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.