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The Banality of Crazy

November 30, 2023
Notes
Transcript
From Elon to Trump to Kanye, public decompensation is a part of our culture now. Plus, Georgia’s inadequate investigation of the potential Trump-related conspiracy to copy election software, and the uncertainty of a verdict before Election Day. Ben Wittes and Anna Bower join Charlie Sykes for The Trump Trials.

show notes:

https://www.lawfaremedia.org/article/what-the-gbi-missed-in-coffee-county

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:08

    Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, and leading Republican candidate for president is still on trial in four different venues. In Florida, in Georgia, in New York, and in Washington, DC, and the wheels of justice continue to grind exceedingly slowly. In fact, this was kind of a lull, but there were developments. And, of course, that’s why we have a weekly podcast devoted to Trump trials, and we are joined every week. Bye.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:38

    My good friend, Ben Wittis, who is the editor in chief of law firm. How are you, Ben?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:42

    I’m great stuffed with Thanksgiving food and, just chilling in the wall.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:49

    Right before we started, I said, Hey, let’s not talk about Henry Kissinger because I am being royally ratioed on what used to be known as Twitter for an ill considered tweet I had about Kistinger. What did you say? It was just no considered a tweet. I just said really reading somebody else’s headline about the debt. But You apparently are writing an absolutely epic piece on Henry Kissinger for your dog shirt daily.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:16

    And it hasn’t been published yet, but could you just share that with with us a little bit? Your analysis of Henry Kissinger, the greatest secretary of state in American history the dominant world changing statesmen of our time?
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:29

    Or the war criminal Damn. Depending on your perspective. Yeah. The lead will be Henry Kissinger was an overrated desiccated gasbag who achieved fame by being proudly a moral in a world in which he had be it had become normal to purport to stand for something. In this proud immorality, he may have sometimes advanced and sometimes tracted from the US national interest, but he always advanced his own interests and reputation his foes and friends have in common the tendency to wildly overstate his influence and importance Henry Kissinger was no Henry Kissinger.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:10

    That’s my lead. Bravo. The piece may not be much more than that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:14

    I think it lets us know how you feel about Henry Kissinger. I can guess.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:18

    Yeah. The thing about him is, like, my whole life, people have been talking about this guy as a, you know, as some sort of profit or war criminal. You know, the evidence that he’s a war criminal is that he was a staffer for Richard Nixon. Imagine, like, we ascribed some sort of mystical powers to Jake. So the national security adviser, really, It’s all very silly, but so is the glorification of him as some kind of, you know, Svengali.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:50

    It’s all stupid stuff. It’s just we you need a background figure preferably a self important Jew to be the guy who pulls all the strings And Henrikusinger, he had that German accent, and that made all the difference. And so, you know, we all we attribute lots shit to him that really should be about Richard Nixon.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:11

    Yeah. It’s also a sign of how what a different world it was that there was all this buzz about Henry Kissinger being the playboy of the White House, you know, a guy who dated Jill say John, and we were so bored back then that that this was an object of real fascination. This was four. We had, you know, actual Instagram influencers. We actually wondered about, is power really the great Afrodisiac as Henry Kissinger implied?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:36

    I will say that when he was over ninety, according to one of my associate editors, he hit on her when she was sixteen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:43

    Really?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:44

    So there was some truth to that side of him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:47

    Okay. So, if you wanna read the rest of, Ben’s analysis, dog, shirt, daily. Okay. I I know we’re gonna get into the trials, but there’s two things I have to bounce off you. My two favorite stories of the day.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:57

    Elon Musk and Kevin McCarthy. I’m sure you’ve read this story in the Washington Post, McCarthy is privately recounting a terse phone call with Donald Trump after his Ouster. Now just to review. Remember, it was Kevin McCarthy who went down to, you know, after January six, went down to Mar a Lago, you know, brought some chicken soup to feed the depressed, apparently emaciated Donald Trump because he was so depressed. So
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:22

    Fed him by hand, like a little baby bird. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:25

    and, of course, you know, that picture two of them together, you could argue that was that was a real pivot point, the beginning of the rehabilitation of Donald Trump. So Kevin Mike Kevin was there for Donald Trump when he most needed him. When Kevin McCarthy needed Donald Trump, to avoid being kicked out as speaker, Donald Trump was completely invisible. Never showed up. What a shock.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:46

    The loyalty only went one way. Okay. So here’s the story in the Washington Post this morning. Apparently, McCarthy calls up Donald Trump to basically say WTF. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:56

    You know what? We’re not gonna get through this show without getting the explicit rating. Okay? So
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:00

    Oh, we’ve already got it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:01

    So there’s no way to actually do today’s show without doing it. I did this is not gratuitous. When we talk about the Elon Musk, Leila Musk telling all the advertisers to go fuck themselves. I have to say he said, go fuck yourself. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:13

    Yeah. You’re right. Okay. So during a phone call with McCarthy, Weeks after his historic October third removal as house speaker, Trump detailed the reasons. He had declined to ask representative Matt Gates and other hard right lawmakers to back off their campaign to, Alice McCarthy from, leadership.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:30

    According to people familiar with the exchange, who, like others, spoke in condition of anonymity to disclose a private conversation. This is good. During the call, Trump lambasted McCarthy for not expunging his two impeachments. And his refusal to endorse him in the twenty twenty four presidential campaign. According to people familiar with the conversation, fuck you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:54

    McCarthy claimed to have then told Trump when he rehashed the call later to other people in two separate conversations according to the people. So We have McCarthy’s version. McCarthy’s going around saying that he told Trump, fuck you. Now a spokesman from McCarthy said that he did not swear at the form of president and they have a good relationship blah blah blah blah blah. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:13

    So this is interesting. They, you know, Kevin McCarthy thrown under the bus talking to Donald Trump. Donald Trump says, yeah. Kevin, I didn’t lift a finger for you because you didn’t expunge my two impeachments. It just shows you what’s going on in his mind.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:27

    This is a man who has called for terminating the constitution, who, apparently, at one point, actually, believed he could be reinstated as president. And throws Kevin McCarthy under the bus because they don’t actually expunge his impeachments, which you correct me, Ben, but that’s not a thing. Right? Expungement.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:45

    You know, one house cannot undo the actions of a prior house. If there’s a law, you can repeal the law. Right. But an impeachment is a thing that the House of Representatives did, you cannot undo it any more than if I say, you know, oh, say, Charlie Sykes fuck yourself if I were Elon Musk. I can’t unsay that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:13

    I can apologize for saying it. I can say, boy, the current Ben witness wishes that the pass pen with his head and said that, an impeachment is like a stabbing. Once it’s done, you can’t, like, unstab somebody
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:27

    I was gonna say, like, unringing a bell, but unstabbing somebody is actually even better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:31

    It’s just one of those things, but, like, Donald Trump doesn’t live in the world in which we are bound by legal realities. Like, can you reinstate a president? Can you unimpeach somebody? There’s these things that he believes should happen, and he just doesn’t accept the reality that they’re not structurally legally or sometimes, by the way, you know, physically possible. He doesn’t It’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:59

    almost like he is detached from reality.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:02

    I He believes you can do things with hurricanes. Right? If you draw a a Sharpie on the map, then they’ll go a different direction.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:11

    Yeah. Apparently. Okay. So let’s talk about Elon Musk who’s also clearly going through some things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:15

    Poor Elon. I have to
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:16

    say I have this morbid fascination with watching The world richest man who also is one of the most powerful men in the world who has all these government contracts. I mean, he’s not just a he’s not a Kardashian. I mean, this guy’s got some real clout And his decompensation in real time sort of the unscheduled disassembly of of Twitter is really remarkable I think everybody knows the background, but what happened yesterday, and I’m not gonna play the the audio of it, he’s on this New York Times forum. And he’s being asked about various anti Semitic comments he made, which he said he regretted, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. He’s been pushing conspiracy theories.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:52

    He did that non apology, apology tour to to Israel. And then at one point, they’re talking about the, you know, major advertisers of Twitter who are or whatever it’s called now who are leaving. And Elon Musk says, well, I hope they go because fuck them. Go fuck yourself. He tells the advertisers, go fuck yourself.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:12

    And then few minutes later, he says, and yes, they’re going to kill. Twitter. They are going to kill Twitter, and I’m gonna blame them for all of this. So what do you make of this? I mean, here is a guy who has And you have your own history with Twitter.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:28

    You know, this real man of genius who launches rockets and has the battery powered cars, and There’s something psychologically going on with him playing out in real time where he is mainlining these red pills and going deeper and deeper. And and it does not appear able to stop himself.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:47

    So I’m tempted to make jokes here because, you know, it’s a rich comedic terrain and and
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:56

    It is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:56

    And I also, as you mentioned, have my own personal history with this. He seems to have banned me from Twitter at the request of the Russian Embassy. Although I have no reason to think that he did that personally, but his policies caused me to be banned from Twitter. Because free speech.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:15

    Am I right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:16

    I mean Because free speech. Look. It is very weird to watch somebody of that. I don’t know stature, but importance. He’s he’s undeniably important controlling both Twitter and StarLink.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:29

    And his role in Tesla he made a real contribution. StarLink remains crucially important to the Ukrainian war effort. Don’t underestimate the importance of of this entity, and he is evidently nuts in a way that is, you know, not content to be private about it the way other megalomaniacal billionaires like Howard Hughes or, you know, I’m sure others were quite crazy. He’s insistent on doing it in public, mostly on Twitter, but occasionally, and, you know, I would wonder what substances were involved in yesterday’s events, but mostly it is a question of saying erratic things and, you know, some of them quite viciously anti Semitic and red pilling in other respects. But yesterday’s was live, and there is something always dramatic about watching somebody do that live.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:39

    I will say that he has company in this. And the most important example is Donald Trump. That, you know, he’s not the only person of his prominence to be as crazy and as public about it as he is. Kanye, you know, there’s this whole sequence of people who have done these kind of public decompensation things. And it does seem like a new feature of our culture.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:10

    I don’t know what to make of it. And I don’t know. I mean, all jokes aside, I he clearly needs help, and I hope he gets some.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:18

    Yeah. All jokes aside, the sort of the spread of crazy is disturbing. I’m really interested what Brian Class is now calling the banality of crazy, that when it comes to people like Donald Trump, for example, We’ve gotten so used to all the crazy things he says that when he calls for the termination of the constitution or the death penalty for general Mark Billy, people kinda just shrug their shoulders, and it doesn’t get covered. Class brought it up again yesterday because Trump is out now on truth social. Going after, and I’m a contributor to MSNBC.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:48

    This police not the humor there. But basically, you know, threatening to use the power of the government to go after Comcast, NBC, MSNBC, because they are critical of him. The pivot on the right from being we are the champions of free speech to damn right Let’s use the federal government as a hammer to go after NBC and because of the banality of Crazy, it’s probably not even going to make the front page of most newspapers in America as if front pages mattered anymore. What do you think?
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:23

    Yeah. I think that’s right. And I think the phrase, the banality of crazy is interesting. And, of course, allusion to Hannah Iran’s the banality of evil. The interesting thing about the banality of crazy, though, unlike the banality of evil, is that we seem to love to watch it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:43

    And, Iran’s point about Ithman right or wrong, is that he was actually a boring and altogether uninteresting individual, leave aside the fact that he was the executor in a literal sense of a lot of people’s deaths. He wasn’t an interesting person, but the banality of crazy is it’s really fun to watch. And we, as a society, do seem to love it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:12

    We do. And in in my newsletter today, in morning shots, I actually reminded people that, you know, people keep, you know, comparing Donald Trump to Moose as if somehow that’s disqualifying, but I wanna remind people was a time when Americans really loved the, you know, I’ll duce. They loved his style. They loved his showmanship. He was one of the first celebrity political figures of the twentieth century big in Hollywood, the media gushed over him, And so the one thing that Donald Trump understands is never be boring, never be banal, and always have that spotlight on me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:47

    And so I actually don’t think that the mango mussolini actually is particularly bothered by being compared with the original.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:55

    No. And in fact, they have other things in common too, which is a sense that if people aren’t talking about you. Mussolini read spent hours a day reading the newspaper for references to himself.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:12

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:12

    You know, that’s the equivalent in this era of what Trump does Mhmm. Which is spending hours a day watching Fox News, right, and watching you know, newsmax to see how we’re he’s being talked about. There’s a a real egomaniacal similarity between the two.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:32

    So here’s a simple, but meaningful gift idea for that grandparent who lives across the country, a digital picture frame from aura. I mean, it’s perfect. For sharing pictures of all the things they can’t be there to see from family vacations to their grandkids’ graduation. Okay. In this particular case, I am the Ron DeSantis, and I just got back from visiting my son and my granddaughters, and I brought along an aura frame for the family.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:55

    And they set it up in just a few minutes and loaded a lot of the pictures of the girls, which are absolutely wonderful. And I have to tell you it was a tremendous hit. It is such a thoughtful gift because it enables people to enjoy and reenjoy some of their greatest moments, creating a slideshow of their lives. I got home after the visit, I told my wife, I said, you know, watching these pictures, you know, cycle through was kind of a it’s a wonderful life moment. For me to say, you know, this is my family.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:25

    This is what we’ve gone through, and we could share it with one another. And one of the great things about horror frames is you can send your favorite pictures to anyone that has them. I can’t wait for my son to send me pictures of his family Christmas with the granddaughters. So the aura frame can help you connect and reconnect with people who are important in your life. For example, grandparents who live a long way away may not be able to be there for all of the key moments, but they can be with the oral frame because you can email them pictures of your children’s birthdays or their key moments.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:58

    We’re just funny moments. Or your son’s basketball game or your daughter’s soccer game, they can be there. You just take the picture, you upload it, and you send it and it will be right there in their living room or their bedroom, and it’s super simple to set up. It took just a couple of minutes to download the app connect the frame. And then you’re ready to pick photos and videos right from your phone from anywhere in the world.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:21

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  • Speaker 1
    0:17:42

    Terms and conditions apply. So let’s talk about the trump trials. There’s been things going on. None of them have been particularly prominent this particular week, but it has been grinding on We are still waiting for the appeals court to come back on the question of a gag order on the former president, most observers that I’ve read or listened to think that the appeals court will uphold portions of the gag order But give me your thoughts about that because it’s not theoretical that Donald Trump’s words have consequences. And, obviously, the judges understand this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:20

    We’re waiting on a number of things at this point, and there’s a a little bit of a judicial bottleneck in terms of things that have been argued and fully briefed that we are waiting to happen. This is now in the DC case. So the first is, as you say, the gag order. This was argued just before Thanksgiving in the DC Circuit before a panel that I think can be reasonably described as pretty friendly to judge Tucker’s ruling. The argument, by the way, which is for those who enjoy listening to good oral arguments.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:59

    It’s an excellent performance by these are three seriously impre engage judges who are really exploring in a serious way what the judge can and can’t do here. It’s a two hour argument. You can listen to it on the law fair. No bowl feed as well as you can find it on the DC circuits. Website YouTube page.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:23

    Lawfair, no bull, by the way, is a feed that we have that does, you know, primary source audio of this type. A lot of Fulton County hearings, a lot of DC Circuit hearings. So we’re waiting on that. They will, I believe, uphold the bulk of what Judge Chuckkin did, and that will put that order back into effect currently, Trump is not subject to a gag order of any kind in the DC case. The other big things we are waiting for the most important is a ruling from Judge Chuckkin herself on the question of whether to dismiss the case for reasons of executive immunity.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:07

    And the reason this is a critical question is not that she is likely to grant this ruling, which I think she is not. But because this ruling would be subject to immediate appeal, and that appeal could not certainly would, but could delay the trial.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:27

    It could go all the way up to the Supreme Court.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:30

    It could go all the way up to the Supreme Court, either Judge Chuck and herself or the DC Circuit or the Supreme Court could theoretically slap a stay on the proceedings while it hears this question and that could interfere with the March fifth trial deadline. I think realistically, that’s the only thing that could really mess up the March fifth trial deadline.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:55

    That’s a big one.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:56

    It’s a big one. And so we are waiting for that ruling so we can start that interlocutory appeal and see whether anyone’s gonna slap a stay on the proceedings. This is, I think, the biggest question that’s open as to the March fifth date. And if you’re hung up as I am on the question of whether Donald Trump is likely to go to trial in any case that will be completed before the election. This is a critical critical question.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:32

    And the March fifth trial date that Judge Chuckkin has set is the most likely case to actually go to trial and be finished.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:42

    Well, let’s let’s talk a little bit about this. Kabuki dance going on with trial dates. Because you have all of these different, you know, jurisdictions. You have Judge Eileen Cannon who appears to be just dragging her feet you know, moving as slowly as possible. You have the Fulton County case.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:00

    Obviously, they’re looking to see whether she’s gonna schedule anything. So How does that play out? How does it get resolved?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:06

    The first question as to how it gets resolved relates to the question of whether the March fifth trial deadline is real. So if that date actually happens, nobody can or will schedule a trial that will interfere with that. But if it lapses, then everything gets pushed back potentially because we do seem to be operating in a DC goes first environment. So the second question is what is judge Cannon gonna do? And the answer, she currently has a May twenty fifth trial date scheduled.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:43

    Everybody seems to believe that trial date is gonna slip, and that has a lot to do with judge Cannon’s less than above board behavior in terms of scheduling stuff, but we’re not gonna know that until early March. Because she has a status conference for scheduling purposes scheduled for March first. So everybody’s kind of operating with the assumption that on March first, we’re gonna learn that that May twenty fifth trial date for the South Florida case is gonna get pushed back. Now the question is how far back is it gonna get pushed? And you could imagine that being kind of a month or two, you could also imagine if she really wants to help Trump push it back past the election.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:31

    The third date relevant is the Fulton County Georgia trial date. Fony Willis, the d a in in that case has asked for an August trial date. This is great and terrible for foes of Donald Trump. Terrible in the sense that it almost certainly would mean that a trial would not be wrapped up by the time of the election. But great in the sense that you would have an ongoing trial of Donald Trump for having tried to overthrow the last election in the months between the Republican Convention and the election.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:12

    So you’d have, like, you know, daily trial news. Would he have to be a pending that trial. So it would really throw a wrench into the campaign. I don’t really understand how that would work logistically, you know, jokes aside, judge McAfee, who is the very impressive young judge who’s supervising this case is gonna have to think very hard about you know, how you run a trial. If he’s inclined to grant that trial date, it may also push until after the election as a result.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:49

    And then you have the wild card, which is the New York Stormy Daniels Push money payments case, who seems to be inclined to let other trials go first, but if everything else slips, you know, you could have a New York trial in there too. So it It’s a game of musical chairs with trial dates, and I think the first event we’re gonna be looking for to see who’s gonna go when when the music stops is when judge Chuck in issues this ruling And then we see whether either the DC Circuit or the Supreme Court stays the proceedings while they think about this question.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:32

    So we’re gonna come back to Georgia in just a moment. We’re talking with your colleague Anna Bauer about something that she’s been writing about there. But just a a note on the on the documents case, down in Florida, ABC reported yesterday that one of Donald Trump’s current employees told Jack Smith’s team that within days of the Department of Justice issuing a subpoena for all the classified documents at Mar a Lago, she quote, very clearly, unquote, warned Trump that if he failed to comply, but then swore that he did, it’s going to be a crime. Jennifer Little, the attorney, told investigators that Trump absolutely understood her warning that if you do this, it will be a crime if you still keep these documents. I mean, so, obviously, that revelation might explain how, Smith came to accuse Trump of knowingly violating the law that you had somebody.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:23

    She reportedly warned him you have to comply as ABC laid out, but the indictment filed against Trump in Florida alleges that he did not comply and failed to turn over all documents in his possession allegedly opting to obstruct justice department efforts in particular according to the indictment Trump tried to conceal his continued retention of classified documents and caused a full certification to be submitted to the FBI. Claiming that all classified documents had been returned. This just is a sort of reminder of how strong this case is. And I don’t know that we’ll ever hear about it in the court with Aileen Cannon presiding, but Jack Smith has a damn solid case down there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:03

    Yeah. Judge Cannon can delay this case. She can create highly disadvantageous conditions in which the government will try it. She can make any of a number of adverse rulings to the government restricting the introduction of all kinds of evidence. But at the end of the day, this is a barn burner of a case.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:29

    Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:29

    And it is a a barn burner of a case in an environment in which the law is extraordinarily friendly to the government. And by the way, maybe in some ways too friendly, although this case would not be an example of that. But you know, if you have classified information and you are told to return it and you are aware that you have class divide information and you don’t return it, you are guilty of a felon, and you don’t have to have all kinds of bad intent to have done terrible things or blah blah blah. And if you have a subpoena for documents and you don’t yield them up. That is obstruction of justice.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:18

    And so this is just a case in which the volume of evidence is really, really big. And the clarity of the evidence And it ranges from, you know, the testimony of your lawyers to video evidence of the way the document are being handled when this case is presented eventually. It is not going to be an ambiguous situation. And, you know, the DC case, you have all these questions about what prerogatives the president has. What immunity is the president has whether, you know, there are free speech, ask back to the the there’s some complicating factors in TC, although I still think it’s a very strong case.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:07

    There’s none of that here. So when this case goes to trial, and that’s why, by the way, it’s super important to trump to push this case off, because it’s a bad, bad fact pattern for him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:20

    This is why he must win that election in his way. He has to be the president. Because for Donald Trump, it’s either the Oval Office or a felony conviction. Well, let’s shift gears to what’s happening down in Georgia right now. Look, look, as a reminder, the Fulton County indictment includes this astonishing allegation that the president’s legal team Aided by local officials and party loyalists plotted to unlawfully copy and disseminate the state’s voting machine software in rural Coffee County, Georgia.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:51

    It’s just a strange sort of side story. You know, Coffee County was part of the plot, of course, to overturn the twenty twenty election results. Four of the nineteen defendants were charging connection with this Coffee County plot, and two of them have pleaded guilty already. Sydney Powell, And this Atlanta, bail bonds, my name is Scott Hall, to have pleaded not guilty. So this is separate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:15

    From the Fulton County prosecution in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation recently released the results of his thirteen month investigation. And we’re joined now by Anna Bauer, legal, fellow, and court’s correspondent at Law Fair, who actually read this comprehensive report. And I have to say, and, first of all, thanks for joining us on the on the podcast on Trump trials today. Appreciate that. But there’s three hundred and ninety two page investigative report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:46

    I mean, that sounds pretty juicy. And then I read your account in law fair. What did you find?
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:53

    Right. So it does sound pretty juicy, and I should say thank for having me today, Charlie, to talk about this because I think it is important. So just to make sure that folks are clear, this is a separate stegation that took place in parallel with the Fulton County district attorney’s office. It’s something that the Fulton County district attorney has now brought charges against, but it this is something that was going on for thirteen months, you know, separate from that investigation. And the GBI is kind of like the state level equivalent of the FBI.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:27

    Right? So they have this state wide jurisdiction those
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:30

    the initials.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:30

    Right. They’re they’re not as limited as the Fulton County district attorney would be in terms of jurisdiction and resources. So you would expect that they would really fully thoroughly and completely investigate what is a very serious allegation in the Fulton County indictment that the then president’s legal team conspired with local officials and allies to breach Georgia’s voting systems and distribute copies of that software. What I found, however, is that in fact, what the GBI’s investigation consisted of was basically just replicating things that already been revealed in civil litigation through the January sixth committee. They interviewed about teen witnesses over the course of this thirteen month investigation.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:22

    Most of those interviews took place in less than an hour. They did not interview many key witnesses, and they admitted some key details that that really could have connected some of the dots between you know, how did these local rural people in South Georgia get connected with the then president’s legal team?
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:41

    So what you’re suggesting here in some detail is that the the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, despite this massive investigative report, really didn’t do much of an investigation as the word is generally understood. Right? It sounds like they kinda mailed it in.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:57

    Right. It was it was, I think, I called a badly inadequate investigation in the piece. Again, this is a very serious allegation. There is an alleged conspiracy in the Fulton County indictment. And again, the Fulton County district attorney’s case already involves nineteen people in that alleged Rico conspiracy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:17

    However, there are thirty unindicted co conspirators. Some of those people, their identities, you know, have we’ve been able to match them up to they are based on public information. And some of those individuals of those thirty unindicted co conspirators are people who the district attorney alleges you know, helped coordinate or plan this breach in Coffee County or they are people who, you know, distributed or or sought out access to the data that was copied. And again, I just want to make sure that folks are clear that what happened in Coffee County a lot of election security experts say that it could have some potential risk going forward into twenty twenty four because the state of Georgia still uses that same software that they copied. So it wasn’t just, you know, copying ballots or copying voter data.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:06

    It was copying software, which is the very software that we use in Georgia and in some other states. And so, you know, there’s this risk that the distribution could allow people to, manipulate the data so that it looks legitimate. But in fact, it’s, you know, kind of selectively presented as what happened in Antrim County, Michigan during the twenty twenty election with that Antrim County report, if people remember that, It’s also the case that this data could be, you know, looked at to search for vulnerabilities that could be exploited through malware and that kind of thing. So it it’s something that is has serious consequences. It’s a serious alleged crime in the Fulton County indictment.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:48

    However, what the GBI did not do is kind of answer the question of when did this plan arise who came up with it, who was involved in the coordination, they missed some key details like that December eighteenth twenty twenty White House meeting. If folks remember, that’s that unhinged famous meeting in which, Sydney Powell and Mike
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:13

    when
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:14

    You’re connecting these dots. I mean, Anna, what’s really helpful about this is that I we’ve heard these sort of bits and pieces around here. And what you’re doing is saying, look, all of these actually related because, actually, until I read your piece, I hadn’t really connected that December eighteenth twenty twenty meeting in the White House where they talked about seizing voting machines and Rudy Giuliani talking about gaining voluntary access to machines in Georgia. And then he goes on Steve Bannon’s podcast the next day to talk about this big project down in Georgia going behind Brian Kemp back. And as you point out, this is not even included in this Georgia Bureau of Investigation report into what happened.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:53

    I mean, this actually, in some ways, it’s easy to just think of it as a sideshow. But really, it was part of the overall conspiracy, and it traces all the way back up to these meetings in the White House.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:06

    Right. And it’s not just, you know, that they Rudy Giuliani discussed voluntary access in that meeting. And then the next day, you know, goes on Steve Bannon’s podcast in reporting that piece, I was able to find out that Kathy Latham had stayed from December sixteenth to around December eighteenth. Well, she’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:24

    one of the defendants here.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:26

    Yeah. So I should explain. I’m sorry. I get a little bit too lost in the details, but Kathy Latham is the former Coffee County GOP care person who is one of the people who is on video escorting this forensics team who copied all of the data and County in January twenty twenty one. She is alleged to have helped, you know, plan and coordinate the the breach that occurred but we were able to find out through our reporting and it’s in this piece that Kathy Latham was at the Will Saletan around the time that you know, the Trump campaign was looking for access to voting machines either through executive orders that mention specifically Coffee County, or through voluntary access, and she there are social media posts in which she says that she met with Rudy Giuliani on that trip there was also a photo that we found of Kathy Latham with Mike Flynn and Sydney Powell at the Trump Hotel, which is where they allegedly drafted these executive orders to seize voting machines that mention Coffee County.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:27

    So there’s all of this stuff happening around this time that that certainly is circumstantial, and I’m not coming to any conclusion about, you know, what exactly happened and what was discussed, But it all seems to be something that any reasonable investigator would look into.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:42

    This is great stuff. People ought to, check out Annabauer’s piece in the law fair. And I thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I appreciate it very much.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:50

    Thanks so much for having me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:51

    Alright. Well, that was very, very interesting. So we’re back with, with with Ben Willis.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:55

    Don’t ever get on the wrong side of Anna Bauer because she will find out everything terrible about you. Every election you’ve ever tried to overthrow every time you came to see saying it was about going to the Bible Museum, and you were actually meeting with Rudy Giuliani, you know, don’t get on Annabauer’s bad side.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:18

    Point taken. Also, it’s always dangerous to get on your bad side, Ben, because you have these various military operations that you have planned and You’re doing something a little bit different this weekend. And this is the word on the street.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:31

    My trusty laser projector, and I and I’m still not a hundred sure I’m gonna be able to pull this off. We’ve decided Lord Laser and I have decided that we need to send a message to Congress to actually pass the supplemental because the situation in Ukraine is is really quite desperate. If we can pull it off, I think the National Park Service Police police are gonna be okay with it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:55

    But you’re not allowed to project on the capital. Right? I mean, this is it. I mean, you’ve been project for people who are catching up here. Ben and his his team project like the Ukrainian flag on the Russian embassy and various other phrases
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:07

    I would never project on the United States’ capital. And in fact, the Capitol Police would not allow me to do that. Okay. So a week ago, I thought I have a great idea. I will project on the reflecting pool in front of the capital, and that actually turned out not to Bulwark.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:26

    For two reasons. One is that I didn’t know this. Water scatters light from a laser. And so these beautiful laser projections actually look terrible on water. I thought it would be beautiful.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:40

    It wasn’t. And then the second reason was the Capitol Police were look, I don’t wanna criticize the Capitol Police. There was this January sixth thing. They’ve got, you know, unresolved
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:51

    They’re on the ends of
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:52

    the DNC and RNC, you know, from I love the Capitol Police, not messing with them. I did not know that they consider projecting on the water of the reflecting pool the same as projecting on the capital. So we had a very polite, interesting conversation. And, they asked me not to do it, and I didn’t do it. So then I was looking for a place that is outside of Capitol Police jurisdiction where you can clearly project not on the capital, but in a fashion that really has the capital in your sites when you take pictures of it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:28

    And I found it, and it is the lawn of the mall where Seventh Street crosses the mall. There was a big patch of lawn with the capital in the background And I think I’m gonna test it tonight. Can I project there without bothering the US park police?
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:47

    On the lawn.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:48

    Down onto the lawn, from a high tripod. And if I can do that, I’ll I’ll put a picture of it if I can do it in dog shirt daily tonight. Along with the Henry Kessinger open.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:00

    Eagerly await the results of this test.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:03

    Yeah. So we’re gonna we’re gonna do an experiment tonight. And if I can, I’m gonna let the local Ukrainian community know that I’ll be doing it properly on Saturday evening today to I’ll just do a little Ukrainian flag just to see if I can do it. But then Saturday evening, you know, maybe more people will turn out, and I’ll will do it properly with an appropriate message to Congress and to, the speaker of the house that it’s, you know, important not to forget about Ukraine in all of our domestic dysfunction.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:37

    You are a great American, mister Willis, and thank you so much for joining us again.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:41

    You are a great American Charlie Sykes, and, we will be back next week. And we will do this
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:49

    all over again. Again, thanks for joining us. Bohlberg podcast is produced by Katie Cooper, and engineered and edited by Jason Brown.
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