Federal court filing challenges claim that Donald Trump rescinded special counsel appointment

Federal court filing challenges claim that Donald Trump rescinded special counsel appointment
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Patrick Bergy, a former Department of Defense contract information assurance security officer who was embedded with a group of pro-Trump conspiracy theorists in Washington, DC following the 2020 election, is publicly questioning an account by his one-time benefactor, Patrick Byrne, the former Overstock.com CEO.

Last week, Byrne filed a sworn declaration in the federal case for the search warrant executed at former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago in south Florida. While the purpose of Byrne’s affidavit remains unclear, it included an intriguing tidbit of information relevant to a widely reported Dec. 18, 2020 meeting in which Byrne, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell visited Trump in the Oval Office. During the contentious meeting, which devolved into a shouting match with White House lawyers, Byrne, Flynn and Powell reportedly urged Trump to use the Department of Homeland Security or the National Guard to seize voting machines. At the end of the meeting, Trump reportedly appointed Powell to the position of special counsel.

In his declaration, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida on Aug. 18, Byrne wrote that Rudy Giuliani, who was serving as Trump’s personal attorney in the final days of the administration, disclosed to him during a lunch meeting in January 2022 that after Byrne, Flynn and Powell left the White House around 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 19, Giuliani lingered with Trump for a couple of minutes. According to Byrne’s declaration, Giuliani told him that after the others had left, “the president verbally reversed his decision and instructions” to appoint Powell special counsel, “and that is why those earlier decisions were never implemented.”

Bergy suggests in his affidavit, which was filed on Thursday, that he doubts Byrne's account about Giuliani's disclosure from the January 2022 lunch meeting. In his affidavit, Bergy describes observing Byrne leaving a meeting with Giuliani at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC around Jan. 11, 2021. Others in attendance at the meeting, according to Bergy, were Garrett Ziegler, a White House aide; conspiracy theorist Millie Weaver and her common-law husband Gavin Wince, and Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who pushed dubious claims of voter fraud to lawmakers.

“As I walked in Patrick Byrne was just leaving and was acting visibly upset following the meeting with Rudy and Garrett,” Bergy wrote. The affidavit concludes with Bergy writing that Byrne’s claim that he only learned about Trump's decision to rescind Powell’s appointment in January 2022 “defies logic based on how upset Patrick Byrne was when I saw him leaving the Willard meeting that day.”

Asked about Bergy’s account, Byrne said in an email to Raw Story that he saw Giuliani on the night of Jan. 6 and left Washington, DC on Jan. 8. He said Ziegler was not present when he encountered Giuliani. Bergy, in turn, told Raw Story he stands by his claim that he saw Byrne leaving a meeting with Giuliani and Ziegler, but that it could have taken place on Jan. 7 or 8.

Bergy describes himself in his affidavit as a “guest of Patrick Byrne, Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and others” at Trump International Hotel, the Westin Arlington Gateway and Willard Hotel from mid-November 2020 through Jan. 17, 2021. During part of that time, he said he was also “a guest under an unsigned or dated Non-Disclosure Agreement with Rudy Giuliani, which I do not recognize.”

As previously reported by Raw Story, Bergy said he was invited to come to Washington, DC by Weaver and Wince, and joined a team housed by Byrne in the various hotels that also included conspiracy theorist Tore Maras; former military contractor Scott Bennett and Stephen Pigeon, an attorney for Washington state gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp. Bergy described the group’s purpose in his affidavit as “working to find evidence of election fraud, with the main focus being told to me put on the foreign influence that would allow them to use the Insurrection Act and call in National Guard.”

Bergy told Raw Story that he doubts that Giuliani actually witnessed Trump rescind his appointment of Sidney Powell after Powell, Byrne and Flynn left the White House in the early-morning hours following the Dec. 18, 2020 meeting. He said he doesn’t recall any mention of Trump revoking Powell’s authority among the network of people in Washington attempting to overturn the election after Dec. 18.

“If you want me to believe that story, sorry Charlie,” Bergy told Raw Story. “The timing on it and everything else going on, it’s just no way. Until someone shows me evidence otherwise, I would steer towards that not being the case. Even if he did tell Rudy, if you had a two-minute conversation with Rudy and no one else was around, how am I supposed to believe that?

“I can’t sit here and say Rudy lied, but I can say I don’t believe it,” Bergy added.

Neither Giuliani nor his attorneys could be reached for comment on this story.

Bergy told Raw Story that he believes the claim made by Byrne has the effect of protecting Trump.

As someone who has worked for the government on information security, Bergy said, the knowledge that the president had verbally rescinded an appointment that included a top-secret security clearance would have raised concern.

“It would have required that a full investigation for potential leaks or potential damage from that be investigated,” he said.

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