Fresh Off an Interview with Vladimir Putin, Tucker Carlson Repeats the Trick with Keith Ablow

“I settled a few cases,” onetime Hunter Biden shrink Keith Ablow said, just over ten minutes into an interview with Tucker Carlson. “Because, I don’t know. Maybe God saying ‘you didn’t have the quijones [sic],’ I don’t know. But I wanted some safety for my family.”

It was the only explanation he gave for why Massachusetts stripped his license in the wake of multiple claims he sexually abused patients. For the bulk of the interview, Ablow carried on, as if he were still a shrink.

Ablow similarly claimed to be ignorant of why the DEA searched his office.

“I can’t explain why these things were ever taken or why I would be raided. … I never figured out why the DEA would come to my office. ”

In fact, Ablow provided an anachronistic claim suggesting he got “raided” for the same reason Roger Stone and Donald Trump did — politics, he insinuates.

A: I texted Roger Stone, Man, you, me, and Trump get raided. Who doesn’t get raided. And he, because he’s Roger Stone, he texted right back, “The bad guys.”

T: He’s right. Unfortunately, he’s right.

This exchange couldn’t have been a response to the search of Ablow’s office; rather, it could only have been a response to Trump’s search for stealing classified documents.

This conversation could have occurred no earlier than August 2022 — 30 months after the search of Ablow and 43 months after the search of Roger Stone. It’s an interesting comparison. After all, one of those searches sought notes Roger Stone took of all the conversations he had with Trump in 2016. Another found documents recording a grant of clemency for Roger Stone that has some unknown tie to a French President — possibly Macron, whom in 2017, Stone’s buddies colluded with GRU to target in a hack-and-leak.

Are you really suggesting there’s a similarity between the Stone and Trump searches and your own, Keith? Because that’s a whole lot of rat-fuckery you’re tying this search to.

Having endorsed Ablow’s claim that he, Trump, and Trump’s rat-fucker are really the good guys, Tucker predictably never pointed out that Ablow might learn why he was searched by looking at the warrant, nor did he ask what the warrant said.

Ultimately, after more babbling and blaming an assistant, though, Ablow offered up that if you call in prescriptions to pharmacies around the country, you might get in trouble for doing so.

A: Right. And so no idea, as to motive, agenda, again, I mean, I did have a disgruntled former employee. One who thinks the laptop had nothing to do with it, well maybe that person told them that you were selling drugs. They raided a pharmacy in my town, at the same time, in Newburyport, Mass. Again, no charges. it’s run by a very nice guy, Louis, he’s about 85.

T: Did anyone apologize to you?

A: No. And it’s not necessarily over. They never say, sorry, and by the way, you have a clean bill.

T: Wait. So they can just show up with guns at your house, not explain why they’re there,

A: That’s right.

T: Steal all your stuff. And then never charge you, much less convict you. And that just kind of hangs over your head.

A: It hangs over your head and if I had called my lawyer prior to this, he would have said, absolutely not. You are not going on Tucker Carlson’s show, because, as you know, you’re still under Federal investigation. Any doctor — any doctor in America, if you said, did you ever have to wonder if you could call in prescriptions around the country for pharmacies, would say, I don’t know. I’ve done it. Is that a bad thing, if they fill it? But, if they find out that any single doctor did that, for instance, they can make a beef about it. So this is a way to shut people up. Right. Because anybody can be messed with.


The reason I’m here … is I don’t like being shut up. It’s safer not to. Really safer. [my emphasis]

That’s important context to the interview: Slightly more than four years after the DEA search and more than five after Hunter Biden left his care, Ablow is claiming that if anything were to happen to him, it would be because he opened his mouth. The timing of this is important.

Unless someone were charged with a continuing conspiracy through the time Rudy Giuliani started disseminating the laptop, the statute of limitations on Ablow’s hypothetical role would have expired. They would not have, though, on any drug-related crimes that continued through February 2020. “You’re still under federal investigation,” Ablow’s lawyer would say to him.

It as if he’s saying that if he were charged with drug-related crimes, it would be because of his role in the Hunter Biden caper.

That claim came even as Ablow falsely claimed to have protected Hunter’s privacy. He did so, several times, when describing how he came to sit on Hunter’s laptop for a year. In the first instance, he described that, generally, he has no interest in someone’s private life.

T: How did Hunter Biden’s laptop end up in your office or your house?

A: Well, I think that texts and emails that exist would prove out that, you know, he leaves laptops places.

T: Yeah?

A: Despite my saying to him, pick it up, dude, along with your Loro Piana clothes, because they’re my size and I might wear them [laughs], or keep them, he didn’t. And so there it was. And it was taken.

T: You knew it was in your house.

A: Oh yeah. It was … locked up.

T: And you told him, you left your laptop at my place, pick it up, and he didn’t?

A: Correct. Multiple times. [Funny mouth gesture]

T: And so, what happened next? I mean, did you look at the laptop?

A: No. That’s why this theory from Hunter’s pal and benefactor — his lawyer — Kevin Morris is absurd. Cause they could open it up. He has it back! And they could do some sort of forensic look at it. Not only did I never open the lid, I never turned it on, I have no interest in looking at somebody’s private stuff. [my emphasis]

But then prodded by Tucker, he claimed to have Hunter’s secrets independent of the laptop and then shared what he claims Hunter’s diagnosis was — cocaine dependency.

T: But you were his shrink. So you would know his secrets anyway.

A; Exactly.

[Cackling from Tucker.]

A And I don’t have to look at his laptop to know his secrets and his secrets are safe with me, which is why if you have a lawyer, I’ve said this before, if you have a lawyer who represents you, and you allow that lawyer to suggest that your shrink is a scumbag, then I give you a diagnosis, additionally, besides, cocaine dependence, which is scumbag.

T; Yeah.

A: Because that, I made clear to a few people, who suggested, you should have turned it over. Look what you had! You could have helped America! No no no. You don’t understand. This is sacred. This is like a blood oath. If you think I’m gonna be on my death bed, and look my kids in the eyes and say, well I was the one who made it kind of confidential, when you go to a psychiatrist. Uh uh. Like I’m willing to die for that. I’m not breaking confidentiality with a patient, ever. That’s, like, one of those tripwires. [my emphasis]

He has no interest in looking at private stuff, Hunter’s secrets are safe with him, and he wouldn’t break confidentiality, he said, after claiming to repeat a diagnosis that would be useful for prosecutors in the gun case.

The most telling example of Ablow violating Hunter’s privacy, though, is Ablow’s thinly veiled description of his opinion regarding Hunter Biden’s ills. As Ablow explained to Tucker how he (used to, when he had a license, which again he doesn’t mention) helps clients reclaim their own story, he spoke about a hypothetical patient who exactly matches Hunter Biden. His description pitched a claim that Hunter was ordered to earn money for the family by the Bidens — something Hunter expressed when complaining about his financial woes, but something that had far more to do with his divorce than his father. Which is how he insinuated Joe Biden doesn’t love his son.

They suffer depression, anxiety, all manner of things, when their stories are not known to them. When they think of people, let’s say, in the family, or others or events that unfolded as beneficial to them when they were, let’s say, very bad for them. They need to recast the characters that they thought were the heroes in their lives and say, maybe not. Maybe when I abandoned my self, my interest, to take a common example, maybe when I allowed myself to not pursue that real passion of mine because I wanted to satisfy people around me, maybe that means that those people didn’t love me as much as I thought they did. Right? Now, that’s an incredible epiphany, when that happens. If a man, for instance, is supposed to be an artist, and he goes around the globe doing deals, to create wealth for his family, because he’s not sure what else to do because that was assigned to him? That man needs to embrace his art again and reevaluate everyone around him who suggested he not do that. [my emphasis]

We’ve seen this — Ablow minimizing Joe Biden’s love for his son — before. As I showed in this post, Ablow completely rewrote a statement Hunter wrote for a Vanity Fair piece and took out all the love. Ablow replaced this fairly amazing paragraph about Joe Biden … [I’ve left all typos, including the charming, “iOS” instead of “is.”]

The reason people love my Dad Chris iOS because he’s the son they hope to raise he’s the parent they hope to be he’s the brother and friend we all look up to. They love him Chris because he is as real an American as they are and they all want to be. He’s not perfect’ he’s got a horrible temper, he spoils his grandkids, he loves my Mom almost too much and he still thinks he can still make me angrier than anyone on earth sometimes. There’s nobody I want to make more proud of me than my Dad and there’s no-one that I know can ever be more proud of me and my whole family. May Dad never has asked anyone of us to be less human he’s just taught us all what it means to be a good man in hard world. He taught me what his mom and dad taught him “Always remember no man is better than you and you are no better than you.”if er to break I m certain they would all say —no one will ever know you better than your brothers and your sisters you always take their side no matter how badly they screwed up. Every Biden kid knows there’s nothing that they could do to make anyone in this family to stop loving you. And finally always be kind to the people in pain (unless they hurt your grandmother your mom your aunt or your sister- then you’re free to beat the shit out of them if your sister hasn’t beat you to it.) [my emphasis]

With a paragraph that turned Trump’s opponent into a fighter, stripped of his love.

I believe that my father has become an ongoing symbol of what it means to keep on fighting for what is good in oneself, in others and in our country. I can tell you that I wouldn’t be alive today, if my dad hadn’t kept fighting for me, too, through my darkest days. So the idea that tragedy or tough times or any number of trials would dissuade a Biden from serving his fellow man—whether a friend or a fellow citizen—could not be more misguided. My dad has proven, ag ain and again, that he is (as Teddy Roosevelt once said of himself) “as strong as a bull moose” and that America “can use [him] to the limit.”

In an interview in which Ablow advised Tucker to get a dog so he can experience unconditional love, Ablow stole the love Joe has for Hunter, one of the things that has sustained Hunter in sobriety.

Given Ablow’s inconsistent claims about confidentiality and his attack on Joe Biden’s love for his son, take a look at Ablow’s claims about why he got the DEA to give the laptop back to Hunter. As Ablow described it, after the raid he moved immediately to inform the DEA that the Hunter laptop was not his own.

T: So, and then, how did they get Hunter Biden’s laptop?

[describes seizure]

A: And then I immediately called my lawyer and said, look, a patient’s item was taken amongst the things that were mine. It has a sticker on it. It looks different than mine. It’s messy. Mine are clean. His was messy. We have to get it back to him because that’s not okay. And uh, that’s what we did.


T: They returned it to him. How did that happen?

A: Well, I did suggest that that would be the right thing for them to do. They made a — they could have made a different decision given that he was under investigation, federally. They didn’t. That’s their business, as to why not. You know it sure put me in a funny position because I had guys like Garrett Ziegler, who’s a far right guy, saying, Keith Ablow must be in business selling drugs with Hunter Biden. He wouldn’t turn over that laptop — he had it all this time. Well, no. It’s patient confidentiality.

He again cited patient confidentiality, the same confidentiality that didn’t prevent him from repeating his diagnosis of Hunter or describing generally what he told Hunter to malign his father’s love. The exclusion of a laptop from a warranted search has nothing to do with patient confidentiality: Ablow has already said that he didn’t look at the laptop. The laptop, at that point, had more to do with Ablow’s rental than with his psychiatric care.

Importantly, Ablow pointed to the fact that he got the DEA to return the laptop to Hunter as proof that he had no role in compromising the other laptop.

I [effected?] the return of Mr. Biden’s laptop to him through my attorney, interacting with the DEA, because that’s the responsible thing to do. Which is, by the way, why Kevin Morris’ theory that Keith Ablow is the source of the laptop originally — he’s the leak — is absurd.

Is it, though? Or did Ablow rush to get the laptop back to Hunter to prevent them from doing a search, to prevent the Feds from seeing the Hunter Biden laptop?

There are two more details of interest. First, note that Ablow is equivocating about what building was — is — next to the cottage Hunter occupied when his digital life got picked up. Yes, that building is currently (as far as I understand it) Ablow’s house. It wasn’t then. It was his office (note Tucker’s reference to house or office above, as if he knows this detail).

It’s an open network of people who have descended in my town. I have a cottage next to mine. They’ve made use of that at times. In order to heal!

It’s very private, etcetera. Of course, not so private if you end up going to dinner many times as we did, in our town, and if you’re a person — [my emphasis]

But in the course of offering up what a private place that cottage is, Ablow let it be known that he and Hunter repeatedly were outside the cottage, in public, at which point the rental cottage would be vacant.

He had nothing to do with the compromise of Hunter’s digital life that occurred while he was staying in the cottage next door to his office, Ablow says. But if it was compromised then and there, he had an alibi: he was out to dinner with Hunter!

Call and Response: Putin Demanded Greater Russia and Trump Agreed

Over the weekend, Putin and Donald Trump seem to have come to public agreement that, if elected in November, Trump would help Putin pursue Greater Russia.

In his session with Tucker Carlson, after all, Putin corrected the propagandist, informing him that, no, he didn’t invade Ukraine because of concerns about NATO expansion, but because he considers Ukraine — and much of Eastern Europe — part of Greater Russia. He subjected Tucker to a half hour lesson in his, Putin’s, mythology about Russia.

Tucker Carlson:Mr. President, thank you.

On February 24, 2022, you addressed your country in your nationwide address when the conflict in Ukraine started and you said that you were acting because you had come to the conclusion that the United States through NATO might initiate a quote, “surprise attack on our country”. And to American ears that sounds paranoid. Tell us why you believe the United States might strike Russia out of the blue. How did you conclude that?

Vladimir Putin:The point is not that the United States was going to launch a surprise strike on Russia, I didn’t say so. Are we having a talk show or serious conversation?

Tucker Carlson:That was a good quote. Thank you, it’s formidably, serious!

Vladimir Putin: Your education background is in history, as far as I understand, right?

Tucker Carlson: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Then I will allow myself – just 30 seconds or one minute – to give a little historical background, if you don’t mind.

Tucker Carlson: Please.

Vladimir Putin: Look how did our relations with Ukraine begin, where does Ukraine come from.


Tucker Carlson: May I ask… You are making the case that Ukraine, certain parts of Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, in fact, has been Russia for hundreds of years, why wouldn’t you just take it when you became President 24 years ago? Your have nuclear weapons, they don’t. It’s actually your land. Why did you wait so long?

Vladimir Putin: I’ll tell you. I’m coming to that. This briefing is coming to an end. It might be boring, but it explains many things.

And then, within a day, Trump told a fabricated story that served to promise that not only wouldn’t he honor America’s commitment to defend NATO states, but would instead encourage Russia to do “whatever they hell they want.”

One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, “Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?,” I said, “You didn’t pay. You’re delinquent.” He said, “Yes, let’s say that happened.” No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.

Call and response.

I still owe you a post(s) about my full understanding of the Russian investigation, one of the last parts of my Ball of Thread before I describe how Trump trained Republicans to hate rule of law. But I want to point to some aspects of 2016 — how Russia used similar calls and response to lock Trump in as part of the help they gave him.

As Adam Schiff addressed to in the exchange where he walked John Durham through all the elements of what Schiff described as “collusion” of which Durham claimed to be ignorant, Trump first asked for help, then got it.

Mr. Schiff. Don Jr. when offered dirt as part of what was described as Russian government effort to help the Trump Campaign said, “if it’s what you say, I love it;” Would you call that an invitation to get Russian help with dirt on Hillary Clinton?

Mr. Durham. The words speak for themselves, I supposed.

Mr. Schiff. I think they do. In fact, he said, especially late in summer. Late in summer was around when the Russians started to dump the stolen emails, wasn’t it?

Mr. Durham. Late in the summer, there was information that was disclosed by WikiLeaks in mid to late July.

Only, it happened even more than Schiff laid out. And it happened in ways that ensured Trump would be stuck down the road.

The way it worked with the Trump Tower Moscow dangle may be most instructive (this is, obviously, a paraphrase).

Late 2015, Felix Sater to Michael Cohen: Do you want the biggest bestest tower in Moscow? Are you willing to work with a former GRU officer and sanctioned banks to get it?

Cohen: Yes.

January 2016, Sater: Okay, then call the Kremlin.

January 2016, Michael Cohen to Dmitry Peskov, writing on a server hosted by Microsoft: Can I have Vladimir Putin’s help to build the biggest bestest tower in Moscow?

[Peskov pockets proof that Cohen and Trump were willing to work with a former GRU officer and sanctioned banks. Before the first primary, Putin pocketed his first receipt.]

May, after Trump has sealed the nomination, Sater to Cohen: You should fly to St. Petersburg to meet with Putin.

Cohen agrees, but once the DNC hack is revealed, Cohen decides that’s a bad idea and calls it off. Already, the stakes of having agreed to work with a former GRU officer have now gone up considerably.

July 27, Trump responding to some totally predictable questions, between asking Russia to hack Hillary some more and stating he would consider recognizing Russia’s seizure of Crimeia:

TRUMP: No, I have nothing to do with Russia, John (ph). How many times do I have say that? Are you a smart man? I have nothing to with Russia, I have nothing to do with Russia.

And even — for anything. What do I have to do with Russia? You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Palm Beach is a very expensive place. There was a man who went bankrupt and I bought the house for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million including brokerage commissions. So I sold it. So I bought it for 40, I told it for 100 to a Russian. That was a number of years ago. I guess probably I sell condos to Russians, OK?


TRUMP: Excuse me, listen. We wanted to; we were doing Miss Universe 4 or 5 years ago in Russia. It was a tremendous success. Very, very successful. And there were developers in Russia that wanted to put a lot of money into developments in Russia. And they wanted us to do it. But it never worked out.

Frankly I didn’t want to do it for a couple of different reasons. But we had a major developer, particular, but numerous developers that wanted to develop property in Moscow and other places. But we decided not to do it.

[Peskov now has a secret with Trump and Cohen, that in fact this was a lie.]

By the time Trump told this lie, Roger Stone was already working on getting advance notice of the contents of the John Podesta emails, a more specific ask. And Konstantin Kilimnik was preparing his trip to meet in a cigar bar with Paul Manafort where they would discuss how to win the swing states, how Manafort could get paid, and how to carve up Ukraine.

Later Steele dossier entries, sourced through Olga Galkina, who had started working directly with Peskov, claimed that Cohen had direct contact with the Kremlin (he had!), and claimed he was fixing Trump problems (he was! Trump’s sex worker problem!), but instead claimed that Cohen was instead fixing a Russian tie problem.

By the time those October Steele dossier entries were written, and especially by the time the December one was, Russia had done the following:

  • Gotten Cohen (and through him, Trump) to agree to work with sanctioned banks and a former GRU officer to get the biggest bestest Tower in Moscow
  • Left evidence of this fact on Cohen and Sater’s phones, in Trump Organization call records, and Trump Organization emails hosted by Microsoft, where they would be discoverable in case of investigation
  • Established a secret between the Kremlin and Trump: that the statements Trump made on the same day Russia obliged his request to hack Hillary, denying that he had ongoing discussions with Russia, were a lie
  • Made the substance of the lie look far, far worse, thereby increasing the chances the lie would be discovered, which it was

Through a predictable mix of narcissism and sloppiness, then, Trump had compromised himself without even thinking through the consequences.

Trump always insisted that his request that Russia further hack his opponent on July 27, 2016 was just a joke (and never really accounted for the Crimea comment). But Roger Stone was inserting himself into Trump’s public foreign policy statements as early as April.

And, after two conversations with Trump on July 31, Stone scripted a number of pro-Russian tweets for Trump to post. Trump didn’t post the tweets Stone sent; his staffers were instead cleaning up from the “Are you listening” comment. But Stone may have posted the ones he drafted himself.

Of course the Russians hacked @HillaryClinton’s e-mail- Putin doesn’t want the WAR with Russia neo-con Hillary’s donors have paid for

HYPOCRISY ! @HillaryClinton attacks Trump for non-relationship with Putin when she and Bill have taken millions from Russians oligarchs

Trump wants to end the cold war and defuse out tensions with Russia. Hillary ,neocon wants war. Putin gets it. @smerconish @realDonaldTrump

,@RealDonaldTrump wants to end new cold war tensions with Russia-thru tough negotiation- #detente #NYTimes

That is, in 2016, days before Stone’s lifelong friend Manafort would discuss election help in the same conversation as carving up Ukraine, days before Stone himself got advance notice of the Podesta emails, the rat-fucker was promising that Trump would end cold and hot wars with Russia.

By the time Stone did get those advance Podesta emails in mid-August 2016, the operation had already linked Stone to two Russian intelligence operations: the use of Julian Assange as a cut-out (and his request for a pardon), and the Shadow Brokers operation releasing NSA files publicly. That is, by chasing the carrot of stolen Hillary emails, Stone linked himself inextricably with two sticks, association with the most effective attacks on the US Deep State in recent history. Stone and Trump would have happily targeted the Deep State anyway, but Russia didn’t leave that to chance.

First Trump and Cohen compromised themselves by asking for help. Then Trump personally and through Stone made policy commitments. Along the way, Russia kept pocketing one or another receipt that would help bind Trump to those commitments, or if not, ensure some kind of leverage over him.

Here we are, eight years later, and that formula has only gotten more overt. At a time when winning the election is an existential necessity for Trump, one day after Putin made clear he is seeking not just Ukraine, but Greater Russia, Trump overtly promised to allow Russia to carve up NATO.

Past history suggests that may be no coincidence.

Update: Fixed a reference to Manafort.

Ball of Thread: Trump’s Narcissism Makes Him Easy to Trigger

This post is part of a Ball of Thread I’m putting together before I attempt to explain how Trump trained Republicans to hate rule of law. See this post for an explanation of my Ball of Thread.

Discussions of Trump’s cultivation by Russia (and other authoritarian countries) always founder on discussions of his formal recruitment.

There is abundant evidence that Russia, like other countries, did at least attempt to recruit Trump. Craig Unger has written two good books on the subject.

But many attempts to describe why and whether that happened, particularly in the hands of pundits, are easily discredited. That’s true, in significant part, because people imagine recruitment is an either/or thing: that people come fully recruited spies one day and from that point forward they are puppets of their handlers. The reality, as I understand it, is a gradual process of creating the preconditions via which people can be persuaded to act in ways that benefit another country.

On top of being an all around annoyance, for example, Jonathan Chait’s consideration of whether Trump had long been recruited was sloppy and made the entire Russian investigation easier to discredit.

And the thing is, such efforts are unnecessary.

All you need to explain Trump’s actions (and all I’ll rely on for this series) is Trump’s narcissism. Trump is such an epic narcissist, and narcissists’ reactiveness and paranoia and pathological need to feed their own ego are so predictable, that the only explanation you need for how Trump could be manipulated is that narcissism. So long as you could reliably trigger Trump’s narcissism, you could fairly reliably trigger a predictable narcissistic response to a given trigger.

Trump’s habit of releasing highly classified documents is a great example. Trump almost blew the Vault 7 investigation by revealing details that made it clear FBI considered Josh Schulte as the prime suspect to Tucker Carlson the day of his first search; Trump did so to try to blame Obama for the compromise. Trump burned an Israeli counterterrorism program by giving it to Russia, which he did to show off. Trump burned the satellite imagery targeting Iran, which he did so to dickwag Iran. Trump attempted to release all the backup materials to the Russian investigation because some dopey advisor convinced him that it would help to disprove his critics. Trump shared details of DOD’s plans to attack Iran with Mark Meadows’ ghost writer because he thought it would help him discredit Mark Milley. A master spy might have asked Trump to release all this intelligence for him. Maybe one day we’ll learn the documents that went missing from Mar-a-Lago were specifically requested. But you don’t even need that master spy request (and if there were a master spy, he might not ask for documents in the form of a request): because all it takes to get Trump to release highly classified documents is to suggest that in some way doing so will harm his detractors.

The Trump Tower Moscow deal — or really, any deal — is another example. It is not important whether the Trump Tower Moscow deal pitched to Michael Cohen (or any of the several other Russian Trump Tower deals) to be real, or plausible. Russia could, with great certainty, dangle offers for free money and the biggest tower in Russia, and Trump was bound to act irresponsibly, as he did.

There certainly could be more: but there doesn’t have to be. All you need to manipulate Donald Trump is to trigger his narcissism.

Royce Lamberth Not as Easy to Fool as Tucker Carlson’s “Cousin-Fucking” “Terrorist” Viewers

Royce Lamberth just denied Q-Shaman Jacob Chansley’s bid to vacate his conviction based off footage Tucker Carlson falsely claimed was new and hadn’t been provided in discovery to Chansley.

The whole opinion is worth reading, both for Lamberth’s explanation of what a hack Tucker Carlson is, and for the extent to which Lamberth substantiates Chansley’s guilty verdict, again. For example, Lamberth complains at

Finally, the Court would be remiss if it did not address the ill-advised television program of March 6, 2023. Not only was the broadcast replete with misstatements and misrepresentations regarding the events of January 6, 2021 too numerous to count, the host explicitly questioned the integrity of this Court-not to mention the legitimacy of the entire U.S. criminal justice systemwith inflammatory characterizations of cherry-picked videos stripped of their proper context. In so doing, he called on his followers to “reject the evidence of [their] eyes and ears,” language resembling the destructive, misguided rhetoric that fueled the events of January 6 in the first place. 16 The Court finds it alarming that the host’s viewers throughout the nation so readily heeded his command. But this Court cannot and will not reject the evidence before it. Nor should the public. Members of the public who are concerned about the evidence presented in Mr. Chansley’s case and others like may view the public docket and even attend court proceedings in these cases. Those ofus who have presided over dozens of cases arising from, listened to hundreds of hours of testimony describing, and reviewed thousands of pages of briefing about the attack on our democracy of January 6 know all too well that neither the events of that day nor any particular defendant’s involvement can be fully captured in a seconds-long video carelessly, or perhaps even cynically, aired in a television segment or attached to a tweet.

But a more important part of the opinion pertains to this: the decision once again vindicates DOJ’s decision to give every January 6 defendant access to all the discovery in the case.

Lamberth included a table showing when the government had provided Chansley with each (but one 10 second clip) of the videos Tucker showed in his program.

The opinion discusses the government’s approach to discovery in this case at length. Ultimately, he credits the government’s decision to make all the video available to all the defendants — something which created a significant delay in these cases.

The vast majority of the CCTV footage aired on the program, which did not contain any new facts, was made discoverable through prior to Mr. Chansley’s sentencing. Gov’t Opp’n at 16-17.


In alternative, Mr. Chansley argues that even if the videos were disclosed, the government provided too many videos too late because it would have been physically impossible for defense counsel to review the 4,800 hours of footage disclosed on October 22, 2021 before Mr. Chansley’ s sentencing in mid-November 2021. Def.’s Mot. at 16 & n.3. Aside from the fact that “[Mr. Chansley] cite[ s] no authority for the proposition that the government fails to meet its Brady [] obligations by providing too much discovery,” United States v. Bingert, Nos. 21-cr-91-1, 21-cr91-2 (RCL), 2023 WL 3203092, at *6 (D.D.C. May 9, 2023) (emphasis in original), this argument is an obvious red herring.


[I]t it is precisely the government’s recognition of this District’s exacting Brady standards that compelled the government to contract for, fund, and facilitate the introduction of a platform to disseminate massive amounts of discovery in cases related to January 6, 2021, and to equip defense teams with the tools necessary to digest the information made available on the platform. To be sure, this unprecedented prosecutorial effort places enormous disclosure burdens on the government and necessitates novel approaches to sharing discovery information with defendants. That said, Mr. Chansley has not demonstrated how the government’s approach is inconsistent with Brady.

As with Dominic Pezzola’s similar attempt to use the Tucker Carlson show to muck up his prosecution, this vindicates DOJ’s decision to take the laborious and time-consuming effort to put this together.

Employer Rupert Murdoch Turned Out to Be a More Important Tucker Carlson “Spy” Than the NSA

In a piece that I otherwise find unpersuasive, Josh Marshall argued that the reports that Fox News President Suzanne Scott didn’t tell Tucker why he was being fired explain why we’re getting such a conflicting range of explanations for his summary shit-canning.

It’s been reported that Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News, didn’t tell Carlson why he was being fired when she gave him the news. If that’s true, that pushes me more to consider this possibility. It also might explain why you have all this miscellany of often contradictory theories and explanations about what “contributed” to the decision. Maybe no one at Fox has any idea and all the sources are basically speculating about possible vulnerabilities they believe must be the answer.

Axios reported that Scott made the decision with Lachlan Murdoch to fire Tucker Carlson Friday night, though other outlets more credibly report that Rupert was also personally involved.

Fox surely anticipated that Tucker would sue, which may be why Scott didn’t give Tucker an explanation for his firing, yet. But that has created a void of uncertainty about the firing.

It is true that Abby Grossberg, the former Tucker producer who has sued Fox in SDNY for the hostile work environment at Fox generally and specifically on Tucker’s show, and sued Fox in Delaware for how they dealt with her testimony in the Dominion case, has an incentive to emphasize her role in the firing (as she has). I agree with Opening Arguments that the DE suit is far more likely to be related (a paragraph from her SDNY suit that has attracted attention, in which Tucker seemingly speaks favorably about statutory rape, is not tied to her own complaints and was already public). But I also think that the DE suit also includes a bunch of stuff designed to leverage Fox’s legal exposure that has nothing to do with the actual complaint. Plus, Tucker has little to do with the main thrust of the complaint; Scott and other corporate people do, so firing Tucker won’t help. Also note, as far as I understand it, the recordings Grossberg referred to in her suit seem to be transcribed interviews not otherwise aired on TV, not private recordings of Tucker.

Of note, the claim that Tucker asked but Grossberg was unable to get a Proud Boy lawyer to claim the insurrection was caused by FBI informants, for example, makes no sense.

Upon information and belief, in early-March 2023, Mr. Carlson attempted to spin and manufacture another false narrative to defray blame from Fox News about the January 6th insurrection, this time, characterizing the Capitol attack as an FBI coup, and not the logical result of Fox News’s reckless 2020 election fraud coverage. Specifically, Mr. Carlson requested that his team investigate the ongoing Proud Boys trial, which he asserted was “taking forever” because the “Biden Administration [wa]s trying to hide the huge number of FBI spies it had placed in the group.” As Head of Booking, Ms. Grossberg was twice directed to reach out to Dan Hull, one of the defense attorneys representing the Proud Boys, who indicated to her that he was available to come on to the TCT show as a guest but emphatically denied Mr. Carlson’s theory. Instead, Mr. Hull insisted that “no one made my client go up the hill. The Proud Boys wanted to,” and the FBI angle Mr. Carlson sought to peddle was “on the conspiracy side.” When Ms. Grossberg relayed Mr. Hull’s message to Tom Fox, a Senior Producer for TCT and her superior, he blithely replied “That doesn’t fit with what Tucker is looking for. You’ll have to find someone else who will say that.” Ms. Grossberg was told to ask Mr. Hull yet again if he would reconsider, to which Mr. Hull replied, “Please just tell [Tucker], if I get on the show, I will walk out if he asks about the FBI setting it up. […] Blaming the FBI for Jan 6th doesn’t cut it.” Mr. Carlson then requested that Ms. Grossberg investigate whether any other defense attorneys, including Steven Metcalf, would tout the conspiracy on air.

Dominic Pezzola lawyer Roger Roots seems to have, as a primary purpose, floating the kinds of conspiracy theories that will attract attention on Tucker’s show or Jim Jordan’s committee. And in his closing arguments, Nick Smith made wild leaps to push the informant angle. So the lawyers willing to make these claims were certainly available (if unwilling to risk a gag order by going on TV). Plus, Tucker’s propaganda about January 6 long predated the Dominion exposure

But Grossberg’s claim might be where this claim, from the LAT, came from (which has, in turn, led to the improbable claim that Epps’ complaints about Tucker’s coverage played a key role).

Murdoch also was said to be concerned about Carlson’s coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The host has promoted the conspiracy theory that it was provoked by government agents, and Carlson has called Ray Epps — an Arizona man who participated in the storming of the Capitol but did not enter the building — an FBI plant, without presenting any evidence.

Tucker’s conspiracy theories about January 6 have been far more unhinged than anything Fox has been sued for by a voting machine company, and that’s saying something. But, again, they’re not a recent development — back in June 2021, Tucker defamed Thomas Caldwell’s spouse Sharon based off an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.

All of which leads me to suspect that this, also from Axios, may best explain what brought Fox to firing Tucker.

A slew of material was uncovered during pre-trial discovery that implicated Carlson. More information could be out there that could be legally damaging for Fox as it stares down more defamation cases.

None of the rest of Axios’ explanations make sense (as Grossberg’s DE suit does, Axios lists stuff that would not implicate Tucker personally). Many of the other public explanations make no sense.

But what does seem plausible is that between Dominion, Smartmatic, and Grossberg’s twin suits, Fox lawyers have spent a lot of time reading through digital records of Tucker’s statements. And — again, it seems plausible — one or many of the things they’ve seen there made it clear Fox could no longer sustain the legal exposure Tucker (and his Executive Producer Justin Wells, who was also shit-canned) represented, possibly even for reasons unrelated to any of the lawsuits.

There’s an irony here.

Back when Tucker first revealed that he had been picked up in NSA intercepts of texts and emails he exchanged with Russian go-betweens, he claimed the NSA was trying to take him off the air. That was in 2021, and his FOIA to the NSA suggested the contacts had gone back to January 2019. In his more recent March complaint that his efforts to cozy up to Putin got “spied on” by the NSA, he revealed the NSA had read his Signal texts, as well as the emails he sent purportedly setting up an interview with Putin.

For all his wailing that the NSA’s access to such comms was an attempt to get him fired, it didn’t happen.

But once Rupert’s lawyers reviewed Tucker’s communications, it did.

I’m not arguing that Tucker’s coziness with Putin got him fired (though Glenn Greenwald keeps complaining, in two languages, that Tucker was fired for falsely claiming that members of the African People’s Socialist Party were arrested because of their opposition to the Ukraine war, rather than because they were on the FSB payroll).

I’m stating a truism. In virtually all cases, “surveillance” of your communications by your employer can have a far more immediate and lasting impact than surveillance of your communications by the NSA.

Update: Daily Beast says the final straw was the number of times he called Sidney Powell the c-word.

Update: In comments, wasD4v1d referenced this Aaron Blake piece making a similar point.

Update: Murdoch property WSJ reports that one of the big factors was the disparaging comments Tucker made about others.

On Monday, Mr. Carlson’s famously combative stance toward members of Fox News management and other colleagues caught up with him, as the network abruptly announced it was parting ways with him, just minutes after informing Mr. Carlson of the change.

The private messages in which Mr. Carlson showed disregard for management and colleagues were a major factor in that decision, according to other people familiar with the matter. Although many portions of the Dominion court documents are redacted, there is concern among Fox Corp. executives that if the redacted material were to become public, it would lead to further embarrassment for the network and parent company.


The Dominion court filings are filled with examples of him disparaging colleagues, from calling for the firing of Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich for fact-checking Mr. Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election to complaining about the network’s news coverage, including the decision to call Arizona for Mr. Biden on election night.

Tucker Carlson Nipped from Fox

Fox just announced that Tucker Carlson is out, effectively immediately.

I doubt this is Dominion related. It was too sudden. He signed off Friday pitching his show today and Fox was until minutes ago previewing the show.

Plus, Tucker is both less culpable for the specific claims in Dominion than Maria Bartiromo, and far more important for Fox viewership.

Update: As Rayne linked in comments, it is Dominion related, but it seems to be because of the things Fox discovered Tucker had said about management, not about his defamation of Dominion.

But it was Carlson’s comments about Fox management, as revealed in the Dominion case, that played a role in his departure from Fox, a person familiar with the company’s thinking told The Post.

“Do the executives understand how much credibility and trust we’ve lost with our audience?” Carlson wrote to a colleague in a message a day after Fox, like other media outlets, called the election for Joe Biden. In another message, he referred to management with an expletive: “Those f—–s are destroying our credibility.” He later wrote: “A combination of incompetent liberals and top leadership with too much pride to back down is what’s happening.”

Tucker’s Executive Producer is also out, though, so it’s likely more than just that.

Glenn Greenwald Keeps Bitching about a Law Requiring Notice If You’re Funded by Russian Spies

The other day, DOJ announced charges in two cases related to FSB efforts to recruit in the US and overseas. Neither set of allegations was entirely new. But what got added to the allegations is of some interest.

Certainly, the fact that American citizens got charged in a Florida case for not disclosing that their political activism was funded, in part, by the FSB, seems to be of interest to Glenn Greenwald. The charges, along with a few overt acts, and the names of two FSB colleagues are what got added to an earlier indictment against the FSB handler, Aleksandr Ionov, filed last July.

Glenn won’t shut up about those charges, making appearances on Glenn Beck and Tucker Carlson’s show so all of them could lie about why members of the African People’s Socialist Party were charged.

The members of the APSP weren’t charged because they disagree with Joe Biden. They weren’t charged because they oppose the war in Ukraine.

They were charged because after one, Omali Yeshiteli, went on an all-expenses paid trip to Russia in 2015, the group started getting funding and completing requests for their FSB handler, Aleksandr Ionov, who ran a front called the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia. For example, shortly after the trip, Ionov wrote the group and asked them to start a petition against the genocide of the African people in the US so that AGMR could start using it as propaganda. And when Russia needed someone to legitimize the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” in 2020, Ionov contacted the Floridians to publicly do so. And when Russia wanted to protest Twitter’s restrictions on Russian disinformation after the Ukraine invasion, Ionov flew one of the Americans to San Francisco to make it happen.

Russia wanted to be able to point to a certain kind of dissidence in the US, so they paid money to help sustain it. And the Americans didn’t disclose that they knew they were working with agents of Russia.

Glenn thinks only rich people like Tony Podesta should be held to foreign agent laws (Podesta wasn’t charged under a different law, FARA, for hiding his ties to a Ukrainian front group that Paul Manafort set up because he was paid by Manafort, and in any case, Glenn didn’t think much of Manafort’s charges for hiding the ties in real time). Glenn doesn’t think other people should have to disclose if they’re taking money — after they go on trips to Russia and start spouting Russian talking points non-stop from that point forward — from Russian spies.

It’s an interesting cause for Glenn and Tucker — who has his own curious tale about Russian ties — to champion.

Which brings us to the other case.

It charges Natalia Burlinova with attempting to do what Ionov succeeded in doing: getting Americans and others to unwittingly act as agents of Russia by recruiting them through her Russian government backed NGO, Creative Diplomacy, or PICREADI.

Burlinova was sanctioned — along with Ionov — last year, which suggests they may have a tie, perhaps the FSB officer they both report to.

Since she was already sanctioned, which would likely prevent her from traveling in any case, this complaint serves largely as a speaking document, which allows everyone she has had prior association with to understand her ties to the FSB.

For example, the complaint provides a detailed description of a trip she made to the US in 2018 and the emails the American participants sent to Burlinova after meeting with her. It doesn’t provide the content of the emails — but it makes those who sent them aware that the FBI knows what got sent.

Of even more interest is an article a former participant of Burlinova’s event wrote in 2020. Without explaining how he received it, Burlinova’s FSB handler sent it to her and said it’d be a really huge deal if it were published.

On October 30, 2020, the FSB Officer forwarded to Burlinova an article written by a participant in the 2019 Meeting Russia program, which argued that Russian malign influence efforts were actually legitimate uses of state soft power. The FSB Officer commented to Burlinova that the article was a huge result for them and would be revolutionary if printed by a named English-language newspaper in the United States and a named English-language newspaper in Europe.

The complaint doesn’t tell us whether it was published (update: it was this one, which was also posted on Burlinova’s site; h/t Alex Finley). But the description would be plenty for its author to understand that it had been the focus of internal discussion at the FSB.

Both these indictments necessarily focus on the US, but both conspiracies are international. Laying out the charges in the US and arresting anyone that would one day be arrested might something the FBI would want to do before sharing the underlying intelligence with allies.

And some of the details describe the greater international success of this effort. One of Burlinova’s biggest successes, for example, came in seeing two former participants in her yearly event elected to parliament.

On October 5, 2018, Burlinova informed the FSB Officer about two prior participants in another Russian public diplomacy program in which Burlinova had been involved. Burlinova reported that the two prior participants, both of whom resided in a European country, were running for public office. Burlinova stated that these were the results that take years to come into fruition. The FSB Officer responded that this was truly the result for which they were striving and requested that Burlinova provide more information about these prior participants and the election for public office so that the FSB Officer could prepare a report. The two candidates ran for parliamentary positions; one won in that election, and the other was elected subsequently to parliament.

Again, we don’t know which members of parliament these are and in which country, but others in their country likely recognize it.

A report in the WaPo — the timing of which may be coincidental or may explain why DOJ rolled out the charges earlier this week — describes the stakes. It describes the Kremlin’s involvement in the red-brown coalition opposing the Ukraine war in Germany.

The coming together of political opposites in Berlin under the banner of peace had been percolating for months, though the union remains ad hoc and unofficial. But marrying Germany’s extremes is an explicit Kremlin goal and was first proposed by senior officials in Moscow in early September, according to a trove of sensitive Russian documents largely dated from July to November that were obtained by a European intelligence service and reviewed by The Washington Post.

The documents record meetings between Kremlin officials and Russian political strategists, and the Kremlin’s orders for the strategists to focus on Germany to build antiwar sentiment in Europe and dampen support for Ukraine. The files also chronicle the strategists’ efforts to implement these plans and their reports back to the Kremlin. The documents do not contain any material that records communications between the Russian strategists and any allies in Germany. But interviews show at least one person close to Wagenknecht and several AfD members were in contact with Russian officials at the time the plans were being drawn up.

Like the Florida effort, the German one features manifestos written by the Kremlin.

The aim of a new political formation, according to a document dated Sept. 9, would be to win “a majority in elections at any level” in Germany and reset the AfD to boost its standing beyond the 13 percent the party was polling at then. The reset, laid out among the documents in a proposed manifesto for the AfD that was written by Kremlin political strategists, includes forging the AfD into the party of “German unity” and declaring sanctions on Russia as counter to German interests.


It is not clear from the documents how the political strategists working with the Kremlin attempted to communicate with members of the AfD or other potential German allies about Moscow’s plans. But soon after the Kremlin gave the order for a union to be forged between Wagenknecht and the far right, AfD deputies began speaking in support of her in parliament and party members chanted her name at rallies. Björn Höcke, chairman of the AfD in Thüringen in eastern Germany, publicly invited her to join the party.

This is the same kind of effort — but much more impactful — as the Ionov one was fostering in the US (though the right wing secessionist described in it as an unindicted co-conspirator, understood to be Louis Marinelli, was not arrested).

And it’s the kind of horseshoe leftist that Greenwald once posed as before he joined up with Tucker full time … most recently to claim these socialists were arrested for their dissidence and not because they were hiding ties with Russian spies.

Update: RFERL did a bunch of interviews with people who attended Burlinova’s program, some who were shocked about the FSB tie, some who were quite blasé about it.

Tucker’s Putin Envy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tucker: Now I’m envious.


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

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

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

Tucker: Oh yeah!

Full Send: It’s … it’s serious shit.

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

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

Full Send: Yeah, they get you.

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

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

Tucker: Interview Putin. Why wouldn’t I?

Full Send: You had it set up? Damn!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tucker: Because they admitted it.

Full Send: Really?

Tucker: Oh yeah!

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

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

Full Send 2: Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

Full Send: That shit’s scary.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 759 Digital Devices Tucker Carlson Didn’t Review

To sustain his false claims that the January 6 Committee released a biased selection of videos, Tucker Carlson has insinuated that only he and the J6C have had access to the video of the attack.

That’s, of course, false. The defense attorneys have had access to most of the same video to which Tucker has claimed exclusive access. In fact, his claims that Jacob Chansley was unfairly treated is an implicit attack on Albert Watkins, Chansley’s defense attorney during the period he pled guilty to facts Tucker ignored, such as that he ignored an officer’s direction to get out of Mike Pence’s seat or that he “considered it a win” that Members of Congress had to “hunker down, put on their gas masks and retreat into their underground bunker.” (Chansley has since retained William Shipley, an even more partisan attorney, one who has sown partisan bullshit about legal cases going at least as far back as the Mike Flynn case.)

Plus, defense attorneys have had access to far more: the other evidence collected as part of the investigation. In responses to two defendants —  Ryan Nichols and Shane Jenkins — attempting to delay their trials so they might review the files Tucker has boasted about accessing, DOJ has laid out the evidence available to defense attorneys (this is the version submitted in the Jenkins case).

The United States has provided voluminous global and case-specific discovery in this case. In addition to the case-specific discovery that has been provided to the defendant (which includes, inter alia, videos of the defendant breaking a window with a metal tomahawk and throwing various objects at officers in the Lower West Terrace tunnel), as of March 6, 2023, over 4.91 million files (7.36 terabytes of information) have been provided to the defense Relativity workspace. These files include (but are not limited to) the results of searches of 759 digital devices and 412 Stored Communications Act accounts; 5,254 FBI FD-302s and related attachments (FD-302s generally consist of memoranda of interviews and other investigative steps); 395 digital recordings of subject interviews; and 149,130 (redacted or anonymous) tips. Over 30,000 files that include body-worn and hand-held camera footage from five law enforcement agencies and surveillance-camera footage from three law enforcement agencies have been shared to the defense video repositories. For context, the files provided amount to over nine terabytes of information and would take at least 361 days to view continuously. All of this information is accessible to the defendant, as well as camera maps and additional tools that assist any defense counsel with conducting their own searches for information that they might believe is relevant. With respect to U.S. Capitol Police Closed Circuit Video (“CCV”), subject to some exclusions such as evacuation footage and cameras depicting sensitive areas (that would also not capture relevant moments related to the charges the defendant now faces), the defendant, like all January 6 defendants, has had access to nearly all exterior USCP camera footage as well as nearly all interior Capitol and Capitol Visitor Center footage recorded on January 6, 2021 from noon to 8 p.m.

Hundreds of defense attorneys — many of them more loyal adherents to Trumpism than Tucker (who apparently secretly hates Trump) — have seen most of the video he has seen as well as far more, including the video that other defendants and reporters have collected.

And thus far, those vigorous advocates for their clients — including Joseph McBride, who represents Nichols, and who famously admitted he “doesn’t give a shit about being wrong” when he spreads conspiracy theories — have been unsuccessful in making the kinds of arguments Tucker is making, though it is not for want of trying.

Hundreds of lawyers would love to have been able to tell a story about peaceful tourists. With few exceptions, those efforts have always failed in court.

Release the Kraken: Fox News’ Revolving Sidney Powell Conspiracy Theory Door

It does Dominion Systems no good, in their defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Fox Corporation, to prove that Sidney Powell was a long-time Fox News commentator. They are suing Fox for defamation based on Fox’ platforming of Sidney Powell after the time the Murdoch outlet had internally recognized her as a bullshit artist, not during the time when she routinely showed up to lie about another topic — Mike Flynn’s innocence.

That explains why that prehistory, the long period when Powell was just another personality on Fox News, doesn’t appear in Dominion’s motion for summary judgement or its response to Fox’s MSJ.

What appears, instead, are two inflammatory claims which — taken together — may be as important as the billion dollar lawsuit and the sordid truth about Fox that Dominion has aired as part of it.

First, as Dominion lays out in response to Fox’s attempt to blame Trump for all the outrageous false claims about Dominion, Fox started it,

Fox went beyond the claims that Rudy Giuliani made in court, and Fox aired Sidney Powell’s false claims before she made those claims in court (which is one reason why, Dominion argues, Fox can’t simply claim they were covering newsworthy lawsuits).

Dominion lays out a timeline showing that Powell didn’t make any of the allegedly defamatory claims again Dominion in court until November 25, after Fox had floated them in 12 of the claimed instances of defamation.

As Giuliani himself told the court in one Pennsylvania lawsuit brought by the campaign, the lawsuit is not a fraud case. See Donald J. Trump for President,Inc.v.Sec’y ofPennsylvania,830 Fed.Appx. 377,382 ( Cir. 2020). Or to quote the headline of a November 23,2020 Wall Street Journal article: “Trump Cries Voter Fraud. In Court, His Lawyers Don’t.” Ex.702. Only Powell’s lawsuits, the earliest of which was filed on November 25 (after she had been disavowed by the Trump campaign), made allegations along the lines of the defamatory statements accused in this case allegations that Fox had been broadcasting for weeks before Powell’slawsuits were filed.9

The facts about the cases Fox focuses on are as follows:

November 7: The Trump campaign files an Arizona election challenge alleging defects in the ballots and poll worker deviation from protocols, not a technological failure of vote tabulation machines. See generally Ex.C1. Dominion is not mentioned.

November 11: The Trump campaign files a challenge to results in Antrim County. The gravamen of the complaint is interference with Republican election observers, disputes about voter eligibility, and ballots being run through tabulating machines multiple times–not mechanical tabulation errors. See Ex.C227-60. The complaint concedes that the Secretary of State found that the Antrim error was a result of the failure of a county clerk to properly update media drives, and does not allege any intentional misconduct by Dominion. See id. 60-62.

November 13: Lin Wood files a Georgia election contest, challenging certain changes in Georgia’s election laws. See Ex.C425-50. The lawsuit was not filed on behalf of the President or his campaign, nor does it make any misconduct allegations against Dominion or even mention Dominion by name.

November 17: Lin Wood files an affidavit in his Georgia lawsuit alleging certain misconduct by Smartmatic (not Dominion). The affidavit was irrelevant to the subject matter of the underlying suit, and was never filed in any case brought by the Trump campaign. Ex.C5.

November 25: More than two weeks after Fox first gave her a platform to promote her conspiracy theories, and days after the campaign expressly disavowed her, Powell files lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan. These lawsuits parrot the lies amplified by Powell and others on Fox. Exs.C8-C9.

December 1& 2: Powell files two more lawsuits in Wisconsin and Arizona–repeating the false allegations against Dominion. Exs.C11-C12. [italics my emphasis]

More importantly, Dominion lays out that Fox had Powell on to float these allegedly defamatory claims before Trump embraced them. Dominion suggests that having Trump embrace them was part of luring Trump back to the network.

It is also belied by the record for at least four reasons :(1) President Trump followed lead, making the same allegations against Dominion only after Fox had made them; (2) Sidney Powell was not on the President’s legal team when she started making the Dominion allegations and was disavowed after being associated with that team for at most 8 days; (3)Powell received some of her information via Fox hosts,who then laundered the lies by hosting her on their shows; and (4) neither Trump nor his campaign ever filed a lawsuit alleging the at-issue statements.

First, Fox’s own recitation of the timeline of Trump tweets establishes that Fox went first, Trump went second. On November 7, 2020, President Trump retweeted a report of Georgia using the same machines as Antrim County. Ex.G6. Notably Trump did not name Dominion, and certainly did not accuse Dominion of participating in an election-rigging conspiracy. The Trump campaign then filed a lawsuit on November 11 regarding the events in Antrim County that merely asserted there had been a “glitch” in the Dominion software. Ex.C2 . It was not until November 12 that Trump first made any allegations about Dominion intentionally switching votes, which he did via a tweet crediting OAN’s reporting. See Ex.G6 p.3. Though this tweet refers to OAN, it demonstrated Trump could be pulled back to Fox–provided the network broadcast what he wanted to hear. Indeed, later that same day, Trump tweeted his approval of Fox hosts attacking Dominion, telling his followers that they “[m]ust see @seanhannity takedown of the horrible, inaccurate and anything but secure Dominion Voting System which is used in States where tens of thousands of votes were stolen from us and given to Biden. Likewise, the great @LouDobbs has a confirming and powerful piece!” Ex.683. From here on out, Trump had Dominion in his sights.

Dominion argues that what got Trump to start attacking Dominion was seeing Fox focus on the claims of fraud; it suggests Fox was airing those claims of fraud to appease Trump.

What changed between November 7 and November 12? Fox entered the fray. Specifically, on November 8 Maria Bartiromo brought Powell onto her show to air the false claim that Dominion machines used an algorithm to calculate the votes that they would need to flip. Ex.A2 p.15. The Fox platform gave Powell the stamp of credibility, and reach, needed to spread the lies about Dominion. And while Trump was widely known to be a voracious consumer of Fox, Bartiromo did not leave anything to chance. [three lines redacted]

These redacted lines suggest that Bartiromo spoke with the Trump campaign directly to highlight these false claims; in the earlier filing, Bartiromo told Powell, “I just spoke to Eric [Trump] & told him you have very imp[ortant] info.” In that same reference, the filing revealed that Bartiromo “also provided information directly to Powell,” suggested that Bartiromo was a go-between between Powell and the campaign.

But that’s not the craziest part.

The crazy part — which is only clear from reading both Dominion’s recent filings — is that Fox got Trump to disavow Sidney Powell.

Remember how this looked in real time. After the embarrassing Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, the campaign publicly distanced itself from Powell on November 22.

Here’s the explanation offered by Maggie Haberman at the time.

According to Dominion, however, after Powell came after Tucker Carlson, Raj Shah — who used to work as a spox in Trump’s White House — inquired about her status with Trump. He learned two days before Rudy made a show of publicly ousting her from the campaign that she never worked for the campaign.

Second, Fox ignores what it knew better than the public at the time: Powell was never officially on the Trump campaign’s legal team, having never signed an engagement agreement. Ex.605, Shah 246 :4-12; id. 273:11-20. When Fox was finally motivated to get to the bottom of the relationship between Powell and Trump (which only happened after Powell came after one of Fox’s own, Tucker Carlson), it took Fox but a day or so to get the truth. See, e.g.,infra pp.163-164.


Shah believed the Decision Desk got the Arizona call right (see,e.g.,Ex.725);that the November 19,2020,press conference featuring Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani was not credible ,including the claims about Dominion (see, e.g., Ex.605 , Shah 214 :21-215 :7); see also Ex.726 ( crazy fucking presser );and that Sidney Powell was generally nuts (Ex.727).

Yet Shah did nothing when on or around November 20,2020, he learned that Sidney Powell never had a retention agreement with Trump or his campaign. This was explosive news. For several weeks Shah’s network had been airing false allegations from Powell, in part, so they say now, because she was the President’s lawyer. But upon learning that she was not the President’s lawyer what did Shah do? Effectively nothing. See Ex.605, Shah 297:18-298:2. [italics my emphasis]

Fox learned that Sidney Powell never had a retention agreement with the Trump campaign, but still covered her, purportedly, based on the claim that what she did for the campaign was newsworthy.

It’s these two comments that are particularly interesting though: Fox brought her on and off the campaign, and had a role in her conspiracy theories.

And while Powell appeared on Fox only four times when she was even arguably part of the President’s team, and six times when Fox was clearly aware that she was not. As important, Fox was instrumental in maneuvering Powell both into the Trump campaign and then out of it.

Third, Fox ignores its own role in developing the conspiracy theories it then aired See Dom. MSJ pp.39-44

These two claims — that Fox “maneuvered Powell … out of” the Trump campaign and that they played a role in developing these conspiracy theories, are discussed in heavily redacted passages of the earlier filing (probably redacted because Fox has claimed it pertains to internal business deliberations).

The first — describing how Fox “maneuvered Powell … out of” the Trump campaign after Tucker came under fire for questioning Powell — consists of almost four full paragraphs introduced with a description that Fox, including Tucker and Raj Shah, “mobilized.”

“We won the battle with Powell. Thank god,” the passage quotes a Tucker text later. Dominion is now explaining that that “battle” pertained to getting Powell ousted from Trump’s orbit.

The second claim — that Fox was the source of some of these conspiracy theories — incorporates the description of how Fox got Powell ousted from the campaign, but also includes redacted passages describing Lou Dobbs’ role in “promoting the narrative,” another making a redacted reference to Hannity, as well as the unredacted reference to Bartiromo chasing an email from Sidney Powell that Powell herself said relied on a “wackadoodle” source. The later filing suggests the earlier filing goes as far as saying that Fox played part in developing the conspiracy theories.

To be sure: Fox’s real-time knowledge that Sidney Powell never had a formal relationship with Trump and Tucker’s [apparent] role in getting her ousted from Trump’s orbit are critically important for Dominion’s case that Fox properties continued to air her conspiracy theories, falsely claiming to do so because they reflected Trump’s strategy, are both crucial pieces of evidence in their case that Fox knew they were allowing Powell to make false claims on their shows.

But they are important for another reason: because Jack Smith is investigating at least one and possibly two (the Sidney Powell investigation that went overt in September 2021) prongs based on claims that the people raising money were knowingly lying.

Fox likely still has no criminal exposure for the campaign finance violations that Smith is investigating (though the report that Rupert gave Jared confidential information on Biden’s ads may give Smith reason to look more closely).

But, as I noted after the last filing, all this material about what Fox was being told by Trump’s team is directly relevant to those suspicions of fraud.

It’s not just that Dominion has laid out damning evidence that Fox knowingly and falsely accused it of fraud. But discovery in this suit appears to have produced abundant evidence that the campaign itself knew it was recycling fraudulent claims Fox was peddling to keep Trump loyal.

Fox may have no more than this civil exposure. But Dominion lays out plenty of evidence that Fox was part of Trump’s suspected fraud on his own voters.