More to ignore, Book 59........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Another Week at the Mercy of the Murderously Mediocre
ShowerCap

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Keeping up with the news these days makes me feel like someone is using my skull for a vomitorium, at a party where somebody’s gross cousin brought really bad acid. Well, there’s no way that image didn’t whet your appetite, so I’ll take the liberty of assuming you’ve been hooked, and proceed........
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Vladimir Putin spends his days cross-legged on the bathroom floor, helplessly fixated on his inevitable place in the history books, as Czar ****up the Great Big ****ing ****up Who ****ed Up So Hard We Will Literally Never Stop Talking About It So Long as Humanity Persists,....and sobbing. Goes through a ton of…I dunno, maybe Ben & Jerry’s, maybe cheap, Soviet-era meth.

It’s not fair, really. Call of Duty makes war look so fun n’ easy, but the reality is full of boring-yet-crucial details, like “do I understand how fuel works,” “are these tanks, or rolling death traps,” and “seriously, is anyone in this piece of shit army even literate?”

See, when you neglect that shit, you can wind up, say, shoveling the tattered remnants of your pathetic armored divisions directly into the waiting maw of enemy artillery, while your legion of clowns repeatedly fails to construct a pontoon bridge. Hypothetically speaking, of course. That would be really embarrassing, though, wouldn’t it? Like the Spanish Armada, but dumber.

Tank graveyards: betcha can’t leave just one.

Anyway, consequences pile up in a hurry when you suck this much, so Vladimir the Terrible (At His Job) now appears to be drastically scaling back battlefield objectives for the second time in less than three months. At this pace, by Labor Day, he’ll be attempting to encircle a single Ukrainian Denny’s.

And ****ing that up, too.
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Did you know Pootie has his own sad, caffeine-free diet shithole NATO? It’s called the “Collective Security Treaty Organization,” and while they’re considering an application from Ron DeSantis’ new secret election police force, the current roster is Russia and five former Soviet Republics with the approximate combined GDP of a reasonably busy Starbucks.

So, this fearsome alliance held a little meeting, presumably in Lukashenko’s basement, where the Belarusian strongman, who totally isn’t Putin’s puppet, (there’s a perfectly logical explanation for the KGB cufflinks that keep turning up in his stool, SHUT UP) tried to get the team all fired up about hopping on the boondoggle bandwagon. And everyone basically looked at their shoes until it was time to leave, because allies are tough to come by when you’re smashing your own military to bits for spite.........
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Of course, the Russians insist they’re the Real Victims™️ of their war of aggression, which flaunts their kinship with our own domestic right wing in a rather instructive manner, don’t you think?

They whine about NATO expansion, as though it’s unfair, and frankly, more than a little tacky of their neighbors to do anything but patiently await their own annexation. They whine at talk of using their seized assets (brilliant move leaving all that shit in foreign banks, by the way; that’ll come up in those history books we mentioned) to rebuild the sovereign nation they chose to invade. They whine that their enemies refuse to stop exploiting their ever-expanding smorgasbord of self-inflicted errors, and then they launch another missile at another hospital.

Yes, my dude, you are being kicked while you are down. If you don’t like it, pull your butchers back. You could give that order right now.*

But no, they’re pulling all this creepy, cultural redecorating, shipping Russian statues and textbooks and shit into occupied areas. Personally, I’d wait to see if the cheap, plastic army men can actually hold any of this ****in’ territory before I invested in remodeling, but I suppose it’s hardly reasonable to expect budgetary prudence at this late date.

wE’Re GOiNg tO ReBUilD maRiUPOl aS a REsoRt tOWn, they yelp. You can mark me down as skeptical on that score, comrades, but feel free to invest your kids’ college money. I mean, those of you who remain in Ukraine are unlikely to do so above ground.

Because pricks have begun appearing in the propaganda bubble, (and I’m not just talking about Tucker Carlson, ayyyyyyyyyy) and you’re already scrambling to find fresh meat to toss to the howitzers, and now you can’t even drown your sorrows in a ****ing McFlurry. Heck, even the handful of collaborators you’ve managed to dig up are hot trash.

Just to sum shit up, Vladkins…when they’re afraid of ya, they don’t talk about how weird ya smell.
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Oh, and what a diverting gaffe from our 43th President, ho ho ho! Dubya is surely well into the Nightly Visits From Dickensian Ghosts phase of his post-presidency, so expect more of this sort of thing.......
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The power-mad, illegitimate SCOTUS majority decided it was simply too goshdarn difficult to bribe elected officials under current law, in Ted Cruz’s name, just to be extra shitty about it. Dunno what to tell you, the voodoo dolls I ordered off Etsy didn’t work.......
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Big win for the American Right in Buffalo this week, as the stochastic terror tree they tend with such care once again bore fruit, in the form of the latest subpar white boy mass murderer. Just in time for the midterms.

Now, you might expect a pundit or a politician to respond to news that their own rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of a white nationalist terrorist with something resembling contrition, or shame, but you have to understand, from where they sit, these ****s are so achingly close to a world where they can openly applaud this violence, LIKE THEY WANT TO, that it’s pretty irritating, being forced to go through the motions, say, “oh, shooting people is wrong”…since it’s not something they actually believe.

Oh, you’re exaggerating, Cap, that’s not fair, I bet Kyle Rittenhouse gets invited to hang out with the undisputed leader of the Republican Party for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with the two human beings he shot to death. I’m sure he’s insightful and amusing on a wide variety of non-murder topics.

We will not be receiving an apology from Elise Stefanik, let alone her absolutely warranted resignation, is what I’m saying. White nationalist rhetoric, is, after all, the entire reason she has Liz Cheney’s old job. And of course, should you criticize her, she’ll simply call you a pedophile until one of her fans takes matters into their own hands.

The yapping heads of the wingnut media bubble predictably provided the sweet, soothing balm of fresh victimhood to their audience of disinformation junkies, madly blaming the tragedy not on the unapologetic racism of a manifesto-confirmed white nationalist, but abortion, or “wokeness,” or the unfinished Minesweeper game on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

And it was a false flag anyway, so honestly, don’t give it another thought. (Unless you’re inspired to perpetrate a terrorist attack of your own, in which case, please follow these digital breadcrumbs until your mind is completely shattered, at which point you will be directed to the nearest gun shop.)

Nope, no one will be apologizing for this system functioning exactly as designed. Tucker Carlson’s work is measured in corpses, folks. Shit, Laura Ingraham would sue the manifesto for plagiarism if there was money in it. Meanwhile, Matt Schlapp’s over in Hungary, explicitly pitching abortion bans as offense against the “great replacement.”

Jeeeeeeezus. Even the NRA generally had the decency to slink into the shadows for a couple days, while the bodies cooled. See, it’s that lack of shame that gives fascism its kick.........
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Boy, there’s nothin’ quite like primary night in an era of ascendant authoritarianism, amirite? Grab a sixer, heat up some pizza rolls, wait around to see just how much Nazi shit our neighbors are in the mood for this week…the answer is never “zero” anymore, which isn’t great, if you ask me.

Still, Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin was unable to ride her newfound celebrity in the white nationalist community to a promotion, and I’ll drink to that news. Shit, I’ll do a line of coke off Brad Little’s ass to that news; we should party like it’s 1945 every single time these shitbags lose.

For example, I’m expecting a Supreme Court showdown over the cake I’m having baked for my Madison Cawthorn Won’t Be in Congress Anymore bash this weekend.

It’s tricky, trying to pin down exactly which line young Maddy crossed to earn his death cult defenestration; must’ve been the kinky videos, or the Eyes Wide Shut Was Basically About Kevin McCarthy allegations, cuz it certainly wasn’t the penchant for gun crime or the Hitler vacation. It’s hard to tell when you’re dealing with people who guzzle livestock medication and worship a game show host who has to pay for sex.

Still, not nearly enough Congressmen vow revenge upon electoral defeat, y’know? Like, tell me Eric Cantor spends his days constructing an enormous trebuchet, and searching Zillow for a property juuuuuuust the right distance from Dave Brat’s house.

Anyway, it’s “Dark MAGA” the little crotchpimple wants now, which must mean, like, a colon tumor with teeth, erupting hourly, spewing corrosive diarrhea…what else could those three syllables possibly imply?

Which brings us to Doug Mastriano: 2020 election truther, devotee of all letters found ‘twixt P and R, and, since this is Hell, the official Republican nominee for the Pennsylvania governorship.

Doug is one of those loons who composes apocalyptic fanfic about “real men” saving civilization from the vile, hedonistic forces of People Who Disagree With Doug Mastriano, who must, of course, be destroyed at all costs, and he’s running on the promise to commit the crimes no one was willing to commit last time out. “Vote for me, and I’ll hand-pick the votes that count, in this pivotal swing state.

“Vote for me, and we’ll never give the power back.”

Pennsylvania Dems think they’ve got the next Todd Akin here, but as someone who spent a substantial chunk of 2016 reveling in Donald Trump’s toxic unelectability, I’m gonna leave my gloating pants in the closet for now. If you can spare a buck, give Josh Shapiro’s campaign a boost, because democracy is pretty cool, and I imagine we’d all like to keep it around.

Well, not all of us. Not Doug, certainly. Not Ginni Thomas. Or Mark Meadows. Not Donald Trump, or his dirtbag lawyer, John Eastman. Not Jody Hice, or any of the other MAGA candidates seeking control over our election infrastructure. Not the Republican primary electorate in Pennsylvania, that’s for sure…we’re actually in the fight of our goddamn lives, aren’t we?

…with a regressive grievance cult that finds feeding hungry children during a formula crisis immoral. I’m willing to admit some of my previous assumptions about the fundamental decency of the average American were on the overoptimistic side......
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See? Vomitorium. And while there’s no reason to think beer can wash the memory of any of this crap away, I’m gonna give it a try anyway, for science. Stay safe out there, folks.
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* Putin reads my blog, right? Or Lavrov gives him bullet points, anyhow.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine Update: Seriously, stop panicking about Popasna
kos

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The remains of a Russian tank, somewhere on the eastern Donbas front.

As usual, War Mapper has the best visualizations of daily battlefield changes:


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Popasna is on high ground, giving Russia a good viewed of that highway running southwest of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. Soon, that highway is very likely to be cut. Pro-Russia twitter is overjoyed, while many pro-Ukraine people are despondent.

Everyone needs to chill.

First, why does anyone assume Russia has the ability to close that circle, all 30 miles of it? Russian is fated the same problems it has suffered everywhere else—logistical difficulties compounded by flanks exposed to Ukrainian ambushes and artillery. If Mariupol could survive nearly three months of siege, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk can certainly survive for an extended amount of time with Ukrainian forces just on the other side of a shaky Russian salient.

That’s all assuming Ukraine decides to hold those two towns, and in particular, Severodonetsk, on the wrong (Russian-facing) side of the Donets. As of now, it seem clear Ukraine is happy to let its defenders continue bleeding Russia dry while its reserves get trained and equipped out west.

But say the worst case happens, and those two towns fall … so what? Tactically, hurray for Russia. They accomplished something. But strategically? There’s over 5,000 square miles of Ukrainian-held territory in the Donbas region. Capturing 300-500 square miles of that barely moves the needle, holding the rubble of two towns that Ukraine doesn’t need. Meanwhile, Slovyansk and Kramatorsk present imposing roadblocks to any further Russian advances, neither on the far end of an exposed salient like Severodonetsk.

At best, Russia will grab a tiny slice of the Donbas region it so desperately wants.

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Rather than panic over Russian gains in this area, just assume Severodonetsk and Lysychansk fall. Consider them gone, off the board. Then ask yourself, what did that get Russia? The answer is truly not much. And hey, there’s a really good chance Russia never gets them anyway! We’ve seen them screw up too many times to assume that they’re finally getting their shit together.

Meanwhile, this paragraph in the May 19 Washington Post has spawned a great deal of speculation.


The bill, passed on an 86-to-11 vote Thursday, provides a combined $20 billion in military aid that is expected to finance the transfer of advanced weapons systems, such as Patriot antiaircraft missiles and long-range artillery.

There has been no credible source saying Ukraine is getting Patriot missiles, nor long-range artillery (read: MLRS). In Pentagon briefings, the answers are always along the lines of “we’re constantly reassessing Ukraine’s needs...” As always, never forget the logistics. People keep saying stuff like “Ukraine can learn to fire it quickly!” and that’s true. The initial training to shoot a Patriot is 13 weeks, but that’s just the start. Soldiers then head to their unit where they’re trained by NCOs with years of experience. None of that exists in Ukraine. Even worse, remember that training to maintain the Patriot air defense system is 53 weeks. That's just the basic maintenance training. Again, soldiers learn more at their units working with experienced NCOs.

There is a solution—use military contractors to perform maintenance. Retired soldiers from nations who have operated that system could head to Ukraine to perform all needed maintenance (assuming all the obvious risks of operating in a combat zone), and act as NCOs to Ukrainians learning the craft. Patriot air defenses would be a definite upgrade to Ukraine’s defenses if those maintenance issues can be managed.

Anti-ship missiles are also rumored to be on the way, theoretically to break the Russian blockade. However,
Russian submarines would pose a threat, as would mines and aircraft. “Breaking the blockade” could simply be a public pretense for what the United States would really get—the destruction of a significant part of Russia’s naval power. That would be well worth the investment. And anything that raises Russia’s cost of war gets us closer to the day they sue for peace.

As for aircraft, talk has died down recently. But given Russia’s difficulties fielding a functional air force, and Ukraine’s growing use of its own (lots of videos this last week), it really is time to reconsider sending F-16s and A-10s to Ukraine. Again, maintenance would have to be provided by contractors, but it’s definitely theoretically possible.

To close the loop, note that we can have this discussion of advanced weapons systems, specifically because Ukraine has defended so well in Severodonetsk and Mariupol and all along this front. Russia creeps along, gaining mere single-digit kilometers per day, all the while an entire new army is being trained and equipped out west.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A report in the Russian media states that the new-generation Su-57 Felon fighter has been employed in combat in the Kremlin’s ongoing war in Ukraine, a conflict that’s now in its 86th day. While the Su-57 program has suffered its fair share of problems, and the aircraft is still not in full operational service, the Felon has previously undertaken at least a limited combat evaluation in Syria, and further exposure to a real-world conflict would not be entirely surprising.

“The use of Su-57 aircraft in Ukraine began two to three weeks after the start of the special operation,” an unnamed "defense industry source" told the state-run TASS news agency. “The aircraft operate outside the zone of active destruction by enemy air defense systems, using missile weapons,” they added......
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The fact that the claim states that the Felons have been flying outside the range of Ukrainian air defenses is itself interesting. It points to the very real threat that ground-based air defenses pose to Russian aircraft, as well as the Russians’ continued inability to gain more than localized air superiority against the Ukrainian Air Force.

On the other hand, these tactics would also fit in with what we do know about the activities of Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) counter-air fighters during the war so far. Accounts from the Ukrainian Air Force indicate that not only are the Russian fighters generally unwilling to engage in aerial combat unless they enjoy significant numerical superiority, but also that they frequently operate close to the border, if not actually outside Ukrainian airspace.

Any loss of aircraft to Ukrainian defenses will be keenly felt by the VKS, which has already been hit hard in the war, as well as being a significant propaganda win for the Ukrainian side. With that in mind, Russia may be especially hesitant to commit Su-57s to Ukrainian airspace, where a potential loss would not only provide Ukraine with a huge PR gain but also again bring into question the supposed stealth characteristics of the Felon. Even losing a Su-57 over Ukraine to a technical malfunction or mechanical issue would be particularly embarrassing.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Hungarian Dictator Orbán Lauds Tucker Carlson at CPAC, Says He 'Should Be Broadcasted 24/7'
News Corpse

The Republican Party, under the spell of wannabe dictator Donald Trump, has embarked on an unalterable march toward authoritarianism. They have embraced a doctrine of total fealty to Dear Leader Trump whom they would grant absolute power to rule without regard to Constitutional law or human decency.

The latest evidence of that abandonment of American principles of liberty comes with this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that is being held in the neo-fascist haven of Hungary. The location of this confab is likely due to the recent drooling idolatry of Hungarian dictator Viktor Orbán by aspiring tyrant Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

During his address at CPAC, Orbán wasn't shy about expressing his appreciation for the autocracy he has built in Hungary. And he had ready advice for those who would like to follow in his oppressive bootsteps:

"'“Have your own media. It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left,' he said. 'The problem is that the western media is adjusted to the leftist viewpoint.'"

Orbán has taken his own advice. He has virtually shut down the independent press in Hungary. What's left are only government run outlets that regurgitate exclusively pro-Orbán propaganda. It's from that perspective that he complains about western media being too "adjusted to the leftist viewpoint." By which he means having the freedom of speech that allows independent journalism.

CPAC's anti-free press positions fit right in with their Hungarian hosts. They have actually barred many reporters from covering the event, including the New Yorker, Vox Media, Vice News, Rolling Stone, and the Associated Press. But according to Orbán, conservatives in the west are overwhelmed by liberals:

"'Of course, the GOP has its media allies but they can’t compete with the mainstream liberal media. My friend, Tucker Carlson is the only one who puts himself out there,' he said. 'His show is the most popular. What does it mean? It means programs like his should be broadcasted day and night. Or as you say 24/7.'"

First of all, let's dispense with Orbán's preposterous analysis of the press in America. Fox News is not only able to compete, it is the highest rated cable news network in the United States. And Orbán knows that. He is obviously a Fox News fan as evidenced by his effusive fawning for Tucker Carlson. However, his proposal to have Carlson on the air twenty-four hours a day is not just a prescription for propaganda, it could be classified as torture.

For his part, Carlson sent a video message to CPAC extolling the virtues of Orbán's authoritarianism. He described Hungary as providing a "signpost to a better way" for America. Which is the best evidence to date that Carlson seeks to turn the U.S. into the same sort of totalitarian dystopia that Hungary has become under Orbán.

Trump also made some remarks at CPAC via phone from Mar-a-Lago. He predictably slobbered over his pal Orbán saying that "He’s a great leader, a great gentleman, and he just had a very big election result. I was very honored to have endorsed him." It's no coincidence that Carlson and Orbán and Trump share the same love for Vladimir Putin. And for you apocalypse watchers, those might be the fabled "four horsemen" right there.
 

Lion8286

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Why no recent mention of the economy or stock market in your threads, Marbles?

Very curious. . .
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Media FREAKS OUT Over Fake News that Hillary Clinton Approved Trump/Russia Campaign Stories
News Corpse

Nothing thrills the press like the stench of a budding scandal involving a prominent public figure. And for thirty years Hillary Clinton has been at the top of the media's hit list, despite never having confirmed a single episode of wrongdoing. And after being out of government service for six years, she remains a prime target of the press.

The latest hysterical outrage was triggered by reports of testimony by former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook in a case brought to trial by John Durham, the special counsel appointed by Donald Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr. Durham's mandate was to vindicate Trump by fabricating phony charges of misconduct related to his unsavory connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

The news reports covering Mook's testimony were mostly wild distortions of the actual facts. Even CNN played into it with a story headlined "Hillary Clinton personally approved plan to share Trump-Russia allegation with the press in 2016, campaign manager says." However, that is not what Mook's testimony said at all. After repeating the falsehood in the headline, a more accurate description was given in the article's opening paragraphs:

"Robby Mook said he attended a meeting with other senior campaign officials where they learned about strange cyberactivity that suggested a relationship between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which is based in Moscow. The group decided to share the information with a reporter, and Mook subsequently ran that decision by Clinton herself. 'We discussed it with Hillary,' Mook said, later adding that 'she agreed with the decision.'"

So what Mook actually said was that the decision was already made and acted upon, and was brought to Clinton after the fact, where she agreed with what had already been done. The stories that say that she "approved the plan" suggest that she was informed in advance and gave it a greenlight. In reality, Clinton merely expressed her agreement after her staff had already executed the plan.

What's worse is that many stories are circulating through the conservative media that Clinton not only gave the plan a go-ahead, but that she contrived herself. That could not be farther from the truth. The unexplained cyberactivity connecting Trump to the Russian bank were first observed by independent tech investigators. Reports of those observations were later brought to the attention of the Clinton campaign.

All of these deliberate distortions of both the cyberactivity, and the Clinton campaign's role in publicizing it, are part of the right-wing Durham crusade to distract the public from the documented connections between Trump and Russia. They add to prior distortions by Durham and company that Trump used to falsely claim that his campaign had been spied on.

For the record, there were numerous documented contacts between the Trump camp and Russian operatives during and after the 2016 presidential election. And Trump himself publicly asked Russia to interfere in the election by hacking into Clinton's emails. Many of these activities were catalogued in the book Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.

Trump's doting affinity for Putin is well known. He has spent the past six years fawning over Putin and advancing the interests of Russia. And that extends to the present as Trump takes Putin's side in the War in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the press is unfairly hammering Clinton who got Trump's unpatriotic behaviors right all along.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Bill Barr may be cooperating with Jan. 6 investigation, officially
Brandi Buchman

Bill Barr, the former U.S. attorney general under President Donald Trump who once said he suspected Trump’s claims of election fraud were “bullshit,” is reportedly in talks to cooperate with investigators on the Jan. 6 committee.

The committee revealed earlier this year that it had informal discussions with Barr but Axios was first to report Thursday that an official transcribed meeting is now being negotiated. There is also a possibility that Barr could make an appearance during the committee’s public hearings but that was not confirmed.

The Jan. 6 committee will launch its public hearings beginning June 9.
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When Barr first spoke to members of the committee in January, he was tight-lipped about what he knew or didn’t know about the former president’s push to overturn the election.

He indicated to inquiring reporters at the time that he wasn’t clear what information he might have that would be valuable.

Barr stepped down from the Trump administration on Dec. 14, 2020. The resignation came two weeks after a very tense meeting at the White House that was sparked by Barr’s remarks to the Associated Press.

He had been unequivocal in a Dec. 1 interview when he said that he found no signs of rampant election fraud.

Trump caught wind of the remarks and summoned Barr for a meeting. Trump had spent weeks at this point promoting the lie that the election was rigged and that he would be defeated because of this.

The president peppered Barr with questions.

Trump was irate.

“He was asking about different theories, and I had the answers. I was able to tell him, 'This was wrong because of this,’” Barr told the AP.

The former attorney general has said previously that it was during this meeting that Trump gave him a report suggesting Dominion Voting machines were rigged and that they could be seized by the Justice Department.

Barr said he shut Trump down.

Earlier this year, the Jan. 6 Committee obtained a copy of a draft executive order dated Dec. 16—two days after Barr resigned—that instructed the Defense Department to seize voting machines and appoint a special counsel to explore election fraud.

Draft Order to Seize Voting Machines by Daily Kos on Scribd

That draft was rife with much of the conspiracy theory peddled by Trump’s lawyers like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, though it is unclear who authored it. Ultimately, it was never put into effect.

On Dec. 18, Trump met with Powell, his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. Also at that meeting was Emily Newman, a Trump administration official, Eric Herschmann, a White House senior adviser and at one point, Trump’s attorney, Pat Cipollone.

Cipollone was reportedly the lone voice in the room who opposed having the government involved in the seizure. He was also alone in arguing that the DOJ and FBI had amply searched for fraud and found nothing.

Since his resignation, Barr has published a cherry-picked book and hit the media circuit. In the book and often in interviews, he portrays himself as a beleaguered barrier to Trump’s more erratic inclinations but does so without making apologies for his decisions or totally divorcing himself from Trump.

In March, when promoting the book, Barr told NBC News’ Lester Holt he thought Trump was “morally” responsible for the insurrection at the Capitol, but not legally responsible.

And when pressed on whether he would vote for Trump if he ran in 2024, Barr indicated he would. It would be “inconceivable” for him to vote for anyone who wasn’t the nominee for the Republican Party, he said.