Another day, another HOLY SHITBALLS revelation from ABC reporter Jonathan Karl's book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show. Today's acid flashback returns us to those frenzied weeks after the election when Trump's minions were wilding out in a desperate attempt to overturn it.

We've already heard at length about efforts to rope the Department of Justice into aiding their misbegotten coup. But Karl reveals that the plotters tried to get their hooks in the Defense Department as well, with Team Kraken working to get the Army to arrest CIA Director Gina Haspel for doing server crimes in Germany. Because DUH, OBVIOUSLY.


This chapter casts defense analyst Ezra Cohen-Watnick as an unlikely hero — at least when graded on the steep Kraken curve. We've met young Ezra before on these pages. He was one of Michael Flynn's underqualified flunkies, parked on the National Security Council and eventually booted off when HR McMaster succeeded Flynn as National Security Advisor. Trump later parked Cohen-Watnick at the Justice Department, eventually returning him to the DOD in the waning days of the administration when all the adults had noped out.

After Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and several of his top aides, Cohen-Watnick found himself the (acting) Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He was on official business in the Middle East when he got a call from his former boss, Michael Flynn, who had recently been pardoned by Trump.

ABC reports:

"Flynn told him to cut his trip short and get back to the United States immediately because there were big things about to happen," according to the book. Karl writes that Flynn told Cohen, "We need you," and told the DoD official that "there was going to be an epic showdown over the election results."

Flynn, according to the book, urged Cohen that "he needed to get orders signed, that ballots needed to be seized, and that extraordinary measures needed to be taken to stop Democrats from stealing the election."

"As Flynn ranted about the election fight, [Cohen] felt his old boss sounded manic," Karl writes in the book. "He didn't sound like the same guy he had worked for."

"Sir, the election is over," Cohen told Flynn, according to the book. "It's time to move on."

Flynn, according to Karl, fired back: "You're a quitter! This is not over! Don't be a quitter!"

Michael Flynn crazy? The devil you say!

Lest we forget, Flynn spent most of December on television and in the Oval Office ranting about the necessity of invoking martial law in the swing states. So he definitely wasn't joking when he said the DOD needed to go in and seize the ballots.

Cohen-Watnick says he never spoke to Flynn again. But he did hear from Kraken lawyer Sidney Powell, who had apparently stuck her head all the way into the wingnut sewer and drunk deeply from its fetid waters.

"[CIA Director] Gina Haspel has been hurt and taken into custody in Germany," Powell told Cohen-Watnick. "You need to launch a special operations mission to get her."

Well, yes, hmmmm.

Powell appears to be referring to an insane Q-Anon conspiracy theory that got a lot of play at the time, to the point that Rep. Louie Gohmert alluded to it in a congressional hearing. (Remember when there was only one congressional representative loony enough to launder cultist propaganda into the congressional record? We were so young!)

The message boards were all a-tizzy with stories of a magical election-stealing server in Germany (sure, why not). Five American soldiers from the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion had been killed on a mission to capture the server. (The 305th is located in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and doesn't do overseas missions, but, sure, have it your way.) And the CIA was in on it. (In for a pint, in for a pound.)

This was all bullshit, as Military Times and our own Evan Hurst splained at the time. Nevertheless, Powell attempted to get Cohen-Watnick to LOCK HER UP Gina Haspel:

"The server, Powell claimed, contained evidence that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of votes had been switched using rigged voting machines. Powell believed Haspel had embarked on this secret mission to get the server and destroy the evidence — in other words, the CIA director was part of the conspiracy," Karl writes.

Powell wanted the Defense Department to send a special operations team over to Germany immediately: "They needed to get the server and force Haspel to confess," Karl writes.

But it didn't work, so no harm no foul, right? No need to investigate further.

Very normal lawyer shit. No doubt Powell's claims of executive and attorney-client privilege will be treated with the utmost respect by the January 6 Select Committee when it gets around to subpoenaing her.

[ABC]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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