Instagram account, what he claimed the crosshairs to be. Then she notes that Stone’s public comments about what he had done differed from what his lawyers had gotten him to sign in the apology they submitted to her. She gets Stone on the record trying to square what he had said publicly with what he and his lawyers had represented to her.

THE COURT: Well, according to the apology, the post was improper. What was improper about it?

THE DEFENDANT: My attorneys wrote that and I signed it because it was improper for me to criticize at all; I recognize that.

THE COURT: Well, at the time I imposed the order there were no restrictions on your talking about the case. So, my questions to you are not about the fact that you criticized the office of special counsel, that you criticized me, that you criticized an opinion in the case that I had written earlier. My question to you is what is it that you said was improper when you told me it was improper.

THE DEFENDANT: Again, I did not write that, I signed it on the advice of counsel. I would have —

THE COURT: Well, wait.

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: You said to me, “I abused your trust.”

It goes on for a bit, leading up to ABJ getting epic rat-fucker Roger Stone to agree, under oath, that his post could have a malicious impact, regardless of what he himself claimed to intend by it.

THE COURT: Why is it consistent with how sorry you were, when you sent the apology, to continue for the next two days to speak publicly about the fact that you’re being treated unfairly in this situation as well, that it’s really this symbol, that it’s really that symbol, it’s the media going after you. How is that consistent with your telling me that you’re deeply and sincerely sorry?

THE DEFENDANT: Because that was a reference to what I believe was a media distortion of my intent. It was — I did not have a malicious intent, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you understand that what you did could have a malicious impact, notwithstanding your intent?

THE DEFENDANT: That’s why I abjectly apologized and I have no rationalization or excuse. I’m not seeking to justify it.

DC prosecutor Jonathan Kravis then gets Stone on the record about a bunch of things I’m sure the FBI is busy at work to prove to be false claims, such as who found the photo of ABJ with the crosshairs, which device was used to post it, which Proud Boy “volunteer” he worked with to make a threat against a judge. This is important, not just because the FBI is likely to find several issues about which Stone lied under oath yesterday (which if they can prove will provide immediate reason to deny Stone bail), but also because much of the eventual case (and much of what Mueller’s team spent a year getting all of Stone’s retinue on the record about) will be about proving what Stone personally tweeted or otherwise communicated, and what someone else did.

ABJ interjects a few times, including to call him on an attempt to use the passive voice to avoid saying something that the FBI will be able to prove is a lie.

THE COURT: When you say, “My phone is used,” who’s the subject of that sentence? The passive voice is not helpful. Who uses your phone to post?

THE DEFENDANT: All of the people who work for me.

She also gets Stone to contradict earlier testimony about who picked the photo. She gets Stone on the record affirming that he stated to InfoWars that the media was making him a target. She calls Stone on a bullshit claim about five people being too many to know who had access to his phone.

Stone really wasn’t prepared to be grilled by ABJ.

Just to be fair to Bruce Rogow, note that when ABJ asks Kravis for what the government wants, he doesn’t realize what she has just done, either. He still believed, at this point, that this was a question about the jury pool.

That conduct amounts to what the Court in United States versus Brown referred to as, quote, a desire to manipulate media coverage to gain favorable attention, unquote, thereby threatening to taint the jury pool. The defendant, even after the Instagram post was taken down, continued to give interviews where he reiterated the statements that appeared in the text of the message. He gave varying accounts of who was responsible for the post, what the symbol meant, where it came from, so on and so forth. And every time the defendant gave another one of those interviews, he continued to amplify the media coverage and increase the risk — increase the risk to the jury pool.

After Kravis argues jury pool jury pool jury pool, ABJ finally guides him to where she’s headed: the the safety of the community. Kravis doesn’t get the hint, and returns to the jury pool, before — lightbulb! — he notes that Stone’s comments might be deemed threatening and therefore appropriate for restrictions under the Bail Reform Act.

THE COURT: All right. Looking at the Bail Reform Act, however, under 18 U.S.C. Section 3142(g), when I’m considering imposing conditions on someone’s release, I’m supposed to consider the available information concerning the nature and circumstances of the charged offenses, the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or to the community that would be posed by the defendant’s release, or release without certain conditions. Is there anything you would like to bring to my attention in that regard, assuming that I would be considering making any restrictions on speech a condition of his release?

MR. KRAVIS: Your Honor, the facts that I would bring to the Court’s attention are the facts and circumstances surrounding the content of the post, in that whatever the defendant’s testimony about his subjective intentions may have been, the result of his conduct was the wide dissemination of an image that could be construed, could reasonably be construed by people as a threatening image, and that introduces a new threat of — a new threat of taint to the — taint to the jury pool.

And because the conduct we’re talking about now, because the message we’re talking about now are not just messages about proclaiming innocence or articulating a defense, but are messages that could be construed as threatening, the government believes that the restriction on extrajudicial statements would be appropriate under the Bail Reform Act.

ABJ gets Rogow on the record once more to walk him through how Stone’s actions prove his own claims from last week about publicity to be false.

That’s when ABJ takes a break, then comes back and imposes a gag not just to ensure her ability to seat a jury, but to preserve the safety of the community. She presents Stone’s speech, rightly, as an incitement (and neatly blames the wingnuts he hangs out with for any potential violence).

Under Section 3142(g), in determining whether there are conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of other persons or the community, I’m supposed to take into account a number of things, including the nature and circumstances of the charged offenses, the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person, or to the community, that would be posed by the defendant’s release. In connection with that assessment, you can’t overlook the fact that this indictment does not charge the defendant with financial or regulatory irregularities in connection with some business deal a long time ago. It’s not even limited to the allegations that he lied to the United States Congress. It specifically charges him with threatening witnesses, within the past year. Now, it’s true those allegations have yet to be proven. But for purposes of Section 3142, the evidence detailed in the indictment alone is quite compelling. And the evidence of the past few days indicates that this defendant has not been chastened by the pendency of those charges, and that in connection with this matter, he has decided to pursue a strategy of attacking others.

[snip]

What concerns me is the fact that he chose to use his public platform, and chose to express himself in a manner that can incite others who may feel less constrained. The approach he chose posed a very real risk that others with extreme views and violent inclinations would be inflamed.

Importantly, ABJ uses Stone’s own testimony to emphasize that he chose to use a threatening image, and he’s an expert so he surely didn’t do it by accident.

The defendant himself told me he had more than one to choose from. And so what he chose, particularly when paired with the sorts of incendiary comments included in the text, the comments that not only can lead to disrespect for the judiciary, but threats on the judiciary, the post had a more sinister message. As a man who, according to his own account, has made communication his forté, his raison d’être, his life’s work, Roger Stone fully understands the power of words and the power of symbols. And there’s nothing ambiguous about crosshairs.

So here’s what she did.

First, in spite of the fact that both the prosecution and the defense were treating this as primarily a jury pool issue (which ABJ did return to and establish in the record), she instead — from the start — laid the ground work to impose a gag because Stone’s public comments pose a threat to the community, giving her the authority to impose the gag under the Bail Reform Act. She makes clear that whether or not he intends violence, those around him might.

In the process, she did a number of things:

  • Impose a gag that a Twitter account bearing Stone’s name may have violated within an hour
  • Get Rogow and Stone on the record explaining why the terms of her gag won’t impact Stone’s ability to make a living, undercutting a significant part of the First Amendment claim they’ve been making
  • Provide a basis for the gag that Rogow did not anticipate, which may be far harder — and politically more difficult — to challenge
  • Provide an opportunity for both the prosecution and herself to catch Stone in multiple sworn lies (which, again, I’m sure the FBI is busy at work proving now), which if charged as perjury would lead to Stone’s immediate jailing

Here’s why, I think, this was allowed to happen. For Stone’s entire life, the press has coddled Stone, treating him as a nifty character whose toxic speech doesn’t damage society. ABJ was having none of that, and used both Rogow’s position as an officer of the court and Stone’s insane willingness to take the stand to get them to acknowledge that his speech is toxic, that it does pose a threat to society. Stone presumably wasn’t prepared for that because no one has called him on his toxic speech before.

If Stone’s lucky, the now much harder to challenge gag will be the only detrimental outcome from yesterday’s hearing and he’ll avoid perjury charges.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.