Thompson issued a responsible statement!


On cable, Litman didn't: Has the Secret Service done something wrong?

As we noted yesterday, we have no idea.

An Inspector General has made one set of factual claims. On Thursday evening, the Secret Service responded with a contradictory set of assertions.

Just for starters, whose factual statements are accurate? At this point, we have no way of knowing, and neither does anyone else.

Yesterday, Bennie Thompson offered a brief but responsible summary of the dueling factual claims. Online at the Washington Post, Alemany and Sacchetti quote Rep. Thompson's statement at the start of this news report:

ALEMANY AND SACCHETTI (7/15/22): The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol issued a subpoena to the U.S. Secret Service on Friday requesting records after a government watchdog accused the agency of erasing texts from Jan. 5 and 6 after his office requested them.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), in a letter transmitting notice of the subpoena, wrote that the panel sought relevant text messages and reports issued in any way related to the attack on the Capitol.

“The Select Committee has been informed that the USSS erased text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021 as part of a ‘device-replacement program.’ In a statement issued July 14, 2022, the USSS stated that it ‘began to reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration. In that process, data resident on some phones was lost.’ However, according to that USSS statement, ‘none of the texts [the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General] was seeking had been lost in the migration,” Thompson wrote.

Interesting! According to the Secret Service, the agency hasn't lost any of the text messages the Inspector General has sought.

Is that statement accurate? We have no idea. But it was a key part of the statement the Secret Service released on Thursday night. 

On Thursday night, Lawrence read the full statement on the air. He then began ignoring the parts of the statement which challenged the Inspector General's more pleasing claims. 

Performing one of his famous rants, he just kept pushing The Pleasing Story Our Blue Tribe Would Most Like To Hear. Sadly, that's pretty much what Harry Litman continued to do on last evening's Last Word program.

Last night, Jonathan Capehart was sitting in for Lawrence, who tends to take Fridays off. Here's the start of the relevant exchange with Litman:

CAPEHART (7/15/22): Congressman Jamie Raskin said today that the committee intends to get to the bottom of those deleted Secret Service text messages from January 5 and January 6. Do you buy the agency's explanation that this was simply part of a planned technology upgrade?

LITMAN: Look, who knows? And especially, this upgrade occurred after they were already notified not to do it. It doesn't—it certainly has an odor about it.

Briefly, Litman seemed to say that he didn't know. Then, he began to suggest that he did. 

"The upgrade occurred after [the Secret Service] was already notified not to do it," the cable news tribune said. "It certainly has an odor about it," he pleasingly added.

Gruesome! In fact, did the upgrade occur after the Secret Service was already notified about it?

So said Litman—but at present, that is merely one of the things the Inspector General has alleged. In its statement on Thursday night, the Secret Service flatly contradicted that claim, listing what it said was the actual date on which the Inspector General first made his request.

On Thursday, Lawrence read that statement on the air, then began ignoring the claims it contained. In his very first remarks, Litman continued this process:

He repeated the Inspector General's disputed claim as if it was an established fact, then said he detected an odor. We detected the hint of an odor at this juncture too.

Stating the obvious, Capehart should have clarified this part of Litman's statement, but cable news hosts don't do that. In fairness, we have no idea whether either one of these cable news stars was familiar with the facts of the case as they currently stand. 

For all we know, Litman may have thought he was presenting an established fact, rather than a disputed claim. Capehart may have been similarly underinformed. 

(Since when do we expect "cable news" hosts to know what they're talking about?)

Litman continued on from there, telling a type of story our tribe would be inclined to like. Astoundingly, he even said that Mike Pence may have thought the Secret Service was in on Donald J. Trump's plot when they tried to drive him out of the Capitol Building as it was under attack. 

We've never seen anyone make any such suggestion. That includes the two high-ranking Pence associates who testified at great length before the January 6 committee.

No one has said that Vice President Pence thought his own Secret Service agents might have been part of the plot. Last night, without a peep from the hapless Capehart, Litman introduced that stunning unsourced speculation.

At one point, Litman made an interesting statement. "The [Inspector General] here has a history of being kind of squirrely himself," he fleetingly said at one point.

As we noted yesterday, that state of affairs had been described in a Washington Post report. Litman's apparent awareness of the IG's squirrely ways didn't stop him from presenting a bowdlerized account of the facts, including the remarkable suggestion that Pence may have thought his Secret Service agents were part of the TrumpWorld plot.

In a better world, a producer would have emerged from the wings and dragged Litman off the air. After that, the producer would have come back for Capehart.

We don't live in that kind of world! Our nation—such as it is, such as it has been—is nearing its end in the process.

Rep. Thompson issued a responsible statement. In particular, he called attention to the fact that the Inspector General and the Secret Service have issued dueling factual claims about the matter at hand.

Thompson didn't claim to know whose factual claims were accurate. That represents the kind of stance a responsible person would take.

On Thursday night, by way of contrast, Lawrence went full screaming conspiracy mode. Then on the fifth evening he rested. 

On Friday night, Litman added to the distorted presentation, and Capehart politely deferred.

This is the way our own blue tribe's "cable news" programming works. They may be even worse at Fox, but our own gaggle of jugglers and clowns has been catching up.

Full disclosure: Because MSNBC slow-walks its production of transcripts and tapes, we can't link you to a full account of the various things Litman said.

We could transcribe the whole thing ourselves. But we've been doing such things for decades, and the time has come to stop.


  1. Didn't one of the people involved that day think that Pence might have been whisked to Alaska, that that was one of the fears they had?

    1. One of the people who thought that may have been Pence himself.

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  2. Romans 1 reads like the Democrat platform

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
    25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
    27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
    29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
    31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.
    32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

    1. Paul's letter to the Romans is Paul's opinion. I assume you are endorsing it, but where is your evidence that any Democrats have endorsed such things as graven images -- given much more space in the letter than man-to-man lust or unnatural women? And if that part of the letter is now considered obsolete, no big deal, why should any other part of the letter be less obsolete? But more than that, why are Democrats singled out when Republicans have far more sex scandals, most recently those lovely pictures of Madison Cawthorn with one of his staffers?

  3. Somerby wants to portray the IG as "squirrelly" and he neglects the report that the IG of DHS is having similar problems obtaining info. It seems likely to me that both USSS and DHS are failing to cooperate fully with their respective IGs, perhaps on Trump's orders or perhaps because such agencies dislike oversight and are foot-dragging.

    Somerby blames the commentators who do not agree with his personal interpretation of the situation, that the IG is at fault because of perhaps politically motivated attacks on him. Somerby admits he has no more info about what is going on than anyone else does, but Somerby has chosen a side and blames the press for not picking the same one. That is ridiculous in a situation whether no one is sure what is going on -- as the media also said and Somerby has deemphasized because the media went on to speculate, which is what they do on commentary shows. Again, Somerby does not differentiate between news reporting and opinion/commentary.

    Thompson has said he will get to the bottom of things. Either the committee has the relevant texts or it does not, and that will clarify whether they have been deleted. This is a situation that can be resolved by simply providing the requested texts, as Thompson has requested. There is no reason for Somerby to pick a side, other than Thompson's.

    This IS, however, another opportunity for Somerby to beat up the media. In this case, his complaint is only that they are speculating differently than he would. That isn't malpractice. It is just a difference of opinion. You may agree or disagree about whose speculation is more likely to be right, but this is a free country and these various cable news personalities have the right to speculate about such things.

  4. MSNBC doesn't "slow-walk" its transcripts. It just never got the memo that it owes Somerby a transcript so that he can dump on their hosts. Fox doesn't provide transcripts either.

  5. "Astoundingly, he even said that Mike Pence may have thought the Secret Service was in on Donald J. Trump's plot when they tried to drive him out of the Capitol Building as it was under attack. "

    This is a fair statement. Pence adamantly refused to get into the Secret Service vehicle when urged to do so, after he had been removed from the Senate Chambers and taken to a safe space in the basement. There was sworn testimony to that fact. If he had done so, it would have delayed and perhaps entirely disrupted the certification of the election results, which was the main goal of Trump's insurrection. Pence clearly realized that, based on his actions, his refusal to be taken away by the Secret Service.

    Why are these hosts so concerned about the missing texts from the Secret Service? Because, if they were explicitly involved in Trump's plot to remove Pence so that he could not fulfill his consitutional duty, as part of the planned coup, then examination of their activities needs to be included in the scope of the investigation.

    Hutchinson testified that Ornato had transferred from the Secret Service to work full-time for Trump and had an office across the hall and on the corridor to the Oval office. Ornato was an enthusiastic Trump supporter, now working under Trump instead of under the Secret Service supervision. That makes it possible, if not likely, that Ornato may have coordinated efforts to remove Pence during the coup. There may be something to be covered up in the texting history.

    Somerby, of course, protects Trump and his accomplices.


  6. Thanks for documenting this tiny, insignificant portion of the recent liberal atrocities, dear Bob.

    ...but then what about their atrocities that appear to lead us, steadily, to nuclear armageddon, rendering all their other atrocities meaningless? Any thoughts on that, dear Bob?

    1. Mao,
      Thanks again for letting us know what the Establishment Elites, that Trump gave a HUGE tax break, want us to focus on.

  7. Russia, if you're listening, I hope you are able to find those deleted text messages. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press"

  8. "Josh Kraushaar notes “unusually weak” fundraising numbers from Senate Republicans in the second quarter, despite the historically-strong political environment for their party.

    In contrast, many Democrats are hitting fundraising records."

  9. Then there is this, by former FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, Peter Strzok, discussing the Dec 18 White House meeting (as described in the 1/6 Hearing on July 7):

    "Strzok said the meeting had 'staggering counterintelligence issues' presented [by] the three of those in attendance.

    "Mike Flynn, who was paid by an organ of Russian state media to travel to Moscow to attend a dinner where he was seated next to Putin. Flynn later plead guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with the Russian Ambassador about election interference," he noted.

    "Patrick Byrne, one of several men once in an intimate relationship with convicted Russian agent Marina Butina. Byrne gave money to Butina after her return to Russia, where she ran for the Duma, hounded Navalny, and supported the invasion of Ukraine," Strzok continued. "Rudy Giuliani, who repeatedly met with and took info from sanctioned Russian agents like Andrii Derkach, despite USIC warnings to the White House in 2019 that Trump’s personal lawyer 'was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence.'"

    "So in this tiny meeting in the Oval Office where options to upend US democracy were advanced to the President of the United States, there were not one, not two, but three people directly linked to sanctioned and convicted agents of the Russian government," Strzok noted. "While I doubt Russia planned it, their efforts to gain access to Trump’s inner sanctum succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. And it demonstrates just how successful seemingly amateurish intelligence activity can be."

    He [Strzok] included a Russian Foreign Ministry photo from inside the Oval Office of Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

    The meeting occurred in May of 2017, one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for investigating Russia's successful efforts to help Trump win the 2016 election.

    "President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State," The Washington Post reported a few days later. "A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting."

    1. "by former FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, Peter Strzok"

      Shouldn't it be 'disgraced former FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, fired for violating bureau policies', dear government scientist?

    2. No, the word "fired" needs to be replaced with "politically targeted". Strzok said some anti-Trump things to his girlfriend in a personal message that was made public and undermined the perception of his ability to perform his job.

      Why was Strzok targeted by the right?

      "He was chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section and number two in the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. He led the team of investigators in the Clinton classified email probe and led the FBI investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election. He was involved in the controversial anti-Trump “Steele dossier” used, in part, to obtain multiple secret wiretaps. He was the one who interviewed Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI only to later learn that agents reportedly didn’t think he’d lied. And Strzok was the “top” FBI agent appointed to work on the team of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged Trump-Russia collusion."

      He was not fired but transferred to the FBI Human Resources Department. He says he was always fair in his investigations and there has been no evidence presented of wrongdoing on his part. Strzok's wife discovered the emails on Strzok's phone.


    3. "No, the word "fired" needs to be replaced with "politically targeted". "

      Oh. Is this another groundbreaking discovery of government science?

      ...or does it just follow naturally from government science main axiom 'ignorance is strength'?

  10. It’s amusing when O’Donnell affects a Boston street accent, but he comes by it more honestly than Delaware yelling “They gonna put ya’ll back in chains!”

    1. Who are you to judge how honestly someone comes by an accent?


    3. 1. Biden only used "y'all" not any other black dialect.
      2. "Y'all" is used all over the South, by both white and black people.
      3. Delaware is adjacent to Maryland and is considered part of the South and people there do say "y'all" in everyday conversation.
      4. "During the Civil War, Delaware was a slave state that remained in the Union. (Delaware voters voted not to secede on January 3, 1861.) "

      This usage of "y'all" may sound affected to you, Cecelia, if you come from a part of the country where no one says "y'all" except those from the South, including those who speak a black dialect because of the migration of Southern black people to northern cities in response to the Jim Crow laws.

      Making fun of other people's accents is not a nice thing to do, whether it is My Cousin Vinny or trying to imply that Biden is phony when he uses a dialect that he grew up hearing around him in Delaware.

      News Flash -- Somerby is from Boston but has been living in Baltimore since the late 1960s. It wouldn't be surprising if he has picked up some Southernisms, such as supporting Trump, having a chip on his shoulder about Northern derision (like yours, Cecelia), thinking black people are inferior, and thinking women should be pleasant, modest servants of menfolk.

      O'Donnell grew up in Boston and comes by his accent honestly. Some people with strong accents take lessons in diction when they aspire to become a broadcaster. It doesn't make them dishonest, any more than Biden was in his speech. It is called "taking the South out of the mouth" and many Southerners do it when they aspire to careers where they want to avoid discrimination because clueless Northerners equate an accent with stupidity (or find it difficult to understand, instead of charming).

      Hillary was blamed when she let a bit of Arkansas creep into her speech while speaking in the South. The Republicans will use any characteristic to mock Democrats, but this is no more valid than mocking Gore for his suits. You claim to think Somerby is brilliant yet you adopt the same mockery that he decries, aimed at the same press targets, Democrats, because you are a conservative know-nothing troll who lacks empathy. Mocking a president with a known speech impediment from childhood, is about as kind as when Trump mocked that reporter, while waving his arms around to portray a spastic person. It isn't funny at all. But I think it is too late to give you remedial lessons in how to be a better human being.

    4. Anonymouse 9:56am, I don’t know what part of the country you come from and I don’t care to know.

      Knowing that would just cause me to feel sorry for all the people having to be around your asinine self.

    5. Looks like someone forgot to take out the trash again.

    6. This is what an unempathetic troll looks like when trying to fake empathy.

    7. No, one has more empathy than I have for Bob Somerby and his reasonable readers.

      I am especially sorry for Bob, who endures persecution from a bunch of clueless tone-deaf zealots and flying monkeys with their extremist quasi-religion prefaced on race, gender, and environmentalism dogma.

      You’re a load.

    8. Yes, Somerby is truly a victim,just as conservatives consider themselves to be horribly treated.

      Somerby doesn't read his comments. That's why he keeps repeating the same mistakes, even on topics he may be interested in, such as Godel and Einstein. He is a perfect illustration of what someone with a closed mind is going to be like, incapable of learning or achieving a better understanding of anything.

      You would have no interest in Somerby if he weren't saying conservative things, so don't pretend you care about him as a human being. You are here to spread Trump memes and reinforce your own views.

      A person with actual empathy, who recognized others going down extremist paths, would be praying for the extremists, not the true believer who is already on your path. Which again demonstrates my point about the deficiencies of Republican empathy. You pray for the sinners, not the saved, assshole. Except you don't care about anyone except yourself, which is why you are a conservative. And you haven't fooled anyone here.

    9. Anonymouse 9:38am, you’re here night and day to “correct the record” via insulting the blogger who in the course of blogging for decades, has revealed himself to be a reserved and analytical man with a good heart.

      Oh, you’re dead to that because he’s not calling you wonderful or even “empathetic”.

      You don’t feel empathy. You only know control, smugness, and opportunism.

    10. Analytical? You're joking! Good heart? He has said horrible things here.

      Somerby doesn't care about you any more than about anyone else here. He DOESN'T READ HIS COMMENTS.

      I don't feel empathy for you because you are a horrible person, just like Somerby. You make jokes that display your lack of caring and you disrupt discussion using conservative memes.

      And then you demonstrate your "empathy" by calling me a string of names that you think should hurt my feelings, except why should any actual person here care about what any of you trolls say?

      Tell me, what exactly do I have the opportunity for here? To display "opportunism," there must be something to gain. What does anyone gain by disputing your noise?

      Your complaint about smugness is akin to Somerby's argument that conservatives don't like it when their grammar is corrected, or they don't like educated people, or think knowledge is crap, and so on. So his solution is to denigrate Einstein while proposing that schools stop trying to educate black kids because those racial gaps are intransigent, thus displaying that "good heart" you mention. Meanwhile, he has never mentioned Betsy DeVos, even back when she was relevant to education.

      You obviously recognize Somerby as a kindred spirit and that says everything I have been saying about Somerby, much better than the words I have been using. So, YOU are accomplishing your goal of discrediting him, but he deserves it, for what he has been writing since his both siderist dementia took hold.

    11. Anonymouse 11:36pm, this isn’t your blog and you’re chiding me about bringing “conservative memes” is precisely the sort of opportunism that you exercise here.

      The entire blog is a “conserve meme” to you. You say it daily while simultaneously arguing that the conservatives (by that you mean anyone enjoying the blog) should leave because this a “liberal blog”.

      Your job is to post endlessly specious arguments yelling “up!” if Somerby says “down” and to heave personal insults at him.

      Why? Because no one good harbors opinions that aren’t identical to your own.

      You’re a militant, smug, and self- reverent putz.

    12. What are you going to do about it, Cecelia, make a good faith argument?
      I’ll take my chances.

    13. Putz, who -- the government scientist from Colorado?
      Meh. More like tuchus.

    14. And now you demonstrate that you don’t know what the word opportunism means.

    15. Anonymouse 12:30pm, and you continually demonstrate that you have the reasoning ability of a child.

      Unless you have a very censorious blogger, blog boards have people of varying political stripes who comment.

      Since you’re in the business of trying to label Somerby a covert conservative, you use any conservative posters at his site as an example of his whole readership. As though we agree with everything he writes rather than with his spot-on take of our political culture.

      As though you aren’t here to fill the board with concrete and often contradictory screeds in order to run people off.
      Anonymices - “Some conservatives are here reading Bob and are in agreement with him in some matters! That’s because Bob is a stealth conservative!”

      That you are an opportunist of the most fatuous and puerile sort, doesn’t make you any less an opportunist.

  11. While Guglielmi is busy indignantly tweeting, where are the text messages?

    According to Chairman Thompson’s letter:

    “On January 16, 2021, multiple committees of the House of Representatives directed relevant DHS components to produce “ all documents or materials that refer or relate to events that could or ultimately did transpire on January 6.”

    So, Congress has been requesting these things since January of last year.

    Where are they? Guglielmi assured us that, while some messages were deleted, those of interest weren’t…

    Carol Leonnig, for whom Somerby had warm words recently, has reported that Trump’s secret service detail cheered on the insurrection:

    Something does seem fishy.

  12. If the students at the school in Uvalde wanted the police to enter the school during the mass shooting, they should have claimed an unarmed black guy was in their classroom.

  13. Somerby's misogyny is not a coincidence. It goes right along with the rest of what Trump supporters admire about Trump.

    1. Guys are recruited into white supremacy when they go online to whine about women. Seriously.

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