Marcy Wheeler, ‘Emptywheel’ on Trump, Espionage and the FBI Seizure of Stolen NatSec Docs at Mar-a-Lago: ‘BradCast’ 8/17/2022

Marcy Wheeler, ‘Emptywheel’ on Trump, Espionage and the FBI Seizure of Stolen NatSec Docs at Mar-a-Lago: ‘BradCast’ 8/17/2022

This is the Otter.AI transcript of the Bradcast. Here is the audio link to the show.

Bradcast Marcy Wheeler, ‘Emptywheel’ on Trump, Espionage and the FBI Seizure of Stolen NatSec Docs at Mar-a-Lago: 8/17/2022

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Marcy Wheeler, @emptywheel
Brad Friedman Bradcast M-F 7-pm to 8 pm Twitter: @TheBradBlog

Brad Friedman 19:47

So yeah, they we are still searching. They are still searching. We’re all still searching for documents at Mar a Lago and answers to what the hell is going on in this nation and with Our former President. Welcome back to the broadcast Brad Friedman from There is a lot we now know but there is still much more that we do not know. Following the FBI is federal court approved search of Donald Trump’s Mar a Lago compound in Florida last week, seeking to retrieve as we now know, following the unsealing of the warrant highly sensitive classified national security documents that were stolen from the White House when the former President left office last year. The search by several dozen FBI agents based on the judge’s probable cause, finding that several federal statutes were likely being violated came after nearly a year and a half of much less aggressive and invasive efforts to try to retrieve those stolen documents. The National Archives and Records Administration, which is in charge of collecting and cataloging all presidential records under the Presidential Records Act of 1975, mandating that essentially anything classified or not that a president touches in the White House during his or her administration is the official property, not of the President, but of the American people and is to be retained by the National Archives on our behalf. For months, they quietly worked with Trump and his team at Mar a Lago to retrieve an unknown number of boxes of documents and other items that Trump had taken from the White House. When he finally left office last February, we learned that they were able to retrieve some 15 boxes the archives was including what they noted to be documents that were marked as classified while also noting that many more such documents appeared to be missing from what they knew to have been taken by Trump. After failing to get those materials back they made a criminal referral to the US Department of Justice. The DOJ would eventually be subpoena Trump for the rest of the documents Some months later and even sent a top DOJ official who oversees the department’s Counter Intelligence Division, down to mar a Lago in June to work with Trump’s attorneys to politely and quietly attempt to retrieve the subpoenaed material. Trump even came down came out to say hello to that DOJ official. So Trump was obviously aware of what the department was seeking at the time.

Various reports suggested some 10 boxes, as I recall, were then turned over to the DOJ at that time at a Trump attorney signed a certification that that was it, they had no more documents classified or not in the disgraced former president’s possession. But then, DOJ subpoenaed security camera footage from inside of Mar Lago and reportedly discovered that even after the meeting with DOJ officials, people at Mar a Lago were seen entering and exiting one of the storage areas with boxes of documents, which brings us to last week’s warranted search of the President’s home quarters and other areas of the private clubs compound. When an inventory list of the retrieved items from that search was unsealed by the Federal Magistrate Judge last week, it was revealed that some 11 sets of documents of various classification levels were retrieved by the FBI team including four sets of documents marked as top secret, three sets of merely secret documents and three sets of confidential documents, which is the lowest classification level along with one set that was marked TS SCI or top secret secured Compartmented Information that is an even higher level of classification than merely top secret and it’s usually reserved for documents seem to have extraordinarily high national security implications, which may only be viewed in a very secure setting and only by a very small group of people cleared to do so.

That search was only allowed to happen after Attorney General Merrick Garland says he personally approved the search warrant that a federal magistrate judge was then asked to approve himself based on an affidavit explaining the necessity for the search and the reason why they had probable cause to believe a crime or in this case, at least three different federal crimes were committed, as referenced in the warrant. The Affidavit the underlying reason that law enforcement officials had reason to believe these crimes had been committed and that the documents were at Mar a Lago well that remains under seal. The Donald Trump has demanded that it be released in full unredacted despite the national security issues it may reveal and the sources and methods that led to the need for this immediate search in the first place. That is largely what we know.

But there remains much more that we don’t, such as why Trump stole the documents in the first place what he intended to use them for. Why he didn’t give them back when repeatedly asked to do so, even after being warned that he appeared to be violating federal law and whether or not the FBI and DOJ actually got back all of the documents they were seeking. And despite the warrant, citing three different federal statutes that they had probable cause to believe had been violated. It is unknown, whether the DOJ was merely seeking to retrieve the documents or if they have any actual intention of charging Donald Trump or others with violating those crimes. But when it comes to what we know and don’t on matters related to Trump’s panoply of crimes, there is one person who always seems to know a little bit more somehow, I’m starting to think that maybe she is the mole, more than just about everybody else. In fact, she was tweeting about the DOJ investigating Trump for violations of the Espionage Act long before I believe anybody else was and certainly before that was confirmed with the unsealing of the MAR a Lago search warrant last Friday. Joining us now is the great Marcy Wheeler, the independent national security journalist at her site, And of course, a contributor to many other publications, including the Intercept the Guardian, Politico, New York Times, and others. Oh, Marcy Wheeler, welcome back to the broadcast. I just hope we have enough to talk about today.

Marcy Wheeler 26:45

Oh, my gosh, it’s been a very, very long, seven months, it feels like.

Brad Friedman 26:51

I’m thinking a long six or seven years at this point, but I hear you, listen, I want to first sort of do a bit of Mar a Lago search 101 with you, if you don’t mind, just to establish what we know don’t know and what it means. So let’s run through a few items. I’m hoping you can give us some clear and simple explanations of based on what you know and don’t know. So I want to quickly step through the federal statutes 18 us Criminal Code, sections 793 1519 and 21. And 2071, as cited in the search warrant for the for which the DOJ and federal judge both believed there was probable cause that Trump may have violated. So first, what is section 793?

Marcy Wheeler 27:38

That’s a part of the Espionage Act that in Trump’s case, probably prohibits retaining unauthorized retention of classified information, and refusing to give it back when you are requested to.

Brad Friedman 27:52

Now before we get to the other sections here, on this one, you tweeted well before the unsealing of the warrant on Friday when the public didn’t know, but Trump didn’t know, because he was given a copy of the warrant, on the day that the search happened, that you seem to know that he was likely being investigated for Espionage Act crimes. You tweeted that day. I think it was that day. It was certainly before the warrant was unsealed, quote, why won’t Trump tell us if he’s under investigation for violating the Espionage Act? Did the warrant list 18? USC 793? Yes or no? How did you know that that was one of the things that the DOJ had suspected.

Marcy Wheeler 28:35

Because I cover these cases, I’ve, you know, I’ve covered at least 10 probably 15 of these cases, the major precedents to, to, particularly to the retention of classified information at home, and I know what it takes to charge it and what it takes to charge it is not only what it takes to charge it, but why DOJ would feel comfortable investigating that as opposed to a different law that Trump was trying to charge Hillary with that prohibits keeping classified information. And several reasons are suddenly several reasons made it clear to me that it was gonna be the Espionage Act. One is the seriousness of it. I mean, if you’re going to search the home of a former president, it’s going to be something big. But the other one is that he did the things that you’re not supposed to do like a he is not authorized to have the information because of the Presidential Records Act like you said, which which was written for people like Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. And so he, you know, for a year and a half DOJ kept telling him that’s not yours, give it back, not yours, give it back. And so each of those times he didn’t give it back was him basically fulfilling one of one of the parts. One of the things you have to do to be charged with it basically So that was one thing.

Another thing was, was a classified DOJ went to his house and said, Dude, this is classified, give it back to blew that off another thing that you have to do another thing that it criminalizes, is keeping classified information in places you’re not supposed to keep it. One place you’re not supposed to keep it is leather bound safe in your a leather bound box inside your hotel safe inside your lobby, inside a golf resort that is littered with with foreign intelligence assets, trying to steal the secrets of the former president. I mean, like I can think of few ways to store top secret SCI information less securely. But it’s but but it’s that part of the law that you have to you have to keep the stuff in special containers and he kept it in his little leather box.

Brad Friedman 30:50

Okay, so knowing that and that was, of course, based on the bits and pieces of information that we did know leading up to the unsealing of the warrant the other two sections of the US criminal code that was cited as having probable cause section 1519. What’s that?

Marcy Wheeler 31:08

It’s a form of obstruction. And it’s unclear exactly what DOJ is going after. But one thing that would prohibit is ripping up documents to try and prevent the archives from getting it, or eating or flushing or burning, all things that we know Trump has done. All of those are effectively efforts to keep presidential records, as you said, away from the archives. And in Trump’s case, there are known examples where his attempts to destroy or to conceal evidence is particularly criminal and problematic, because he destroyed and withheld evidence from the Muller investigation from the first impeachment from the second impeachment from the January 6 committee, probably for from a bunch of other things. And each of those makes it worse because he was basically and he is! I mean, there was a leak via one of the right wing journalists yesterday that said, you know, people close to Donald says he, you know, say “He doesn’t have to give it over, because the archives will just give it to the January 6 committee”. I’m like, that’s a confession of obstruction. You’ve just literally confessed to the elements of the events for obstruction.

And, and honestly, Brad, and this is something that I think virtually everyone is missing. This is the one Trump is terrified of.

Brad Friedman 32:33

Yeah. Why?

Marcy Wheeler 32:36

Well, let’s say that he knows he withheld information from Muller. Then DOJ gets set back. And if it was a conspiracy, I think that it extends the statutes of limitations to those crimes. So in other words, if he, if he hid the, the smoke, I mean, we know that there were some smoking guns between him and Roger Stone, if he hides the smoking gun between him and Roger Stone and it’s found in his little leather box next to the nuclear codes, then DOJ could actually reopen the Russian investigation against him. Same with his coercion of Ukraine. Same with I mean, obviously, the January sixth investigation is still ongoing, but that would exacerbate his exposure for January 6, as well.

Brad Friedman 33:23

So this could be not just January 6, but actually reach back that if the documents that he has his stuff that he was supposed to have turned over way back in the Mueller investigation, et cetera, that could be among the documents that he was was hanging on to at Mar a Lago. Now, just to be clear, Marcy 1519, covers, mutilating, destroying concealing documents, you mentioned that we know that he has done that with, you know, tearing up flushing various documents and so forth. We don’t know that’s the case here with the documents in at Mar a Lago, right? We don’t know, we haven’t heard of any of those having been destroyed or disappeared so far, right?

Marcy Wheeler 34:10

Not.. we know, in when, when especially the Washington Post, and CNN reported that the archives had made a criminal referral back in February. The article is focused as every journalist in the country has on the classified information space, basically, you know, Trump returns 15 boxes, and there was classified information and that led the archives to make a criminal referral. But those stories also focus on his destruction of evidence. And that leads me to believe that the sources for those stories for telling them that it’s a dual, it’s a dual exposure.

In other words, like the archives would have told the FBI if they’re gonna make a criminal referral, they’re gonna say, look, you know, there are, you know, like it was explicit, “We know that some of the documents that were responsive to subpoenas regarding January 6,” which is the investigation that, you know, the only investigation that we know so far that got access to information that Trump had to turn over, some of those were ripped up. So some of those were, by definition, have already, by definition been proven to be documents pertinent to an investigation that Trump tried to destroy. That was a we know that the pattern is there. And the question is, did DOJ find additional examples of that at his home, there’s a set of five boxes and a different set of documents that have attorney client privilege documents in it, at least according to Fox News, which is more reliable these days, and, you know, other other outlets. And if that’s the case, then there’s something about those, those five boxes instead of documents that lead FBI to believe that that they could breach the privilege. And, and that’s crime fraud

Brad Friedman 36:04

And crime fraud, meaning that it is not covered by attorney client privilege, because a crime you can’t use the attorney client privilege to cover up a crime basically.

Marcy Wheeler 36:19

Right. Let’s just imagine if, if Rudy Giuliani, because it’s always Rudy, told Donald Trump during the Muller investigation, “Oh, don’t turn over.” We know, for example, that the Trump Organization withheld documents involving correspondence to Russia from the Muller investigation, we know that we’ve proven that

Brad Friedman 36:40


Marcy Wheeler 36:40

we know that that the White House Counsel didn’t provide Congress the fullest version of the perfect transcript of the of the Trump call with Vladimir Zelensky. We know that. So that’s an example of concealing a document that should have been released. We know that there’s another version of a transcript of the meeting in 2017, where Trump handed Israeli intelligence to Sergey Lavrov, that one same thing, the documents sort of got got altered and disappeared. If that if the original event documents showed up in Donald Trump’s little other case, then you know, that it just got back to the FBI and the FBI can say, you know, this is this is an example of evidence that you withheld from Muller. Yeah, those are the kinds of things that they may look at that we know exists,

Brad Friedman 37:35

and that it is and would not be protected by any kind of attorney client privilege. Okay. Section, the other section very quickly, are section 2071 was the other one that was cited for probable cause that he has violated what’s 2071

Marcy Wheeler 37:53

basically removing official documents, the Presidential Record act that they described, doesn’t have any teeth to it, but this criminalizes it and so I think it’s basically an umbrella law that, first of all, covers all the other documents that they’ve taken that belong to the archives that Trump didn’t, that the ones that aren’t classified or proof of crime, but also, it’s a fall back, like if all of a sudden Donald Trump says I’m, you know, “I did it. I confess, I’d like to get a plea deal.” This is the kind of thing that they might put on the table, to, to get him to confess that he’s stole documents from the government and not expose those documents in the process,

Brad Friedman 38:33

But they only but he pleas to “Okay, yes, I remove these documents, let’s strike a deal. Only under that statute.” Last week, before the warrant was unsealed. Washington Post reported that among the stuff that DOJ was looking for were documents containing nuclear secrets, either ours or someone else’s. Since the unsealing of the inventory of what the DOJ took, one of the reporters who broke that story at the Post said that they did not know if any such nuclear documents, related documents were recovered in the search, but that they stand by their reporting that top secret nuclear documents were in fact, among the items being sought. Do we know any more about that? Either way, whether they were there or whether they remain missing or whether the Washington Post just got the story wrong.

Marcy Wheeler 39:25

That’s a pretty reliable reporter at The Washington Post. So I doubt he got it wrong. And it’s also the kind of thing that you would expect. It’s the kind of seriousness that you would expect to see in an affidavit justifying the search of a President. And the other important part of it is, you know, we’ve talked now for 10 days about whether or not Donald Trump has declassified this. Documents pertaining to nuclear weapons can’t be declassified by the president alone. So it’s the kind of thing that FBI would have put in that affidavit to say we we know these aren’t declassified. because we know the other people who would have had to have been involved, did not declassifier it.

Brad Friedman 40:04

So just let me underscore that because people say, Oh, a President can declassify absolutely anything that he or she wants to that is not actually true when it comes to certain documents, regarding nuclear codes and so forth.

Marcy Wheeler 40:20

Right. And yeah, I mean, and none of these statutes, none of the statutes we’ve just described, rely on the document being classified. That the Espionage Act is not about classified information about what’s called National Defense Information. And again, I cover these cases and every case, there’s a point in the case where the prosecution says, look, it’s not up to us, it’s up to the jury. If the jury says NDI is NDI and he goes to jail, you know, so. So if even the former president is being tried by a jury of South Florida peers, if you tell them “The President stole the nuclear codes”, just as an example. That’s the kind of thing that your average juror is gonna understand immediately. Of course, you can’t share nuclear, you know, information on nuclear weapons. Of course not.

Brad Friedman 41:15

So even if I declassified them, it was okay. There’s no law here. Even

Marcy Wheeler 41:21

there is a law. in that case, with nuclear weapons, there is a law.

Brad Friedman 41:25

Now, the Espionage Act is very old. It’s a very vague statute. It’s actually the Espionage Act of 1917. As you note, it doesn’t refer to classified documents it talks about National Defense Information NDI as I recall, but its various sections have been used to imprison whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, who revealed war crimes by the US military Reality Winner who released one single document, I think, showing that Russians had gained access to voter registration systems back in 2016. And its violations were even used to put Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death in 1953. But in fact, many civil libertarians have in fact, been critical of it of the Espionage Act over the years because it’s so vague and it’s been misused. So specifically, does it apply as you see it as someone who has covered the Espionage Act? Does it apply here? And is it as we have seen in its other uses, being conveniently misapplied to simply punish someone that the government is targeting, as we have seen in other cases?

Marcy Wheeler 42:39

I think the government, I mean, first of all, like there are two parts to the part of the Espionage Act that we’re talking about, and the Rosenbergs were a third part. So there are a bunch of parts. Trump thus far has not been accused. He’s not been accused of anything. But everyone’s been focusing on the steal of documents and refuse to give them back scenario. If somebody went into his archives, who was not allowed to have that, that those documents and there’s reason to believe they did. Then he’s in the situation like Chelsea Manning, who, who transferred stolen, classified documents, even just to his secretary or to Kash Patel, that would still count as as as transferring the documents to people who were not authorized to have it. And there’s another part of the statute that says if your negligence led people who weren’t authorized to have it to get it, then you’re still responsible. If, you know, if the

Brad Friedman 43:41

and that was the Rosenbergs, that was the Rosenbergs part of the statute that was used against?

Marcy Wheeler 43:45

No, no, I mean, that’s the no, it’s actually not. It’s, I mean, one of the things the government has grown increasingly concerned about since 2016, because these two NSA engineers brought their hacking tools home from work, and they were stolen, eventually got it, is believed to Russia and then got back to somebody else who leaked them and led two massive global cyber attacks each week costing more than, you know, hundreds of billions of dollars of damage. And those arose from exactly the scenario that we’re talking about with Trump that somebody brought very classified documents from from work and left them there. And a Foreign Intelligence Service came in and took them and and those men are both still in prison right now serving their term.

Brad Friedman 44:34

Is there reason to believe Marcy Wheeler that after the National Archives got back their, 15 boxes earlier this year, the DOJ got I think, about 10 boxes in June and another 20 boxes, they weren’t all completely full, as I understand it, that were taken during the FBI search. Is there reason to believe that there are still in fact documents, whether it’s those nuclear A secret documents I had mentioned, or any other that documents that are still missing that are unaccounted for. And if so, do you have any clues? Or even speculation, if you like as to why that would be were they destroyed? Were they given away? Do we even know?

Marcy Wheeler 45:21

You know, I’m not going to speculate on air just because I think that what he’s what he is alleged to have done is so bad already. I mean, I think that it is it one scenario, which is very easy to see is that people took these files away from Mar a Lago, and they’re at their home in Miami or something. You know, the the concern with the nuclear documents is early in his administration, Trump was pushing a scheme led by Mike Flynn, and Tom Barrack, who is going on trial next month for his foreign ties to the Emirates and the Saudis. At that time, Trump was pushing this scheme where he was going to trade, he was going to share nuclear technology with the Saudis and the Emirates. And that in the background, I think, is one of the reasons people get concerned about these nuclear documents, not least because Jared Kushner got $2 billion from Mohammed bin Salman right at the end of the administration. Right. That’s the that’s the kind of that’s the scary scenario is that they ended up on a golf course in Bedminster and has since been flown out of the country.

But but, you know, I think it’s really important to say that even just what we know, is completely off the charts, even for Donald Trump. And and I think that there are parts of it that every every maybe half hour or so, this flash goes through my brain, and I’m like, Oh, my God, Donnie has really, really screwed himself. And there are ways that I can imagine this snowballing that I think people aren’t even grasping at this point. And and that’s all separate from the question of whether he’s taking the nuclear codes and giving it given it to Mohammed, Bin Salman, I think people you know, you don’t need to really get ahead of the game here to figure out the things are pretty bad.

Brad Friedman 47:15

I and so that is the question. And just a couple of minutes that we have left here. Marcy Wheeler, you. Essentially, you did a thread on this about what happens now what happens next, you note that first and foremost, DOJ likes to resolve espionage cases without indicting I would say, A) why is that the case? And then B) what what does happen thereafter, if not, charges on espionage and the other items?

Marcy Wheeler 47:49

Again, this is speculation, but the way I could see this playing out is that if he were if Donald Trump found competent lawyers and was able to keep them, they might say, “Don, you’re screwed. And let’s let’s make a deal with with DOJ. ” And the reason DOJ, it’s not so much that they would want to avoid indicting Donald Trump, although this would have other advantages. It’s that every step of the way, when you prosecute an espionage case, you need you do you do damage a new to the classified information, you have to like, in one of the the NSA engineers I just told you about. They charged him for 10 of the documents that he took home, each of which he faced a 10 year sentence on and to go to trial with that they would have had to partly declassify those documents and go through this tedious process of, you know, kind of swapping out the language to make it accessible, and it would have to be shared back with him or you know, with the defendant. And the process is they do it.

I just finished covering the Josh Schulte, the CIA WikiLeaks case, last month. And in that case, they were willing to go to the mat because it was the biggest compromise of CIA since people like you know, Aldrich Ames. In this case, they even these are probably even more sensitive documents. So they would want to avoid that. But also, if you could walk out of this, with Donald Trump going in front of his supporters and saying, “You know what they got me, I stole documents. And I admit that I stole documented and made all of us less safe. And I’m gonna sign to this minor felony. And DOJ still gets all of their stolen documents back and they get my help trying to figure out where are the three that seem to have disappeared went.” and they get to keep the documents that are proof of obstruction.” I think DOJ would take that, not least because it would kind of ratchet down right now Trump is trying to incite all of his followers to make an indictment impossible.

So I think that, you know, at this point DOJ is already cataloging all the information if they are thinking of indicting, they’re going to the agencies, you know, they’ll go to the CIA and say, Hey, which of these documents would you be willing to put through a prosecution that we can, we can go indict on it. And I would have bet that those conversations are already happening. And the rest of it, they’re i, you know, the rest of it there. I’m sure they’re cataloging at a very small level to figure out what else they’re looking at. And as you said, whether they actually got everything back and if they didn’t, you know, we should expect a lot more activity ahead.

Brad Friedman 50:32

Yeah. Well, I think we will expect more activity ahead no matter what on Monday, the DOJ filed a motion objecting to the unsealing of the affidavit that the underlying information about why they did the search in the first place, they noted that quote, disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought, as this investigation progresses, suggesting that as has been reported, there are there is a mole or more than one mole, very close to the former president who has been feeding information to the to the department, and they note as well, it might chill other high profile investigations. So my last question, Marcy Wheeler, what does that tell us about future cooperation by witnesses and other high profile investigations?

Marcy Wheeler 51:32

Yesterday, Maggie Haberman, in New York Times, confirmed something that I also had said was going to happen, which is that a guy named Pat Philbin would have provided information to government, he was the former White House counsel who attempted to get Trump to return these documents for a significant part of 2021. And that made him a primary witness. But he’s also a witness to how the White House handled documents. He’s a witness. I mean, he, you know, he represented Trump for the first impeachment. He, he was there through January 6, so he knows what documents Donald Trump was ripping up then.

And so having, you know, having referred this for prosecution, DOJ was going to go to the person who was most involved in trying to get Trump to turn these back, because he he’s a witness that Trump refused. And he would provide that kind of information. But he also is a witness in January 6, and so he’s the kind of person when they say, if Pat Philbin starts getting death threats and shuts up, then you’re not only going to lose him for this investigation, but you’re going to lose him for the January 6 investigation and probably some other investigations. Until then, is you know, he’s an affluent lawyer who can protect himself.

Probably some of the most important witnesses here, and I wouldn’t call them moles, I just call them witnesses. Because they don’t I mean, they don’t want to be, they don’t want to be prosecuted along with Donald Trump for espionage, they want to make it very clear that they were not part of this attempt to refuse to give the documents back. And, you know, some of these people are going to be really Junior staffers who aren’t made of money and, you know, don’t necessarily have access to security or what have you. And those are the kinds of people that are going to know some of the most important information about Donald Trump. And those are some of the people who are going to be easiest to dissuade, particularly because they, you know, also are probably paying their own legal bills. If they’re not if they’re not helping Trump.

Brad Friedman 53:36

Also, of course, we’ve seen the way that you know, the judge, the FBI agents who signed the warrant, have been, you know, threatened by Trump’s extremist supporters at this point, I suspect. They don’t want that either. If they can avoid it, Marcy Wheeler, I’ve got to get out. One thing you had said earlier that has been bothering me, you said that Fox News has been the most one of the most reliable sources on this story. I should note that’s only because I believe Donald Trump and his people are specifically leaking them information that otherwise hasn’t gotten out. Is that a fair assessment?

Marcy Wheeler 54:12

Yeah, I have to say, I mean, that’s not fair to some like I think after some real kind of bad reporting in the first couple of days, like Maggie Haberman has had a series of scoops but but some of the other people who’ve had scoops, scoops if you call them that are John Solomon, the propagandist who’s implicated in Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine influence operation. And, and, and this story is notable in that all of the journalists who spent seven years getting access to Donald Trump really haven’t gotten the scoop. He is keeping this so close to the breast. I’m not even sure he would have told us about the search if it hadn’t been broken by like, local blogger in Palm Beach. And so, so the normal the normal streams of information where we can expect to learn something approximating the truth. Those are still not all the way back to order from from the beginning of this search and and that’s itself, I think, a really notable thing because that never happened, for example, during the Mueller investigation or they, or the impeachment. This is something new. This is new territory.

Brad Friedman 55:21

Marcy Wheeler watching closer than just about anyone else. You can watch her work at empty And on the Twitter’s @emptywheel, she is course independent national security journalist at empty Marcy, I’m running late. I gotta get out. Thank you so much. And I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Marcy Wheeler 55:41

Great to talk to you.

Brad Friedman 55:42

Thanks, Marcy. No one covers this stuff closer than Marcy, no one pays more attention to it. No one reads more documents. No one really connects the dots and understands it.

Desi 55:53

She does have a good then she does. She has a comprehensive view of all of all of the different investigations that are going on. And I really appreciate that she helped to put it all into perspective about you know, what bucket is here, what bucket is there, and how all of this is going to maybe play out

Brad Friedman 56:10

and the context because she has covered other cases. You know, regarding for example, the Espionage Act, she understands that she understands the different sections of it, what it means how it has been applied in the past.

Desi 56:22

She has deep institutional memory.

Brad Friedman 56:24

She does and I’m delighted that she’s willing to come on to our show and share it all right, we have to get out. Once again running long. Sorry about that does anyway, my thanks again to Marcy Wheeler of to our producer Desi doyen of And to all of you for spending a portion of your day or night with us. If you missed any portion of today’s program or just need to hear it again because it had so much information. You can download it anytime for free at Thanks to those of you who are kind enough to support the work that we try to do here every day over your public airwaves by stopping by Brad to help us do exactly that. You can drop me email if you like. And Brad cast at Brad And on the Facebook’s and the Twitter’s you will find me at the Brad blog. We’ll see you there until we see you here next time. Hopefully tomorrow. I’m Brad Friedman. Good luck world.

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