Patterico's Pontifications

11/11/2020

Erie Postal Worker Did Not Admit “Fabricating” Story But Admits Project Veritas Affidavit Was Inaccurate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:17 pm



To their credit, Project Veritas has released the full raw audio of the interrogation of Erie, Pennsylvania postal worker Richard Hopkins. I have listened to that audio. The tl;dr:

The Washington Post article on this is rather outrageously false:

A Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities admitted to U.S. Postal Service investigators that he fabricated the allegations, according to three officials briefed on the investigation and a statement from a House congressional committee.

Hopkins most certainly does not admit “fabricating” anything in the interview. Instead, he admits that he signed a document prepared by Project Veritas’s lawyers that had some inaccuracies and assumptions. The interview, by the way, is not in the slightest bit coercive. The Project Veritas claims that it was are based on isolated comments taken out of context. The interview is very friendly and non-coercive.

Overall, my impression is that Hopkins sounds like a nice fellow. He heard something that bothered him, he came forward, and he is overwhelmed by the attention. He definitely was not that careful about making sure every single aspect of the affidavit he signed was accurate.

Here is the full audio:

I encourage anyone truly interested in this to listen to the full two hours. I am not going to summarize every single aspect of it but give you the gist of it and my impressions.

Here are the details:

The main questioner, Russell Strasser from the USPS Office of Inspector General, is friendly from the get-go. He tells Hopkins he believes what he is saying. However, he is concerned that there might have been some exaggeration. He emphasizes that he wants to make absolutely certain that what Hopkins is saying is “1000% correct” so that the version of events Hopkins gives is an unassailable truth that nobody can attack.

Strasser gives Hopkins his rights, explaining that every American citizen is entitled to those rights. Strasser is an effective questioner because he looks to build a rapport with Hopkins and does not try to get aggressive with him or intimidate him. Strasser discusses their shared history of military service (Hopkins was a Marine and Strasser was in the Air Force). Hopkins acknowledges that the interview is purely voluntary and not the product of coercion.

Hopkins basically makes two allegations.

First, he alleges that mail carriers were instructed to collect ballots that were mailed after November 3, up to and including Friday, November 6, and told to give them to the closing supervisor. It never comes up in the interview, but this is probably an attempt by USPS to comply with the order from the Pennsylvnia Supreme Court, left in place for now by the United States Supreme Court, that ballots received by November 6 would be counted if postmarked by November 3, or if it was not clear they had not been mailed by November 3. Hopkins may not have known about that order and appears not to have understood why collecting those ballots was not nefarious.

Second, Hopkins alleges that he overheard a conversation between the postmaster of the local office, Rob Weisenbach, and a “Daryl” in which they discussed ballots. The precise language that Hopkins claims he overheard is the subject of a lot of the questioning, but the upshot is that the conversation was somewhat vague, but that Hopkins concluded from the conversation that it was about backdating ballots (though he never heard the term backdating used).

Here’s a snippet from the first time he gives the exact conversation he heard:

HOPKINS: And I overhear something about “the fourth ballots that they’re picked up, that were picked up on the fourth.”

STRASSER: So you heard the words “fourth ballots” or?

HOPKINS: “The ballots picked up on the fourth.”

STRASSER: Ballots picked up on the fourth. That’s what you heard?

HOPKINS: Yes.

STRASSER: OK. And then?

HOPKINS: And then I heard them say that one of them was marked the fourth and the rest were the third. That’s the only words that I can remember specifically out of that conversation. Soon as I heard that, I popped my head out.

He says he looked at them and they walked away.

Strasser takes Hopkins out to the area where he overheard the conversation. Strasser speaks in a normal tone and confirms that Hopkins cannot hear every word he is saying in a normal tone. Hopkins admits he could not hear every word of the conversation. When they return to the room in which the interview was taking place, Hopkins notes that supervisors had been out there during Strasser’s and Hopkins’s visit to that location, and Strasser says he had not realized they would be.

Strasser assures Hopkins that Hopkins is “allowed to be passionate” about his concerns. Hopkins says he voted for Trump but otherwise voted libertarian and does not really care who won. If Biden won, he would laugh. He just wanted to make sure there was an investigation. He had hoped to remain anonymous.

Hopkins says that he was concerned enough that when he delivered a ballot that he had picked up on the fifth of November, he secretly wrote “11/05/20” on the back of the envelope to memorialize the fact that he had actually picked it up on the fifth. After mail carriers collected ballots after the fourth, they were told by a “Stephanie” to turn them into the closing supervisor, and that every vote had to count. Hopkins told a fellow postal employee “Zonya” about the conversation he had heard, and then he went to Project Veritas because he had heard they were good on such matters.

He discusses specifics again at 36:14 in an exchange with Postal Inspector Charles Klein:

KLEIN: OK. You didn’t work on the fourth.

HOPKINS: No. That’s why the fourth’s thing, overhearing the fourth thing.

KLEIN: Right.

HOPKINS: I know I heard the fourth, and I know that I heard one ballot was marked the fourth. That’s the only thing I — can be very specific at this point, right now, ’cause it’s been —

KLEIN: Yup.

HOPKINS: You’re making me question myself at this point.

KLEIN: You know what? I’m supposed to do that.

In context, Klein is not saying “I’m supposed to make you take this back” but “I’m supposed to make you think very hard about what you actually know.”

The things you have heard Strasser and Klein say in snippets in a recent Project Veritas video, that he is trying to scare Hopkins or twist him, are all taken out of context. Strasser has a way of speaking where he says things like: I’m not trying to insult you but I’m trying to insult you. I’m not trying to scare you but I am trying to scare you. It’s impossible for me to explain how it doesn’t come across as intimidating in the context of the full interview, but it just doesn’t. You have to listen to the whole thing to understand. Strasser is very sympathetic, positive, supportive, and friendly throughout. He does at times warn Hopkins of some of the trouble he could get himself into — such as if he collected the GoFundMe money pursuant to deception — but it is in the context of saying things like: I don’t believe you have been deceptive; you have said you made some assumptions; I will make sure everyone understands that and that you were never trying to lie.

The words Hopkins overheard are repeated at 38:57 – 39:19:

HOPKINS: I heard, specifically what I heard was “fourth ballots picked up.” And then I heard them saying something about po– the markings being on the third. One was the fourth. That’s it. And that’s when I poked my head out and went “What?” I actually said: “What?”

Then, Hopkins says, Weisenbach saw Hopkins, and Weisenbach and Daryl walked away.

You can tell that Hopkins is not terribly clear about the precise words he overheard.

Agent Klein asks Hopkins what really stung him — the conversation or the fact that they were collecting ballots after the third. At that point Hopkins admits, on his own, that it was an assumption he made that they were talking about backdating ballots:

KLEIN: What stings you hard? This conversation you heard or what they’re doing by sort of segregating the ballots the way they’re doing?

HOPKINS: The, I would say the conversation; the fact that I heard that they’re, you know, based on my assumption on what I could hear was that they were postmarking them on the third that were picked up on the fourth and that, immediately, ’cause I mean they’re making this big deal about picking up these ballots. I’m not alone in feeling that’s weird.

KLEIN: Mm-hmm.

HOPKINS: ‘Cause that was —

KLEIN: Can I tell you you’re not alone in feeling that way.

HOPKINS: That was a red flag for me.

I’m going to give you one last section where they discuss the wording of the overheard conversation. I’m not giving you a transcript because the post is getting long, this excerpt is rather long (three minutes), and YouTube is having troubles, making this post difficult to write. But the point here is that they specifically drill down on words used and not used, and Hopkins says he remembers the words “dated the third but one was for the fourth.” From that, he logically assumed they were talking about backdating postmarks. He admits that was an assumption. He didn’t hear the whole conversation. “Ballots picked up on the fourth, all but one was postmarked, marked the third, except for one which was marked the fourth.” He heard the word “postmarked” used once, at the end: “one was postmarked the fourth.” He very clearly says he never heard the word “backdate” used. 1:06:23 – 1:09:49:

I want to get to the part of the conversation where they go through the Project Veritas affidavit paragraph by paragraph. Hopkins explains the parts that are wrong and he and the agents settle on alternate language that is more accurate.

Here is the original affidavit:

They go through this paragraph by paragraph, and Hopkins agrees to the following.

PARAGRAPH THREE: They jump head at first to paragraph three, which is really at the heart of the allegations. Hopkins agrees that it contains a significant amount of interpretation, and that if it were going to reflect facts that were 1000% accurate, it should be amended. Hopkins acknowledges that it was written up Veritas’s lawyers and that he would not swear to that paragraph today.

Later they decide to go paragraph by paragraph, starting with the first paragraph.

PARAGRAPH ONE: The facts contained within the affidavit dated 11/6/20 need clarification and should be amended for accuracy.

PARAGRAPH TWO: No changes.

PARAGRAPH THREE: Steph, not Rob, ordered the ballots delivered to the closing supervisor, and Hopkins does not know what happened to the ballots after that. From the conversation he heard between Weisenbach and Daryl, his logical assumption is that they were discussing backdating ballots, but never heard that word (backdating).

PARAGRAPH FOUR: He saw Weisenbach and Daryl having a discussion. He is not sure he heard the words “messed up.” From the words he overheard, his logical assumption was that they were backdating ballots. His impression was that only one ballot collected on the fourth was postmarked on the fourth. (His account of the specific words he heard has already been discussed above at great length.)

PARAGRAPH FIVE: As a carrier it was his responsibility to pick up all mail including ballots, but he had a concern that ballots were not being placed in the mail stream. They were to be given directly to the closing supervisor, and he did not know what happened to them after that. He is not certain that it was Weisenbach that specifically gave this direction, although Weisenbach is the postmaster.

Rather critically, he acknowledges that the sentence beginning “moreover” which accuses Weisenbach of backdating ballots should be removed entirely. “That should be removed, totally.”

1:44:02 – 1:45:24:

In approving the further clarification that this sentence should be removed entirely, Hopkins volunteers: “Because that is a little excessive . . . I wasn’t paying that much attention to what they were telling me . . .” He says he didn’t expect any of this shit; he’s just a dude.

PARAGRAPH SIX: He says that following his logical conclusions, he felt he had no other recourse other than to make this public, although he has no physical evidence of such actions. His assumptions motivated him to make his concerns public. At this point, notably, Hopkins makes the following comment about the assumptions he made:

1:49:33 – 1:50:14:

STRASSER: My assumptions motivated me to make my concerns public. Fair?

HOPKINS: I always think that of that word “assumptions” and I think of “ass of you and me.” So that’s why I’m sitting here thinking, this really does make me feel like an asshole.

STRASSER: It’s a situation that is universal. OK?

If you listen to these snippets out of context, of course, it sounds like they are putting words in his mouth, when in fact they are trying to fairly summarize what he has told them in a way that he agrees is accurate. Again, listening to the entire recording can answer some of the objections that partisans might want to raise in a knee-jerk fashion. I will pay no attention to drive-by sneering from people who have not listened to the whole thing.

PARAGRAPH SEVEN: Hopkins objects to the word “interrogated.” Hopkins volunteers: “I wouldn’t say you guys interrogated me.” He notes that the Project Veritas lawyers wrote the affidavit and says he guesses that is a term they use. “I would like to fix it because I feel bad.” Strasser says if they change that word, people will really think the agents are trying to put words in his mouth. But Hopkins is pretty insistent that he did not feel he had been “interrogated.”

1:52:38 – 1:54:06:

At the end, Hopkins reveals to them that he has been recording them. Strasser says he is not going to tell him to turn off the recorder, and jokes that now he has to sound official. (In truth, he sounds the same, and explains it’s a joke.) Strasser says he does not plan on administering a polygraph because he believes Hopkins.

In summary: This interview was not coerced, and Hopkins has freely recanted the most significant parts of his affidavit. Although Hopkins never admits to fabricating anything — and articles alleging that he did are outrageously false — he significantly undercuts the most explosive allegations in the Project Veritas affidavit, revealing them to be assumptions.

In short, everyone on both partisan sides of the issue — Big Media and Project Veritas both — is getting this wrong.

Shocking, I know.

94 Responses to “Erie Postal Worker Did Not Admit “Fabricating” Story But Admits Project Veritas Affidavit Was Inaccurate”

  1. Consider this a public service saving you two hours of time.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. I think it’s really uncool that they are suspending him without pay. He seems earnest.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  3. Great post, Patterico. This is a PS, thanks.

    felipe (023cc9)

  4. Consider this a public service saving you two hours of time.

    Thank you!

    nk (1d9030)

  5. I remember when whistleblowers … I dunno, Eric something or other, didn’t get suspended without pay because that alone is coercive. Is it not?
    Suspended without pay… the new non-coercive behavior modification tool of the Biden era… meanwhile we couldn’t even call Vinman fat much less portly, without being called bullies of a combat veteran/patriot

    steveg (43b7a5)

  6. Suspended without pay… the new non-coercive behavior modification tool of the Biden era…

    Um

    Patterico (115b1f)

  7. How can I put this tactfully? It’s November 11, 2020; Trump is still President (which should count as penance for our sins but that’s a different subject); and his appointee, Louis “The Bundler” DeJoy is still Postmaster General.

    And when all is said and done, Mr. Hopkins’ story, in either version, is a very weak reed, but it gives Lindsey Graham, who had cleared his schedule in order to start packing, something to do after all.

    nk (1d9030)

  8. Thank you Patterico.

    HCI (92ea66)

  9. I think it’s really uncool that they are suspending him without pay. He seems earnest.

    Patterico (115b1f) — 11/11/2020 @ 6:39 pm

    I have heard horrible things about the environment at the Post Office. No wonder the term “going postal” became popular.

    I love the posts where you point out the errors of major newspapers, Pat. It’s a real public service.

    norcal (a5428a)

  10. It certainly affirms that Project Veritas was conducting their business as usual, taking snippets of tape out of context and exploiting a rube with a misleading affidavit. They’ve come a long way since ACORN, and not in a good way.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  11. Project Veritas is Borat without a sense of humor and with less honesty. One is fictional too…

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  12. It certainly affirms that Project Veritas was conducting their business as usual, taking snippets of tape out of context and exploiting a rube with a misleading affidavit. They’ve come a long way since ACORN, and not in a good way.

    Paul Montagu (77c694) — 11/11/2020 @ 8:37 pm

    It also affirms that the Washington Post was conducting their (biased) business as usual.

    norcal (a5428a)

  13. Paul isn’t going to call out WaPo, his fact checker. One standard, blah, blah….

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  14. Consider this a public service saving you two hours of time.

    I do. Thank you. What I get from this is there is really nothing here but some misunderstandings, and a hard spin by partisans. IIRC, none of these ballots were actually counted.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  15. From what I read, there are those in the PA General Assembly (both houses R) who want the legislature to investigate, with the obvious (more out of sorrow than anger) endgame.

    https://www.wfmz.com/news/state/pennsylvania-rank-and-file-lawmakers-demand-legislative-audit-before-certifying-election-results/article_c629270e-5fe7-5583-bb21-8c2e79350866.html

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  16. It sounds like they are talking about literally a handful of ballots.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  17. The Washington Post inaccurately reported that Hopkins “fabricated” the statement. He did, however, admit that many of the statements in the Project Veritas affidavit were assumptions.

    I don’t know that I’d call vouching for an assumption of which I had no direct knowledge a fabrication, but neither do I think calling it a fabrication is necessarily wrong. I hope I’d find a different word — fabrication does feel a little rhetorically overreachy. But semantically it’s a close call.

    That’s how it seems to me, anyway. YMMV.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  18. If he said “I heard a conversation in which X and Y discussed committing crime Z,” and in reality, he heard incomplete fragments of a conversation between X and Y, in which Z was never mentioned, then saying he fabricated the charge that Z occurred seems entirely accurate.

    Dave (1bb933)

  19. The Erie postmaster claimed that Hopkins was recently disciplined multiple times (I assume he means before the election and his O’Keefe star turn).

    If so, that could give him a motive for making false charges against his supervisor(s).

    That doesn’t prove any charges he makes are false, but it should be followed up to get a complete picture of the context.

    Dave (1bb933)

  20. @19: Interesting. No, I mean it’s interesting how we’re all about doxxing this whistleblower for “context”, while for the “good” whistleblowers it’s an affront to even know their name.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  21. Military voters included on Trump campaign list of ‘improperly cast’ ballots

    A list produced by the Trump campaign purporting to detail just over 3,000 instances of alleged voter fraud in Nevada contains hundreds of addresses used by active-duty military members and their families.

    The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the list of 3,062 alleged instances of people voting in Nevada while living elsewhere included hundreds of active-duty military members who apparently live in Nevada but are stationed elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas.

    Active-duty members of the armed services frequently vote absentee while stationed away from home.

    “Our voter registration is in Nevada, our cars are registered in Nevada, our licenses are in Nevada,” one woman whose husband is stationed in California told the Journal after finding their address on the list. “We just don’t live there because the military has told us to move somewhere else.”

    “To see my integrity challenged, along with other members of the military to be challenged in this way, it is a shock. And to be potentially disenfranchised because of these actions, that’s not OK,” the woman, Amy Rose, added to Military.com in a statement. “It’s pretty obvious that hundreds of military people are on this list. There didn’t seem to be any effort to look at this list before they made their accusations.”

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  22. There is no protected whistleblower legal status for people who do paid publicity for political organizations.

    If Hopkins had made his charge through a legitimate channel, he might well have been able to remain anonymous.

    Dave (1bb933)

  23. I hope I’d find a different word — fabrication does feel a little rhetorically overreachy.

    I call this confabulation. I’m not sure if that’s jargon, but it’s when you fill in the gaps in what you witnessed with what you want or imagine happened. You could also just say he exaggerated.

    O’Keefe used him to get that affidavit.

    A list produced by the Trump campaign purporting to detail just over 3,000 instances of alleged voter fraud in Nevada contains hundreds of addresses used by active-duty military members and their families.

    Happy veterans day from the draft dodging cheat I guess.

    The BS accusations are flowing like water at this point. It’s tearing the country down. Once again Trump just happens to be doing what Putin would want him to do in his happiest KGB dreams.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  24. The BS accusations are flowing like water at this point.

    “Trump Russia Collusion”

    Carter “Russian Asset” Page

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  25. I agree with Paul Montagu. It appears that Project Veritas, a misnomer if there ever was one, is clearly trying to play this postal worker so as to concoct a conspiracy theory, with a misleading affidavit written by their lawyers no less.

    I don’t have two hours to listen to the whole interview, so I’ll rely on Patterico’s excellent summary, which is clearly reasoned and factual. I agree with our esteemed host that the reporting on this incident has been particularly inaccurate.

    It’s unclear to me what exactly happened. A postal worker overheard supervisors in another room talking about “fourth” ballots. Were those ballots postmarked on the fourth or received on the fourth? If the former, they had to be invalidated. If the latter, they had to be counted, as do all ballots received by the sixth, postmarked on the third, as ruled by the state Supreme Court. That’s most likely what the conversation was about.

    The postal worker was concerned, probably because he didn’t know what they were talking about. How or why he contacted Project Veritas, a misnomer if there ever was one, is a mystery. But once they got involved, the story took on a life of its own. That is not what the postal worker intended; he just wanted to express his concerns. Under investigation, he recanted the “assumptions” in the affidavit, saying that he did not hear the supervisors discuss backdating ballots.

    But what are facts and truthful testimony to a conspiracy theory? Or accurate reporting? Nothing. It’s called confirmation bias and contradiction denial, the basis for every long con. People will continue to believe whatever they are led to believe, no matter how flimsy the evidence, and will continue to deny whatever contradicts their belief, no matter how concrete the evidence. That’s just the way it is in this human world.

    https://reason.com/2020/11/11/new-blows-to-trump-campaign-election-fraud-theories/

    https://reason.com/2020/11/11/the-trump-campaign-is-pushing-easily-disproven-misinformation-about-pennsylvanias-election-results/

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  26. “Trump Russia Collusion”

    Carter “Russian Asset” Page


    Russian Spies Tried to Recruit Carter Page Before He Advised Trump

    According to the court documents filed in 2015, the F.B.I. secretly recorded Mr. Podobnyy and another Russian operative named Igor Sporyshev discussing efforts to recruit Mr. Page, who was then working in New York as a consultant.

    To record their conversations, the F.B.I. inserted a listening device into binders that were passed to the Russian intelligence operatives during an energy conference, according to a former United States intelligence official. The Russians then took the binders into a secure room where they thought they could evade American intelligence eavesdropping attempts.

    In a transcript of the conversation included in the court documents, Mr. Podobnyy tells his Russian colleague that Mr. Page frequently flies to Moscow and is interested in earning large sums of money. Mr. Page was apparently interested in striking a deal with Gazprom, the Russian state-run oil firm, according to the transcript. Mr. Podobnyy called Mr. Page an “idiot” but said he was enthusiastic.

    Russian intelligence officers had been given the task of gathering information on potential United States sanctions against their country, according to the F.B.I., and the three men were focused on economic issues in particular. The third Russian spy, Evgeny Buryakov, posed as an employee of a Russian bank. Mr. Sporyshev worked as a trade representative of the Russian Federation in New York.

    Mr. Podobnyy promised through his contacts with Russian trade officials to steer contracts to Mr. Page.

    “I will feed him empty promises,” he was overheard saying, according to the transcript.

    […]

    Though charged, Mr. Podobnyy and Mr. Sporyshev were protected by diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution while in the United States, but Mr. Buryakov, who was working under what is known as “non-official cover,” had entered the United States as a private citizen and did not have diplomatic immunity. Mr. Buryakov was arrested in 2015 and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent. Last year, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

    Dave (1bb933)

  27. I have heard horrible things about the environment at the Post Office. No wonder the term “going postal” became popular.

    Heard? Do you know any of these losers?

    My brother in law is paid six figures to supervise exactly TWO subordinates, and brags to anyone who will listen how his day is filled with video games and sports chat.

    Anecdotal of course, but my most recent encounter at my local PO:

    Someone took down my mailbox, base and all, two weeks ago. It was custom masonry, so it’s going to take time to replace. So, I try to put a hold on my mail online, only to find that my years ago created credentials are no longer recognized, I must create a new account.

    Fine. I attempt to create a new account. No dice, says the error message. You cannot create a new account because you already have an account. You will need to go to your local office to put a hold on your mail. Tech doofuses, but OK.

    When it’s my turn at the counter, the agent says “No problem. We won’t really put your mail on hold, we’ll have the carrier bring it here so you can pick up daily. This works well for a few days, until one day when my wife has to pick up. The supervisor goes nuts. “What are you talking about, we don’t have daily pick up on held mail. My wife explained, the supervisor called her a liar and literally screamed at her, demanding to know who set up the daily pickup. Of course, my wife had no clue who it was, apologized for the trouble and left.

    I went in the next day and “No problem. I don’t know who she talked to, but everything’s fine. Here’s your mail. Just let us know when your box is back up.”

    Matador (0284e8)

  28. 1st 15 minutes: Trust me trust me trust me trust me trustme trustme. (I’m covering my butt) Trust me Trust me. Look how friendly and trustworthy I am, trust me trust me. Jokey bonding, bonding, regular bonding.

    17-20 min: Hasn’t talked to Trump, just Project Veritas, Project Veritas does have lawyers Alex/Richard does not have an attorney. Joke, bonding. Trust me trust me.

    20mi-24min : You’re cool, but maybe some exaggeration happened? Lets start at the beginning. Alex/Richard describes training. Thought it was weird. Overheard a conversation that one of the ballots might have had the wrong date.

    24min-30 min: Takes him back to review conversation Alex/Richard heard. Trust me trust me. Takes him out to where he was at the time, do a walk through. 1st normal schedule discussion. Then walk through of the situation. Trust me trust me, you’re a good guy, trust me.

    30min-33min:Return to room. Bond bond, you’re a good guy. Bond bond. you’re a good guy. Bond bond.

    34min-40min: Back to the story. Alex/Richard starts to get nervous, doubt own story. Trust me trust me. Back to story. Bothered that the trainer kept saying to make sure to pick up every ballot, every vote counts, give ballots to supervisor. Trainer didn’t talk about postmarks. Goes through story again. Remembered having said something to the guys he overheard. Starts making explanations, explanations, explanations, gets heated.

    41min-45min:Returned to story, Alex/Richard, says he made an assumption of what he heard. A/R gets heated, reviews other emotions. Reassured. Interviewer restates story. A/R has self doubts, worried/upset/overwhelmed. Reassured Reassured. You’re cool dude. I understand where you’re coming from.

    45-47:Discussion of consequences that could happen. Trust me Trust me. Bonding, you’re a cool dude. Alex/Richard upset. Reassured.

    47min-50min :Other possibility presents, A/R says possible, but doesn’t think so, but possible. Trust me Trust me. A/R allowed to go out on a smoke break.

    50min-53min:chitchat during smoke break, weather, smoking habit, uniforms, etc.

    54min-60min:Chitchat, trust me trust me, bonding. Discuss Project Veritas, what they talked to Alex/Richard abt. Project Veritas wants exclusivity, frames it as to being to his advantage. (PV’s advice sounds sketchy as hell to me, also to the interviewer apparently) Interviewer presents how PV benefits, not necessarily A/R. Interviewer takes him through his interaction with PV. They are talking to him every day?! PV obviously making him feel comfortable with them. Interviewer discusses consequences of money paid to A/R from gofundme but A/R isn’t super comfortable with the gofundme. A/R upset, worried abt job, feeling over his head. PV had recommended the gofundme. PV isn’t paying him, but got him to do the gofundme (PV sounds sketchy there too.) Interviewer explains how PV benefits and their hands being clean and A/R’s maybe aren’t. A/R worried about this. Interviewer explains maybe A/R out on a limb but interviewer will help (:P).

    60min-70min:Back to story. A/R talked to a friend to made a suggestion of who to report to that was NOT PV, but he was thinking PV. A/R talks about day, had written on a ballot he collected that day, wrote the date. Gave ballots to boss. Establishes that the people A/R overheard are gone by the time the ballots are processed. A/R had talked to one of the people he overheard, who dismissed it. Reassures, Reassures. Interviewer restates what A/R said. Very very detailed about exactly what he heard vs what he patterned. A/R confirms Interviewer restated story accurately.

    70min-72:Back to PV. Reassure Reassure. Trust me Trust me. 2nd interviewer interjects

    73-78min:Review Affidavit. Which is much much much more comprehensive, and detailed than what A/R describes as actually having overheard. A/R agrees that it was too much interpretation and not enough fact and should be amended. A/R says that PV wrote it for him. Reassure reassure. Explains that even though PV wrote it, it still would put A/R out on a limb. But Interviewer will help make it right. Reassure reassure, trust me, I’m your friend. Do you want to make corrections now? A/R agrees, says he understands he’s out on a limb, would like to make corrections.

    78min-83min: Trust me trust me. Go through affidavit paragraph by paragraph. Paragraph one- I’m old enough and I swear this is the truth- change to facts in the affidavit should be amended. Chitchat, bonding, you’re cool dude, we’re friends, others are using you, trust me.

    83min-86:Trust me trust me. Reassure. Interviewer recs he tell PV that statement was amended. A/R wants a copy of the amended statement. Maybe their bosses aren’t going to trust PV, maybe they can’t give him a copy to give to PV. Reassure reassure, trust me trust me.

    86: Paragraph two. A/R’s job, no changes.

    86-91min:Paragraph 3 which they already agreed was not accurate. Adjusted name of trainer, was not trained by supervisor. Adjusted that backdating was an assumption, not a thing he actually heard.

    91min-96min: Paragraph 4: Expansion of paragraph three saying that the supervisors discussed committing voter fraud by backdating all the Nov. 4 ballots as Nov 3rd ballots but messed up by dating one as Nov 4. (Based on listening to the conversation, I don’t think these were A/Rs own words in any way and that PV made this up almost entirely, IMO). A/R also clarified that the piece of convo he overheard hadn’t been friendly. Reassure reassure.

    96min-105min:Paragraph 5- originally that the supervisor had given the direction of what to do so (assumption by A/R) that supervisor could commit fraud. Some back and forth between A/R and interviewer where A/R doesn’t agree with the ballot collection procedure itself. A/R is mad/irritated at it. Interviewer redirects convo back to the affidavit. Para rephrased to say that A/R didn’t understand why the procedure was the way it was, instead of saying he’d assumed criminality (since he hadn’t overheard anything like the detailed criminal plot the PV lawyers had written up). Reassure, reassure. Thinking back over it, A/R is just upset by the whole situation. Reassure Reassure.

    105min-112:Para 6- Original restates again that he thought is was all a voter fraud plot and that’s why he brought it to PV. Amended to say that his assumptions motivated him to report. A/R appears to feel that PV had taken the story too far, much further than his actual knowledge. He is upset by this. Looks back and sees maybe he doesn’t have any firm ground and that what he assumed maybe isn’t accurate. Took it to PV because he heard PV was the right place to take these kinds of things (he clearly spends too much time on right wing media. PV? Really?). Reassure

    112-117: Para 7- Original states A/R was interogated by USPS and the union started bringing up old stuff and so I revealed my identity. A/R states it was PV that wrote that. A/R states he’s been recording them the whole time, but he was keeping it private. Clearly feels bad he’s been sneakily recording but interviewers aren’t particularly concerned but tell him they’ll have to tell their supervisors and might have to confiscate it. Para 7 stands.

    117- :Affidavit done. Interviewer would like to write a statement for A/R to swear to. Reassure reassure. Bond, reassure. A/R needs to write statement himself. Back and forth where A/R explains about the recording, goes out for a smoke break, recording shuts off.

    Nic (896fdf)

  29. So here are my impressions:

    This was clearly NOT a coerced interview. The interviewer was using Very Obvious Interviewing Techniques and I have to say that if I had been the one being interviewed I would’ve been a lot more suspicious about this entire process than Alex/Richard was. He talked about having done a lot of law enforcement and psych classes, but I don’t think he really did.

    Alex/Richard is just some dude. He’s not super confident or super successful, or super intelligent, he’s just a guy. He’s obviously had a fair amount of interaction with the more bubble related right wing media, but his intentions don’t seem to have been bad.

    I do wonder if PV had asked him to get the recording in the hopes that the interviewers would do something out of line, but the interviewers didn’t at all.

    I don’t know that I would say that Alex/Richard “fabricated” the story, but he created a lot of it in his own mind. IMO fabricated implies intentionally lying and I don’t think he was doing that, I just think he had a certain viewpoint and his mind created a story that matched that viewpoint based on the very spare conversation he heard. I could, however, see why the Post used the word fabricated and why someone might think that A/R was more dishonest than he appears to be on the recording.

    However, I would say that Project Veritas fabricated the story. They very clearly took whatever he told them and 1. Didn’t bother to try and acertain what A/R actually hears and 2. Made up a lot of details that didn’t exist using vocabulary and sentence structure that A/R wouldn’t have used. It’s like they took the scene from “Chicago” where the “diary” is written and gets read in court, but forgot to watch the debunking cross examination.

    It was kind of sad listening to A/R realize what PV had done to him and what situation he was in now. He obviously had felt comfortable with them and having gone to them at the beginning and by the end he clearly saw that his trust was misplaced and they’d left him up the creek.

    Did PV think the recording doesn’t make them look really bad? Because it makes them look really bad. It makes them look like they took this poor smuck who trusted them, put words in his mouth, and then hung him out to dry. I mean, they look Really Bad.

    Also, based on this interview, I don’t think there’s any evidence that the post office was doing voter fraud.

    Anyway, that’s what I got out of this. YMMV.

    Nic (896fdf)

  30. @19 It doesn’t feel like he was making deliberately false charges. It feels like he had a lot of preconceived notions and was emotionally predisposed to create a story around them. He really should not have signed that affidavit, though. It sounds like he maybe didn’t even read it entirely or thoroughly.

    @20 We’re not “doxing” him. He said in the interview that he decided to come forward.

    @21 I bet Trump doesn’t even know that a person in the military can maintain their original state of residence, even when they PCS someplace else. Someone around him should, but I bet he’s totally ignorant.

    Nic (896fdf)

  31. It feels like he had a lot of preconceived notions and was emotionally predisposed to create a story around them.

    Cool.

    Under federal law the maximum penalty for perjury, or subornation of perjury, is five years in prison.

    O’Keefe should serve the full sentence without possibility of parole, and perhaps with enhancements, since he’s a repeat offender.

    Three years (with parole in 18 months) for Hopkins seems suitably lenient.

    Dave (1bb933)

  32. Dave,

    Being a credulous imbecile isn’t illegal. Nor should it be. If Hopkins is charged with anything, I’ll eat beer ‘n pretzels’ MAGA hat.

    I’m on shakier ground re: O’Keefe — I’m not a criminal lawyer — but I’ll be surprised if anything he did is chargeable either. Sleazy scu*bag? You bet. Attempt to suborn perjury? I doubt it.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  33. In my mind these are the 2 most relevant points made in the video:
    1) Hopkins says unequivocally that a supervisor told him on the 5th to collect ballots. “Every vote counts.” We will have to wait for this report to be released to know what the supervisors were doing with these ballots. If we will ever know. I don’t know how the inside of post office works so is this possible to do? I have no idea.
    here

    2) This is the moment when the inspectors were explaining to Hopkins that even though the affidavit he signed was written by someone else Hopkins was swearing that it was true. You can hear him become upset and exclaim: “Shit.” This guy is a straight-forward, honest, ex-Marine, who may not be the brightest bulb in the box but whatever he says he believes to be 100% accurate.
    here

    He did the right thing by coming forward and telling us what he saw.

    Also he talks extensively in the video about the GoFund Me that he set up. So he does have something to fall back on if he is fired.

    ah-non-ee-mouse (690acb)

  34. The lie that a post office was mendaciously back dating ballots will, regardless, continue its zombie shambling existence across right wing websites and be the basis for cadging even more money from the gullible and fearful:

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/12/trump-fraud-claims-fundraising-436188

    Demonstrating that the claim is a fabrication simply shows the corruption of mainstream media.

    It’s the Eternal Grift. Every setback is a pivot towards a new demand for fealty.

    Victor (4959fb)

  35. I’m on shakier ground re: O’Keefe — I’m not a criminal lawyer — but I’ll be surprised if anything he did is chargeable either. Sleazy scu*bag? You bet. Attempt to suborn perjury? I doubt it.

    Lying to/providing fabricated evidence to Congress? Mitigating circumstance: It gave them (Congress) something to do besides fund raise and jerk off?

    nk (1d9030)

  36. we need law and order in this country mr lurker

    Dave (1bb933)

  37. “Trump Russia Collusion”. Meh! Putin does not “collude” with his orange cock-holsters. He just unzips.

    nk (1d9030)

  38. He did fabricate the story under the dictionary definition of the term: “invent or concoct (something), typically with deceitful intent.”

    Typically, but not always. I dont think he had deceitful intent. Seems more like recklessness than a specific intent.

    I suspect most people think of deceitful as “always” and not “typically.” That probably governs whether a given person thinks it is accurate in this case.

    johnnyagreeable (c49787)

  39. I use “story” loosely there. I meant his filling in the gaps with assumptions.

    johnnyagreeable (c49787)

  40. As for WaPo, just like in the Nick Sandmann case, all the editors have a list of all the jurisdictions that allow “false light” suits taped to their desks. In this instance:

    Under Pennsylvania law, the media is insulated from liability for false light when it reports on issues of public concern related to public officials. Neish v. Beaver Newspapers, Inc., 581 A.2d 619, 624-25 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1990). Courts deem public officials as having “relinquish[ed] . . . insulation of scrutiny of [their] public affairs.”

    nk (1d9030)

  41. Paul isn’t going to call out WaPo, his fact checker. One standard, blah, blah….

    The WaPo mischaracterized the story. Happy now, beer? My silence isn’t consent.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  42. BTW (and IANAL), if Hopkins’ testimony alone were taken to court for the purpose of invalidating ballots, my guess is that a judge would toss the case because it’s hearsay. They would have to get testimony from the two characters who actually had the conversation, and I don’t know if we’ve actually heard them confirm or deny. Without their testimony, this story is yet one more nothingburger from the Trump claque.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  43. Paul, are you seriously responding to a professional Biden denigrator who claimed that we are doxxing a guy who set up GoFundMe account to compensate himself for going public with his story?

    nk (1d9030)

  44. The #FAKENEWSBEZOSPOST has an updated story, following release of the recording:

    Audio recording shows Pa. postal worker recanting ballot-tampering claim

    In an interview this week with federal agents, a Pennsylvania postal worker walked back his allegation that a supervisor had tampered with mailed ballots, saying he had made “assumptions” based on overheard snippets of conversation, according to an audio recording of the interview posted online Wednesday by activists who have championed his cause.

    The two-hour recording shows that Richard Hopkins recanted claims he had made in a sworn affidavit that top Republicans cited over the weekend as potential evidence of widespread election irregularities and fraud.

    Hopkins told federal investigators on Monday his allegations were based on fragments of conversation among co-workers in a noisy mail facility in Erie, Pa., according to the recording.

    When an agent from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General asked Hopkins if he stood by his sworn statement that a supervisor “was backdating ballots” mailed after Election Day, Hopkins answered: “At this point? No.”

    […]

    On Tuesday, following a story in The Washington Post that quoted officials as saying Hopkins had recanted his earlier claims, Hopkins said in a YouTube video that he had not done so, and that the recording of the interview would show as much.

    During the recorded interview, however, federal agents repeatedly reminded Hopkins that his cooperation was voluntary, and Hopkins agreed to sign a document stating that he was not coerced.

    Dave (1bb933)

  45. dox
    /däks/
    verb INFORMAL
    gerund or present participle: doxxing
    search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the internet, typically with malicious intent.

    nk (1d9030)

  46. 23. Dustin (4237e0) — 11/11/2020 @ 10:27 pm

    I call this confabulation. I’m not sure if that’s jargon, but it’s when you fill in the gaps in what you witnessed with what you want or imagine happened. You could also just say he exaggerated.

    It’s more than that.

    The Project Veritas lawyers wrote the affidavit. He didn’t quibble, or he didn’t quibble too much.

    Something that may be much more common with affidavits than people may be willing to allow.

    He also hadn’t quite understood what was happening, except it sounded like maybe something that wasn’t right was going on, or had gone on, with the postmarking – and that the people who had a conversation near him didn’t want to be overheard probably contributed to that impression.

    The next step, of course, is to ask the two people who were overheard, what had really happened. Maybe the postal inspector did that, but it normally what they said wouldn’t be made public, which is unfortunate because that could clear it all up. (maybe some mail had been mistakenly postmarked with the prior date, and they wanted to correct that.)

    As for him going to Project Veritas, if Hopkins had stumbled onto something going on that was wrong, naturally it couldn’t wait, but had to come to public notice within a few days because the timetable is not long.

    It is interesting that he taped it – that means he suspected there might be a cover-up. Later on, he felt there wasn’t a problem with Russell Strasser, so he told him he was being taped.

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  47. It seems patently obvious that individual letter carriers should not be making decisions to discard ballots.

    If the procedures in PA are similar to CA, then the election authority would keep track of the fact the ballot was received, but not accepted, and the reason why, and the voter would be able to find out the disposition of their ballot.

    Dave (1bb933)

  48. A list produced by the Trump campaign purporting to detail just over 3,000 instances of alleged voter fraud in Nevada contains hundreds of addresses used by active-duty military members and their families.

    They got the list from a commercially available change of address list, probably without knowing that many of these people remained legal residents of Nevada.

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  49. Patterico, Great post. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to the interview and summarize the pertinent parts. I haven’t listened to the entire 2 hour interview. I have listened to the parts your referenced. I wanted to form my own opinion on the tone and intent. I agree with your characterizations of the interview.

    I think your summary that Big Media is getting this wrong is over overstated, and maybe wrong.

    In summary: This interview was not coerced, and Hopkins has freely recanted the most significant parts of his affidavit. Although Hopkins never admits to fabricating anything — and articles alleging that he did are outrageously false — he significantly undercuts the most explosive allegations in the Project Veritas affidavit, revealing them to be assumptions.

    In short, everyone on both partisan sides of the issue — Big Media and Project Veritas both — is getting this wrong.

    A quick google search shows that Wapo is the only news org that used the work Fabricated. Other outlets say he recanted, made up, and withdrew his claims.

    CBS Pittburgh: Erie Postal Worker Admits Making Up Pennsylvania Ballot Tampering Claims, Officials Say
    Wapo has a more recent Article up where they characterize him as recanting.
    NYT: postal-worker-withdraws-claim-that-ballots-were-backdated-in-pennsylvania-officials-say
    Daily Beast: USPS ‘Whistleblower’ Told Agents Project Veritas Penned His Ballot-Tampering Claim
    Fox: Pennsylvania postal worker’s claims of voter fraud come under question

    I think Big Media has on balance agreed with your characterizations of his interview. I think “fabricated” may be the wrong word to use, but there’s a defensable argument that he fabricated the most inflammatory part of his claim. I can’t find a copy of the affidavit, but here’s what was on Project Veritas’s site.

    “I was casing my route and I saw the postmaster pull one of our supervisors to the side,” he said. “He was pulling the supervisor, it was, and it was really close to where my case was—so, I was able to hear, listen in and I heard him say to the supervisor that they messed up yesterday.”

    The whistleblower said he was curious about what was messed up.

    He told the supervisor they had postmarked one of the ballots for the fourth, instead of the third, because they were supposed to put them for the third,” he said.

    I suppose there’s a debate about if taking what he heard and assuming it meant what he said is a fabrication or just a honest mistake. But in the quote he’s clearly saying that he was able to hear them say they were instructed to date ballots from the fourth as the third. Based on what e told the interviewer that part wasn’t accurate and he made it up.

    Again, I’d like to see what he affirmed. But if if a witness says they saw or heard something they didn’t. It might be fair to call their claim of seeing / hearing a fabrication.

    Time123 (441f53)

  50. A list produced by the Trump campaign purporting to detail just over 3,000 instances of alleged voter fraud in Nevada contains hundreds of addresses used by active-duty military members and their families.

    They got the list from a commercially available change of address list, probably without knowing that many of these people remained legal residents of Nevada.

    Why was Trump allowed to vote in Florida instead of DC where the White House, the official residence of the President, is? His vote should be thrown out and he should be prosecuted for vote fraud.

    nk (1d9030)

  51. Once again we have a bold claim by Project Veritas that upon examination turns out to be highly overstated at best, completely dishonest at worst.

    To make matters worse. While they did release the entire interview tape, they’re characterization of it appears to be completely wrong.

    Time123 (441f53)

  52. Everyone should read this:
    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1326655155207540739.html

    @Patterico, do you still stand by that there wasn’t any coercive technique here after reading this?

    Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
    The government is NOT interested in whatever complaint you bring forward. Their interest is in protecting the government.

    With that in mind, Project Veritas forked up big time by not encouraging the whistleblower to retain counsel.

    As Popehat has always stated – ALWAYS, ALWAYS seek out counsel when being interviewed by state/federal authorities. Failing that… shut the FORK up!

    whembly (c30c83)

  53. Putin does not “collude” with his orange cock-holsters. He just unzips.

    I’m going to use that, probably in socially awkward situations.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  54. I tried to google-fu this but cannot find anything.

    I’m curious about the whole “back-dating” thingamagig that the post office has.

    Take the election out of it.

    What would be the purpose of having that back dating functionality? I always assumed that these things would be so locked down, that it’d be impossible to manipulate it easily. Sort of like how the car odometers…

    Anyone have any insights to this?

    whembly (c30c83)

  55. Paul, are you seriously responding to a professional Biden denigrator who claimed that we are doxxing a guy who set up GoFundMe account to compensate himself for going public with his story?

    Busted. I wonder what the salary and benefits are for Professional Biden Denigration. It would be nice to get paid for criticizing a Democrat president because I didn’t make squat for it during Obama.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  56. With that in mind, Project Veritas forked up big time by not encouraging the whistleblower to retain counsel.

    You’re assuming that PV is interested in looking out for his interests.
    It doesn’t look at all like that’s a priority for them. If he retained a lawyer the advice would probably be to file a complaint through the process and stop making public statements.

    Time123 (797615)

  57. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EmmU_-vWEAIY50c.jpg

    Here’s a picture of the affidavit. He says to the interviewer “I heard Weisenback tell a supervisor at my officed that Weisneback was back dating the postmark on the ballots to make it appear as though the ballots had been collected…”

    Based on what he said to the interviewer the work ‘heard’ is a fabrication.

    Time123 (797615)

  58. @Patterico, do you still stand by that there wasn’t any coercive technique here after reading this?

    More nonsense.

    During the recorded interview, however, federal agents repeatedly reminded Hopkins that his cooperation was voluntary, and Hopkins agreed to sign a document stating that he was not coerced.

    Asked by an agent whether he had legal representation, Hopkins said Project Veritas had a lawyer on retention “in case there’s anything that happens.” The agent told Hopkins that if he had a personal lawyer, “I would make whatever efforts possible to have that person here.” Hopkins said he didn’t have a lawyer.

    Dave (1bb933)

  59. Oh, and let’s not Project Veritas’ fun and games three years ago in the wake of the Roy Moore brain damage, when they tried to plant a false story with a WaPo reporter after some stellar reporting on Mr. Moore’s sick attraction to minor-aged girls; PV’s revenge p0rn operation crashed and burned.
    But like with QAnon, the folks at PV like Trump, so it’s all good.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  60. Ack. Always leaving out words.
    …let’s not forget Project Veritas’…

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  61. Nic (896fdf) — 11/12/2020 @ 12:07 am

    @21 I bet Trump doesn’t even know that a person in the military can maintain their original state of residence, even when they PCS someplace else. Someone around him should, but I bet he’s totally ignorant.

    I think he’s almost totally ignorant of the details of the claims. He just knows tat Person X or Person Y said something about voter fraud, which he retweets.

    He’s now campaigning against Fox News.

    And he seeems to be following this person: (who himself retweets Rudy W. Giuliani
    @RudyGiuliani and Kayleigh McEnany @kayleighmcenany)
    ·
    https://twitter.com/GWashington1788

    Sammy Finkelman (b78e49)

  62. Guys, “fabricate” is “make up out of whole cloth.” The dude did not admit that he made the story up out of whole cloth. He just didn’t. He interpreted snippets of conversation a certain way. He appears to have been ignorant of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision and had no idea why they were still collecting ballots, and that colored everything he heard and thought.

    For a major newspaper to report that he admitted a “fabrication” is inaccurate. It misled me. When you first heard it, it probably misled you. Didn’t it? If so, the story was wrong. Stop defending it. Say he recanted. Don’t say he admitted fabrication.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  63. The notion that Project Veritas committed perjury is also laughable.

    Sometimes things result from sloppiness, wishcasting, and misunderstanding. Not everything is a conspiracy to lie.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  64. 54. whembly (c30c83) — 11/12/2020 @ 7:27 am

    I’m curious about the whole “back-dating” thingamagig that the post office has.

    They probably have to change the date manually.

    It’s nnot clear to me but maybe it’s not even at midnight, but when they process mail that the Post Office got after midnight.Not when the stamp, if present, was cancelled.

    It’s not the time the postmark was stamped, but the time of the postmark is supposed to be the time the mail piece was delivered into the care of the postal service. It might be quite legitimate,an even required, for the midnight shift to use the previous day’s date.

    So say it was picked up at 6 pm, it needs to be postmarked that day even if it doesn’t actually happen till 3 am.

    https://www.quora.com/If-you-place-a-letter-in-a-US-mailbox-with-daily-pickup-at-3PM-will-it-be-postmarked-that-same-day

    t is SUPPOSED to be postmarked that day. It should go to that processing plant and all mail collected that day should be run through the machines with that date postmarked, even if it after midnight when they finish processing the mail. BUT, we all know things happen, mail can get missed. Particular attention is paid on the day of the tax deadline (supposed to be!) If you are worried about it don’t wait till the last minute, or take to the clerk at the window and have them stamp it

    At a window it might be different. Then it has to be accepted by midnight.

    Also the date used is the latest time it could have been dropped in the mail slot in a Post Office because nobody is keeping track of when it is dropped in the slot. But a Collection Box outside has a barcode inside it that the person scans with their scanner.

    When you start to process mail that was picked up the next day, they are supposed to change the date that it is postmarked.

    You don’t change it when you should: Everything till they update it get postmarked one day early.

    Sammy Finkelman (b78e49)

  65. 60. Patterico (115b1f) — 11/12/2020 @ 8:43 am

    For a major newspaper to report that he admitted a “fabrication” is inaccurate. It misled me.

    The Washington Post is protecting lawyers, as a class, by putting the entire blame on the affiant.

    When you first heard it, it probably misled you. Didn’t it?

    No, I know enough not to trust the Washington Post. I didn’t read it anyway but I did read that he had retracted. I thought he had admitted he made it all up but they went easy on him. as soon as you said the affidavit had inaccuracies, but not lies, I was ready to believe that.

    Sammy Finkelman (b78e49)

  66. Guys, “fabricate” is “make up out of whole cloth.” The dude did not admit that he made the story up out of whole cloth. He just didn’t. He interpreted snippets of conversation a certain way. He appears to have been ignorant of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision and had no idea why they were still collecting ballots, and that colored everything he heard and thought.

    If I overhear fragments of a conversation in which Dana and JVW talk about large sums of money, and on that basis sign an affidavit accusing them of conspiring to rob a bank, I think the allegation is fabricated.

    Dave (1bb933)

  67. The notion that Project Veritas committed perjury is also laughable.

    While I readily acknowledge that your expertise in the law is infinitely superior to mine, and “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing,” sworn statements are supposed to require some degree of diligence, aren’t they?

    The definition of perjury in the US Code is (I cite this definition, and the one below, only to illustrate the basis of my layman’s understanding, not because I think you need to be reminded):

    Whoever—
    (1)having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or

    (2)in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true;

    is guilty of perjury and shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. This section is applicable whether the statement or subscription is made within or without the United States.

    Hopkins has admitted signing an affidavit about a material matter that he does not believe to be true. It seems, based on a layman’s reading, to fit the definition.

    The definition of subornation of perjury is:

    Whoever procures another to commit any perjury is guilty of subornation of perjury, and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    Given that Hopkins seems to have committed perjury, and given that he did so at the behest of PV, it seems based on my layman’s reading to fit the plain language of the definition.

    Dave (1bb933)

  68. @52 Everyone can read it if they want, but what they are describing is normal law enforcement interviewing techniques, fooling someone into believing that you are on their side isn’t coercion. The tape is how law enforcement interviews work. Now, as I said in my livecomment of the interview, I think Hopkins was out of his league and should have been far more suspicious, but he wasn’t coerced.

    Nic (896fdf)

  69. Guys, “fabricate” is “make up out of whole cloth.” The dude did not admit that he made the story up out of whole cloth. He just didn’t. He interpreted snippets of conversation a certain way. He appears to have been ignorant of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision and had no idea why they were still collecting ballots, and that colored everything he heard and thought.

    For a major newspaper to report that he admitted a “fabrication” is inaccurate. It misled me. When you first heard it, it probably misled you. Didn’t it? If so, the story was wrong. Stop defending it. Say he recanted. Don’t say he admitted fabrication.

    Patterico (115b1f) — 11/12/2020 @ 8:43 am

    I can see this argument. I think saying he fabricated the story is incorrect, if defensible so long as you’re clear about what exactly is fabricated. In that case the headline should have been ‘fabricated parts of his story.” However saying “Big Media” got it wrong is likewise incorrect. The majority of the coverage, including other articles for WAPO more accurately described what happened.

    Time123 (441f53)

  70. The notion that Project Veritas committed perjury is also laughable.

    Sometimes things result from sloppiness, wishcasting, and misunderstanding. Not everything is a conspiracy to lie.

    Patterico (115b1f) — 11/12/2020 @ 8:44 am

    I agree they didn’t commit perjury. But they did a terrible job reporting this and have badly mischaracterized parts of it. Would you agree that they were being intentionally deceptive? Or, negligently deceptive?

    Time123 (441f53)

  71. Guys, “fabricate” is “make up out of whole cloth.” The dude did not admit that he made the story up out of whole cloth. He just didn’t. He interpreted snippets of conversation a certain way. He appears to have been ignorant of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision and had no idea why they were still collecting ballots, and that colored everything he heard and thought.

    If I overhear fragments of a conversation in which Dana and JVW talk about large sums of money, and on that basis sign an affidavit accusing them of conspiring to rob a bank, I think the allegation is fabricated.

    Dave (1bb933) — 11/12/2020 @ 8:57 am

    I was going to go with “I affirm that I saw the officer shoot a man that was complying with instructions when in reality I didn’t see what the man was doing but assumed he was complying based on other things.”

    But I think the fight about ‘fabricate’ isn’t very useful.

    Time123 (441f53)

  72. But I think the fight about ‘fabricate’ isn’t very useful.

    I agree.

    The important thing is that yet another GOP attempt to delegitimize the election with lies has been exposed for what it is.

    Dave (1bb933)

  73. The important thing is that yet another GOP attempt to delegitimize the election with lies has been exposed for what it is.

    And once again Project Veritas has proven to be completely unreliable.

    Time123 (441f53)

  74. The important thing is that yet another GOP attempt to delegitimize the election with lies has been exposed for what it is.

    So, it wasn’t fabrication. It was outright lying!

    LOL

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  75. Split hairs all you want.

    The entire basis for claiming evidence of election fraud – echoed by Trump, Graham and the other GOP election-stealers – was false:

    When an agent from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General asked Hopkins if he stood by his sworn statement that a supervisor “was backdating ballots” mailed after Election Day, Hopkins answered: “At this point? No.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  76. The important thing is that yet another GOP attempt to delegitimize the election with lies has been exposed for what it is.

    So, it wasn’t fabrication. It was outright lying!

    LOL

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67) — 11/12/2020 @ 10:32 am

    Don’t know if they were lying here. But GOP is for sure lying about the election. I think they’re mostly trying to grift money from the moron’s and conspiracy theorists in their base and appease the conspiracy theorist moron that leads them.

    Time123 (441f53)

  77. @74 The statement that Hopkins signed wasn’t true. There are shades of interpretation as to reasons Hopkins might have signed an affidavit that isn’t true and why Project Veritas might have written and put out an affidavit that wasn’t true, but the bottom line is that it wasn’t a statement of truth.

    Nic (896fdf)

  78. @76: It should be a source of relief that the conspiracy theorist moron is doing things “by the book.”

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  79. @78, is that what you told yourself when you mailed him a check?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  80. Sometimes things result from sloppiness, wishcasting, and misunderstanding. Not everything is a conspiracy to lie.

    I would guess out host has a lifetime of experience with unreliable witnesses. Probably as many words for them as Eskimos have for snow.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  81. *our

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  82. we need law and order in this country mr lurker
    Dave (1bb933) — 11/12/2020 @ 5:02 am

    Obviously. But law and order doesn’t mean punishing everybody who does something obnoxious or harmful — IMO what PV did was both — only those whose behavior satisfies the elements of a crime. And my hazy, 30 yrs removed from law school recollection is that perjury requires a knowing falsehood, intended to deceive.

    What I see here is a sleazy operator exploiting a credulous dope to make an accusation that served their agenda. And while they may have shaped and massaged the statement, the accusation itself seems to have been Hopkins’, not theirs. I suspect he honestly believed it when he made it. It seems to me it was only under the scrutiny of interrogation that he himself realized his initial statement was BS.

    Now maybe I’m wrong, and Hopkins knew exactly what he was doing, and PV was a knowing and eager facilitator. But if they can leave a predisposed to be hostile observer like me with the impression that their mental state, while reprehensible, wasn’t criminal, I doubt they’d have much trouble making that case to an unbiased jury, a fact unlikely to be lost on most prosecutors.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  83. It seems to me it was only under the scrutiny of interrogation that he himself realized his initial statement was BS.

    I agree Lurker.

    I think it’s really unfortunate WAPO isn’t the institution than can convey this. Instead it’s the sensational. I get the notion this guy is responsible for what he’s said, but there’s more to it, and that’s what professional journalists ought to get at.

    I gave money to PV or O’Keefe, years ago, when I thought they were authentic, back when Andrew Breitbart must have kept O’Keefe in the guardrails. They made mistakes then too, but I really thought they had the right intentions. They do not.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  84. Yup. And yup.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  85. The one thing I don’t understand about the audio is, where did it come from? Did the federal agents allow Hopkins to record his own interrogation? Was Hopkins wearing a wire? Did the agents record the session and then give a copy to Hopkins?

    Davethulhu (6e0d47)

  86. Davethulhu, this was at the end of the post:

    At the end, Hopkins reveals to them that he has been recording them. Strasser says he is not going to tell him to turn off the recorder, and jokes that now he has to sound official. (In truth, he sounds the same, and explains it’s a joke.) Strasser says he does not plan on administering a polygraph because he believes Hopkins.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  87. Ah, I missed that.

    Davethulhu (6e0d47)

  88. In related news, one reason why the Sharpiegate case in AZ cratered was because one of the witnesses is a business partner with the Trump lawyer pursuing the case. Amateur hour stuff.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  89. I think it’s really unfortunate WAPO isn’t the institution than can convey this.

    The WaPo did not have access to the recording when they wrote the initial report. They relied on the characterization of three sources plus a congressional committee.

    Their description was at worst imprecise, not inaccurate.

    Dave (1bb933)

  90. News organizations seem to be calling AZ for Biden.

    Dave (1bb933)

  91. 90. Nice

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  92. 88. Huzzah! Two more people for Mr. ex-President-elect Donald Trump, who saw Maybelline in a Coupe-de-Ville, to blame for his loss.

    nk (1d9030)

  93. president donald who remembers how mr roy cohn came into his heart with a burning love that stings like a bee can only wonder where their love went

    its very sad mr nk

    Dave (1bb933)


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