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Chris McDaniel courthouse break-in “scandal” is a nothingburger (#MSSEN)

Chris McDaniel courthouse break-in “scandal” is a nothingburger (#MSSEN)

A “scandal” a day predicted from now to election day.

I continue to hope that there will be a complete and total resolution of who did what and who did or did not coordinate it, as to the taping of Thad Cochran’s wife in a nursing home. As of this writing, there is no publicly available information that the campaign of Chris McDaniel was involved.

Because the Cochran campaign deliberately delayed going to authorities for weeks, the issue was not completely put to bed by the time of the June 3 primary. That uncertainty — even if completely speculative — continues to fuel pro-Cochran messaging, suggesting concern that there may be a shoe to drop after the runoff.

In that regard, when am I going to get an answer to my question, asked repeatedly since the taping scandal broke, What did the @NRSC know, and when did it know it?.

(Please ReTweet)

I may have to escalate my Twitter campaign to get an answer if none is forthcoming soon.

Yesterday a “scandal” broke that a McDaniel campaign coordinator and two others were locked in the courthouse after hours on election night (actually after midnight) where the ballots were counted.  

This led to all sorts of accusations by Haley Barbour and the Cochran campaign supporters that there was criminal activity.

The investigation is concluded, and it was a big (if not strange) nothingburger, as reported by MSNBC:

No criminal charges will be filed against three supporters of Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, including one top aide, who were trapped inside a locked courthouse that housed primary ballots at 2 a.m. on election night.

“Based on our findings and subsequent conclusion, there is no reason to believe that the three individuals engaged in any criminal activity nor do we believe any laws were broken,” a statement by the Hinds County Sheriff’s office read on Thursday.

According to the sheriff’s office, the three McDaniel supporters gained access to the courthouse through an employees-only side door that was not meant to be open. Once it closed behind them, they found themselves trapped and searched the building in hopes of finding an employee who could help them leave. They never had access to any ballot boxes, which were in a secure locked area, the sheriff’s office said.

Othor Cain, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, had jousted with McDaniel’s campaign over the incident since Wednesday. Cain specifically disputed the McDaniel campaign’s official explanation that they had been let in the building by “uniformed personnel,” which he said was a “fabrication” given the lack of any officers on duty at the time.

The sheriff’s office, which announced an end to the investigation, reiterated that their findings contradicted the McDaniel campaign’s characterization of events even as it exonerated them from any criminal wrongdoing.

“Contrary to earlier reports, no uniformed personnel and more specifically, no employee of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office assisted these individuals with gaining access to the courthouse,” the statement read.

There are almost three weeks until the runoff election, so expect a scandal a day.

Here’s the latest, Buzzfeed determined that Wikipedia edits “appear to tie” one of those charged in the taping incident to the McDaniel campaign.

Um, if true, so? Does that mean that McDaniel’s campaign was in on the taping?

Seriously, this is the type of nonsense that makes Cochran supporters look desperate.

If there’s proof that McDaniel’s campaign was in on the taping, then give the proof, and before the runoff.

Oh, and make the case why Cochran is the better candidate. (I’m old school that way.)


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Juba Doobai! | June 5, 2014 at 8:30 pm

McDaniel’s supporters should just stop doing stupid things. That would silence the scandal machine. With supporters like those, a guy could lose an election.

Henry Hawkins | June 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm

“Oh, and make the case why Cochran is the better candidate. (I’m old school that way.)”


Campaigns have gone 100% mudslinging and 0% self promotion.

Once it closed behind them, they found themselves trapped

How did they manage that? In any building to which the general public has access, you can always get out – though you can’t always get out quietly. Or do fire safety codes not apply to courthouses in that state?

    MJN1957 in reply to tom swift. | June 6, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Fire-Exits only have to be functional when a building is occupied.

    It is not uncommon for fire-exits to be hard-locked when a building is not occupied with a SOP being in-place to ensure all are unlocked prior to the building being “open” for business.

      Estragon in reply to MJN1957. | June 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      A building isn’t “unoccupied” just because no one is inside. From the POV of fire safety laws, “occupied” just means being used, not still under construction or closed permanently or for repairs.

      That is to cover just such circumstances, someone gets locked in accidentally.

Maybe it would be better to get to the bottom of some of this stuff now, instead of allowing wishful thinking to prevail.

A Democratic newspaper could take a sudden interest and do it, or a Democratic prosecutor might offer the four charged McDaniel supporters plea bargains to implicate anyone with the campaign, say, in late October. That would not be ideal.

Mississippi deserves a more conservative Senator than Cochran, but that needs to be someone smart enough not to get embroiled in this sort of situation, or hire campaign aides who will.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Estragon. | June 5, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Did you read the article? There’s no bottom to be got to. The police report lays it all out. McDaniel can fire his moron aide. It is highly unlikely that McDaniel is stupid enough to have taken part in either the filming or this idiocy in the court house. What is more likely is that the aides may be RINO plants whose job it was to do embarrassingly stupid stuff to make McDaniel look bad.

    This has nothing to do with smarts; it has to do with whether McDaniel thought he could hire registered Republicans and expect them to be reliable Conservatives. That is naïvété, not stupidity.

    These two incidents likely show that the GOP cannot be trusted when some of their people are hired on as aides in Conservative campaigns. So, we need to raise up a crop of reliable, bedrock Conservatives who will not be plants serving the RINO cause.

      Estragon in reply to Juba Doobai!. | June 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      There ARE NO “registered Republicans” in Mississippi, or “registered Democrats,” for that matter.

      The only thing which has been “resolved” into a “nothing-burger” is the courthouse thing – which still makes no sense, since all public buildings in the state have emergency exits so no one could ever be “locked in.”

      Nothing has been resolved about the criminal case with the nursing home. Any conclusions you or Professor J have drawn on it are merely wishful thinking unless you have confidential information that you are sitting upon.

      And Jacobsen’s demand for “show the proof before the runoff” is surprising for a law prof. I don’t know if there is a prosecutor in the country who releases his evidence to the public at the demand of a New York blogger, but I can damned well guarantee you none in Mississippi do.

Are we sure that the McDaniel aide is not related to Sandy Berger? If you want to get caught up in a scandal, get yourself locked up in the courthouse where the election ballots are stored.

Has anyone asked the obvious question of the trapped McDaniel workers? “Why did you go to the courthouse after midnight?” I assume the answer would be “To see how the count was coming”, but why the heck doesn’t somebody ask?

The other question nobody has asked is, “Why did you use the back entrance?” I can think of several legitimate reasons, but again, why the heck doesn’t somebody ask?

    Estragon in reply to snopercod. | June 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Because no one is interested in the truth.

    Cochran backers see anything involving a McDaniel staffer as nefarious.

    McDaniel backers see anything involving them as innocent.

    The facts be damned.

    But facts ARE stubborn things. I suspect there will be new information on the nursing home before the general election. It could completely exonerate the McDaniel campaign, or implicate one or more. And to pretend you know which at this point is false bravado.

    It is still clear that McDaniel’s campaign aide told the Cochran campaign one thing – on tape – the night of the arrest, and the press the opposite in the morning. McDaniel has pointedly refused to answer simple questions like when he first learned of the taping. Jacobsen demands the NRSC disclose when they knew, and they aren’t a party to the criminal case. But he doesn’t demand the same from his own candidate.

    The only certainty is that if the McDaniel campaign is completely innocent, they have handled the episode stupidly.

George W Bush let them in. Ask anyone at the State Department.