The CEO of Overstock.com wants the audience to know that he is a big part of Trump-Russia history.
According to a press bulletin issued by the listed company after Monday's trading hours, CEO Patrick Byrne wants you to know two things:
- Byrne helped "Men in Black" – that is, federal authorities – and was involved in "missed Chapter 1" from the Trump-Russia probe.
- Warren Buffett reminded him to notify Bill Barr and the press about point 1.
This story may sound fantastic, but it does get attention. Fox News has picked up elements of the story while a lawyer for alleged Russian influence officer Maria Butina sent a letter to the Justice Department demanding probe into Byrne's charges.
Meanwhile, in the two days since the Overstock CEO made the statement, the company's shares have fallen more than 36 percent amid general market sales.
So what is Byrne talking about?
At first, it's hard to say. Byrne, a financier of right-wing politicians, does not speak publicly: His marketing Monday statement is titled “Overstock CEO Comments on Deep State, Withholds More Comment.” Byrne did not immediately return a request for comment sent to his email address.
But his earlier comments ̵
In the statement, Byrne writes that Fox News contributor Sara Carter has written exactly about her situation on her blog, and that he "partially" confirms what Carter had written.
Carter "broke" a story about Byrne last month that received a significant uptick in the conservative media. In that story, the chief executive of Overstock claimed to have had a thump with Butina, where he discovered exploding evidence that would help Butina's case, and accuse prosecutors of holding back.
Byrne's claims spurred Butina attorney Robert Driscoll to send an angry letter to John Durham, the former US attorney authorized by Attorney General Bill Barr to lead a civilian investigation into the FBI probe into Russian interference in the election 2016. Driscoll also sent the letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who heads a separate probe into the FBI's handling of Russiagate.
A DOJ spokesman declined to comment on the TPM.
But Byrne's statements this week seem to reveal that he is under the impression that he is a main source for Durham.
An hour before Overstock released his press release, Carter published a story in which he stated that Byrne had maintained the political establishment by providing "emails and text messages" for the Durham investigation.
"This is going to be the biggest political scandal in US history," Byrne is quoted in Carter's story.
On the same day, Byrne took to Fox to declare that – as a result of the Durham inquiry – Barr is in the process of cleaning up the country's so-called "deep state."
"It's a deep state like a submarine lurking just below the waves in the periscope depth and looking at our ship lines," Byrne told Fox Business on Monday. "And an atomic breaker called the USS Bill Barr has been sneaking up on them and is about to hit the nave."
Byrne's actions can be surprising. His statements have beaten more than a third of the value of his company, and he has so far failed to publish evidence that corroborates or further corroborates his claims.
But he has a great history of bizarre statements. In 2005, he held an hour-long conference call with the blame for someone calling "Sith Lord" for financial problems in his company, and led a campaign to make card sales illegal. Elsewhere, he has argued that the economic system is facing impending doom and that Bitcoin is the way out.
But as Marketwatch columnist Therese Poletti noted this latest episode is strange even to Byrne.
At least Byrne told the world what he wants to do as the value of his company continues to follow his comments and a general downturn in the stock market.
"I plan to sit back and look at the US Department of Justice to re-establish the Rule of Law in our country," he said in the conclusion to the statement on Monday.