That no-knock Manafort raid: Remember how great it was?
Remember the no-knock raid on Manafort's home—the one at 3 in the morning? Remember the way they picked the lock in the dead of the night because Manafort couldn't be trusted?
Remember the way that no-knock raid showed how much trouble Manafort was in? Remember the way the no-knock raid thrilled us to the core?
You can stop remembering now! On Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow provided the rare public service. She reported that the widespread report about that no-knock, predawn raid was bogus right from the start.
We don't know why Maddow reported this, but, by God, she did! She started by naming everyone else in the world who misstated the facts, starting with tape of Stephen Colbert. But eventually, she even briefly acknowledged the fact that she had misstated this too!
How does Maddow know that this treasured report was wrong? She quoted material from Mueller's team, from a court filing on Monday night. Throwing in irre;levancies designef to make us admire her, she said the court filing said this:
"The warrant application had not sought permission to enter without knocking. In issuing the warrant, the magistrate judge authorized them to execute the warrant any day through August 8th, 2017, and to conduct the search in the daytime from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The government complied fully with those date and time conditions and Manafort does not contend otherwise."To watch Maddow's whole segment, click here.
That statement by the Mueller team would seem to imply that the source of the original bogus reports had perhaps been the Manafort team. It does leave open the possibility that the agents knocked on Manafort's door at 6 AM right on the nose.
At any rate, according to Maddow, that's what Mueller has now officially said. There was no no-knock warrant or raid, and there was no predawn incursion.
Presumably, this may even mean that Manafort's wife wasn't "pulled out of bed naked," as we saw Victoria Toensing allege on C-Span this past weekend. It seems that this was wrong too.
Inevitably, we decided to go back to see what Maddow said in real time, last August 9. Inevitably, we found that she quoted several (mistaken) reports, then embellished what those reports had said, making things even more thrilling:
MADDOW (8/9/17): Thanks to the Washington Post today, reporting by Carol Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind Helderman, we now know that, for some reason, after midnight on the night of the 25th [of July], the morning of the 26th, so the night after he testified to the Intelligence Committee and the morning before he was initially scheduled to talk to the Judiciary Committee, for some reason, in the predawn hours, the federal prosecutors and grand juries that have brought this thing this far decided they would go another step and start doing this in a different way.Where had the errors come from? The errors had come from here:
When the FBI raided Paul Manafort's house in Virginia in the wee hours of July 26th, ABC reports tonight he was awoken by a group of armed FBI agents knocking on his bedroom door. When those armed agents raided his house, they weren't just working off the word of a federal prosecutor, and a grand jury, who can act on their own steam, who have been powering this investigation, and everything we have learned about it up until this point for months.
As far as I understand it, Justice Department guidelines require agents to pursue evidence by the least obtrusive means possible. Sending armed agents to his bedroom door in the middle of the night is not the least obtrusive means possible. Do they have to explain why they did it this way? What is all the urgency about?
Do we ever get to see the search warrant or affidavit that spelled out the alleged crimes here and the evidence they were looking for? Did the timing of this raid have anything to do with the fact that Paul Manafort, less than 24 hours earlier, had done an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee? If so, what's the connection between those two things? Would the FBI have known the content of what Manafort said to the Intelligence Committee that morning, if that is what sparked the raid?
Also, because I'm nosy, how did Paul Manafort's house get raided at 3 in the morning and none of his neighbors leaked a word of it for two whole weeks? I mean, it`s not the most important part of this, but it puts a whole new spin on "neighborhood watch," right? Neighborhood, oh my god, watch, Paul Manafort, don't tell anyone.
The Washington Post had reported that it was a "predawn" raid. It appears now that this was inaccurate.
ABC News had reported that the agents conducting the raid had knocked on Manafort's bedroom door. (David Muir: "Before the sun came up, a dozen armed FBI agents were knocking at Paul Manafort's bedroom door, waking up Trump's former campaign chairman with a warrant to search his Virginia home, all without warning.") We now seem to know that this was inaccurate too.
Maddow repeated what the Post and ABC had said, then added the part about the raid being staged at 3 on the morning. She repeated this embellishment a bit later that night, while she was congratulating Leonnig, her Pulitzer prize-winning guest, for a report which was inaccurate, or at least so it now seems.
(We can also answer Maddow's semi-conspiratorial question. Why didn't Manafort's neighbors report the fact that "Manafort's house got raided at 3 in the morning?" Presumably, no one "leaked" word of the 3 AM raid because no such raid had occurred.)
Credit where due—Maddow reported the new information. She did throw everyone else under the bus before fleetingly acknowledging that she belonged there too. But she did report the new information, and she didn't stage one of her dog-and-pony shows involving the DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, the cynical, deceptive gong show which served her so long and so well.
She didn't revive that abandoned old con. She simply named everyone else who got it wrong, then said that she did too.
Now for a possible lesson:
Night after night, Maddow ostentatiously throws her prepared program away in response to "breaking news." Quite often, she hasn't had time to confirm the breaking news, whatever it is, or perhaps to assess it. But the breaking news is exciting, so she repeats it too.
Other mistakes have been made this way, by Maddow and by others. That no-knock, 3 AM, predawn raid is apparently one more example.
Meanwhile, as far as we know, only Toensing has "broken the news" that Manafort's wife prefers to sleep in the raw. Under current arrangements, explosive bombshells may come from various quarters.
In fairness, the story was very exciting that night, and excitement's what cable is for.