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.


  1. "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."

    It is unclear what Somerby is referring to when he says 30-year-old bogus story, but the NY Times is clearly also referring to the info about Stormy Daniels (which is not 30 years old or bogus) and Karen McDougal (which is not 30 years old or bogus) and whatever stories we didn't hear in the National Enquirer because they were captured and killed but not mentioned by Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. It seems unlikely these three stories (whatever the 30-year old, bogus one is about) were the only ones occurring in Trump's capture-and-kill operation. Just the easiest ones to document for trial purposes.

    I have heard it suggested on the internet that Trump may have been behind the negative story that was published while Ted Cruz was Trump's opponent for the nomination, about how Cruz's father may have been involved in JFK's death. There is no evidence of that, but it does illustrate that we may not know the extent of the efforts on Trump's behalf, beyond suppressing these affairs.

    Somerby appears to be only mentioning that bogus story (without enough details to identify it) in order to clear Trump of scandals coming out in this trial, suggesting that they may all be bogus or too old to care about, when that is not consistent with the evidence that will be presented.

    So, why is Somerby propagandizing on Trump's behalf?

    1. "She's openly rooting for a conviction, as is everyone else on the slacker, joke-infested primetime end of this corporate Blue America clan." As is every halfway decent person who sees the approaching disaster of a second Trump term. Imagine someone watching Hitler on the cusp of seizing power, understanding the danger, and yet NOT rooting that he be stopped by a conviction in such a trial. Somerby is myopic beyond hope. (Not to mention that Somerby's decades-long crusade is against any hint of dishonesty. So should someone rooting for a Trump loss be dishonest and pretend otherwise? Somerby would do a month's worth of posts decrying such "phoniness" and dishonesty.)

  2. Somerby says:

    "At 6:07 a.m., Willie Geist introduced Lisa Rubin to report on yesterday's session. "

    Geist himself says (as trascribed by Somerby):

    "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?"

    Somerby says Rubin is reporting but Geist says something different. He asks her for "her takeaway". That asks her to comment upon what happened, to interpret Trump's behavior, to apply her expertise as an attorney to the situation. Reporters don't do that. Legal analysts/correspondents do that and Geist seems aware of the distinction, while Somerby is not (he calls her contribution a report).

    Somerby then interprets a statement about what Rubin was hoping to hear, as evidence supporting the prosecution's claims, as "rooting" for Trump's conviction. It seems more likely, since she was critiquing the prosecution's case, that she was referring to the lack of certain evidence as a weaness, not something she personally wished for.

    The distinction concerns a kind of standard academic phrasing when reviewing a performance. For example, the conductor emphasized the wind section in his interpretation but I was hoping for more percussion in the last movement" or Lawrence Olivier is the premier interpreter of Hamlet, but I was hoping his portrayal of Faust would have more passion.

    Somerby, of course, has a vested interest in showing that Rubin is biased (she IS on MSNBC after all), so he forces her remark into his preferred narrative, that liberals are all slathering for Trump's downfall, to the point of complaining that an opening statement didn't have enough of the right kind of evidence in it.

    As for myself, I am always hoping for more of my favorite actor in whatever movie he appears in. Aren't you? Does it mean I am biased against whatever the film actually is? We will, of course, find out whether the prosecution includes the right info, as time goes on and the jury deliberates. Rubin's opinion will not matter at all, since it is they and not the public who will decide Trump's fate. That's why it is odd that Somerby would think that anything Rubin says COULD bias the proceedings, even if she were the most biased person on Earth when it comes to Trump. She has no ability to influence anything and can say what she wants.

    So, Somerby's actual concern seems to be about biasing potential voters against Trump by pointing out his crimes. And why would an actual liberal be upset about that? Voters do need to know all of the evidence and things that Trump has done so they can make an informed decision this time, unlike in 2016 when he successful manipulated access to info about Stormy and Karen and Melania that would have reflected poorly on him, perhaps costing him the election (coupled with the Access Hollywood tape).

  3. " As on Fox, so too on MS—everyone agrees with everyone else during primetime broadcasts. "

    We all know this is not true. We have seen instances of hosts and guests disagreeing about various things. Even on Fox where they have their token liberal. Somerby keeps pushing this idea but it is as bogus as whatever it was 30 years ago that he claims is false.

  4. "She could have offered that observation as her main takeaway and just left it at that.

    Instead, she powered ahead and shared her dream."

    This is what mindreading looks like. Somerby, who will not use the word lie, assumes he knows what Rubin meant and cannot conceive any other possibility.

    How does Somerby know that repairing that lack of evidence is her dream, instead of just something she believes would make the prosecution stronger, more likely to produce the perfect outcome? Is she really offering a prayer when she says she would hope to see something else? It is all in the context of how good was the opening statement, not what does she prefer as the outcome of the trial -- a question Geist didn't ask and she had no reason to be thinking about. But Somerby clearly is.

    1. Of all the mind-readers who have blogs, Somerby's is the most tribal.

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

    Wow. This is quite a serious thoughtcrime. Could be enough to get you kicked out of the club. lol

    Also, enjoying the Politico story about the off-the-record discussions going on between the MSM's legal "experts" so that they can all keep on the same anti-trump page.

    1. Everyone at MSNBC is rooting for Trump go be convicted. This is consistent with
      being decent human beings.
      Bob has always found any legal
      challenge against Trump wrong.
      Early on he would write that assumptions
      Of criminality in Trumps behavior
      “may be true” but they were still
      “trying to find a legal solution to
      a political problem.” The people in
      Colorado pointing to the Constitutional
      Provisions to keep Trump off their
      ballet were “insane.”
      So Bob takes the same posistion
      that Trump does: if the President does
      it, it’s legal. Of course Trump means if
      he does it, but that’s the only President
      he is conserned with.
      Bob backs him up on this.
      Bob is a fool.

    2. "So Bob takes the same position
      that Trump does: if the President does
      it, it’s legal."

      This, of course, is false. Why do you have to make shit up to make your point?

    3. It’s not made up at all. “Democrats are
      trying to find a legal solution to a
      political problem.” Any legal action
      taken against Trump, Bob insists,
      is merely political. It’s the exact
      posisition Trump takes. Please explain
      the difference.

    4. Somerby isn’t worth defending. You are wrong PP about what Somerby has said.

    5. "Any legal action
      taken against Trump, Bob insists,
      is merely political."

      I believe this one is false, too.

    6. I believe you are not pointing to anything to support your veiw because nothing is there that supports your view. Can you point to anything in any of these indictments against Trump where Bob
      has even suggested the legal action
      might be correct?

    7. Anonymouse 7:56pm, who knew that conning voters was illegal rather than being politically damaging? Who knew that it’s illegal to for candidates to hide their dirty laundry.

      They need to start coughing up receipts rather than relying on the notion that “catch and kill” is going to be legally incriminating when people have voluntarily sold their stories.

    8. Don’t pretend Pecker’s scheme with Trump is politics as usual.

    9. The outright contempt for Republican voters by Republican politicians, is something every media outlet should emulate.
      A real media criticism blog would repeat this truth daily.

  6. "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."

    This is too much to hang on Rubin's ambiguous use of the word "hope" in a critique of the prosecution's opening case statement. It is way too much to hang his call for her removal from her job upon. Somerby seems to be unaware of how much of his claims are his own interpretation and not the certainties he asserts based on Rubin's analysis of the weaknesses of the prosecution's remarks.

    I doubt Somerby cares what might happen to Rubin. Being in a position of relative powerlessness, as Somerby is, journalistically speaking, that is no excuse to try to harm someone by taking their job, simply because you might possibly (or might not) disagree with them about whether Trump should be found guilty. I find it shocking that Somerby does this kind of thing so frequently -- it is mean-spirited out-of-proportion to the offense.

  7. Lisa Rubin does not see herself as a journalist but as a social activist involved in public service:

    "In January 2018, Lisa underwent a substantial career transition, departing from her legal profession to follow her passion for media and public service. She joined MSNBC as an off-air legal analyst, offering insights on prominent shows such as The Rachel Maddow Show and Alex Wagner Tonight. Her on-air contributions delved into diverse topics, encompassing the legal standing of former US President Donald Trump and his family, the #MeToo movement, and Supreme Court nominations."

    It is Somerby who shoves her into the reporter niche before telling us she is insufficiently objective. No one would say that about a social activist -- they are supposed to be passionate about their causes. Somerby is being unfair to Rubin, perhaps because he is working so hard to put across his own narratives about liberals.

    1. She is also Canadian, which may affect the way she uses the word "hope" in that single sentence that is doing all the heavy lifting for Somerby's thesis.

  8. Somerby has chosen to believe Trump's version of what happened with Stormy Daniels, but legal experts considered that defense weird and unusual, after it was tried in court today:

    "In his opening statements during Donald Trump's New York hush money criminal trial this Monday, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche portrayed adult movie star Stormy Daniels as a liar who sought to "extort" Trump and his then-lawyer Michael Cohen.

    It was an opening gambit that sparked "more than a half-dozen" objections from prosecutors and surprised legal analysts.

    According to reports, most of those objections were sustained by Judge Juan Merchan, including Blanche's claim that there was nothing illegal about Trump's alleged attempt to buy Daniels' silence about their alleged affair with a $130,000 hush money payment — a line of questioning that MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin said was "weird."

    “Not just because there was one objection, but because of how many there were relative to the brevity of Todd Blanche’s opening statement," she wrote in a post to X.

    CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen agreed, writing in an op-ed that there were "repeated objections that were upheld — probably the highest rate of upheld objections to an opening that I have seen in my 30-plus years of practicing law.”

    1. Anon you missed the part when TDH said he believes Stormy is telling the truth about her trust with Trump.

    2. And yet he keeps calling her an extortionist.

    3. Anon whether he calls her an extortionist or not (I didn’t check) the 2 things aren’t inconsistent. She could be telling the truth and at the same time be an “extortionist. I tend to believe her story but let’s face she made a living sucking cocks in ‘adult’ films not that there is anything wrong with that

    4. Somerby calls her a grifter and con artist and says he doesn’t know about the sex. Are you aware that she also produced such films and made a lot of money without cheating her contractors. She approached Trump as a performer and businessperson and he insisted on the sex.

    5. Anonymouse 10:32pm, Daniels is a grifter. She was shopping that story around after Trump told her he couldn’t get her on The Apprentice.

      This is sleazy up and down for everyone involved.

    6. Daniels didn’t “shop around” her story. She was paid $15,000 in 2011 by In Touch magazine. The story never ran because Cohen threatened to sue them. She was willing to talk to the National enquirer in 2016, but because the enquirer had a cozy relationship with Trump, pecker informs Cohen, and the $130,000 is offered.

      Why telling your story is “grifting”, I don’t know, but Trump being the king of grifters, I’m not sure why gritting should be anything but the smart play to Trump’s loyal fans like you, Cecelia.

      And none of this excuses the fraud and illegal campaign contributions that Trump felt were necessary to prevent Daniels from telling her story.

    7. If Stormy knew the $130K was catch and kill, then she’s a blackmailer, or at least blackmail-adjacent. If she didn’t know, she’s betraying Trump’s trust for money (I think it’s implicit in extramarital affairs that the affair is to be kept secret). Either way, she’s an unappealing and unsavory character.

      BTW, noting that Stormy is a rotten person is not equivalent to taking Trump’s side or suggesting that Trump has acted honorably. It says nothing at all about Trump.

    8. Is there any evidence that she knew or are you just pulling shit out your ass?

    9. The entire staff on Fox News sucks Republican dick for a living. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    10. I keep reading these stories about how Stormy Daniels is a Capitalist (like Cecelia's claim above). Why should Capitalists not be able to use our courts?

    11. Noting that Stormy Daniels is a successful Capitalist doesn't make Trump any less of a long-time failed businessman.

    12. The National Enquirer scheme was "catch and kill" and it suppressed the stories of the doorman, Karen McDougal and perhaps others who haven't been named. The agreement included manufacturing positive stories about Trump and negative ones about his opponents. Trump and Cohen decided not to use the Enquirer to suppress Stormy Daniels' story so they approacher her directly demanding she sign an NDA in exchange for $130,000 which Cohen paid and Donald Trump reimbursed as "legal services" payments, falsifying his records and not reporting the payment to the FEC as a campaign donation.

      No one here has any basis for calling Daniels a rotten person. She had coerced sex with Donald Trump following a business meeting to discuss her appearing on Trump's Apprentice show.

    13. "This is sleazy up and down for everyone involved."
      Quick reminder that the Republican Presidential nominee would fuck his daughter, if she let him.

    14. Anonymouse 11:56pm, so Daniel’s didn’t actually “shop her story”, she was merely paid 15k for it to be printed in a magazine?

      That’s not cashing in on a “I slept with famous guy Donald Trump (ewww…) expose’, that’s merely telling your own little story about doing a celeb for fun and profit.

    15. Cecelia,
      Karl Marx, himself, couldn't show his disdain for Capitalism as strongly as you did at 1:01.
      Great job!

    16. Of Trump's many, many bankruptcies, which is your favorite, and why?

  9. I am personally hoping Trump's heart explodes after he inhales too much Adderall.

  10. What has Somerby done to David in Cal, Cecelia, and most importantly, Mao?

  11. I don't know what you are talking avout an alleged 30 year old crime of Trump's. The prosecution does have more that what they have shown so far and Rubin knows this.

  12. I don't know what you are refering to with an alleged crime by Trump 30 years ago, which you did not elborate on. Rubin knows the prosecuters have a lot more on Trump. It is early, the trial just started.

  13. Has the Ambassador to the UN come over to Daniel’s place to offer her a job? You know…the way Bill Richard’s did during Lewinsky matter?

    Has Bill Clinton’s best friend, Vernon Jordon, taken Daniels to an attorney to sign an affidavit that made false claims? As Vern did with Lewinsky?

    Did Trump ask his secretary to come in on a weekend, so he could coach her in a lie, before she gave testimony before a grand jury that upcoming week? As Bill Clinton did?

    Asking for Ken Starr and Paula Jone’s attorney and a several women labeled sluts and nuts.

    1. Trump did have someone coach Cassidy Hutchinson and others on their testimony re 1/6. Some of your questions about Clinton reflect right wing folklore.

    2. Anonymouse 9:18pm, Clinton did call Currie in on a weekend to “refresh “ his memory of whether or not Vlinton and Lewinsky were alone in the Oval Office. Currie was still in the process of several times interviewed before a grand jury.

      Bill Richardson did show up at the Watergate to interview Lewinsky who was using her mother’s apartment there.

      Clinton’s bud Vernon Jordan did take Lewinsky to file an affidavit saying that she and Clinton never had sex.

      Evidently, impeding the investigation of a Special Prosecutor is okey dokey, let alone impeding the public’s fictitious “right” to dirty laundry.


    4. And Trump did the same thing with Hutchinson.

    5. Fellatio is morally good.

    6. Anonymouse 10:29pm, her story was a 2nd hand account that was denied by the other people at the scene who stated they would testify under oath.

      I’m not sure what “memory” they would be “refreshing”, but I’ve no doubt she was told to be vague and that not being able to remember something is no crime, etc.

      No affidavit signing, I assume.

    7. That’s how you justify Trump? Pathetic.

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Anonymouse 11:10pm, no, it’s how I justify anyone saying “where’s the crime stuff so far”. Whether the question is from a Trump- hating reporter, Bob, or any blog board commenter.

    10. The crime has to do with the expenditure of money violating campaign finance laws. It’s not complicated. None of the Lewinsky history you serve up has any parallels here. Pecker attested that the catch and kill strategy that was the subject of his meeting with Trump and Cohen was about protecting Trump’s campaign for president.

    11. “Pecker attested that the catch and kill strategy that was the subject of his meeting with Trump and Cohen was about protecting Trump’s campaign for president.”


    12. Duh. Lock him up!

    13. "Duh. Lock him up!"
      Be careful, 7:30.
      You're opening yourself to criticism from Trump's cuck, who writes "The Daily Howler" blog.

    14. Checkout our Cecelia, embracing wokeness on the internet. I told you she'd come around.

  14. To the fucking Somerby defenders: here is where he says the blue tribe is trying to “find a legal solution to
    a political problem.”

    MISLEADING AND MISLED: We heard the quiet part spoken out loud!

    “We're very, very concerned about the possibility that Donald J. Trump could get elected again. And we seem to feel that he can only be stopped if we can get him locked up.”

    “Tolliver offered no sense that our blue tribe can fashion a political solution to this political problem. “

    “With a justified sense of foreboding, our tribe is afraid that Donald J. Trump could get elected again. But we don't know how”

  15. Your claim was that Somerby said that any legal action taken against Trump is political. That means Somerby would have to say THE PROSECUTORS took action against Trump for political reasons. They’re the ones taking legal action against him. Somerby doesn’t say that here. The fact that the rest of us libs might want Trump locked up doesn’t support your statement, even a little bit.

    1. “Somerby doesn’t say that here.”
      “The Democrats are looking for a
      Legal solution for a political problem.”
      So, he had been saying it from day one.
      This on top of mountains of bullshit taking Trump’s part on every legal issue
      on every occasion, and even theorizing
      about how clever Trump is, provoking
      overreach, etc, ignoring the victims of
      Trump’s “disorder.”.
      Always, every time, on every single

    2. “…if we can get him locked up.” Who is we, PP?

    3. We is the angels.

    4. 8:06 - Somerby's point in making the statement you quote is that we libs may be too incompetent to beat Trump at the polls, so we're hoping the legal system takes him out of the equation. But Somerby's statement about what we libs might hope for is not a statement that the prosecutors, the ones who must decide whether to take legal action, are motivated by political concerns.

      Thus, a far as I know, Somerby has never suggested that "Any legal action taken against Trump is merely political."

    5. "we libs may be too incompetent to beat Trump at the polls"

      Anything is possible!

    6. Somerby has provided as much to back-up his idea that liberals may be too incompetent to beat Trump at the polls, as he did that Biden will win every vote come November.

  16. The Clintons are innocent.

  17. Somerby is Trump's cuck.