Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Meaning Of Barr's Action Yesterday

Can you imagine watching a baseball game without knowing the rules? That's what watching the criminal justice process can be like for outsiders--and even for many insiders, because often times knowledge of the rules is compartmentalized. That's the case with yesterday's news that AG Bill Barr issued a memo specifically authorizing local US Attorneys and their prosecutors to undertake investigations of election fraud.

So, first of all, a h/t to Ray - SoCal for pointing out Shipwreckedcrew's latest. I'd been wondering where SWC was the last few days, but with so much going on and so much to review and try to wrap one's arms around ...

It appears that SWC got a tip from a former colleague, someone with inside knowledge about how election fraud investigations worked--or didn't work--after 8 years of the Obama administration. SWC lays that out, and explains the significance of Barr's action yesterday, here:

Pay Not Attention to the Drama Queen At DOJ who Resigned After AG Barr Authorized Fraud Investigations

The point is that there's more to see here than just another career DoJ drama queen flouncing off the election fraud stage. Barr took his action because he became aware that investigations of election fraud were being blocked from within DoJ HQ.

As SWC details, the drama queen, one Richard Pilger, has been in charge of the Election Crimes Branch at DoJ HQ for quite a few years. During the Obama years he wrote up a manual of procedures for the handling of allegations of election law violations. That manual specified that the local US Attorneys (USAs)--including their Assistants (AUSAs) and FBI agents--could take no action with regard to allegations of election law violations without DoJ HQ--meaning, without Pilger's--approval.

There's an important distinction here, one that might seem minor but which helps to see events of the last week more clearly--those events leading up to Barr's action. 

First of all, that provision in the manual didn't prevent the FBI or local USA offices from receiving allegations of election crime violations.

Now, you'll recall that shortly after the election, Barr had his DAG specifically state that FBI agents could enter election centers armed. That was a clear sign that the FBI was receiving complaints of election law violations and was responding to them by going to election centers--presumably because the complaints were coming from workers at those centers. They were being blocked from entering because they were armed, and their complaints about this obstruction got to Barr very quickly.

So, why were the agents armed, and why didn't they just ditch their sidearms somewhere and get on with the investigation? Because FBI agents are required to be armed when conducting official business unless authorized otherwise--they can't exempt themselves from the requirement. There has to be a reason for an agent to go unarmed, and it has to be authorized from higher up. There's no need to go into the reasons for this policy--it has to do with investigative authorities--but I can tell you that it caused years of trouble with the airlines, and even with individual pilots who thought they were the law on 'their' plane.

Clearly, then, local election officials were probably refusing entry to FBI agents, perhaps with the assistance of armed local police or security. This was presenting a roadblock for the agents, who were obviously not about to engage in a shoot out in those circumstances! Thus, Barr's intervention. 

As SWC notes:

Contrary to popular belief, the FBI has not been sitting on its hands all week while evidence of suspicious activity has been developing in multiple locations across the country.

So, Barr at that point knew that the FBI was doing its job. But then it turned out that that wasn't the only roadblock for investigators. It's entirely possible that Barr may not initially have been aware that Pilger was blocking any substantive action on the allegations that the FBI (and probably USAs) was/were receiving. When Barr learned of this, he took action. As SWC explains:

What happened today, and what prompted Pilger to “quit” was that AG Barr said to US Attorneys – “If you have substantial allegations of election fraud in your district, you have authority to investigate that.”  Basically, Barr cut Pilger and Election Crimes Branch out of the picture as “gatekeepers” to starting investigations in places like Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Atlanta.

It's a bit like federalism in action within DoJ, with authority being devolved to the local judicial district level. But you and I would never have known what was behind Barr's action without insider knowledge of Election Branch procedures. So, with one stroke of the pen Barr has broken up the logjam that obstructionists at DoJ (protected by civil service laws) had constructed.

To understand why this has liberal knickers in such a knot, it's necessary to understand the effect of Barr's action. FBI agents--the investigators--can do quite a bit of investigating without grand jury involvement. Many cases can be essentially completed using techniques such as interviews and physical surveillance, consensual searches, and so forth. It all depends on the nature of the crime involved. In the case of election fraud, it's safe to say that, beyond volunteered information, no evidence of substance can be gathered without use of a grand jury subpoena, no matter what election workers may have told the FBI. What Barr has done with his action is to facilitate grand jury involvement in these investigations.

Again, SWC explains:

But, missing from much of the coverage of what Barr did today is the most significant point — what his statement did was authorize the use of federal grand juries to gather evidence.


That is, Barr authorized local federal prosecutors to make that decision to open election fraud investigations, bypassing DoJ HQ.

FBI agents will often conduct interviews and gather evidence without the benefit of grand jury assistance.  But federal prosecutors don’t go forward with new cases without opening up a grand jury matter.

THIS is what the left-wing pundit class is so alarmed about over AG Barr’s announcement.

As always, the famously aggressive Barr made sure of his ground--after all, he's surrounded by a host of enemies at DoJ and has to be careful not to hand them any ammunition. But then he took measured, but far reaching, action that was appropriate to the issue at hand. And he did so promptly. Keep that in mind with regard to other matters, as well.


  1. I can just visualize AG Barr ripping up a copy of the policy and stating, "The policy is changed."

  2. While the FBI will neither confirm nor deny whether it has opened an investigation, suffice it so say, the 1811's are on top of the matter. /snark/ Now, just clean out the closet full of empty suits on the 7th floor.

  3. This is also, I think, a part of why there can be no talk, nor action towards, a transition team being allowed. I'm sure Davos Man operatives would be very interested in finding out details on about a dozen DoJ investigations. Wray, on the other hand, has Weissmann on speed dial.

    It's a mystery to me why Wray and Fauci haven't been shown the door. It's been a week and I can't imagine they have, or intend to, contribute anything neutral, much less positive.
    Tom S.

  4. One has to wonder if Barr's unannounced meeting with Sen Majority leader yesterday for 45 minutes, about which neither has elaborated, was election related, Durham related, or some other high priority issue Barr felt he needed to brief McConnell about.

    Some big is afoot, methinks.

    1. It wasn't a social call. Whatever it was, it was big. Neither of them have time for chit chat now.

    2. SWAG:

      Barr's action is a game changer.

      The Democrats were relying on blocking any Voter Fraud Investigation through control of the DOJ's Election Crimes Branch.

      And Trump's firing of Esper, along with others after the election, is a message Trump is still President and in charge. I bet FBI Director Wray noticed the message...

    3. Occam's Razor:

      Barr went over to the Capitol to tell McConnell, face to face, that Trump is on very solid ground in his efforts to inquire into election irregularities and that McConnell is justified in (and will not be embarrassed by) supporting Trump's efforts.

    4. Can't be sure, but perhaps Ken "Deep State" Delanian's reaction in this video is related to Barr's meeting with McConnell?

      Warning: not safe for work due to STRONG language!

      >> <<

      I have to wonder if Ken looked at his smart phone and read a tweet that said: "We are all about to be indicted for conspiracy..."

      It certainly fits his reaction!

    5. Possibly even more specific and detailed.

    6. @ EZ

      Is that for real? I mean, really for real?

    7. Ez, that's hysterical!

      Side note, that was also the most accurate thing said by the MSM yesterday! 😂😆🤣

    8. The video is for real, AFAIK. My hypothesis as to what he was reading is, well, *speculative* ....

    9. His explanation is that he thought he had dropped his connection. I like to think it was a reaction to what he was reading.

    10. That's EXACTLY how I take it.

      His video and audio connection to the network was clearly still functioning. So what diff does it make if his smart phone lost a connection -- all he had to do was talk about what he was reporting -- he didn't need his smart phone to summarize his latest news report.

      His explanation is about as believable as the Legal analyst's explanation for masturbating on a live ZOOM conference a few weeks ago, or the NPR reporter's claim he was "hacked" to explain his tweeting a Trump hater on how to deal with Trump in the next debate.

    11. Craig: "... involved our intelligence community. Ken, what have you learned, sir?"
      Ken: “Oh sh*t.... F*ck.”
      Craig, after seconds of silence: "Okay."

      I'll damn near bet ranch, it was a reaction to what he was reading, esp. since Craig then responded with silence, and no one offered any such excuse, about that anyone thought he had dropped his connection.

      I'll bet that no one on any network has *ever* reacted this way, to the loss of a connection.

    12. This just in:

      BREAKING - CIA Director Haspel just entered US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office (via @LauraLitvan)

      Wondering how this ties in with Barr's visit yesterday ...

      As before, I doubt this is a meeting to have tea and crumpets.

    13. Fusion Ken has had the IC's hand up his backside and another something in his mouth for years. It must make it doubly hard to talk.

    14. Okay, it's starting to look a lot like Christmas is coming early this year...

      Deep State Ken Delanian has a well established reputation for having a "Collaborative" relationship with folks at CIA. He would submit news story drafts to them before publication, to get their feedback (and give them a heads-up, of course.) What did Deep State Ken get in return? One can well imagine a juicy leak or two on occasion.

      I know I joked about this earlier, but I really do think Delanians' expletive-laced outburst on TV is because he just found out he's up the Fecal river in a chickenwire canoe.

      I'm thinking Barr has a leak investigation that is about to have sealed indictments (or plea bargains) unsealed, and it involves leakers at CIA leaking to people like Delanian.

      That would explain Deep State Ken's expletive-laced exclamation on TV if he just got a text message warning him ....

      The remaining mystery is why does McConnell need to be briefed about this by both AG Barr and DCI Haspel? Perhaps a Senator or senate staffer is also implicated in the leaking? Or perhaps they are delivering classified documents sought by the Senate that heve been held back pending the investigation wrapping up.

      Either way, it is increasingly looking like something very big is about to happen.

    15. Just guessing, but I would expect CIA Directors mostly deal with the Chair of SSCI, rather than Majority Leader. I get it that McConnell is on the Gang of Eight and outranks the rest, but ...

    16. What if..... SSCI staffers are implicated?

      What if SSCI MEMBERS are implicated?

      That would explain bypassing officials in the SSCI and going straight to the highest ranking Gang of 8 member ONLY.

      As you say, this is outside of the normal protocol, which suggests something very unusual is happening, or is about to happen.

    17. EZ, I tend to think it probably was related to believing he'd just lost his connection as they cut to him. People like Dilanian live for that shit.

    18. O/T but potentially huge story about witness intimidation:

      >> <<

    19. Maybe not so OT. I'm guessing that those "federal agents" may have been Postal Inspectors. Maybe they thought they had something on this Postal employee, some workplace problem or other, and used that to coerce? Has anyone know O'Keefe to bluff? To say he has something that he doesn't? He can't risk that and I can't think of an instance. Which suggests deep doo-doo time for federal agents. And whoever was behind them.

    20. Agree; O'Keefe does not bluff or lie.

      Recordings could be dynamite.

    21. Also, check out how Trump-supportive Lindsey Graham has been. Judiciary is oversight on FBI criminal stuff. And firing Esper and replacing with acting--the new acting chief of staff is Kash Patel, Nunes' top investigator, but moving over now from similar position for Ratcliffe. Smacks of taking control of the military. With Barr talking to McConnell yesterday and turning USAs loose, Lindsey talking up the PA fraud today (and I don't believe Mitch would let Lindsey go out on a limb like that), and Haspel called in to Mitch today ... something big has to be up.

    22. O'Keefe video:

      >> <<

      It was USPS IG investigators trying to "harness the storm."

      I'm assuming O'Keefe is holding back the juiciest bits from the audio recording.

  5. I read on TGP where Senator Graham stated that 25,000 nursing home residents, obviously from different facilities, requested absentee ballots at the same time on the same day. It seems that would be easy for LE to look at by putting together a sample pool of these seniors and interviewing them to see if (1)they requested a ballot and (2)if they received it and voted. Another avenue would be to track the electronic address for who requested these ballots.

    These seem to be obvious actions. Perhaps LE is already moving in this direction.


    1. So much of the allegations of widespread fraud would be so easy to verify by just doing this. We know the names of people to inquire into. It's a matter, though, of manpower and also an issue of obtaining compliance in responding to such inquiries. Perhaps Barr's recent moves could allow such an effort to be coordinated by the DOJ. You don't need to interview everyone--just a sampling would make it obvious whether there is any "there" there.

  6. The Evidence For Voter Fraud:
    November 5, 2020 interview with Russell Ramsland by L. Todd Wood
    >Members of the Trump legal team are aware of this interview.

    I congratulate President Trump on his victory!

  7. "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
    It were done quickly," as William Shakespeare advised.

    The clock is ticking. If Barr is for real, then he'd better get the job done now. Later will be too late. We are the new kulaks. And America's enemies want to make an omelette.

  8. O/T for this thread, Dr. Osterholm (PhD not MD) is on Biden’s COVID19 transition team and is preaching doom. Was just on Maria Bartiromo, responding to Dagen that the steady 2.4% death rate was meaningless.

    Biden coronavirus advisor Osterholm says U.S. is ‘about to enter Covid hell’


    *Dr. Michael Osterholm, a newly appointed Covid-19 advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, told CNBC that the pandemic in the U.S. will face its darkest period so far over the next three to four months.

    *He said that the U.S. is “about to enter Covid hell” as hospitals begin to report more patients.

    *Osterholm’s concern about the looming winter months echoes that of Biden, who also said on Monday that the U.S. is “still facing a very dark winter.”

    1. "Osterholm was on a huge kick months back about how the US wouldn’t have enough reagents to do widespread testing. That ended up being completely wrong. He’s missed the mark badly in other ways as well"

  9. As a official card carrying member of the "Hate Barr Club" (I'm running for president of my chapter)

    I said I was mistaken to be dismissive of his memo announcement. My thought was "why does a USA need written permission to investigate anything" it's a crime that's THEIR JOB!!!

    And I was wrong... over simplification of DC. Decentralization of DC power is ALWAYS a good thing.

    Now let's hope his call to local oversight isn't just a quelling of the pitchforks and they let the USAs run with it.

  10. "So, why were the agents armed..."

    I was chuckling at this even before I finished the sentence. I can only imagine the clown who came up with that excuse for blocking federal agents from investigating possible violations of federal law. So if sheriff's deputies showed up in response to a call about a suspicious person, guess who's going to be arrested for obstruction.

  11. The problem is that the Prosecutors in these Demoncrat cities are likely leftists who will see no evil...

  12. Barr activated USAs, and the agents have discretion to I understanding the theory here? Quick reminder that while its a gross generalization, and I honestly believe that there are more good guys at FBI than not, we've seen some serious allegations of politically motivated crimes within FBI.