Friday, February 5, 2021

Patrick Byrne's Narrative On How Trump Lost The WH

Patrick Byrne has been putting out his narrative of how Trump lost the White House. It's a narrative of backstabbing, betrayal, and incompetence. For the most part it's the only narrative we have--certainly the most extended and comprehensive narrative--and so we have to pay attention to it. Several commenters have been linking to it as well as to commenters on it, such as Larry Schweikart.

It goes without saying that Byrne's narrative doesn't have to be treated in an all-or-nothing fashion. Like any narrative, it may well reflect a mix of motives--some praiseworthy, but others possibly self serving. Nor do such mixed motives necessarily negate the factual basis of the narrative. There is also the question of Byrne's understanding of what happened and why, and especially in judging the motives of others. The battle over the election played out in a very rarefied legal environment--more so, probably, than any other moment in American history. The issues were often issues of first impression and in all cases required delicate balancing.

It goes without saying that none of the foregoing observations should be construed as casting aspersions on Byrne. The considerations of motive and understanding that I've touched on apply in every such analysis. For that reason I'm reproducing here a comment from regular commenter Cassander which suggests caveats that we should all keep in mind. 

I've read Byrnes' Chapter 3. 

One thing I learned in over 40 years law practice is that legal process is as important as legal substance.

What I mean by this is that you can be right on the law, but the process necessary to achieve the legal outcome is so expensive, time-consuming, uncertain and/or consequential that the practical substantive right simply cannot be realized. Or, putting it another way, the risk that it cannot be realized exceeds the likelihood that it can. Another way of putting it is that the election may well have been stolen from Trump but that doesn't mean there was a practical process to vindicate his rights.

This is what due process is all about. 

Like others, I don't know what to make of Byrne. Even if I give him the benefit of the doubt, I think he ignores and/or downplays the practical process problems with the purported Flynn/Powell/Byrne plan. These are probably the problems that Cipollone and Meadows were rightfully focussed on, but which Byrne essentially dismisses as disloyalty. 

A few come to mind. For one, deploying any kind of federal troops or police based on an Executive Order (as opposed to enacted law) would have raised enormous political opposition. There was also no process for any kind of military-supervised vote recount and the process would have surely been viciously attacked by Trump's opponents and enemies. Just the idea of Byrnes' identifying Flynn as some kind of 'Field Marshal' conjures up images of a comic Grand Duchy of Fenwick (if anyone here remembers the allusion) kind of situation. 

I would add that the use of the military for purposes other than maintaining public order, e.g., for vote counting, is legally and constitutionally problematic--here, as elsewhere, process and substance are intertwined. Flynn, moreover, is retired and had no official position. My personal view is that Flynn would not have been able to effectively control any process that he put in motion.

I also suspect that while the Flynn/Powell/Byrne team strongly suspected that fraud could be quickly proved in the six counties, it was by no means a sure shot. Byrne is silent on the numerous impediments that would have been placed in Trump's way. I can imagine Cipollone and Meadows advising Trump that a failed process would bring unimaginable harm and chaos to the country. 

In that regard, note that Matt Braynard, a highly experienced political operative and data specialist, is still working on his analysis.

My takeaway is that, for whatever reason and given constitutional uncertainties, Trump was unprepared, and therefore as a practical matter unable, to contest election fraud by means of any process which was likely to work. 

But that also offers an explanation for his attempt--which, in the event, backfired--to exert political pressure on the Senate to intervene. That attempt was valid as far as it went, and it went pretty far. The Senate could have intervened. It would have been a politically risky move, but constitutionally valid even though the constitution is largely silent on how to proceed in such situations. The election of 1876 is our only real precedent, and it is certainly not a reassuring example--a lot of malign consequences (Jim Crow, is one) flowed from that. Trump is surprisingly savvy regarding history, and I can imagine Trump, Cipollone, and Meadows discussed all of this. What I can't imagine is that such discussions were fully carried out in Byrne's presence.

This means that the status quo is that presidential elections can be stolen by means of local fraud and that it is farcical for the Democrats to argue that just because there is no process to contest 21st Century election fraud, that fraud did not occur and cannot have occurred. 

I cannot imagine a greater fault line in the foundation of our Constitutional processes than an unresolved weakness in the Presidential election process which allows the 'loser' to successfully claim victory. 

Surely this crack would (and will in time) bring the whole house down if not resolved. I think the Democrats (in this case, as in so many others arising during the Trump Era) are playing with fire.

Thanks to Cassander for these insights. Probably in the relatively near future we'll be hearing more--both from the likes of Braynard regarding the actual fraud that can be proven, as well as from insiders who will want to explain their perspective, which may differ from that of Byrne. The bottom line for me remains that I believe there is strong evidence of both fraud and that the results of that fraud were the results devoutly wished for by the Deep State, the political Establishment, and the Media/Big Tech complex in alliance with the former two. How it all played out is a question that is probably still to be answered. Byrne's narrative is a start.


  1. Thank you.

    Byrne's narrative has the feel of truth, but I am persuaded that the Powell/Flynn proposal was likely unworkable.

    On the one hand, I think that using the National Guard - on an even playing field - could have had the salutary effects that Byrne described and for the reasons that he gives. But this is not an even playing field, both because of the monumental and pervasive fraud in question and because the Dems, with their MSM/Big Tech allies, completely dominate messaging and it would not be difficult at all for them to portray it in coup/dictatorial terms. Add to this the eagerness of the RINO establishment to move on from Trump, and it was really a lose-lose situation.

    The Steal was really Too Big to Fail.

    1. I think that's a fairly persuasive counter or complementary narrative. Hopefully we'll be learning more. I think we will.

    2. Thanks, Mark, for sharing some of my ideas with your readership.

      I feel compelled to add an additional conclusion implicit in my thinking but worth saying out loud.

      Yes, there is procedural due process as well as substantive due process. A legal (or even Constitutional) right (such as equal protection under the 14th Amendment) is obviated if there is no practical process to assure it.

      I think this is what was so galling about the Supreme Court's decision to not hear the Texas case on grounds of lack of standing of the State of Texas. Standing is a judicial concept concerned with who is an aggrieved party and thus has the right to sue. If recollection serves, the Supreme Court decided that allegations of election fraud in the swing states did not 'aggrieve' the State of Texas and thus it had no standing to sue.

      As a result there was no forum for the claims of the Attorney General of Texas that election fraud in the swing states denied Texas voters equal protection of the law. Which, if the fraud occurred, most observers would say it undoubtedly did deny voters equal protection of the laws. But whether or not you agree, the process obstacle never allowed the case to be heard on the merits.

    3. Agreed. It was an outrageous sidestep.

  2. Is Time magazine doing a Victory lap here explaining how the election was won by rigging it fair & square and out-hustling the Trump voters:

    "a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it"

    Posted on RS:

    Time article:

    1. Woops, see my comment below:

      "change rules and laws"

      Except this: they broke the rules and laws, knowing that the courts would either be too slow or actively complicit. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like Time is trying to put out a counter narrative to the Big Steal.

      And that means they're worried that they haven't been able to control the narrative.

  3. I don't know how Trump, or any of us for that matter, could have been prepared for this election cycle.

    A gloating affirmation/report by the "victors" on how well the Left and the Never-Trumpers were able to steal this election is contained in the latest addition of TIME magazine, Feb 4, "The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election." Reading this should definitely "angry up the blood." There are just sooo many things wrong with this.

  4. The problem for the Democrats is that too many people know what happened. They realize that the attention of the nation must be averted to something brand new. I fear that.

  5. "change rules and laws"

    Except this: they broke the rules and laws, knowing that the courts would either be too slow or actively complicit. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like Time is trying to put out a counter narrative to the Big Steal.

    1. Instead of labeling it a counter narrative it is more like Time is openly and boldly celebrating how they did the Big Steal by braking the rules and laws and coordinating it. The end justifies the means.

    2. I insist that it's a counter narrative for this reason: I skimmed through the article, and it's clear that they're not telling the whole story at all. Call the counter narrative the "Big Lie". They want people to believe that this is the true narrative, but count on this: it's not. They're saying these things openly because they know these are things they can get away with. They're avoiding the things that are totally illegal. Also, you won't find one word about contact with national level politicians in DC, but you can also count on that as fact--the CoC and Big Labor were coordinating with Senate and House leaders.

      So, they're not really celebrating how the Big Steal actually went down--they're creating a false story of how it went down to cover up for what really happened. It's a counter narrative, not a reveal, except in a carefully managed sense.

    3. Wow! I think the TIME piece should be admissible in court, should it not?! Seems the Big Steal has been thoroughly documented by TIME and evidentiary!!!

  6. To hold a valid election, all voters must vote:

    -- in person
    -- with picture ID
    -- at polling place
    -- on election day
    -- on hand marked paper ballot
    -- counted by hand

    Folks that cannot or will not meet these criteria, will not be counted.

    The further we move away from these standards, the less valid the outcome.


  7. Ok, granted they are not telling everything, I see your point. It would be interesting to do a deep dive into who is this mysterious Mr Podhorzer organizing everything? I am sure he is connected to some big name Dem. (they sure left that part out of the piece, probably not his real name anyway)


      He's a major Lefty, political director of the AFL-CIO. Anyone who thinks they're getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth from him should reconsider. Trust me on this, they're putting this out because they're playing defense--We The People, or enough to worry the Left, have seen through them and so this is one more effort at gaslighting. Yes, I'm sure there is some truth in the article--Big Labor and CofC collusion. But there's much more. They want you to believe, in effect, the little picture story, and to stop wondering about the Big Picture.

  8. I wonder if Podhorzer is proud he got the Keystone pipeline jobs canned. I do not understand these labor leader types. Energy independence was good for labor jobs!

    1. The people who run labor unions have no connection to the rank and file. Do you really think labor activists like this guy, who got involved right out of college, work their way up the ladder from ordinary workers? They're professional leftists. They policies they push are only tangentially related to the views of the rank and file.

  9. And now comes this:

    Former Overstock CEO is in legal crosshairs after making false claims of election fraud
    Patrick Byrne claimed to have an army of “hackers and cybersleuths” who could prove Trump won the election instead of Biden.

  10. I'm guessing someone decided that the "fog of war" wasn't thick enough, still too much "wrong" info getting out and way too many dots continuing to be connected, hence the article in Time. A magicians greatest ally is misdirection.
    Glad to see the attention to Byrne. I had read some of his posts about a week ago and didn't really know what to make of it.
    As you said Mark, much more is surely forthcoming and I don't think that there is enough misdirection in the galaxy to stop the truth coming out.

    1. But, the truth coming out will be irrelevant, unless the GOPe etc. talk about it, in venues that reach enough people.

    2. it's relevant.
      I don't know how or when, but it's relevant.

  11. Where are Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 ??

  12. Ever intrigued by PB when he appears, and then goes underground for a few months/years at a time.

    Word to the wise - once a spook, always a spook.

    Doubt PB is disclosing all this dirty laundry w/out spook approval. Disinformation is what it's all about right?

    But who is this disinfo directed towards? Let's keep that to ourselves.

  13. I read The Wentworth Report summary of Patrick Byrne’s ideas about How Trump Lost the White House.

    One of Byrne’s statements about Trump’s legal team made a lot of sense to me—sadly. He said “a couple of key characters were too old, too out of their depth technically, and underperformed.”

    I suspect Byrne is correct that the complexities of the computer fraud were very difficult for members of Trump’s legal team to deal with. However, even if the legal team had completely understood it, I think most of the public probably would not. There are many citizens who may have the ability to understand, but don’t have the background. I worry that this could be an issue at all levels of those trying to find a solution to the election problem. Then add to that Cassander’s comments about how procedural law can nix substantive legal issues (and the truth)!

    1. from the Wentworth report, they figure out that "the Mediocrity" is Joe deGenova.

      "DiGenova and Giuliani were the knife that Trump brought to the gunfight."


  14. After reading Byrne's chapter 4 I'm surprised that he and Flynn jumped to the conclusion that it was DJT who made the 6th into a mere rally.

    I don't mean to completely absolve Trump, but PB and MF had seen enough at that point to know that Trump was not getting the full picture from his advisors and gatekeepers.

    I find it difficult to believe that DJT, who appears to be wanting to raise the fraud issue at his Senate trial, was actively monitoring the speaker list and eliminating all of the substantive fraud material.

    My guess is Rudy or Meadows.

    1. His site has Ch. 3, at .
      Where is Ch. 4?



  15. I've now read all four 'chapters' of Patrick Byrne's 'book'. He certainly has an exceedingly high regard for himself. Which is interesting in light of the fact that his efforts were essentially a total failure.

    Notwithstanding, his explanation is, as Mark suggests, certainly as good a place as we've got to begin to understand what happened.

    This is not, perhaps, Byrne's major point but in explaining how Trump failed to mount an effective attack on the election result, he spends a lot of time observing that Rudy Giuliani, who Trump apparently designated as his contest manager, was not only extremely disorganized and distracted, but arrogant and contemptuous, as well as incompetent, and often, in the evenings, and perhaps at other times, shit-faced. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that Byrne blames Giuliani in large measure for the failure of Trump's effort to successfully contest the election result.

    This raises so many questions.

    1. Is Byrne's account accurate?

    2. Why did Trump have faith in Giuliani if he were as obviously as incompetent as Byrne says he is?

    3. Why didn't Trump mount a well-organized, professionally managed, expert contest? Using not only cyber security expertise but public relations expertise? Especially when he had raised perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars to do so.

    4. If Byrne's proof of foreign interference is reliable, when and where will it be used to defend Trump's actions?

    5. What is the truth of the relationship between Sidney Powell and Giuliani? It will be interesting if and when they tell their stories.

    6. Did Mike Flynn really advocate the use of military or national guard forces to audit the votes in six counties, with himself at the head?

    7. Was Patrick Byrne the only guy leading the investigation into systemic fraud in the election? Why were professional cyber security firms not engaged?

    8. Who, really, is this guy Patrick Byrne?

    There are many, many more questions begging for answers.

    1. Re Giuliani's alleged alcoholism, while I have absolutely no knowledge, it's well known that Trump has never touched a drop due in large part to the tragedy of his brother's life and death. It would seem odd for Trump tp place such trust in someone with that sort of problem. Life is odd, of course, but you do have to wonder.

    2. I have no 'knowledge' either, except to note that when Giuliani reappeared in the public eye on evening telecasts during the Ukraine Hoax proceedings my wife and I frequently observed that he appeared to slur his words and fail to clearly articulate.

      Byrne makes many many allegations in these chapters which are not supported by independent evidence. These observations about Giuliani would be easy to refute if false.

    3. I await the refutation.