We can't guarantee that he's wrong: Thursday night, the analysts cheered when Barbara McQuade got it right.
Rachel had been feeding us droogs our standard tribal gruel, in which The Others are all going to get locked up in jail. On this particular occasion, she was helping us think that Donald J. Trump will eventually get locked up for paying Stephanie Clifford to keep her big trap shut.
Then, Maddow threw to Barbara McQuade—and Barbara McQuade said this:
MCQUADE (7/18/19): It seems to me [that there is] very strong circumstantial evidence that President Trump was aware of this [payment to Clifford] and was directing it, just as Michael Cohen said.Oof! Just like that, McQuade undermined the pretty dream Maddow was selling us rubes. This sort of thing is virtually never done on MSNBC, which largely functions as a propaganda channel.
I think one other thing, though, that's important is, I don't know that that means it's criminal. Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to this, but an essential element of this crime is willfulness and that means that you know it is a crime, you know that it is illegal. And it could be the case that they did not have evidence that President Trump knew that this was illegal...
[Intent] is a very high legal standard and it is one that has stopped many cases in their tracks.
How the analysts cheered! For her part, Maddow displayed one of her many performance skills as she signed off with McQuade:
She betrayed no sign of understanding that complication and doubt had just entered her sillybill world.
As Maddow continues to sell us our dreams, Donald J. Trump continues to launch his ugly attacks. In this morning's New York Times, his misconduct was richly enabled.
Trump had launched an ugly attack. The New York Times rushed to repeat it:
KARNI (7/20/19): “No, you know what I’m unhappy with—the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country,” Mr. Trump said on Friday, referring to Ms. Omar, when he was asked about the chant condemned by Republicans as well as Democrats. “I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman, in this case a different congresswoman, can call our country and our people ‘garbage.’ That’s what I’m unhappy with.”Has some congresswoman "called our country and our people 'garbage?' " In a news report in this morning's Times, Annie Karni quotes Trump making that claim—and she makes no attempt to question, challenge or deny the duce's inflammatory statement.
Mr. Trump defended the crowd as “incredible patriots” and said that Ms. Omar, who was elected last November, was “lucky to be where she is.”
Which congresswoman has called our people garbage? When did she make that ugly remark? What was her actual statement?
That was no sign that Karni had asked. She simply repeated Trump's slander.
Later, Karni returned to Trump's remarkable statement, offering only this:
KARNI: Mr. Trump continued his condemnation of Ms. Omar on Friday, claiming that she had “called our country and our people garbage.” It was not clear what remarks she made that he was referring to.Sad.
That attack continued his racially charged fight with Ms. Omar and three of her fellow Democratic congresswomen of color—Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan—into a sixth day.
Was Donald Trump saying that Omar has called our people garbage? By now, Karni was explicitly making that assumption, although there was again no sign that she had actually asked.
Citizens, can we talk? Based on the first set of remarks Karni quoted, it actually seemed that Trump had been saying that some other congresswoman had called our people garbage. But Karni (and/or her editor) didn't seem to notice this fact. This is the Times, after all.
In fact, other sources have widely agreed that Trump was accusing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez of making this ugly remark. By early yesterday evening, various fact-checkers had worked from that assumption. To review Jeremy Stahl's rejection of Trump's claim at Slate, you can just click here.
At the Times, none of this mattered! Karni and/or her unnamed editor simply repeated Trump's ugly claim without betraying the slightest concern as to whether his claim was accurate.
The duce's claims are rarely accurate, but so what? The Times simply repeated this claim, exactly as it was made.
In effect, the Times told millions of readers today that one of the four congresswomen under assault may have called our people garbage. There is no sign that they bothered to ask which of the congresswomen did that, or what it is that she literally said.
Top anthropologists tell us that this is the best we humans were ever equipped to do. Through an ongoing set of highly unusual nocturnal submissions, they communicate with us from the years which follow the global conflagration they refer to as Mister Trump's War.
They say our brains were never wired to deal with quotations or facts. As always, the speak to us in the past tense when discussing our self-impressed species.
The greatest love of all: On the front page of the Washington Post, Wagner and Itkowitz report that Trump was claiming that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez had called our people garbage. Also this:
They quickly indicate that the duce's accusation is false.
For our money, their debunking of Trump's claim wasn't strong enough. But they didn't simply repeat his statement then throw up their hands, in the manner of the Times.
Alas! Wagner and Itkowitz also repeat various less than fully temperate remarks Omar has actually made. (For the record, Omar and Ocasio-Cortez have each employed the easily-exploited term "garbage.")
Omar was still puffing herself yesterday, repeating the blustery claim that she is "the president's nightmare." Earlier in the week, the Post reporters note, she'd also authored this groaner:
“I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born.”
No one born in Minnesota loves the U.S. as much as Omar does! We think of Homer's headstrong young Diomedes, instantly chastised by the seasoned Nestor, "who always gave the best advice."
That happened outside the walls of Troy. But where is our Nestor today?
Possibly due to her youth and inexperience, Omar tends to makes it easy for a demagogue like Trump. Eventually, the Post reporters say this:
WAGNER AND ITKOWITZ (7/20/19): In his tweets Friday, Trump predicted that he would win Minnesota next year, saying voters there “can’t stand” Omar and “her hatred of our Country.”Are you sure that Trump is wrong in that prediction? Are you sure he can't exploit Omar that way?
In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton carried Minnesota by less than two percentage points.
Given the follies of human nature, sadly, we are not. We expect to hear a great deal more about this matter tonight.