Thursday Reads: Latest on the Stolen Government Docs and Other News

Georgia O'Keeffe, Autumn Trees

Georgia O’Keeffe, Autumn Trees

Good Morning!!

I got the Omicron booster and a flu shot this morning. I was fortunate that the local Council on Aging came to my apartment building to give the vaccines. My town is really nice to us old folks.

Both of my arms hurt already, especially the left, where I got the Covid shot. I hope I won’t have a too many side effects. It hurts to type, so this won’t be a fancy post.

Before I get going on the latest news, I want to share this shocking story about Dr. Oz that Jezebel published on Monday: Dr. Oz’s Scientific Experiments Killed Over 300 Dogs, Entire Litter of Puppies.

…[A] review of 75 studies published by Mehmet Oz between 1989 and 2010 reveals the Republican Senate candidate’s research killed over 300 dogs and inflicted significant suffering on them and the other animals used in experiments.

Oz, the New Jersey resident who’s currently running for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, was a “principal investigator” at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine labs for years and assumed “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of his studies. Over the course of 75 studies published in academic journals reviewed by Jezebel, Oz’s team conducted experiments on at least 1,027 live animal subjects that included dogs, pigs, calves, rabbits, and small rodents. Thirty-four of these experiments resulted in the deaths of at least 329 dogs, while two of his experiments killed 31 pigs, and 38 experiments killed 661 rabbits and rodents.

In the early 2000s, testimony from a whistleblower and veterinarian named Catherine Dell’Orto about Oz’s research detailed extensive suffering inflicted on his team’s canine test subjects, including multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other animals in the possession of animal dealers and laboratories. The law specifically requires researchers and breeders to use pain-relieving drugs or euthanasia on the animals, and not use paralytics without anesthesia, or experiment multiple times on the same animal.

Dell’Orto testified that a dog experimented on by Oz’s team experienced lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, and kidney failure, but wasn’t euthanized for a full two days. She alleged other truly horrifying examples of gratuitously cruel treatment of dogs, including at least one dog who was kept alive for a month for continued experimentation despite her unstable, painful condition, despite how data from her continued experimentation was deemed unusable. According to Dell’Orto, one Oz-led study resulted in a litter of puppies being killed by intracardiac injection with syringes of expired drugs inserted in their hearts without any sedation. Upon being killed, the puppies were allegedly left in a garbage bag with living puppies who were their littermates. Dell’Orto’s allegations, made in 2003 and 2004, are detailed in letters from PETA to the university and USDA. In an interview with Billy Penn last month, she acknowledged PETA “is not a reliable source of information,” but said the organization’s letters honestly reflected what she told the organization and provided documentation for.

In May 2004, Columbia University was ordered by the USDA to pay a $2,000 penalty for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The fine paid by Columbia was the result of a settlement between the university and the USDA, based on the findings of Columbia’s internal investigation of Oz’s research. The USDA accepted these findings, but according to Dell’Orto, the review was faulty, and “had investigators on the committee that were also complicit in this type of poorly designed, cruel animal experimentation.” Dell’Orto also noted that while Oz wasn’t the one who euthanized the dogs and puppies himself, “When your name is on the experiment, and the way the experiment is designed inflicts such cruelty to these animals, by design, there’s a problem.”

Oz also opposes abortion, so he doesn’t have a problem with women dying either.

There’s quite a bit of news on the stolen government documents investigation, so I’m going to focus on that. I’ll add more news links at the end of the post.

Pierre Bonnard, Autumn View, 1912

Pierre Bonnard, Autumn View, 1912

Yesterday afternoon, the 11th Circuit appeals court undercut Trump’s SCOTUS appeal by granting the DOJ’s request for expedited consideration of their appeal of Judge Loose Cannon’s special master decision. Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney at Politico: Appeals court expedites DOJ challenge to Mar-a-Lago special master.

A federal appeals court agreed on Wednesday to expedite consideration of a Justice Department’s bid to shut down the external review process for the 11,000 documents seized by the FBI during its August raid of former President Donald Trump’s residence.

The Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order Wednesday morning setting tighter deadlines in the government’s appeal to remove what prosecutors contend is an unnecessary obstacle to their investigation into potentially illegal retention of classified information, theft of government records and obstruction of justice.

The schedule set by the appeals court for legal briefing on the issue is not quite as rapid as the Justice Department proposed, but is faster than Trump’s legal team urged. Under the new schedule, Trump’s lawyers would have to stake out their position in the dispute by Nov. 10 and briefing would be complete by Nov. 17.

“No extensions allowed,” Judge Adalberto Jordan wrote, indicating that he had consulted with Chief Judge William Pryor on the plan.

No date was set Wednesday for oral argument, but Adalberto’s order said a “special merits panel” would be assigned to the case.

The legal fight over the documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida has now proliferated into four arenas: the Florida courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who first approved the former president’s request for a special master; the Brooklyn courtroom of the special master she appointed, senior Judge Raymond Dearie; the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Read more at the link.

A couple of days ago Bloomberg’s Zoe Tillman was able to download a court filing that was accidentally unsealed for a short time. The filing listed the documents that had been segregated from the FBI search results because they contained personal or potentially privileged material.

I can’t access her story, but here is an analysis from Philip Bump at The Washington Post: What the FBI took from Trump, according to an accidentally unsealed list.

The list includes two batches of documents, about five dozen in total. What’s included are about 520 pages of documents that the government believed should be screened for privilege by the special master assigned to the case. The government broke the documents into two groups. The first was material that related to Trump’s tenure as president, labeled Exhibit A. The second was material that appeared to be subject to attorney-client privilege. It’s marked Exhibit B.

Reviewing the list itself, though, we get a good sense of the breadth of information that was present at Mar-a-Lago. There are documents related to grants of clemency, to endorsements, to legal fights, to policy proposals. At times, the documents are cryptic. We’ve done our best to clarify where we can, but we might not have explained everything.

Read the document descriptions at the WaPo.

Edvard Munch, Elm Forest in Autumn

Edvard Munch, Elm Forest in Autumn

This is from Emptywheel yesterday: Judge Aileen Cannon Treated a Public Letter About Trump’s Health As More Sensitive Than America’s National Security.

As I have shown, had Judge Aileen Cannon left well enough alone, the government would have handed all Category B documents identified by the filter team back to Trump on September 1. Instead, she deliberately inflicted what she herself deemed to be further harm on Trump to justify intervening in the search of Trump’s beach resort.

And now she may have caused even more harm. That’s because, by means that are not yet clear (but are likely due to a fuck-up by one of Cannon’s own staffers), the inventories from both Category A (government documents that deal with a legal issue) and Category B (more personal documents) were briefly posted on the docket. (h/t Zoe Tillman, who snagged a copy)

Those inventories not only show Cannon’s claims of injury to Trump were even more hackish than I imagined. But it creates the possibility that DOJ’s filter team will attempt to retain some of the documents included in Category B, notably records pertaining to the Georgia fraud attempts and January 6, they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Start with the hackishness. The harm that Cannon sustained to justify intervening consisted of preventing DOJ from returning, “medical documents, correspondence related to taxes, and accounting information” to Trump, “depriv[ing Trump]of potentially significant personal documents.” Cannon made DOJ withhold such documents from Trump for a least two additional weeks and then used it to argue that Trump had a personal interest in what DOJ claims are mostly government documents and press clippings.

The single solitary medical document pertaining to Trump (there’s a Blue Cross explanation of benefits that appears to pertain to someone else) is this letter from Trump’s then-personal physician released during the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Not only was it publicly released over six years ago, but details of medicines left off the report and Trump’s role in dictating an earlier version of the letter were widely reported in 2017.

Aileen Cannon held up a national security investigation into highly sensitive documents stored insecurely at a beach resort targeted by foreign intelligence services, in part, because the FBI seized a public letter than had been released as part of a political campaign six years ago.

She personally halted efforts to keep the United States safe, in part, to prevent leaks of a document that Trump released himself six years ago.

Read more at the link.

Jason Leopold and Jack Gillum at Bloomberg on who packed the boxes Trump sent to Mar-a-Lago: Trump Says US Agency Packed Top-Secret Documents. These Emails Suggest Otherwise.

Former President Donald Trump publicly said that one reason that the FBI found boxes of classified documents improperly stored at his Florida estate was that federal workers had packed up the White House after his 2020 defeat.

Autumn in Bavaria, Wassily Kandinsky, 1908

Autumn in Bavaria, Wassily Kandinsky, 1908

But documents obtained by Bloomberg News under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest a different story. More than 100 pages of emails and shipping lists between White House and transition staff and the US General Services Administration describe the minutiae of moving the Trump White House from Washington, DC, to Florida, down to how many rolls of bubble wrap and tape, all within a plan signed by then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

One thing is clear: The boxes were packed when the movers got there.

While the records don’t specify what the boxes contained, they provide the most detailed account to date of how the GSA assisted the outgoing administration between January and September 2021.

After the FBI’s unprecedented Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the former president and his allies, including Fox News’s Sean Hannity, Stephen Bannon’s Breitbart News and former Trump defense official Kash Patel, have claimed that Trump can’t be held legally responsible for the dozens of boxes of highly classified documents found around Mar-a-Lago because the GSA — essentially the federal government’s office and property manager — was in charge of filling boxes and shipping them.

Apparently, those were all lies. Read the rest of the details at Bloomberg. A few days ago, The Washington Post reported that Trump himself packed the 15 boxes that he turned over the the National Archives in January. At the time, Alex Cannon, a Trump lawyer, refused to certify that all the documents had been returned, because he didn’t believe that was true. IMO, Trump probably packed the boxes that he took from the White House too.

More News, Links Only:

NBC News: FBI arrests pastor who wore his company jacket on Jan. 6 and pushed into police line.

David Wasserman at the Cook Political Report: House Rating Changes: Ten Races Shift, Mostly Towards Democrats.

NBC News: Cheney warns Arizona voters that the GOP nominees for governor and secretary of state are threats to democracy.

Politico: Abortion ‘has given Democrats a second look’ from GOP-leaning women.

The Washington Post: 14-year-old’s arthritis meds denied after Ariz. abortion ban, doctor says.

Roger Sollenberger at The Daily Beast: She Had an Abortion With Herschel Walker. She Also Had a Child With Him.

Secret Service news from Carol Leonnig at The Washington Post: VP was in car accident; Secret Service first called it ‘mechanical failure’

Timothy Snyder: How does the Russo-Ukrainian War end?

Financial Times: Vladimir Putin’s botched mobilisation triggers blame game in Russia.

That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?

Late Night: What Really Happened to Seamus Romney?

Seamus Romney and Friends

This morning I watched part of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Ann and Mitt Romney. Sawyer had asked viewers what questions they’d like to ask the Romneys, and the subject most asked about was why they had taken a 12-hour road trip with their Irish Setter Seamus in a “crate” (Ann’s word) on the roof of their station wagon. (Here’s a post I wrote about this awful episode last year.)

“Honestly, would you do it again?” Sawyer asked. Both Romneys laughed heartily in their condescending, entitled way. “Certainly not with the attention it’s received,” Mitt replied, still laughing.

Mitt Romney told Sawyer that the Seamus attacks were the most wounding of the campaign “so far,” but Anne Romney insisted the dog loved traveling that way and looked forward to trips.

“The dog loved it,” Ann Romney said. “He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks.”

Adding to the left’s narrative that Romney had little compassion for the animal is a detail from the 1983 trip that Ann Romney confirmed to Sawyer. The dog became sick, defecating all over itself and the windshield of the car, leading Romney to hose them both off before they continued on the drive to Canada.

“Once, he — we traveled all the time — and he ate the turkey on the counter. I mean, he had the runs,” Ann Romney said, laughing as she explained how the dog got diarrhea.

Ha ha ha ha. So funny. Ann said that for Seamus it was like riding a motorcycle or a roller coaster. He enjoyed it, both Romney have said. Now who here thinks it would be fun to ride a roller coaster for 12 hours straight? As reminder, here’s an expert opinion about what it was really like for Seamus that I linked to in my post a year ago.

And when the contents of Seamus’ bowels streamed down the car windows, Mitt pulled into a gas station, hosed down the dog, the crate, and the car; put Seamus back in the crate (still soaking wet, presumably), and drove blithely onward to Ontario and his family’s ritzy summer retreat.

The more I thought about it, the angrier I got; and I ended up surfing around for hours searching for more information. I learned that Mitt’s sister, Jane claimed to have cared for Seamus for a time after the trip to Canada in 1983. Jane told The Boston Globe that Seamus loved to wander around town:

[He] was such a social dog that he often left Mitt Romney’s Belmont home to visit his “dog friends” around town. “He kept ending up at the pound,” she says. “They were worried about him getting hit crossing the street.” So a few years after Seamus’s ride to Canada, Mitt sent Seamus to live for a time with Jane and her family in California. “We had more space, so he could roam more freely,” she says.

I had to wonder if Seamus was actually trying to escape his overbearing master, the Mittster. Then finally, I came across an article from this past January at Politiker that raised the possibility that Seamus never returned from the 1983 trip to Canada.

Mitt Romney may not have told the whole truth about the scandalous tale of his Irish Setter, Seamus, being strapped to the roof of his car during a 12-hour family road trip to Canada. According to a trusted Politicker tipster, two of Mr. Romney’s sons had an off-record conversation with reporters where they revealed the dog ran away when they reached their destination on that infamous journey in 1983.

Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, has previously said Seamus survived the trip and went on to live to a “ripe old age.” As of this writing, Mr. Romney’s campaign has not responded to multiple requests for comment on this story.

Aha! The plot thickens. And then, what do you know? Just today, the Politicker landed another scoop. Jane Romney’s ex-husband, Bruce H. Robinson, spilled the beans on his former wife and brother-in-law. It seems that the couple divorced in 1980–three years before the fateful trip–and Seamus stayed with them before they broke up.

Mr. Robinson, a doctor and nephew of the late president of the Mormon Church Gordon Hinckley, married

Jane Romney in 1958. In 1968, he flew to France to care for Mr. Romney after the future White House hopeful was nearly killed in a car crash while working as a Mormon missionary. Mr. Robinson told us he and Jane Romney did indeed take Seamus to live with them in California, but that it was before 1980 (the vacation in question happened in 1983), and they gave the dog back prior to the notorious rooftop road trip.

Mr. Robinson said Mitt and Ann Romney gave Seamus away because they “couldn’t handle” the dog, which Mr. Robinson described as “a wanderer” who had a propensity for running away.

“They had a couple of their little boys at that point,” Mr. Robinson said. “So they gave him to us.”

He thinks this was in the late 1970s–it had to be before 1980, after which time the couple no longer lived together.

“We were living in the Sacramento area, and so, Jane and I, in the 70′s, I’d say ’78 or so, but I’m not 100 percent sure about that,” Mr. Robinson said. “So, we took care of Seamus, a beautiful, magnificent dog. We had three other dogs of our own, but we had an acre of property overlooking the American River, so we had lots of land to take care of these dogs and for them to roam around in.”

Mr. Robinson said he’s certain they gave the dog back to the Romneys when he and Jane got divorced in 1980. At that point, Jane went to live in Southern California, and Mr. Robinson said she was unable to “handle the dog” on her own.

Mr. Robinson told Polticker that Seamus ran away a lot when he was staying with them, just as he had in Belmont.

So what really happened to Seamus? Did he run away in Canada and seek asylum with a more loving, supportive family? Or did he expire from the stress of riding mile after torturous mile on the roof of a car. Did he die in that “crate” that Ann Romney claims he loved so much? What really happened to Seamus?

The Romneys must be pressed for truthful answers. They cannot be permitted to continue laughing this off in their usual high-handed, dismissive manner. Americans want the truth!

Late Night: Let’s Hear It for the Beagle Freedom Project!

Via Time Magazine, The beagles in the above video were rescued from experimental animal lab at a California university in June. From NBC LA:

Nine beagles who were released Wednesday from a California university animal testing lab, arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday night on the first step of a journey which, hopefully, will lead them to new homes.

These dogs were bred specifically for research, according to the Beagle Freedom Project. The dogs have lived in the lab almost their entire lives.

Shannon Keith, of the Beagle Freedom Project, said dogs were scared and shaking.

“At this point, it’ll take a few days to do blood tests and see what’s up with them,” Keith said. “They’ve never felt a human touch of kindness.”

Keith said the dogs have never seen the outdoors, never walked on grass, and never smelled fresh air until they were released on Wednesday.

Did you know that beagles are the breed of dog most commonly used in research? I didn’t. It’s because they tend to be friendly, gentle, and docile and thus easy to control.

Recently, the group rescued 72 Beagles from a research lab in Spain–32 of the dogs were adopted in Europe and 40 were brought back to Los Angeles to receive treatment and hopefully find homes in the U.S.

All the male beagles, which are between 4 and 7 years old, have lived in cages their entire lives, [Gary] Smith, [the group’s spokesman] said.

“We’ve been told they lived one per cage in rooms of 10 beagles, but they never had any physical interaction with one another,” Smith said. “They’ve been in kennels since they were rescued about a week ago, but aside from that, they’ve spent most of their lives locked up.”


“Beagles are incredibly sweet, docile, companion animals,” Smith said. “The downfall is, the same reason the beagle is a perfect companion animal, is the same reason they’re used for testing.”

Wednesday’s rescue is the fourth for the Beagle Freedom Project, and according to Smith, by far, its largest mission.

Beagle Freedom Project will be seeking adoptive homes for these special beagles. You can find more information by clicking here.

Please watch the video. You’ll be glad you did. It went a ways toward restoring my faith in humanity for today anyway. But when you watch, keep a box of Kleenex handy.

Late Night Open Thread: What the Dems Could Hit Romney With If They Weren’t Complete Wimps

This is kind of funny in a sick way. Mitt Romney has a couple of problems similar to the scandal that destroyed Mike Dukakis’s presidential run.

The paroled jewel thief who died in a shootout with slain Woburn police officer John “Jack” Maguire could become Mitt Romney’s Willie Horton should the former GOP governor run for president in 2012, some political strategists said.

But others say the circumstances are entirely different from the notorious furlough walkaway case that helped torpedo Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.

Two of six Parole Board members who unanimously agreed to release triple-lifer Dominic Cinelli, 57, from prison last year — Thomas Merigan Jr. and Candace Kochin — were appointed by Romney in 2004.

Mitt had an earlier “Willie Horton”-type problem too.

Romney, whose spokesman did not respond to requests for comment, faced accusations he was soft on crime during the 2008 race when a judge he’d appointed released Daniel Tavares Jr. from jail on personal recognizance — a man who’d served 16 years for hacking his own mother to death. Tavares was awaiting trial on new charges he assaulted two correction officers.

Four months later, Tavares shot to death Washington state newlyweds Brian and Beverly Mauck.

But those stories are nothing compared to Mitt’s problem with animal lovers. It was a supposedly “humorous” story about a family vacation told by Romney in an interview with The Boston Globe:

“Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog,” read the article.


“A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours,” the article said.

After his son noticed the liquid, Romney pulled the car over and hosed down Seamus at a gas station before putting him back into the crate on top of the car and continuing on with the drive.

Read the article to find out what kind of torture this treatment was for the dog.

Perhaps Romney’s Republican primary opponents will spread these stories far and wide. I hope so, because this man should never be President. But if he gets the nomination, I don’t expect the wimpy Democrats to use this stuff, do you?