Patrick Byrne: How Trump Lost the White House: Legal Failure. Patrick Byrne has written a fascinating account of what was happening on the inside of the effort to appeal the 2020 election. He was in the midst of it. Byrne appears to be an honest, balanced observer, with a great track record of truth telling and corruption busting.
He has written the first installment in a rough first-draft on his website. Originally we planned to wait until he wrote a better-written account — but that might take ages, or never happen at all. So here goes.
Byrne’s account is long, because a lot happened. We are going to excerpt some of the most interesting parts, over a series of posts.
Sidney Powell — competent, professional:
That first meeting with Sidney lasted perhaps 45 minutes. When I arrived at the office, the air had the strange tingle it has when people have just had words. I found Sidney sitting nearly by herself, perhaps an assistant and junior lawyer with her, in a nearly-empty space on one side of the office building. We quickly got to business, and I found Sidney was well-informed, open-minded, and it became clear she was on top of things. In short, she was an equal with whom I could have an intelligent conversation. …
It was a highly-productive first conversation, and she ended it by telling me that I needed to go to the other side of the office, find Rudy Giuliani, and immediately tell him everything I had just shared with her. …
Rudy Giuliani — clueless, drank too much, not in it to win:
So my cyberbuddy and I went to the other side of the office building, to Rudy’s side, which I understood to be the center of gravity of the operation. …
What I found is this:
The place was 20% empty, and another 30% were packing out their desks.
One conference room held a large number of lawyers around a table. …
I came to learn that between Rudy’s legal team and the campaign staff there was zero communication, even though they jointly occupied 2/3 of an office storey. And between the campaign staff and the activities of those local groups and their lawyers, there was also zero communication. …
Law firms are notoriously poorly-managed businesses … but the law firm-campaign space that had taken shape within that office was a particular shit-show. People wandered vaguely from meeting to meeting. The meetings I saw were run like bull sessions, with no agenda, no format, and no apparent sense of urgency.
Within about 45 minutes I was ushered to a room where I was to have 30 minutes with Rudy. Physically he was more of a grandfather than I had remembered, a bit less robust, a bit more hunched, and a bit more irascible. I explained to him carefully the outline of what we understood at that point, an outline such as the reader might have after watching this presentation by the MIT Math Ph.D. Dr. Shiva, or the exposition by Seth Keshel, as well as the cascade of stories regarding porous security in election software all referenced above.
I feared overwhelming him, so I tried to simplify. As I spoke he occasionally grunted stoically, and it was difficult to judge what was sinking in. After about 10 minutes Rudy started checking his multiple phones for texts, right in front of me as we sat together. Conversing with one of his assistants, sending someone on a side errand, or receiving a report back. It felt rather strange to be talking to a man who was paying so little attention, but the Commish, sitting on the side, motioned for me to continue. After no more than 30 minutes I was ushered out of the office, but told to hang around.
Eventually, I was brought back into a smaller room with Mayor Giuliani, and again asked to explain what I think happened. Realizing I may have overwhelmed him with my earlier explanation, and gotten him lost in the forest for the trees, I broke it down simply and slowly, like one would for one’s 76-year-old Grandfather. Again within 5-10 minutes he was fidgeting, grunting on occasion, sending people on unrelated side errands, checking his multiple phones for texts, and typing responses…. Meanwhile, I tried to stay on track. Yet there was a moment 15 minutes in when I got a whiff of something in that small office…. Medicine? Booze? Just as I was taking a sniff to determine, someone rushed in with some unrelated issue, and I was escorted from the office.
Again I wandered around among the staff, most of whom were professing to know nothing about what was going on, and many others of whom were packing up their desks into bankers’ boxes. I was perplexed and found myself drifting around the convoluted office space. 30 minutes later I was strolling outside some other conference room down the hall when I heard Rudy’s familiar voice saying, “…don’t understand a goddamn thing this guy’s saying…” drifting out of a doorway. Startled, I looked around the corner, and there was Rudy talking to whatever group of staffers happened to be sitting worshipfully in that conference room to which he had moved.
Several staffers pulled me aside in a hallway. What Mayor Giuliani is going to need, one told me, is a one page summary. Very simplified.. A one-pager.
Another piped up, And bulletpoints. The Mayor likes bulletpoints!
Another added, but with graphs and data.
But no more than one page! Repeated the first. …
I do not want to claim that everybody in that large but melting office space was incompetent. … Yet the atmosphere was one of despair, staffers were wondering around in the dark, and the meetings seemed like sophomore bull sessions rather than anything organized and disciplined.
From occasional contacts with several of those staffers over the weeks that followed, I learned what had happened just before I arrived that first day. Rudy had declared, “You can never prove election fraud in a courtroom!” and had insisted that it was not going to be part of their legal strategy. The strategy was going to be to challenge things on procedural grounds: “This county in this state had one set of rules, this other county in that same state used a different set of rules, that violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14 Amendment.”
So I was correct: just before I arrived there had been a blow-up between Rudy and Sidney Powell, ending with Rudy shouting at Sidney and sending her away in front of an office of dozens of people. And declaring that none of this was going to be about election fraud, and putting his mule-lawyers to work on procedural filings.
Later, a member of Rudy’s team told me that initially, Rudy had not even wanted to do that much. He had wanted to make three more-or-less token challenges in three states, then call it a day. Sidney’s insistence that he was missing the Big Picture had caused Rudy ultimately to relent and allow a more aggressive posture to be taken. But still, nothing was to be about election fraud and the possibility of a mass rigging of the election.
Rudy could tolerate hearing about a couple of hundred dead people in Philadelphia voting, but he did not want to hear about anything more sophisticated than that.
That Friday afternoon, November 6, the first time I arrived there just days after the election, I had, in fact, stumbled in on Sidney just as she was recovering from that exchange. And Sidney had sent me to talk to Rudy because she needed someone else to explain what she was herself just realizing: a new form of election fraud had emerged that was not about hundreds of dead people voting in some city but was about the possibility of several hundreds of thousands of votes being injected into each of several certain locations. Rudy had just not been processing any of it from her, and probably did no better from me, and that was why he kept trying to talk with me about how Joe Frazier (1944- 2011) was still voting in Philadelphia. …
The one-pager explaining the fraud to Rudy:
In those two days after meeting the Mayor in his offices, I had time, and by Sunday afternoon I was putting the finishing touches on the most simplified one-page account that I could possibly create. …
Sunday evening I got a phone call at 11 PM, telling me Mayor Giuliani and his entourage were dining in such-and-such a Georgetown restaurant, and would I mind bringing what I had written over to them. I got dressed and went, but when I arrived his security told me to sit in the bar and wait. I did for 45 minutes until someone came out of the Mayor’s private dining room to tell me the Mayor asked that I not come back to his table (security was concerned about me, apparently), but asked me to simply send into the private dining room the paper I had written. I sent it in, then left.
Later, people in that room told me what happened when my paper arrived.
First, in the 90 minutes between 11:30 PM and 1 AM, Mayor Giuliani imbibed three triple scotches on ice. Those relating this story could not vouch for what he had drunk before 11:30.
Second, in front of everyone, Rudy took my paper and read it for perhaps 45 seconds, then put it aside saying, “I’ll get to this later.”
Third, the Mediocrity was at the table. The Mediocrity picked up the one-pager Rudy had set down, and holding it between fingers like it was a turd, announced with a laugh, “Can you believe Byrne worked all weekend and this is all he wrote?”
The train-wreck press conference:
Nine hours later, Monday morning at 10 AM, Rudy Giuliani took the stage at a joint press conference held with Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellison.
Rudy was meant to give a synopsis of where things stood, and then introduce Sidney Powell, who was going to discuss the possibility of mass election fraud on a scale no one was yet comprehending. That it was not about a couple hundred dead people voting here, or a few hundred illegals voting there, but about something deeper, systemic….. Unprecedented.
Instead of sticking to the plan, Rudy Giuliani got carried away, and huffed and puffed his way around the stage for 40 minutes about how many hundreds of dead people had voted here and how illegal people had voted there….. And Joe Frazier still voted! As he worked himself up like Grandpa, repeating all the same points he had been making for days, hair die ran down both sides of his face, unnoticed.
Nine hours earlier, he had had nine shots of whiskey in under 90 minutes.
So that’s why the legal action against the election fraud was so ineffective. Rudy Giuliani was in charge, but drank too much and never understood the case. He never wanted to prove fraud; he just wanted to run a few procedural points and be done. Past it. He just didn’t (couldn’t?) understand the statistical case or the nature of computerized fraud. Details, schmetails, but that’s where the Devil lives.
From their perspective, the Dems couldn’t have hoped for a better person to run the President’s legal case.
Sidney Powell and General Flynn were on the ball, but Giuliani had the President’s ear.