Two ways of viewing Donald J. Trump!


George Conway, One Other Guy: We just saw George Conway on Deadline: White House refer to Donald J. Trump as "a narcissistic sociopath." 

He also used the term "psychopathy" as he discussed Trump's mental / emotional state. As we've recently noted, Conway has been walking that lonely road since at least October 2019

We just saw Conway take that approach. Then we visited The Atlantic, which currently features a new analysis piece bearing this pair of headlines:

Trump’s Contempt Knows No Bounds
Judge Juan Merchan sanctioned the former president for the first, and likely not the last, time.

The Atlantic's writer is shocked, just shocked, that Trump continues to behave this way.

Fundamentally, there are two basic ways of describing Donald J. Trump. The approach that seems to make scientific / medical sense is the one the mainstream journalistic culture almost wholly rejects.  

The fellow just keeps doing these things! Why do you think that is?

As heard on yesterday's Deadline: White House!


Suppressing the doorman's (false) tale: Once again, it's time for us to fess up. We'll start by quoting the first paragraph of the guest essay we discussed in this morning's report. 

The essay appeared in the New York Times. Headline included, it starts exactly like this:

I Was an Attorney at the D.A.’s Office. This Is What the Trump Case Is Really About.

Now that the lawyers are laying out their respective theories of the case in the criminal prosecution of Donald Trump in New York, it would be understandable if people’s heads are spinning. The defense lawyers claimed this is a case about hush money as a legitimate tool in democratic elections, while the prosecutors insisted it is about “a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election.”

That's how the essay starts. Its author correctly quotes the prosecutors in the "hush money / porn star" case. 

The prosecutors allege that the defendant, Donald J. Trump, engaged in “a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election.” For all we know, that may turn out to be a provable legal case. 

That may turn out to be a winnable legal case. But as we noted last week, we aren't especially interested in the legalities of this utterly silly affair.

We're interested in what we regard as a type of cultural absurdity. We refer to the claim, widely made by Blue America's leadership cadres, that we voters needed to hear Stormy Daniels "tell her story" before we could decide how to vote in 2016.

That notion strikes us as embarrassing, silly—absurd. Let's recall what Daniels' story is:

Daniels claims that on one occasion, in 2006, she engaged in (fully consensual) sexual relations with Donald J. Trump. 

Donald Trump says it didn't happen. At any rate, that's the story Daniels claims she wanted to tell.

Ten years after the alleged sexual congress, did we the people need to hear that allegation before we could know how to vote? The notion strikes us as a form of madness. It strikes us as crazy, absurd.

A few weeks ago, we spent a week working from the basic concept of "madness." The notion that we the voters needed to hear Daniels tell her (unconfirmable) story strikes us as a prime example of that familiar but unfortunate state of affairs.

Had Trump engaged in consensual sex, on one occasion, ten years before the election in question? We're now told that he "corrupted the 2016 election" by keeping us from hearing that claim.

For what it's worth, we don't doubt that the allegation is true, though we also don't know how to prove it. We're saying something different:

We're saying it's crazy to think that voters should be encouraged to base the way they vote on factors of that type. Eventually, we'll walk you through the long and winding slippery slope which follows that kind of thinking.

Sad! Once you buy a concept like that, there's little turning back. Consider something Andrew Weissmann said on yesterday's Deadline: White House.

The statement was made early in the four o'clock hour. Susanne Craig asked Weissmann a question:

Did he think that Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal would be called to the witness stand during the "porn star" trial? Would that be necessary? she also asked.

Due to a glitch at the Internet Archive, we can't like you to videotape of the exchange. But this is what Weissmann said:

WEISSMANN (4/29/24): It's not necessary to know whether, in fact, it was true or not true. Because if you just look at what the opening was with respect to the three pieces—the doorman, Karen McDougal, Stormy Daniels—those are the three pieces. 

And everyone agrees, including the D.A., that the doorman's story was false. But that doesn't mean that you don't have a motive to suppress it, because you don't want the risk of how it's going to play out.

Now the one reason it might be useful to put it on is you might have a stronger motive to squash it if you know that it's true. So I think that they might [testify], but—

At that point, Weissmann was interrupted. That wasn't the clearest possible statement, but we were struck by this:

Within Weissmann's formulation, Donald Trump and David Pecker had caused the doorman's story to be "suppressed." 

Because the doorman's sleazy story was false, we're wondering why they shouldn't receive the Medal of Honor for arranging to do just that?

As Weissmann notes, everyone agrees that the doorman's salacious story was false. Why shouldn't we the people be glad that our 2016 election wasn't affected by the promulgation of a bogus story like that?


Did Donald Trump really "corrupt the 2016 presidential election" by arranging for an NDA with a woman who wasn't his wife? 

Should we really regard her silence as a corruption of our democracy? Or did her attempt to "tell her story" possibly constitute the real attempt to corrupt an election?

Also this:

Did Trump and Pecker "corrupt the 2016 presidential election" when Pecker purchased the doorman's (false) tale? 

Weissmann didn't use that language, but when he says the story was "suppressed" and "squashed," it seems to us that his language is taking us in that peculiar direction.

In our view, it's an embarrassment to see Blue America's thought leaders repeatedly saying it—repeatedly saying that we needed to hear Daniels "tell her story" before we could decide how to vote. 

Have we reached the point where we think that's the way our most important political judgments should work? Because a wide array of presidential candidates, including some of those we love the most, have kept their infidelities to themselves as they've sought the White House.

Did they "corrupt" the elections they won by suppressing news of their sexual histories?  Should candidates be filing their tax returns and their list of sexual partners?

At one point, we all agreed that it made better sense to avoid such subject matter in running our White House elections. Today, we Blues are so desperate to find a way to beat Donald J. Trump that we're walking away from a long list of things we once said. 

It's reached the point where it can almost sound like Trump "corrupted the 2016 election" when he kept us from hearing a story which he presumably knew to be false! Trust us:

A slippery slope leads downhill from there if we run our elections like that. We'll be inviting waves of sexy stories—some of them true, some false. 

David Pecker "suppressed" a false story! By normal standards, that almost sounds like an action which might seem morally good!

For ourselves, we're not interested in the legalities of this unusual legal case. For ourselves, we're thunderstruck by the poor judgment, and the political desperation, found within the culture!

CONCERNS: On MoJo, Rubin defines the crime!


But then, up jumps the Times: As far as we know, President Lincoln never voiced concern about the future of "our democracy." 

His moral insights and intellectual skills came from the realm of the gods. In one of his two most famous speeches, he used language which was more evocative to give voice to that same concern:

LINCOLN (11/19/63): The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here...It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us...that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

"Our democracy" is a somewhat fuzzy construct. By way of contrast, this president spoke of government of and by and for the people.

Of the people, by the people? They're around us every day.

Today, we're engaged in a great tribal war. Citizens of both Americas—Red and Blue—say that they're concerned about our democracy. 

So people said in that new CNN poll, the survey released just this week. In yesterday's report, we noted the numbers:

"Among Democratic-aligned voters," 67 percent of respondents called protecting democracy an extremely important issue in this year's White House campaign. "On the GOP-aligned side," the number was somewhat smaller, but still stood at 54 percent. 

As with Lincoln's other most famous address, so too here. In effect, the two sides are "praying to the same God"—but they don't agree on what our democracy needs protection from.

Their concerns are our concerns, though only in a sense. Before we return to the western world's first poem of war, we want to review a basic question which has arisen in recent weeks.

There were no elections in the late Bronze Age, Agamemnon, lord of men, never faced an electorate.

Today, elections are a very major component of what we regard as "our democracy"—and in the current election campaign, one of the major party candidates is locked up in a New York City courtroom, charged with 34 felony counts.

This has never happened before. The question which has arisen is this:

With what crime—with what manner of felony—does Defendant Trump stand charged?

With what manner of felony does Donald J. Trump stand charged? In a situation which speaks to our basic capabilities, it's remarkably hard to find out.

Yesterday morning, on Morning Joe, legal analyst Lisa Rubin offered an explanation of this knotty matter. To watch videotape of the exchange, you can start by clicking here

With what crime does Trump stand charged? Where the rubber met the road, this is what Rubin said:

RUBIN (4/29/24): The crime that the former president has been charged with is falsification of business records as a felony. And in order to establish that he's committed a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor, you have to show that he falsified business records with the intent to conceal another crime. And that's where David Pecker comes in.

David Pecker is critical to the establishment of the conspiracy to promote Trump's election through unlawful means where at least one act was taken in the direction of those unlawful means. 

David Pecker was there for the formation of the conspiracy. David Pecker helped execute the conspiracy. David Pecker's payment to Karen McDougal, which he understood would pose campaign finance law problems, was that unlawful means.

So through David Pecker, prosecutors have gotten a lot of what they needed to establish that this was felonious and not just your, you know, everyday garden variety misdemeanor.

As far as we know, everyone agrees with Rubin's basic construct. To show that Trump engaged in felonious conduct, you have to show that he "falsified business records with the intent to conceal another crime."

The prosecutors will have to prove that Trump did falsify business records. According to Rubin, the additional crime he was allegedly trying to conceal was Pecker's payment to McDougal.

(For reasons we haven't seen explained, McDougal wanted to "tell her story," such as it was, in the midst of our 2016 White House campaign. Also, she wanted a big sack of cash for telling her story, and Pecker showed her the money.)

As of yesterday morning, the additional crime Trump was trying to conceal was Pecker's payment to McDougal. That's what we the people were told on yesterday's Morning Joe.

Rubin's analysis aired at 6:15 a.m. It was rebroadcast during the 8 o'clock hour. Meanwhile, a guest essay appeared at the New York Times which seemed to say something substantially different. 

The guest essay appeared beneath this headline, with this pair of author identity lines:

I Was an Attorney at the D.A.’s Office. This Is What the Trump Case Is Really About.

By Rebecca Roiphe
Ms. Roiphe is a former assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.


Rebecca Roiphe, a former assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, is a law professor at New York Law School.

We're not sure we've ever read a less coherent essay. Along the way, the essay seems to offer a different set of views concerning the additional crime the defendant is charged with trying to conceal.

Along the way, the essay calls into question the capabilities of an array of elites within our own Blue America. It calls into question the capabilities of the New York Times itself, but also of our assistant district attorneys and of our law professors.

In our view, the essay by Professor Roiphe is very hard to parse. That said, along the way it makes such statements as these:

Mr. Trump is accused of creating 11 false invoices, 12 false ledger entries and 11 false checks and check stubs, with the intent to violate federal election laws, state election laws or state tax laws. The number of lies it took to create this false record itself helps prove intent. His defense attorneys will claim that he was merely trying to bury a false story to protect his family from embarrassment. The timing of the payments—immediately after the potentially damaging “Access Hollywood” tape was released and right before the election—makes that claim implausible.


More important, jurors are particularly good at applying common sense. Mr. Trump didn’t go to all this trouble just to protect his family members, who might have known about accusations of his involvement with the porn star Stormy Daniels or similar ones. We may never learn which crime the jurors believe Trump was seeking to commit or cover up, but they can still conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that this was his intent.


For the prosecution, the elements of the crime in this case do not require a finding that Mr. Trump interfered with the 2016 election. Nor does it matter whether he had sex with Ms. Daniels. Instead, the real elements concern the way Mr. Trump used his business for a cover-up. By emphasizing the crime he was intending to conceal rather than the false business records, the prosecution also risks confusing the jury into thinking about whether the lies affected the election. It might lead them to wonder why Mr. Trump wasn’t charged with this alleged election crime by the federal government—a talking point that he has promoted publicly.

Start with that first excerpt. The defendant is charged with falsifying business records "with the intent to violate federal election laws, state election laws or state tax laws?"

Or state tax laws? That one small word seems to suggest that, even now, we don't know what additional crime Trump is charged with trying to conceal. And sure enough:

In that second excerpt, we're told that we may never know which crime the jury came to believe he was trying to cover up! In the third excerpt, Professor Roiphe seems to assert that Trump did in fact "use his business for a cover-up"—but she herself doesn't specify the additional crime she has in mind.

We may never know! Along the way, Roiphe says this about the New York State law under which Trump is being prosecuted:

Lawmakers in New York, the financial capital of the world, consider access to markets and industry in New York a privilege for businesspeople. It is a felony to abuse that privilege by doctoring records to commit or conceal crimes, even if the businessman never accomplishes the goal and even if the false records never see the light of day. The idea is that an organization’s records should reflect an honest accounting. It is not a crime to make a mistake, but lying is a different story...

Prosecutors and New York courts have interpreted this law generously, with its general purpose in mind. The element of intent to defraud carries a broad meaning, which is not limited to the intent of cheating someone out of money or property. Further, intent is often proved with circumstantial evidence, as is common in white-collar cases. After presenting evidence, prosecutors ask jurors to use their common sense to infer what the possible intent may be, and New York jurors frequently conclude that a defendant must have gone to the trouble of creating this false paper trail for a reason.

As she starts, Roiphe agrees with Rubin's basic construct. That said, is it possible that prosecutors and New York courts have interpreted the law in question too generously—have let "the element of intent to defraud" carry too broad a meaning? 

It seems amazing to hear that we may never know the basis on which the defendant ends up being found guilty by a Gotham jury. For the record, these strange pronouncements are part of what is routinely denounced when Red America's citizens listen to the legal analysts on the Fox News Channel.

Such complaints are standard of Fox. It's hard to say that these complaints are crazy.

Rubin says that Trump is charged with the attempt to conceal a crime by David Pecker. Other observers have said and suggested that Trump is charged with trying to conceal—well, elsewhere the explanations can get very confusing.

Along comes the former assistant D.A., published in Blue America's leading newspaper. She says we may never know what the defendant will be found to have tried to conceal! 

We're on Day 9 of the "hush money" trial, and this is a peculiar measure of our basic capability.

Coherent behavior by the justice system is one basic part of government of and for the people. It's a basic part of "our democracy"—and in this instance, it's a basic part of an ongoing White House election campaign.

We're in Day 9 of an unprecedented criminal trial. Can anyone define, with any certainty, the felonious conduct with which the defendant stands charged?

In Blue America, we talk "hush money" all day long. The hush money payment to the porn star has become our leading concern.

Within this somewhat puzzling mess, is there an echo of the concern at the heart of the western world's first war poem? Can we learn to see ourselves more clearly if we revisit that earlier Bronze Age war?

Tomorrow: Just one thing on their minds

Colin Jost takes the sketch artists down!

MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2024

Straight outta Staten Island: For what it's worth, we disagree with Jason Zinoman's assessment of Colin Jost's performance at Saturday night's TV dinner.

(That doesn't mean that Zinowitz's assessment is "wrong.")

We thought Colin Jost was good. We'll score this as his best joke:

It is the best time in history to be a courtroom sketch artist. My God, the most famous man on Earth is on trial, and there’s no cameras allowed. Just the artists, their pastels and their desire to make Trump look as bad as possible.

We're omitting the tag line, which didn't rise to the level of the joke. 

We're imagining that the joke about the Gotham sketch artists came straight outta Staten Island. Jost grew up in that wild island province, with a family inheritance he mentioned Saturday night, to great effect.

The leading authority on Jost's family background tells us this:

Colin Jost was born and raised in New York City in the Grymes Hill neighborhood of Staten Island. His mother, Kerry J. Kelly, was the chief medical officer for the New York City Fire Department, and his father, Daniel A. Jost, was a teacher at Staten Island Technical High School.

His grandfather was a Staten Island firefighter too, as he described in moving detail at the end of his presentation. 

Just a guess! That kind of background may give a performer eyes to see the way the world may look—not necessarily crazily—to those on The Other Side of the current continental divide. We liked that particular joke because it crossed that type of line.

We also liked his early, well-delivered joke about "Doug," along with the way he quickly brought it all back home to his own status as a type of "second gentleman." Returning to the leading authority, we like what the highlighted line may seem to imply:

Jost names Norm Macdonald as a primary influence for his Update anchor work. Macdonald's tone was the one Jost grew up with in high school. He also names Tina Fey as an influence.

We have one semi-small complaint about Fey—a semi-small complaint derived from her feature film, Mean Girls. But in our view, she has a very level of wit. 

(For ourselves, the two most impressive sets we ever saw were both performed by Paula Poundstone. They're tied with the set we saw Dana Carey perform in San Francisco in the summer of '85. That was the original Church Lady comedy club set, which carried a thoroughly different punch from the way it was recreated for SNL after Carvey arrived there.)

We thought Jost was good in a very challenging assignment. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the New York Times offered this (perfectly reasonable) retrospective about the late Kenny DeForest, a little-known but highly regarded comedian who recently died very young:

What’s So Funny About a Dead Comedian?
Kenny DeForest was beloved among his fellow stand-ups. After his sudden death, they came together to grieve—and to confront comedy’s eternal question: Too soon?

As we noted over the weekend, the Times decided at some point to treat stand-up as an art form. That article approaches stand-up as a cultural phenomenon and as a lifestyle. 

We'll admit that the journalistic framework sketched by those headlines strikes us as a bit odd. That said, we'll renew our earlier request:

As the Times is presenting reports of that type, is there any reason why they can't report on the extremely strange comedy stylings which now drive a great deal of the work on the Fox News Channel?

That channel's termagant delivers jokes, every night, which are unmistakably misogyny-adjacent. Millions of people watch what he does. Should the Times be averting its gaze?

Jost was influenced by Tina Fey? Good for Colin Jost! Three cheers for Tina Fey!

CONCERNS: We say "our democracy" is our concern!

MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2024

How well do we know ourselves? "Your concerns are my concerns," the Hemingway character said.

We refer to the Mariel Hemingway character in the 1979 feature film, Manhattan. According to the leading authority on the topic, "the film received critical acclaim," though it didn't match the Best Picture Oscar win of its immediate predecessor.

At age 18, Hemingway was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In the face of some unusual subject matter, Manhattan was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

"Your concerns are my concerns," the Hemingway character tells her boyfriend near the end of the film Culturally, there was an element of strangeness involved? The authority explains:

Manhattan (1979 film)


The film opens with a montage of images of Manhattan and other parts of New York City accompanied by George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, with Isaac Davis narrating drafts of an introduction to a book about a man who loves the city. 

Isaac is a twice-divorced, 42-year-old television comedy writer who quits his boring job. He is dating Tracy, a 17-year-old girl attending the Dalton School. 

Say what? The boyfriend was 42 years old. He was basically living with the largely unparented Hemingway character, who was still a senior in prep school. 

So it sometimes went in 1970s film. It was an era in which Brooke Shields, then age 11, appeared nude in one scene in Pretty Baby (1978), which we regard as a searching film about traditional gender roles.

We don't recall the extent to which the relationship in Manhattan produced critical cultural comment. We don't recall whether it produced any such commentary at all.

As noted, Manhattan was widely praised by major critics, largely for an array of fairly obvious reasons. The New York Film Critics Circle gave its director their award for best director of the year.

"Your concerns are my concerns," the Hemingway says to her boyfriend, in a truly beautiful line reading. It was never entirely clear what those concerns really were. 

So too for us who live in Blue America at this parlous point in time. What are our concerns at this time? But also, and very important:

Just how well do we understand ourselves? Favorable self-portraits to the side, just how well do we understand the true nature of our concerns?

Yesterday, a gruesome set of polling data emerged. All such data are, of course, subject to various forms of error. Also, these new numbers emerge as a bit of an outlier.

That said, these new statistics from CNN have Candidate Trump leading Candidate Biden by six points nationwide—49-43 percent. Those numbers could be substantially wrong—or they could be basically accurate, if only at this point in time.

Those numbers could be substantially accurate! That said, what sorts of concerns could be driving such figures? 

CNN asked! According to CNN's polling director, 65% of registered voters called the economy extremely important to their vote for president. 

No other issue scored that high. Headline included, CNN's report adds this:

Considering other issue priorities for the upcoming election, 58% of voters call protecting democracy an extremely important issue, the only other issue tested that a majority considers central to their choice. 

Nearly half call immigration, crime and gun policy deeply important (48% each), with health care (43%), abortion (42%) and nominations to the US Supreme Court (39%) each deeply important to about 4 in 10 voters. At the lower end of the scale, just 33% consider foreign policy that important, 27% climate change, 26% the war between Israel and Hamas, and 24% student loans.

There remain sharp partisan differences in which issues are most critical to choosing a president. Among Democratic-aligned voters, protecting democracy (67%), abortion (54%), the economy (52%), gun policy (51%) and health care (49%) all rank as key for about half or more, while on the GOP-aligned side, it’s the economy (79%), immigration (71%), crime (65%) and then democracy (54%).

Foreign affairs and climate change, good-bye! On the brighter side, a majority of respondents in each major party called "protecting democracy" a major issue. 

But what did respondents have in mind when they chose that as a point of concern? We were struck by this additional observation:

But the poll finds that Biden voters and Trump voters largely just don’t understand each other. Among those who do not currently support Biden, 66% say they don’t understand why anyone would support him, and 63% of those not backing Trump say they can’t understand why anyone would support him.

Our concerns may not be their concerns! And make no mistake:

When it comes to "protecting democracy," Red America's voters are thinking of one set of possibilities. Voters in our own Bue America will typically be thinking of something different.

According to the CNN survey, Biden voters and Trump voters "largely don't understand each other." This week, we'll be exploring a different question:

How well do we voters in Blue America understand ourselves? How well do we understand our own stated concerns?

Over and over, again and again, our thought leader say that their major concern involves the possibility that we will lose our democracy if Donald Trump wins—that this could be our last election.

But what are we eager to be talking about as we conduct our sacred elections? As with other human groups, we're inclined to paint a lofty portrait of our concerns, but when the rubber meets the road, what kinds of tracks are we leaving?

Did Donald J. Trump commit a crime with respect to his alleged sex life?

For ourselves, we don't especially care about that. That said:

Dating to the dawn of time, we humans have frequently displayed a tendency to be concerned with little or nothing else.

As a matter of basic anthropology, what exactly are our concerns? Has anything changed through the ages?

Day after day, we portray our concerns. How well do we know ourselves?

Tomorrow: Late Bronze Age election

SUNDAY: Why was Cohen sentenced to prison?

SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2024

The novelization of news: Back in August 2018, Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Cohen had been Donald Trump's "fixer." Among his various duties, he was deeply involved in the "hush money" payment to a certain "porn star."

(Phrasing it a different way, he was deeply involved in the NDA with an adult woman who wasn't Donald Trump's wife.)

If Cohen had to go to prison, why shouldn't Trump be sent there too? Nicolle Wallace has been asking that question for the past several years on her two-hour daily program, Deadline: White House.

We don't have an answer to that question. Today, we'll be asking a different question:

What were the crimes for which Michael Cohen get sentenced to three years?

On Friday's broadcast, Wallace answered that question as she spoke with "some of [her] favorite reporter and friends." She did so for perhaps the ten thousandth time by now.

Below, you see the bulk of what was said. For videotape of the exchange, you can start by clicking here:

WALLACE (4/26/24): I know a lot's been made of Michael Cohen's credibility. But what did Michael Cohen go to jail for?

LITMAN (with pauses): Ah, well— 

WALLACE: Just answer for me. Just help me understand. What did he—

LITMAN: Perjury!

WALLACE: But what was he lying about?

So the Socratic examination began. Here's the way it continued:

LITMAN (continuing directly): Oh, it's, it's—it's three versus— It's almost hard to follow. 

[Turns to Andrew Weissmann] 

What is it exactly? How many times he—

WEISSMANN: Well, his main perjury was in Congress. and it was for Donald Trump—

LITMAN: Trump! Yeah!

WEISSMANN: It was lying about the Moscow and Russia deal. 

WALLACE: But let me just— But—

SOMEONE OFF CAMERA: The fake election stuff was what he pled to.

WALLACE: But then his sentencing agreement is about what crimes? What crimes does Michael Cohen plead to in his sentencing?  Election crimes, right? 

LITMAN: Well, that's what [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. Yeah!

WALLACE: I mean, who was running for president? It wasn't Michael Cohen. Who had sex with Stormy Daniels. It wasn't Michael Cohen. Who had a ten-month love affair with Karen McDougal? It wasn't Michael Cohen...

He didn't benefit at all. I'm just trying to pick up on the common sense thing.

So the discussion went. We're going to focus on Wallace's account of what Cohen pleaded guilty to and was sentenced for. 

Wallace may have been "trying to pick up on the common sense thing," but she was doing a very poor job picking up on the basic facts. Beyond that, we can't swear that Wallace's guests weren't playing it a little bit dumb as this colloquy unfolded.

According to Wallace—but also according to someone off-camera—Michael Cohen pled guilty to "election crimes," to "the fake election stuff," full stop. In fairness, that's the standard answer on MSNBC programs.

In fact, Cohen pled guilty to eight or nine federal counts, depending on how you want to take the roll—and only two of the eight or nine counts were related to the election matter. 

Also, the other six or seven counts had nothing to do with Donald J. Trump. Those other counts involved fraudulent conduct by Cohen in support of his own business ventures and his own considerable wealth.

For what "veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct" did Cohen plead guilty? (We're quoting the federal judge who handed down the sentence.) 

You can read the formal statement by the DOJ just by clicking here. Headline included, the statement starts as shown:

Michael Cohen Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison

Robert Khuzami, Attorney for the United States, Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, announced that MICHAEL COHEN was sentenced today to three years in prison for tax evasion, making false statements to a federally insured bank, and campaign finance violations.  COHEN pled guilty on August 21, 2018, to an eight-count information before U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III, who imposed today’s sentence.  

In a separate prosecution brought by the Special Counsel’s Office (“SCO”), COHEN pled guilty on November 29, 2018 to one count of making false statements to the U.S. Congress and was also sentenced on that case today, receiving a two-month concurrent sentence.

That was the start of the formal DOJ statement. Here's the report from NBC News, including their summary of the nine counts to which he pled:

Michael Cohen gets 3 years, says Trump's 'dirty deeds' led him to 'choose darkness' 

An emotional Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer, was sentenced Wednesday to 3 years behind bars for what a Manhattan federal court judge called a “veritable smorgasbord" of criminal conduct, including making secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, lying to Congress about the president’s business dealings with Russia and failing to report millions of dollars in income.

Judge William Pauley found Cohen, 52, deserved “a significant term of imprisonment” for crimes that were driven by “personal greed and ambition.”


Charges brought by the Southern District:

Counts 1-5: Evasion of assessment of income tax liability for pleading guilty to failing to report more than $4 million in income from 2012 through 2016.

Count 6: False statements to a bank for Cohen pleading guilty to understating debt from his taxi medallion business in the process of applying for a home equity line of credit with a bank.

Count 7: Causing an unlawful corporation contribution for when he pleaded guilty to orchestrating a payment made by American Media to Karen McDougal for her “limited life story,” an allegation that she had an affair with Donald Trump.

Count 8: Excessive campaign contribution for when he pleaded guilty to making an excessive political contribution when he paid adult film actress Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her story and silence about Clifford’s alleged affair with Donald Trump.

Charge brought by Robert Mueller

Count 1: False statements to Congress for when Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress on Aug. 28, 2017, when he sent a two-page letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as well as during testimony before Congress.

Counts 7 and 8 involved the "hush money / NDA." The other seven counts involved separate, distinct federal crimes.

For the record, CNBC's report about the nine counts included the possible prison sentence each offense entailed. By far, the offense which carried the longest possible sentence—30 years, as opposed to just five!—was Count 6, which had nothing to do with the hush money payment or with Trump himself.

Wallace has discussed this all-encompassing topic for what seems like a thousand years by now. Is it possible that she still doesn't know the actual shape of this "smorgasbord" of criminal conduct?

We don't know how to answer that question. But how about her favorite reporters and friends? Is it possible that none of them knew that Cohen had pleaded guilty to nine different counts, only two of which were involved in the matter currently at hand? 

We knew that, right here at this site! Is it really possible that Wallace and her panelist didn't?

Putting it a different way, is it possible that Wallace's guests chose to hem and haw a bit this day? That they chose to avoid noting the fact that Wallace's account of this matter was pleasing but inaccurate?

We don't know how to answer those questions, but it seems to us that someone sitting on that set must have known that Wallace's account, like many accounts on today's "cable news," was tribally pleasing but wrong. 

None of this tells us if Donald J. Trump should be convicted of a crime by that Gotham jury. None of this tells us if he should be sentenced to prison.

That said, we aren't posting this to ask you to think about Donald J. Trump. We're suggesting that you think about the process we first described, more than two decades ago, as "the novelization of news."

From the Blue America perspective, Wallace created a pleasingly simplified story with her collapsed account of Cohen's guilty plea. It seems to us that her favorites and her friends may have been playing along.

That said, "cable news" tends to run on Storyline, not on accurate statements of fact. Our high-end journalism has worked this way for a very long time. 

The best description of this process came from E. R. Shipp, in a very brief column for the Washington Post when she served as the paper's ombudsman. Her column was written all the way back in early 2000 as mainstream journalists were writing a highly simplistic group novel in which they "typecast" the four major candidates with a shot at the White House that year.

(Bush, Gore, Bradley, McCain.)

The Post published Shipp's column; the typecasting continued. That's the way the game was played that year, and then in the years to come.

Michael Cohen got three years for his role in the hush money paid to the porn star! We've seen Wallace and her friends present that claim a thousand times by now.

For people hoping to lock Trump up, it makes for a vastly improved type of story. On a basic factual basis, it isn't accurate. But as the old saying goes, it's close enough for the kind of journalism referred to as "cable news."

Cohen pleaded to nine crimes. Only two involved the NDA. 

Whether you think it matters or not, there's little chance that you'll ever hear Wallace say that. None of this can really tell us what the verdict in Gotham should be. 

For those who can storm the paywall: For those of you who can storm the paywall, the New York Times' Alan Feuer wrote a colorful piece about the various crimes to which Cohen had pled.

His richest machinations involved the behaviors which didn't involve Donald J. Trump and the woman who wasn't his wife. Feuer's essay appeared beneath this headline:

6 Takeaways From Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea

If you can storm the paywall, you should just click here

For the record, we're never happy to hear that someone is being sent to prison. Some people do have to go to prison, but we're glad that Cohen is out.

SATURDAY: He put a smile on our face twice again!


Termagant does double duty: It was the termagant's second night back from a well-deserved, week-long vacation. 

At exactly 10:02 p.m., the termagant struck again. It was the second joke of his opening monologue. The deep discussions followed.

The fellow is 59 years old. This is a typical part of his nightly diet:

Hillary Clinton this week claimed that Donald Trump wants to be like Vlad Putin. Which is odd, since she has more in common with Vlad in that she looks horrible topless.

[Photo of shirtless Putin appears]


After a pause, the termagant added this:

...and kills people.

No sickness left behind! At 10:04, the termagant followed with a Governor Hochul "can't move her face" joke. 

Some Democratic women are too fat. Some have done too much Botox. 

As it turns out, other women the termagant loathes just look terrible topless! Also, the many people the Clintons have killed, courtesy of Jerry Falwell and Gennifer Flowers!

For what it's worth, this seems to be who and what the termagant actually is. Given the state of our political / journalistic culture, he's a major ratings star in primetime "cable news."

Earlier yesterday, on The Five, he regaled us with another of his standard touchstones. 

The group was discussing President Biden's (observably) stiff gait. In this new post, Kevin Drum lists a few of the medical reasons for this observable phenomenon.

The Fox News gang didn't bother with any of that. At 5:05 p.m., the termagant offered this analysis:

It's the woke handlers who are accelerating our nation's demise, and he's just there along for the ride. 

Who knows how much longer he'll be there? I think it's also— 

You know, it's also hard to walk when you've got a load in your pants. 


Why do you think they call him Dark Brandon?

Shannon Bream was willing to step in and pretend that this garbage dump somehow makes sense.

The fellow is 59 years old! He grew up in a sunny place. This is the state of the culture.

For small discussion groups only: Jason Zinoman reviews small-bore comedy for the New York Times. 

The Times puts these essays in the Arts section! For today's example, click this.

Jason Zinoman is a good, decent person. Why don't he and his editors go ahead and produce a report about this?

Gutfeld returns to the Gutfeld! show!

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2024

There he goes again: Why was Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison?

We'll explore that question over the weekend. We just saw Nicolle Wallace tackle the topic again.

For today, we thought we'd show you one of the wonderful jokes with which Greg Gutfeld returned from his one-week vacation. 

Last night, the termagant returned to his "cable news" program. Two minutes in, at 10:02, he "put a smile on your face" with this:

TERMAGANT (4/25/24): A kidney from a pig was transplanted into a deathly ill New Jersey woman and it began working almost instantly. 

Scientists say the pig kidney felt quite at home in the new body.

Up flashed a photo of Joy Behar. The audience laughed and applauded. 

("Never fails," the termagant said.)

For the termagant, this is a nightly behavior. He's put on the air by the Fox News Channel. Kat Timpf thinks this is grand.

The termagant is 59 years old. He comes from a sunny land.

No one says a word about this. As we surely know by now, MeToo came and briefly performed, and after that it went.

Coming: Why was Cohen sentenced to prison? Also, what Meacham said

ELECTION: The professor's statement made no sense!

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2024

It's all about Helen of Troy: At the start of last night's show on the Fox News Channel, Laura Ingraham was puzzled.

She started with the Gotham "hush money" trial. Her puzzlement took this form:

We start in New York where David Pecker testified for the third day. And what's becoming less clear as the trial wears on is: 

What is the crime?

With what crime does Donald J. Trump stand charged in the Gotham "hush money" trial? Ingraham seemed to say that she doesn't know, and that it's becoming less clear.

For ourselves, we were slightly puzzled by Ingraham's first guest. Briefly, she spoke with Todd Piro, co-host of the 5 a.m. weekday show, Fox & Friends First.

When Piro does his guest spots on the Gutfeld! program, he's fashioned as the man who suspiciously can name the name of every major male porn star. On Fox & Friend First, his dogged recitations of dogma seem to come from an earlier era.

In fairness, he's a graduate of the UCLA School of Law. His channel had chosen him to sit in the overflow room at the Gotham trial.

Unsurprisingly, it turned out that Piro was puzzled too. "I can't answer your question, Laura, as to what the crime is," he said. 

After a mercifully brief exchange, Ingraham conducted a longer interview with two experienced legal practitioners "No normal judge would allow this case to go forward," one of these analysts said

"Cable news" viewers in Red America are exposed to such claims all the time. 

In fairness to Ingraham—she graduated from UVa Law School, then clerked for a well-known Supreme Court Justice—we aren't entirely sure about the answer to that question either! For today, we thought we'd show you the sorts of things "cable news" viewers in Blue America are sometimes destined to hear.

We transport you to an unusual session of Anderson Cooper 360. As part of a larger panel discussion, Cooper introduced two guests from rival MSNBC: At precisely 8:50 this past Tuesday night, Cooper surprised us with this:

COOPER (4/23/24): Joining us, the co-authors of "The Trump Indictments," Andrew Weissmann, who was a lead prosecutor in the Mueller investigation, and NYU Law Professor Melissa Murray.

So Andrew, you hear Trump's attorneys say there's nothing illegal about trying to influence an election. It's called democracy. 

If a person or a company spends money to benefit a campaign, doesn't that money have to be disclosed and reported? Isn't that the core of this?

WEISSMANN: Yes, I mean, you know, literally what Todd Blanche said is true that influencing election. If that is the only thing that was proved, that's not a crime. But it sort of hides the ball, which is, "How are you doing it?"

What Weissmann said next made perfect sense. Then Cooper went where the rubber meets the road.

Cooper asked the ultimate question. Believe it or not, this was said:

COOPER: So Melissa, what is the underlying crime?

MURRAY: So it's a New York election law that basically says it is a crime, a misdemeanor crime, for an individual to prevent or promote the election of another individual. 

And so here, the allegation is that by capturing these stories for Donald Trump, preventing them from being disclosed, paying off these individuals, all of this is basically favorable treatment for Donald Trump.

In addition to the fact that David Pecker also testified today that he was planting favorable stories and also running disfavorable stories, unfavorable stories for Donald Trump's opponents. 

So that's a big contribution and that's the way the prosecution is framing this. This was a big up for Donald Trump's campaign and it essentially constituted election fraud. 

We focus on the highlighted claim. According to Professor Murray, the state of New York has an election which says this:

It's a crime for an individual to promote the election of another individual. 

Everybody makes mistakes—but literally, that's what she said! She said it's a crime, under New York state law, to promote somebody's election!

Cooper simply plowed ahead. A bit later, one of his analysts backtracked.

Jeffrey Toobin sat on the CNN panel that night. As you can see in the question he asked, he had  managed to be puzzled by what Murray had said:

TOOBIN: Can I ask Melissa a question about something she said earlier? Because I was a little—I was— It jumped out at me. 

I understand Melissa about how, you know, paying witnesses can be seen as part of a conspiracy.

But you seem to say, and correct me if I'm wrong, that advocacy on Trump's behalf, like the magazine supporting Trump's candidacy, that could be seen as part of a conspiracy. Isn't there a First Amendment problem with that, because magazines do support candidates all the time?

So said Toobin, at 8:55. It was the world's most obvious question.

Murray could have said that she simply misspoke, as people do all the time. Instead, she served this salad:

MURRAY (continuing directly): I think there's something—I think I've said something different, Jeffrey. 

The point that David Pecker was making on the stand today, and what the prosecution elicited, was that Donald Trump was coordinating with David Pecker for this favorable treatment.

I think in most campaigns, you don't see that. It may be the case that a newspaper or a media outlet will endorse a particular candidate. But I don't think we've ever seen a situation where a particular candidate goes to the outlet and negotiates with them for favorable treatment of his campaign and unfavorable treatment of his opponent. So that's unusual.

And the way the prosecution has framed it, this is essentially a stop to the Trump campaign as though it were a contribution in kind. And I think that's a theory of the case. Whether or not the jurors buy this as a contribution, I think is a different story. But that seems to be where the prosecution is taking that.

This is a coordinated effort. It is unusual and extraordinary. And it essentially amounts to the kinds of influence peddling that we typically don't see between the media and a campaign.

Is that "the underlying crime?" It seems to us that a giant amount of explanation was included in that disquisition.

Everything Professor Murray said in that statement may indeed be true. But here's the question with which we started:

What is the underlying crime—the crime with which Donald Trump is charged? Based upon that lengthy ramble, could you answer that question? 

For ourselves, we ourselves could not.  Beyond that, we note the fact that, in her initial statement, Professor Murray had explicitly spoken about "a misdemeanor crime."

Under terms of New York State law, "it's a misdemeanor crime," she implausibly said, "for an individual to prevent or promote the election of another individual."

On the one hand, there's no way that there could be any such law. On the other hand, and as everyone has surely heard, Donald J. Trump stands accused of a felony crime. So how did we get to that?

Toobin attempted a brief follow-up to what Murray had said. As you can see in the transcript or in the Internet Archive tape, Murray proceeded to issue a new torrent of words.

At that point, Cooper thanked his surprising pair of guests. This is the sort of imitation of life to which "cable news" viewers in Blue America are routinely given access.

This problem has a long history. It winds back through Albert Einstein's inability to "make Einstein easy." 

Later, it involves the later Wittgenstein's claim, according to Professor Horwich, that large elements of classic high-end academic philosophy is really the product of "linguistic illusion."

It takes us back to the argle-bargle found all through the defining works of Plato. But once in a while some light breaks through. Consider what happened on MSNBC itself, during Tuesday evening's 9 o'clock hour.

Cooper thanked Weissmann and Murray and the 8 o'clock hour was done. On MSNBC, Alex Wagner Tonight started at 9.

Wagner didn't go to law school. To her vast credit, she was instantly able to offer this:

WAGNER (4/23/24): The prosecution's central argument in this case, the reason they were able to charge Donald Trump with a felony, is because they say Trump's hush money scheme was all about trying to cover up his criminal activity related to the 2016 election. 

Prosecutors today revealed that they are planning to rely on section 17-152, the New York Criminal Code, which prohibits any two or more persons from conspiring to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means.

She even gave the section number! And sure enough, here is the word-for-word text of the state law Murray had bungled:

New York Consolidated Laws, Election Law—ELN § 17-152. Conspiracy to promote or prevent election

Any two or more persons who conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means and which conspiracy is acted upon by one or more of the parties thereto, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

The professor had omitted three key words. Under terms of that law, you can't promote the election of someone to public office "by unlawful means."

That still doesn't explain the nature of the felony with which Defendant Trump stands charged. But we were no longer in the land of Blinken and Nod, with tons of tossed word salad thrown in, as we'd been on CNN during the 8 o'clock hour.

At this point, Wagner introduced a different pair of law professors to serve as guests during her initial segment. Referring to that same New York State law, one of her guests said this:

PROFESSOR LEVIN (4/23/24): This is a case about the cover-up of uncharged criminal activity. And today we learned what the uncharged criminal activity is that the DA's office is relying on. 

And really, at the core of it is that New York State election law statute.

But it's a conspiracy between Donald Trump the defendant, David Pecker of the National Enquirer and Michael Cohen to make illegal payments and suppress stories with the purpose of that being to suppress the stories so that he could win the election.

And that's what's at the core of it, and now we know what the felony is, why it is that it has been bumped up to a felony, because it was a falsification of business records for the purpose of committing this New York State election [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

That final word got swallowed! Still and all—even now, can you explain what you just read? 

"This is a case about the cover-up of uncharged criminal activity?" The criminal activity is uncharged? Can you explain the way in which that arrangement is kosher?

This is a very important case. One way or another, the outcome of this year's election is hanging in the balance.

One candidate stands accused of a felony under a pastiche of state and federal laws which everyone and his law school drop-out uncle has described as highly complex.

By now, shouldn't we see our "cable news" stars carefully explaining the nature of the criminal charge? Carefully explaining away the many claims, made by many observers in various camps, that D.A. Bragg has assembled a type of case which has never been assembled before and which may not even be legal?

On CNN, viewers were told that it's "a crime for an individual  or promote the election of another individual." Only Toobin was able to hear that the statement didn't make sense. 

An imitation of discourse followed.

In our view, the problem here goes much deeper. Eventually, we'll pose this question:

As a society, as a culture, why are we angry with Cohen and Trump? Why aren't we American citizens angry with Stormy Daniels and with Karen  McDougal?

"They wanted to tell their stories," we viewers in Blue America are told. We're told that by the corporate flyweights and simps who serve as our Blue village elders.

Stating the obvious:

Daniels and McDougal could have "told their stories" any time they chose. They simply had to call a press conference and let the glory out.

The problem is, they wanted to tell their stories for money. More specifically, they wanted to tell their stories for money during election time. 

Their stories were stories of consensual sex. They wanted to tell those stories, for big sacks of cash, as an election unfolded.

And as it turns out, we the people care about one thing and we care about one thing only:

Who gets to sleep with Helen of Troy? In the case of Daniels, who allegedly got to do that on one occasion, for two to three minutes, some ten years before?

As Jon Meacham explained this very morning, there's nothing else that we the people actually care much about. That isn't because we're bad people. It's because we're people people.

As in the late Bronze Age, so too today. In time, we'll discuss this rather obvious fact at length.

Why Michael Cohen was sentenced to prison!


As opposed to what you might hear: Actually yes, we know what we said.

Yesterday afternoon, we said we'd walk you thrown an appalling pseudo-conversation which took place on that morning's Fox & Friends.

During the event in question, Lawrence Jones, on the road in Wisconsin, was completely unable to see the two young women standing right there before him. He was completely unable to hear what the two young women were saying. 

As he towered over the pair of impressive, well-intentioned young women, he simply churned his agitprop at them, then went on his angry, full-certitude way.

That's the best we're going to do with yesterday's "conversation." It's depressing to transcribe such imitations of life, especially so in full knowledge that every major Blue American org is determined to look away from these unhelpful manifestations.

That said, let us add this:

This morning, Jones and the other friends flipped their program's script. Early in the 6 o'clock hour, he was in a diner in Warminster, Pa., speaking to a roomful of Trump supporters. 

Needless to say, those friends and neighbors have every right to support whichever candidate they choose. On balance, we don't agree with their choice of candidate—but they don't agree with ours!

The imitation of life begins when Fox arranges to fill such diners with people who support the Fox & Friends line, but also with nobody else. Jones then walks through the room, letting the customers recite the talking points he and the other friends would otherwise have to recite for themselves.

Just a thought:

If Fox viewers watch enough of these stage-managed performances, they may well have a hard time believing that Candidate Biden actually got more votes than Candidate Trump back in 2020. In fact, it might become hard to believe that Biden got any votes at all!

Such are the wages of radical "segregation by viewpoint." Concerning which, we've been wanting to review a basic question, one our own thought leaders in Blue America seem inclined to misstate at this point.

The question goes like this:

Why did Michael Cohen get sentenced to three years in prison?

This past Monday night, on MSNBC's primetime Trump On Trial program, one all-star panelist after another kept answering that question in a way which struck us as baldly misleading. 

(These presentations alternated with references to the doorman's story about Donald Trump's love child, with the panelists generally forgetting to mention the fact that the doorman's story was false.)

Why was Cohen sentenced to prison? Was it because of the "hush money" payments?

That's what members of the all-star panel kept saying that night. It seemed to us that they too might be engaged in an imitation of life.

Why was Cohen sentenced to prison? Was it because of the "hush money" payments?

Tomorrow, in the afternoon, we'll offer a fuller discussion. The answer we give you won't be precise. 

ELECTION: We're not on Fifth Avenue any more!


With what is Donald Trump charged? The future president made the statement back in the early days.

Joe and Mika were in the process of flipping on the candidate—a candidate over whom they had fawned all through the previous year. 

It was January 2016. NPR gave this account of what the hopeful had said:

Donald Trump: 'I Could ... Shoot Somebody, And I Wouldn't Lose Any Voters'

With less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucus, Donald Trump remains characteristically confident about his chances. In fact, the Republican front-runner is so confident, he says his supporters would stay loyal even if he happened to commit a capital offense.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. "It's, like, incredible."

It remains a famous statement. If he shot someone right there on Fifth Avenue, he wouldn't lose any votes.

Depending on the circumstances, the statement might even be true. On the other hand, let the word go forth to the nations:

The candidate was picturing a recognizable type of behavior. The average voter could easily picture what he was talking about.

Shooting someone is a crime, depending on the circumstances. Mainly though, it's a type of behavior which is widely seen on TV and in the movies.

Everyone has seen a million fictional characters as they stand in the street and shoot someone. For that reason, there was no great confusion concerning what the hopeful was talking about.

Eight years after that famous boast, we come to the crime with which the former president now stands charged in a New York City courtroom.

The gentleman stands accused of 34 felonies—but can anyone clearly describe or define the crimes with which he stands charged? In Monday morning's New York Times, Protess and Bromwich seemed to say that the case against Trump was very strong—but right at the start of their report, they offered those three disclaimers:

Will a Mountain of Evidence Be Enough to Convict Trump?

 In the official record, the case is known as the People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, and, for now, the people have the stronger hand: They have insider witnesses, a favorable jury pool and a lurid set of facts about a presidential candidate, a payoff and a porn star.

On Monday, the prosecutors will formally introduce the case to 12 all-important jurors, embarking on the first prosecution of an American president. The trial, which could brand Mr. Trump a felon as he mounts another White House run, will reverberate throughout the nation and test the durability of the justice system that Mr. Trump is attacking in a way that no other defendant would be allowed to do.

Though the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, has assembled a mountain of evidence, a conviction is hardly assured. Over the next six weeks, Mr. Trump’s lawyers will seize on three apparent weak points: a key witness’s credibility, a president’s culpability and the case’s legal complexity.

Prosecutors will seek to maneuver around those vulnerabilities, dazzling the jury with a tale that mixes politics and sex...

The prosecutors have a mountain of evidence, plus a favorable jury pool and a lurid set of facts! But even as they dazzled readers with their own lurid language, the reporters cited three "apparent weak points" in the D.A.'s case:

We'll focus on the third. According to Protess and Bromwich, the case is compromised by its "legal complexity." The prosecutors' case is weakened because it's so complex.

It's hard to argue with that statement. Indeed, as Judy Garland might have said, misquoting herself, We're a long way from Fifth Avenue now! 

In the current case, Donald J. Trump isn't charged with shooting someone on the street. Nor did the pair of Times reporters attempt in any serious way to describe or define the nature of the felony with which he does stand charged.

The reporters cited the "legal complexity," then pretty much let it go. It was a good example of lousy journalism, but we can't say we totally blame them.

In best tabloid style, they quoted one (1) former federal prosecutor who said the case against Trump is very strong. They quoted no other legal observers. More specifically, they quoted no legal observer who had an alternate view concerning the strength of the D.A.'s charges.

That was comically awful journalism. Here's why:

Right from the day the indictment was revealed, waves of legal observers have questioned—rightly or wrongly—the structure of the D.A.'s legal case.  Everybody knows that's true, unless they read Monday's Times. 

The case has been questioned right from the start. Just to offer a quick example, here's a report from Politico in April 2023, when the charging documents in the case were released:

Bragg’s case against Trump hits a wall of skepticism—even from Trump’s critics


Legal experts who had awaited Bragg’s charging documents to resolve some of the lingering mysteries about the case remained confounded by some aspects of the prosecution.

“It is said that if you go after the king, you should not miss,” wrote Richard Hasen, a campaign finance law expert at UCLA. “In this vein, it is very easy to see this case tossed for legal insufficiency or tied up in the courts well past the 2024 election before it might ever go to trial. It will be a circus that will embolden Trump, especially if he walks.”

Even Ian Millhiser, the liberal legal commentator for Vox, called the legal theory on which Bragg’s case is built “dubious.”

Millhiser and Hasen aren't Trump supporters. But they joined a chorus of legal observers who expressed concern about the complicated structure of the D.A.'s legal case. 

On Monday morning, Protess and Bromwich—and their editors—blew past this extensive history. Their one lone source said the case was strong. They quoted no other observer.

One day later, a bit of pushback appeared. The editorial wing of their own New York Times published a guest essay by a legal observer beneath this punishing headline:

I Thought the Bragg Case Against Trump Was a Legal Embarrassment. Now I Think It’s a Historic Mistake.

Professor Shugerman isn't a Trump supporter either. In his essay, he struggled to explain why he thinks the complicated legal case against Trump turns out to be an "historic mistake."

We're a long way from Fifth Avenue now! With no disrespect to Shugerman intended, good luck trying to decipher what the professor says:

Prosecutors could argue that New York State agencies have an interest in detecting conspiracies to defraud federal entities; they might also have a plausible answer to significant questions about whether New York State has jurisdiction or whether this stretch of a state business filing law is pre-empted by federal law.

However, this explanation is a novel interpretation with many significant legal problems. And none of the Manhattan D.A.’s filings or today’s opening statement even hint at this approach.

Instead of a theory of defrauding state regulators, Mr. Bragg has adopted a weak theory of “election interference,” and Justice Juan Merchan described the case, in his summary of it during jury selection, as an allegation of falsifying business records “to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.”

As a reality check, it is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal. The election law scholar Richard Hasen rightly observed, “Calling it election interference actually cheapens the term and undermines the deadly serious charges in the real election interference cases.”


The most accurate description of this criminal case is a federal campaign finance filing violation. Without a federal violation (which the state election statute is tethered to), Mr. Bragg cannot upgrade the misdemeanor counts into felonies. Moreover, it is unclear how this case would even fulfill the misdemeanor requirement of “intent to defraud” without the federal crime.

In stretching jurisdiction and trying a federal crime in state court, the Manhattan D.A. is now pushing untested legal interpretations and applications. I see three red flags raising concerns about selective prosecution upon appeal.

And so on and so on from there! 

Trump isn't charged with shooting someone—but with what does he stand charged? Quickly, let's state the obvious:

Professor Shugerman seems to think the legal case is a mess. Needless to say, that doesn't mean that his view is correct, or that his view should prevail. 

That said, a riotous comedy has ensued as the heading lights of American legal journalism have attempted to explain the crime with which Trump is charged. Or, perhaps more accurately, as they have fled from any attempt to undertake some such explication of this complexificated case.

So far, Trump hasn't shot anyone on Fifth Avenue, or even on Dylan's Positively 4th Street. Everyone agrees that there is a legal complexity to the case, but does that mean the case is unfounded or weak? 

Does that mean the case is unfounded? Mainly, though, with what felonies does this fellow stand charged?

That news report by Protess and Bromwich came straight from the old yellow press. With their lurid language and their single sourcing, they aped the kind of work which has spilled from entities like the National Enquirer over into the failing world of American "cable news."

Speaking of that segregated medium, consider what happened this past Tuesday night.

At 8 p.m., Andrew Weissmann and Melissa Murray—a pair of MSNBC legal analysts—appeared as guests on CNN. Pure conceptual chaos ensued as Professor Murray tried to explain the nature of the D.A.'s charges against defendant Trump.

Professor Murray crashed and burned in truly remarkable fashion. Shortly thereafter, in the 9 o'clock hour, two law professors appeared on Alex Wagner Tonight—and they at least were able to quote the New York statute on which D.A. Bragg's team has apparently decided to rely.

That said, the conceptual chaos was general as that second conversation unspooled. 

Tomorrow, we'll show you what Professor Murray initially said. We'll also show you what she said when her first strange remark was challenged.

From there, we'll move ahead to the Wagner program. At that point, we'll be able to show you the actual language of the actual statute (apparently) in question.

Everyone knows that D.A. Bragg has to find a way to turn misdemeanors into felonies. Given the way our human minds work, good night and good luck as you wait for some descendant of Godot to wander by and do that.

Meanwhile, this is the way our presidential elections now work. Given the limits of our species' basic skills, perhaps we should return to the ways the elect were chosen during the late Bronze Age!

Tomorrow: When humans (try to) explain

AFTERNOON: The silliest, stupidest, smuttiest child!


But also, Fox & Friends conquers Wisconsin: It's very, very hard to believe the culture change which has been engineered under cover of darkness at the Fox News Channel.

We're so old that we can remember when "family values" was the hook for American conservative movement and for its figurehead news org. 

That was then and this is now. Last night, the channel's silliest and stupidest boy was at it all over again.

We're speaking here of a very silly, very dimwitted, very undergrown child. The segment in question aired during last night's 8 o'clock hour on Jesse Watters Primetime.

You can watch the segment in question just by clicking here. Upon arrival, you'll find this stupid thumbnail description of the important interview session:

Meet the reformed Amish stripper
Former Amish community member Naomi Schwartzentruber talks to 'Jesse Watters Primetime' about her transition from the plain sect to risque work.

This is a silly and stupid child, but one who hides behind an extremely slippery comic persona. His deeply important interview segment started off like this:

WATTERS (4/23/24): In my book, Get It Together, people from all walks of life opened up to me. They shared their deepest life stories and some of their most insane secrets.

But just because we finished the book doesn't mean the Get It Together series is over. Today, we're talking to a reformed Amish stripper! Meet Naomi Naomi Schwartzentruber...

The silly child continues from there with his deeply thoughtful human exploration.

Presumably, the sheer stupidity of such "cable news" presentations pretty much speaks for itself. Then too, we have the cultural switch, in which this channel abandoned "family values" for a culture of leering and extremely dimwitted sexual prurience with a very strong wannabe element.

The finer people at the finer news orgs fail to report on such nonsense as this. Then too, there was the remarkable interview we saw this very morning on the channel's clownishly propagandistic morning show, the long-running Fox & Friends.

Early in today's 6 o'clock hour, Lawrence Jones, the program's newly anointed fourth friend, was shown on tape pretending to conduct an interview with two young women in Wisconsin. 

This appalling pseudo-interview showcased a separate part of Fox News culture:

 We refer to the refusal, or perhaps the inability, of its robotized propagandists to hear what other people are saying; their refusal or inability to see what's standing right there before them; and their refusal or inability to appreciate the fact that legitimate viewpoints which they don't share may actually exist among the many good, decent people of this very large world.

In a word, the pseudo-interview conducted by Jones was appalling. In our view, mother-frumper should take his myopia back to Texas and learn how to stifle his roll.

We'll plan to walk you through this ridiculous session tomorrow. If you want to take a look for yourself, the imitation of life starts right here.

 For today, we'll leave you with this:

The finer people at the finer news orgs avert their gaze from these garbage dumps. No one wants to battle with Fox. No one wants to report on the channel's deeply stupid and broken-souled culture while letting their readers decide.

In certain respects, MSNBC is moving this way. We offer that as a warning. 

One final point:

Traditionally, "stupid" hasn't been a category in our nation's press criticism. Serious people need to find a way to move past the reluctance to employ that critical term.

Stupid is as Stupid persistently does. Mother Gump said that!

ELECTION: Is the case against Trump "an historic embarrassment?"


Or is it extremely strong? Incomparably, your Daily Howler keeps churning out results.

She appeared today at 6:03 a.m. Her appearance on Morning Joe ended at 6:20. Along the way, she restated her "basic takeaway" from yesterday's Morning Joe. 

Once again, she said the prosecutors may not have strong evidence showing that Donald J. Trump played an active role in the coverup of the conspiracy. She offered the same assessment yesterday, as we reported here.

That said, legal analyst Lisa Rubin did no rooting today. She merely stated her view of the evidence as it's been previewed in court.

She didn't say that she has been, and still is, hoping the prosecutors have a whole lot more evidence against Trump. This morning, she stated her assessment of the available facts and she left it right there.

That doesn't mean that she isn't rooting for a conviction. People do have their preferences. 

It meant that she returned to the old journalistic ways, in which major journalists restrict themselves to stating the relevant facts, without signaling viewers as to which side they should be on.

Early this morning, she got it right! The analysts rose and cheered.

(Inevitably, Willie Geist offered a corrective. "Most of us believe that's exactly what happened," he said as soon as Rubin finished, meaning that everyone believes that Trump was knowingly involved in the cover-up part of the operation.)

Lisa Rubin is a good, decent person. This morning, she engaged in a bit of self-correction. 

Meanwhile, back at the New York Times, Protess and Bromberg continue to work in the wake of Monday's front-page news report, whose very strange dual headline said this:

Will a Mountain of Evidence Be Enough to Convict Trump?
Monday will see opening statements in the People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump. The state’s case seems strong, but a conviction is far from assured.

Do the prosecutors really have "a mountain of evidence?" Based on her reports for Morning Joe, Rubin seems to think that the answer may be no. 

In Monday morning's front-page report,  Protess and Bromwich said they do—and their claim about the mountain of evidence went right into that headline.

That said, a question may seem to arise concerning that Day One construction. The question would be this: 

If the prosecutors have "a mountain of evidence," why in the world would a conviction seem to be "far from assured?"

No conviction can ever be certain. But why would conviction be far from assured, in the face of a mountain of evidence? 

Could it be that the prosecutors are saddled with a Trump-lovin' jury?  It sounds like that isn't it. Monday's news report started like this:

PROTESS AND BROMWICH (4/22/24): In the official record, the case is known as the People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, and, for now, the people have the stronger hand: They have insider witnesses, a favorable jury pool and a lurid set of facts about a presidential candidate, a payoff and a porn star.

On Monday, the prosecutors will formally introduce the case to 12 all-important jurors, embarking on the first prosecution of an American president. The trial, which could brand Mr. Trump a felon as he mounts another White House run, will reverberate throughout the nation and test the durability of the justice system that Mr. Trump is attacking in a way that no other defendant would be allowed to do.

The people have the stronger hand, they instantly said. They have a lurid set of facts—and they also have the advantage of a favorable jury pool! 

Later, they backtracked a bit on the jury. 

PROTESS AND BROMWICH: Presidents have been impeached, driven from office and rejected at the polls. Mr. Trump is about to be the first to have his fate decided not just by voters, but by 12 citizens in a jury box.

And they all hail from Manhattan, the borough that made Mr. Trump famous, and where he is now deeply unpopular. A favorable jury pool, legal experts say, has given Mr. Bragg a leg up at the trial.

Yet the jury, which was made final on Friday and includes six alternates, is no rubber stamp: It includes at least two people who have expressed some affection for the former president, and it takes only one skeptical member to force a mistrial, an outcome that Mr. Trump would celebrate as a win.

Apparently, one lone juror can mess everything up! For example, one lone juror could decide—as Rubin has provisionally done—that the mountain of evidence may not be the Everest that front-page headline announced.

In our view, that front-page report by Protess and Bromwich was one of the least appropriate we think we've ever read. 

The scribes were full of high intensity right from the start of their sex-drenched report. They offered the views of exactly one (1) legal observer to back their assessment about the strength of the D.A.'s case.

No alternative legal view of the evidence was expressed.

Today, the reporters present their third straight front-page report about the ongoing trial. Even today, the question remains:

If the prosecutors have a mountain of evidence, why is conviction far from assured?

In Monday's front-page report, they offered three reasons for that judgment. You see those reasons listed here, in their report's third paragraph:

PROTESS AND BROMWICH: Though the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, has assembled a mountain of evidence, a conviction is hardly assured. Over the next six weeks, Mr. Trump’s lawyers will seize on three apparent weak points: a key witness’s credibility, a president’s culpability and the case’s legal complexity.

Prosecutors will seek to maneuver around those vulnerabilities, dazzling the jury with a tale that mixes politics and sex...

As they dazzled readers with their own language, the reporters listed three apparent weak points. Tomorow, we'll start to focus on the third.

Yesterday afternoon, the editorial page at the Times pushed back against Monday's front-page headline. In this guest essay, a law professor offered the alternate view which was missing from Monday's news report.

What does Professor Shugerman think of that legal case? The headline above his essay gives Times readers a choice:

I Thought the Bragg Case Against Trump Was a Legal Embarrassment. Now I Think It’s a Historic Mistake.

Is the case against Donald J. Trump a legal embarrassment? Or is it simply an historical mistake?

In the end, it may turn out to be extremely strong! But in the meantime, the legal case seems to be extremely complex.

Can anybody here play this game? The year's election hangs in the balance.

With that in mind, can anyone even begin to explain the complex legal case?

Tomorrow: We're a long way from Fifth Avenue now

AFTERNOON: What Lisa Rubin said to Willie!


Old ways disappear: Journalistically speaking, we'd call it a moment that was.

Yesterday, opening statements were delivered at the Trump hush money / election corruption trial. When we left off this morning, Donald J. Trump had somehow "corrupted the 2016 election" (New York Times) by keeping the electorate from hearing a 30-year-old bogus story.

How dare he? He'd kept us from hearing an unflattering story which was untrue, bogus, false! According to the construction atop the Times' front page, we the people needed to hear that untrue story before we could know how to vote! 

Truth to tell, our high-end, mainstream press corps logic has functioned in similar ways for an extremely long time. Soon it was this very morning, and Morning Joe was on.

At 6:07 a.m., Willie Geist introduced Lisa Rubin to report on yesterday's session. To watch the entire segment which ensued, you can start by clicking here.

Rubin is a good, decent person. The initial exchange in question started off like this:

GEIST (4/23/24): Lisa, you're in the overflow room yesterday, watching all of this, kind of keeping track of Donald Trump's facial gestures and perhaps nodding off. What was your big takeaway yesterday from Day One?

According to Willie, Rubin had been keeping track of Trump's facial gestures and signs of his nodding off. When he sought her main takeaway, Rubin responded with this:

RUBIN (continuing directly): The big takeaway is that this is a crime about falsification of business records. And yet, what the government seems to have the most evidence of is of the underlying conspiracy. 

What's still unknown to me is how they're going to prove Donald Trump's own involvement in the falsification of the business records with which he's been charged. 

So we heard a lot of previews of the evidence of the construction of the conspiracy—who was involved in it, who will place Donald Trump with the knowledge and intent to commit election related crimes. What I didn't hear as much about is how Donald Trump then directed the coverup thereafter. 

So far, so journalistic! She seemed to be describing a possible shortfall of evidence, as indicated by the prosecutors' opening statement.

According to Rubin, the prosecutors hadn't shown how they plan to prove that Trump was involved in the falsification of the business records. Presumably, if the prosecutors can't prove that, their desire to tag Trump with 34 felonies will pretty much fall apart.

With facial features gone and forgotten, thar's how Rubin started. This was her account, as a journalistic observer, of the relevant facts.

So far, Rubin was coloring inside traditional lines. Below, you see what she said next:

RUBIN (continuing directly): For example, Willie, there is a 2017 Oval Office meeting between Donald Trump and Michael Cohen where the prosecution says they cemented the repayment deal.  How are they going to prove that? 

One, through the testimony of Michael Cohen. But I was looking yesterday to hear how else are they going to prove that? 

They say they have a photograph of the two gentlemen at that meeting. They also have invoices days afterwards, and then a couple of days after that the first payment to Michael Cohen. But I was hoping to hear that they have a lot more than that...

Say what? Rubin was hoping to hear that the prosecutors "have a lot more [evidence] than that?"

Just like that, Rubin seemed to move from reporting to rooting—to rooting for a conviction. Continuing from above, here's how she continued from there:

RUBIN (continuing directly): ...But I was hoping to hear that they have a lot more than that—somebody who was also at the meeting, who overheard the meeting, who placed some of these documents in front of Donald Trump, heard his comments about it. 

I didn't hear that yesterday. I'm hoping that we hear prosecutors have a lot more about the back end of the deal, as they do—as much as they do about the front end of it.

By now, we'd come a long way from facial gestures. Rubin said she hopes that prosecutors have a lot more evidence against Donald J. Trump than they seemed to signal yesterday. 

She's openly rooting for a conviction, as is everyone else on the slacker, joke-infested primetime end of this corporate Blue America clan.

In our view, that presentation by Rubin was remarkably undisguised. In our view, we're looking at the wages of "segregation by viewpoint"—at the fruits of creating journalistic clans where everyone shares a point of view and takes turns giving it voice.

(Including slippery claims about the doorman and bogus claims about the reason(s) why Cohen went to jail.)

 As on Fox, so too on MS—everyone agrees with everyone else during primetime broadcasts. Before too long, everyone is openly rooting for their preferred view to prevail. 

No one's assortment of claims and jokes will ever come under challenge. In Pundit A says something bogus, Pundit B repeats it.

A nation can always choose to run its news orgs this way. If you think this leads to good results, we'll offer the standard remedy:

Go ahead! Take a good look around!

Rubin seemed to sense a possible shortage in the evidence against Trump. She could have offered that observation as her main takeaway and just left it at that.

Instead, she powered ahead and shared her dream. It's what they do on the Fox News Channel. It's what we now do over here.

Human nature moves us this way. Does it lead to the best results?

An additional link: In order to watch that full exchange, click here for the Morning Joe site. After that, click on the video with this title:

What you missed on Day 5 of Trump's hush money trial.

ELECTION: Is it time for her to go?


The doorman knocks early and often: Journalistically speaking—and "at long last"—is it time for her to go?

Journalistically speaking, we refer to Lisa Rubin. She's either "an MSNBC legal analyst" or "an MSNBC legal correspondent," depending on which part of the thumbnail you read.

She's a relatively recent addition to the army of legal contributors who have clogged the airwaves at that Blue America corporate channel keeping ratings and profits high. She's also a food, decent person.

That said:

This morning, she appeared on Morning Joe to discuss the events which took place yesterday at the Donald J. Trump election conspiracy trial.

She appeared at the start of the 6 o'clock hour. By this afternoon, we'll be able to link you to videotape of what she said, and we'll give you a fuller transcript.

We did manage to capture some exact quotes as she spoke about yesterday's opening statement by the prosecution. She voiced her concern about something she heard—rather, about the things she didn't hear.

 In Rubin's view, several dogs had failed to bark within one part of the case against Trump.

Several dogs had failed to bark! Rubin voiced her concern:

What I didn't hear as much about is how Donald Trump then directed the coverup. How are they going to prove that?

I was hoping to hear that they have a lot more than that. I didn't hear that yet. I'm hoping that we hear prosecutors have a lot more about the back end of the deal—as much as they have about the front end of it.

Later, we'll offer a complete transcript. You'll be able to see the fuller remarks, in which Rubin announced that she's rooting for the prosecution to have a full and complete mountain of evidence against defendant Donald J. Trump.

Credit where due! Rubin wasn't hiding the fact that she, as a major journalist, is rooting for a criminal conviction. We recalled the remarkable breakdown form last year, when Rubin and several other "legal analysts" reported that they were pre-existing personal friends of E. Jean Carroll, who was suing Trump in civil court for an alleged sexual assault.

Carroll won her case. For reasons which never went explained, MSNBC had assigned several of her personal friends to report on the progress of her trial.

Journalistically speaking, that struck us as a remarkable state of affairs. This morning, there was Rubin, making it clear that she's rooting for the Yankees, not for the Red Sos. Or you may choose to see it the other way around.

This afternoon, we'll link you to tape. We'll transcribe the full statement. 

Journalistically speakng, it it time for her to go? We'll link, then you can decide.

Meanwhile, back at the New York Times, it was Protess and Bromwich all over again. Today, though, they were listed as Bromwich and Protess. 

Their front-page report about yesterday's session contains 36 paragraphs. In our view, the "mountain of evidence" boys got to the doorman fast. Front-page headline included:

An Unprecedented Trial Opens With Two Visions of Trump

(1) Manhattan prosecutors delivered a raw recounting of Donald J. Trump’s seamy past on Monday as they debuted their case against him to jurors, the nation and the world, reducing the former president to a co-conspirator in a plot to cover up three sex scandals that threatened his 2016 election win. 

(2) Their opening statement was a pivotal moment in the first prosecution of an American president, a sweeping synopsis of the case against Mr. Trump, who watched from the defense table, occasionally shaking his head. Moments later, Mr. Trump’s lawyer delivered his own opening, beginning with the simple claim that “President Trump is innocent,” then noting that he is once again the presumptive Republican nominee and concluding with an exhortation for jurors to “use your common sense.”


(8) Matthew Colangelo, a senior aide to the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, then seized on what he called a conspiracy in the criminal case. Over the course of a 45-minute opening, as Mr. Bragg watched from the front row, Mr. Colangelo calmly walked the jury through the prosecution’s argument that Mr. Trump orchestrated the plot to corrupt the 2016 election.

(9) The scheme, he explained, involved hush-money deals with three people who had salacious stories to sell: a porn star, a Playboy model and a doorman at one of Mr. Trump’s buildings.

(10) Mr. Trump, who faces up to four years in prison, directed allies to buy those people’s silence to protect his candidacy, Mr. Colangelo explained. Mr. Pecker took care of the model and the doorman, while Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who is set to be the prosecution’s star witness, paid off the porn star.

Mr. Pecker took care of the doorman. The doorman arrived in paragraph 9, or perhaps right in paragraph 1.

The doorman arrived in paragraph 9, or possibly in paragraph 1. It wasn't until paragraph 25 that we rubes were advised about this minor detail:

(24) The plan was to watch out for any damaging stories about Mr. Trump—and then hide them from voters.

(25) Such stories arose swiftly. Soon, Mr. Pecker bought the silence of the doorman, whose story about Mr. Trump fathering a child out of wedlock turned out to be false.

The doorman's story—sold for cash in 2015, it dated back to the 1980s—turned out to be false! The doorman had been threatening to spread a story which happened to be untrue.

Presumably, Donald J. Trump would have known that the doorman's tale was untrue. But according to the logic of the Times report, Trump had engaged in a "plot to corrupt the 2016 election" by taking steps to stop a money-grubbing sleaze merchant from peddling a tale which was false.

So goes one part of the logic. According to Bromwich and Protess' account of the prosecution's claims, this was part of the gentleman's crime. More specifically, this was part of his corruption of our election!

The doorman knocks early and often in this morning's Times. That said, we don't have access to the text of the prosecution's actual opening statement. For that reason, we can't show you the precise way Prosecutor Colangelo presented this suppression of a false claim—the way he allegedly scored it as one part of the defendant's felonious crime.

We can tell you this:

Last night, an "all-star panel" had been gathered on Blue America's MSNBC for a special Ttump On Trial program. 

Who sat on that all-star panel? When Rachel Maddow called the roll, it turned out that they were just the same old people who host the channel's shows each night! 

(Everyone was there except Ari Melber, the channel's top legal host!)

To our ear, the all-stars were rather promiscuous, throughout their two hours, in the way they cited the doorman, generally failing to let us know that the story he had been threatening to peddle was false. 

Like Bromwich and Protess, they downplayed that minor wrinkle. No one ever mentioned the presumptive fact that Donald J. Trump would have known, decades later, that the doorman's story was false.

The doorman's story wasn't true; the doorman's story was false! Mentioning that basic fact reminds us out here in soma land:

Sometimes, the exciting things that people say lack the advantage of being true!

The doorman's story was false. How about the claim by Stormey Daniels—the claim that she had consensual sex, on one occasion in 2006, with the defendant Donald J. Trump?

Is it possible that her claim is false? Well yes, of course it is!

We ourselves would be inclined to bet that her claim is actually true. But we can't exactly prove it.

Have previous president engaged in sexual relations with women (arguably, even with one girl) not their wives? Dear Jack was worst of all, but the answer is screamingly yes.

In her 2019 biography of Barbara Bush, Susan Page judged that President Bush 41 had a long affair with NAME WITHHELD. For Peter Baker's account in the New York Times, you can just click here.

We don't know if that judgment was accurate. That said, NAME WITHHELD came from the finer class. All-stars only scream and yell when extramarital sex is had with a woman from a lower station, with (say it loud!) someone described a "a porn star." Everyone knew they mustn't discuss the conclusion Page had drawn.

At any rate, Donald J. Trump corrupted our 2016 election by suppressing a false report! This is the way the accusation scans in the hands of Bromwich and Protess, and we suppose in the somewhat shaky hands of the prosecution.

In fairness, we checked with other major news orgs. We checked to see how often the doorman knocked in their accounts of yesterday's opening statement. 

We checked with the Washington Post. We checked with the Associated Press (no paywall). 

We checked with CNN (no paywall). We checked with the mothership—with NBC News itself (no paywall).

None of them even mentioned the doorman in their reports on the opening statement! At the glorious New York Times, the doorman knocked in paragraph 1—and you had to get to paragraph 25 to learn that his story was false, with no mention of the fact that Donald J. Trump presumably would have known that.

In our view, the all-stars were quite promiscuous last night with a second part of this clumsy logical fandango. We refer to the reason(s) why Michael Cohen went to prison.

The all-stars kept referring to his jailing—and they kept finessing some basic facts. This brings us up to what Joe Scarborough said, this very morning, about Yeats and The Second Coming.

"Thew worst are full of passionate intensity," Yeats said in his famous poem. Scarborough quoted the line.

Journalistically speaking, it isn't always all that easy to see where "the worst" are plying their trade. 

The garbage is frequent at the "cable news" channel which exists in service to Red America. Journalistically, are some of the worst now found on Blue America's channel too? In our most famous newspaper?

At any rate, there was Rubin, this very morning, rooting, and rooting quite hard, for a criminal conviction. Later today, we'll link you to the videotape of what this good, decent person said.

She said she's hoping to learn that the prosecutors have more evidence than they suggested. Gone with the wind are the very old days of "just the [relevant] facts."

With us now are the fully emerging days of the clan. Within that realm, a criminal corrupted our election by  suppressing a bogus tale!

Tomorrow: Wherever the winding road leads