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.


  1. As Somerby himself noted, this is the second prong of the Trump defense -- the idea that there was no crime that would make the falsification of business records into a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Somerby spends a lot of words advancing that idea today. This is a variation on the theme that Republicans circulated during Trump's business fraud trial -- that if there were a crime, it was victimless.

    What would Trump do without faithful servants like Somerby to advance his interests? Go to jail. If the prosecution does its job, he will still go to jail. Because that is the just outcome and Trump is not above the law, no matter how Somerby and others try to muddy the waters. What matters is the instructions to the jury after they hear the evidence. Not the confusion Somerby and others are able to sow in the media.

    1. The case seems thin.

    2. Whether you view it as thin or thick is inconsequential, this case is in fact the "bread and butter" of the NYC DA, and convictions are routine.

      There may be a Trump fan on the jury, in which case the result may be a hung jury.

      Either way, conviction or hung jury, this is harming Trump's campaign - he looks weak and beaten down (and falling asleep and passing gas is a turn off), and is that really fair? Should one's illegality and corruption really impact an election? Americans are becoming so squeamish about who they elect, now they have to be perfect little angels, not doing illegal or corrupt things. The gall of Americans!

  2. Carrie Robbins has died.

  3. Off topic -- continuing from prior thread. I appreciate your responses to the acts of antisemitism committed by the anti-Zionist groups. It appears as if the people who post here do not want to believe the widespread antisemitism on campuses. I would assume that many liberals want to ignore the antisemitism on campus. That makes me sad, of course. For most of my life, liberals were the ones who defended me against antisemites.

    1. Antisemitism is still bad. Oppression of Palestinians is bad, too.

    2. You didn't make a good case there is widespread antisemitism on campuses.

    3. Thanks for your response, @10:47. Your comment seems to make sense, but it's actually illogical. What does alleged oppression of Palestinians have to do American Jews? Relating Jews in the US to allegedly bad behavior by the country of Israel is the kind of thinking that leads anti-Zionists in this country to also be anti-semites.

      Suppose someone pointed out some racist behavior in the US. You would condemn the racism, of course, But, would you add to your condemnation a condemnation of some bad thing done by black people in some African country? Of course not.

    4. “…. Liberals defended me from antisemites….” And in return you became a Trump supporter, even after Charlottesville. Why don’t you run with that crowd, but first reassure them that your kind is not going to take over.

    5. DIC you are confused, just think back to South Africa and how protests, demonstrations, and boycotting played a significant role in ending apartheid there, even though those under fire in the US were not directly engaging in the apartheid, they were supporting it, and protesting against them had a powerful and positive impact.

      Furthermore, there is scant evidence antisemitism is coming from pro Palestinian protestors, which is in contrast to the widespread antisemitism coming from right wingers.

      Those on the right talk a lot about personal responsibility, but it is empty talk, mere performative virtue.

    6. "Furthermore, there is scant evidence antisemitism is coming from pro Palestinian protestors."

      Thanks for your comment @11:52. There is actually lots of evidence, but apparently you're not seeing it. Apparently your media isn't reporting all the evidence.

    7. The perspective of 12:47 may aim to separate the main cause of the protests from the negative behaviors or beliefs of some participants, maintaining focus on the injustice being protested against.

    8. DIC, it is only being reported by right wing news outlets that are infamous for putting their thumbs on the scale (the original stance of this blog), and is being directly countered by observers in the field, at these campuses, that say the protestors are not being antisemitic.

      So, no, there is not a lot of evidence, and the scant evidence there is, is from unreliable sources.

      This is supposedly why you are "confused". I doubt you are confused, it is more likely, based off your track record, that you are engaging in a bad faith argument, looking for an emotional hit.

    9. Thanks for your comment @11:33. I can provide any number of examples, but they might not convince you. You could always dismiss each example as being a one-off or from an unreliable source. Here's one that was more prominently report by conservatives, but it did also make the main stream news.
      Jewish Yale student says pro-Palestinian protester assaulted her. Here's why she feels targeted.

    10. Here's another example
      That was not the case Sunday night, when three Jewish students quietly walked through the crowd on the Columbia campus.

      “We have Zionists who have entered the camp,” James announced, before instructing followers to form a human chain. “Walk and take a step forward so that we can start to push them out of the camp,” he continued.

      “Within three minutes, someone starts screaming, ‘Mic check, mic check. Zionists has entered our camp,’” student Jessica Schwalb told NewsNation.

      “We’re surrounded by probably 200 people in the dark. They’re all linked together … and we’re just looking at each other,” she added.


    11. David, those are not examples of antisemitism, which makes it all the more obvious you are being disingenuous.

      Just to make clear, all you could site was one instance at Yale where a student went to taunt and troll the protestors by wearing Hasidic attire they do not normally wear, and got a Palestinian flag waved in their face - she claims the flag poked her in the eye but there is no evidence for this, and then some other anti protestor trolls being blocked from a protest area.

      Not only are these mere two instances complete nothingburgers, they also have nothing to do with antisemitism. Many of those protestors are in fact Jewish.

      David, wake me when you have a credible point to make that is in good faith.

    12. David, your argument is there is "widespread" antisemitism on campuses.

    13. I recall a rough incident in Pittsburgh, and a rash of other right wing violent attacks against various groups, including Jews, in the wake of Trump getting elected in 2016.

      Someone actually concerned about antisemitism would focus on actual attacks on Jews.

      But those on the right worry about "globalization", they worry about Jews taking over the world and replacing Whites. They only cry "antisemitism" when it seems like they can weaponize the issue to further their right wing goals, one of which is to antagonize Jews.

    14. @12:14 - You say, "she claims the flag poked her in the eye but there is no evidence for this," If you looked for evidence you would have found that she went to the hospital with her wound.

      You say that wearing Hasidic attire amounts to trolling and taunting. Would you also say that wearing Islamic attire amounts to trolling and taunting?

    15. David, you are being flagrantly disingenuous.

      The Yale student had no wound, even the campus police refused to to respond to her accusations due to lack of evidence. She went to the hospital on her own accord, not because she had an injury that needed medical care.

      Even if she did get poked in the eye, for which there is no evidence, it was an accident, it was not an intentional act of violence.

      Either way, it does not indicate any antisemitism.

      It is a common tactic of the right to infiltrate protests and try to instigate violence.

      Wearing Hasidic attire was an attempt to troll the protestors, the student does not normally wear such attire.

      Wearing Islamic attire in similar circumstances would also be trolling.

      Wearing Islamic attire in solidarity as part of peaceful protest is not trolling.

      These distinctions are not difficult, David, you are being purposefully obtuse.

      Indeed, while you are busy David over phony concern about antisemitism, I can recall a few months ago three Palestinians in America being shot just for walking down the street wearing keffiyehs.

      Your phony outrage is misguided and misplaced, as there are real attacks on both Muslims and Jews (and Blacks and Asians and women, etc.) coming from the right, coming from your side.

    16. On the one hand there is a dubious poke in the eye.

      On the other hand there are over 34k thousand innocent Palestinians that have been murdered by Israelis since 10/7.

      If you think a supposed eye poke (yes there is no credible evidence this happened) scales the same as the genocide in Gaza, there is something very off with your moral compass.

    17. David is right. Antisemitism is a major continuing problem:


    18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    19. @1:03 -- The poke in the eye has nothing to do with Gaza. The girl who was poked didn't kill or oppress anybody. Your POV seeems to be that misdeeds by some Jews somehow diminishes the evil of attacking some other Jews thousands of miles away.

      I don't think you would apply this standard to any other group. If Americans of Russian descent were being vilified and attacked because of their heritage, that would be simply wrong. Would you say "OTOH look at Russia's atrocities in Ukraine?" Of course not.

      Applying this principle to Jews and no other group looks to me like antisemitism.

    20. Isn't also wrong to make lots of stink and wild accusations of "antisemitism on campus" based on some minor allegation?

      One might even get the impression that it's an organized hasbara psyop, to silence protests and change the subject.

    21. It’s wrong to oppress people of Russian descent. It’s wrong to oppress Jews. It’s wrong to oppress Palestinians.

    22. God bless the Jewish people.
      Also, fuck Israel.

    23. This is a Jewish student at Columbia who has participated in the protests on campus in support of Palestine. He says the protests have been cynically and hysterically misrepresented by the media and politicians.


    24. David, you missed the point of 1:03, they were calling you out for making a big stink over nothing, while trying to denigrate what the protestors are doing, which is calling attention to a genocide.

      So 1:03 had it correct, you are more concerned about a false accusation of a poke in the eye, than of a genocide.

      This strongly indicates you lack a good sense of morality.

      The Yale girl has been all over media now, and there is no wound to her eye.

      And as it turns out, there is video of the incident at Yale, and no the girl was not poked in the eye (a guy merely walked by waving a tiny Palestinian flag), and this is not the first false allegation this girl has made, as she recently whined that Yale had altered the name of a couscous dish by removing the word "Israeli" when in fact the name remains the same and includes the word "Israeli".

      So this is a hysterical girl, trying to gain fame by shit posting falsehoods and trolling protestors in order to instigate them.

      Oops David got conned again? Nah, he is just a dishonest hack.


    25. @7:17 -- Liberals seem to only care about genocide when Jews can be blamed. In recent years there have been mass murders of various groups in various countries. Yet, hardly a peep from liberals.

      Furthermore, when Israel is doing is fighting a war -- a war begun by a barbaric attack on Israeli and American civilians. In this war, Israel has gone to great lengths to protect Palestinian civilians. That is, greater lengths than in other urban wars.

      Hamas may have done more damage to the Palestinians than Israel. Hamas intentionally built military installations in civilian areas. They use Palestinian civilians as human shields. Huge amounts of relief money was donated to the Palestinians over the years. Hamas took most of this money and used ir for military purposes.

      Most obviously, Hamas provoked a pointless war in which many civilians would be killed. This at a time when Gaza was free of Jews. It was ruled by a government chosen by the Palestinians.

      @7:17 -- I'm sure you're a nice, well-meaning person. You don't think yourself as antisemitic. Yet, the double standard of focusing on Jewish alleged misdeeds while ignoring other, more clear cut misdeeds is antisemitism

    26. David - nothing to say about this?


      "One Jewish student told me that she and her fellow protesters were restrained in zip-tie handcuffs for eight hours and held in cells"

      We have Jews in the US relating themselves to alleged bad behavior by the country of Israel. Right?

    27. @11:13 -- Here's a video of Khymani James, one of the leaders of the Columbia U demonstrations, proclaiming that "Zionists don't deserve to live." I give greater credence to my own eyes and ears than to some Jewish college students.

      However, you do raise a good point: Since these demonstrations are anti-semitic, why are any Jews participating? My guess FWIW is that their allegiance to leftism is greater than their allegiance to Judaism.

    28. The article is written by one of the leaders of the Columbia U demonstrations. Why not give him credence? He is Jewish.

      The demonstrations are anti-Israeli government. Not ant-semitic. Not only are Jews participating, some helped organize that protest, like the man who wrote the article you refuse to acknowledge . They are all simply joining with the rest of the entire world to protest the Israeli government's failure to protect innocent Palestinian lives. That's all.

      I know you disagree that the Israeli government failed to protect innocent Palestinian lives and believe the opposite, that they have gone out of their way to save Palestinian lives. But those college kids don't agree and are protesting it. Which is their right, guaranteed by the Constitution.

    29. Framing the protests as primarily anti-semitic is an extremely sleazy thing to do.

    30. For most of my life, liberals were the ones who defended me against antisemites.

      And you in turn rewarded them by supporting a party of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, holocaust deniers. It makes me so sad.

    31. @7:08 AM
      Are you paid to type this shit? I hope you are, for your own sake.

    32. 7:16, are you denying that the right wing in this country is responsible for the vast majority of antisemitic violence in this country? Are you fucking denying that?

    33. Are you denying that your comments are meaningless word-salads, idiot-moonbat?

    34. I am denying there is a Republican voter who cares about anything other than bigotry and white supremacy.
      But that's only because there is no such thing as a Republican voter who cares about anything other than bigotry and white supremacy.

    35. Boo-hoo, poor DNC trained monkey. Go complain to António Guterres, he'll help.

    36. I save my boo-hoos for people complaining about our borders.

  4. Joel Breman died three weeks ago.


  5. Now, that's one good, solid post, Bob.
    Very good post. Thanks.

    And now, if you could also explain why the shape-shifting reptiloids living inside silo are doing all this?

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. The current Trump case is fairly straightforward, and Somerby is wrong, there are plenty of legal analysts that are not saying the case is overly complex.

    Somerby repeats experts on MSNBC clarifying the case for him, but it was not news to anyone else, that same clarification has been seen in the comments here all week.

    1. @11:25 could you please provide a simple explanation of the Trump case? Thanks.

    2. Trump falsified business records in furtherance of the crimes of election interference and violating campaign finance laws.

      Cohen already plead guilty to essentially the same crime.

      A conviction is likely.

    3. DIC is less concerned about a conviction and more concerned about coping with it.

      He will feel "off" until he gets some sense of feeling dominant over his perceived enemies.

      It is sad to see someone as wounded as DIC is.

    4. David, can you not read the trial transcripts? You can find out for yourself what the prosecution’s case is. Or are you willing to rely on Fox News to “interpret” it?

    5. Many things may get Trump off the hook. DIC playing dumb is probably not one of them.

    6. Anon 11:52: Well done. Illegal campaign finances and a coverup with phony business records. That's it.

      Now, is Our Host correct in his observation that cable TV yakkers can't explain it?

    7. Not 11:52, but yes, qib, that is one aspect of what Somerby is doing, showing the media occasionally being inept. (He of course doesn’t tell you the ones who get it right, and there are many). I suspect though that Somerby is equally interested in belittling the prosecution’s case. Somerby himself has never properly stated it.

    8. @2:02 I have no intention of reading the trial transcripts. Nor do I follow the trial closely. Here's my position:

      The US has had an unwritten rule that a President would not be criminally prosecuted, unless there was clear cut evidence of a serious crime. The American people don't want our leaders to go to jail. That's why the country was basically content when Nixon was pardoned. The country was content when Bill Clinton was not prosecuted, even though he had clearly committed perjury.

      This year, the normal rule was stood on its head. The NY prosecution is not a clear cut felony. The act of misreporting a payoff as legal expense is not nearly as serious as perjury or Nixon's cover-up. The prosecution is bad for Trump right now, but it's bad for the US going forward. It's a step backward for our civilization.

    9. Quaker in a BasementApril 27, 2024 at 3:54 AM

      DiC: "The US has had an unwritten rule that a President would not be criminally prosecuted, unless there was clear cut evidence of a serious crime."

      No. No it doesn't. That "unwritten rule" does not exist. You have imagined it or invented it.

    10. That's why the country was basically content when Nixon was pardoned

      More Fractured Fairy Tale History from Dickhead in Cal.

      President Clinton was not prosecuted because he agreed to a plea deal. The fucking gall of Beer Bong Brett wringing his hands over the possibility of a future prosecutor charging a president when he made his bones in the crime outfit known as the republican party being Ken Starr's henchman is just too much. And no, Dickhead in Cal, Clinton did not clearly commit perjury.

    11. Yes, idiot-moonbat. It all depends on what the meaning of is is.

    12. Russia, if you're listening, remind Republican voters they support a rapist as the next President of the United States.

  8. “Why aren't we American citizens angry with Stormy Daniels and with Karen  McDougal?”

    “they wanted to tell their stories for money.”

    No one was required to pay them.

    1. But why did Pecker pay McDougal $150K? It was not to make money by publishing her story. So why did he do it?

      In my view, saying it was a campaign contribution-in-kind is not a sufficient explanation. Pecker is in it for money. So how did he figure to profit?

      (My guess: He figured it was a "favor" that Trump would pay back in some fashion, or failing that, Pecker felt he could always profit by blackmailing Trump.)

    2. Did you read pecker’s testimony? You know, what he actually said, under oath, about why he did it? From the actual transcript of the actual trial? On the other hand, you could go on providing alternate explanations if you like. Anything is possible…

    3. No, I didn't read his days of testimony. Apparently you did. So, how did Pecker figure to profit?

    4. Here's some information that just came out on redirect exam by the prosecutor:

      "Steinglass asked if Pecker only agreed to the deal with McDougal because he expected to be paid $125,000 from Michael Cohen for the rights to it. Pecker said yes." CBS News.

      This is even more curious. Pecker paid $150K, but expected to get repaid $125K. Something seems to be missing here.

    5. Again, my guess: Pecker was willing to make a $25K in-kind campaign contribution (but not a $150K in-kind campaign contribution) because then Trump, his "friend," would owe him a big favor.
      (I can imagine that having the President owe you a big favor could come in handy.)

    6. "because then Trump, his "friend," would owe him a big favor."

      So, what did he get? Obama, for example, rewarded his big contributors-organizers ("bundlers") with ambassadorships; that's a well-known fact. What did Mr. Pecker get from Trump?

    7. handing out ambassadorships has never been done before. Obama is a genius. LOL

    8. Nowhere near that scale and audacity, apparently.
      And what was so funny in what I said?

    9. Anon 3:19 He got a lavish thank you dinner at the White House.

    10. There is no reason to be angry at the victims, Somerby is just trying to draw your attention away from the actual charges by focusing on the salacious aspects, which is ironic.

    11. Neither Karen McDougal nor Stormy Daniels were married at the time they had sex with Trump. Trump was married and his wife, Melania, was pregnant (McDougal) or had just had a baby (Daniels). It is Trump who committed adultery, broke his marriage vows and engaged in activity he had to know would upset his wife. He clearly was aware that the scandal would not help him with voters, which is why he covered it up using hush money payments.

      McDougal and Daniels have the right to talk about their own lives, free or for money, whenever they wanted. Trump interfered with that via threats against Daniels daughter, and by paying to have AMI lie to McDougal about the publication of her story. Neither woman wanted to give up the rights to their stories.

      Somerby is trying very hard to portray these women as extortionists instead of victims of Trump's conspiracy to suppress their info. They are not the morally reprehensible ones, to be considered sleazy for having a sex life. Trump is the one who lied and cheated on Melania and who, by Pecker's description, was behaving like a single bachelor while married for ten years to Melania (who appears to have had an inconvenient prenup). Trump is the asshole, and so is Somerby for attempting to shift blame to the women in this situation.

  9. Today Somerby says we do not care about most serious issues, we only care about salacious sex oriented issues.

    This is a very cynical view, and one not supported by the evidence.

    One major flaw Somerby has is that he often conflates things in a way that presents a false reality, like here he is conflating lack of agency with not caring.

    In fact we do care about many things, but we lack any agency to do much about them. The primary impediment to progress, to do something about serious issues, is the right wing agenda carried out by Republicans. Therefore it is reasonable and effective to work on diminishing the power of Republicans, which includes holding them to account for their illegal actions.

  10. When Bob starts shilling for Trump, he kind of becomes
    him. For instance, it can't be a question. It can't be a good
    question. It must be be THE WORLD"S MOST OBVIOUS
    Bob might as well say "No one has EVER seen a
    question like this before! People are saying no one
    has ever asked a question like this before!

    Whatever. The main thing missing here, to this
    layman's eyes, is that money was paid to silence people
    in a fashion that might influence the election. This
    might be legal and it might not be. But it is almost
    completely absent here from Bob's defense of Trump.
    Bob asks the question Can YOU see how this might be
    illegal? Yes, I can, though I can also see how it might
    be considered more cloudy than, say,
    oh, claiming all documents pertaining to National
    Security are yours to take. Or phoning the Gov
    of a state and requesting/threatening him to find
    enough votes to make him the winner of an election.
    Or organizing a plot to send fake electors to
    Washington to claim you won the election.
    Or anything else in the long list of illegal, dubious,
    or horrible matters Bob has found Trump
    somehow innocent of.
    Oh, but he plans to vote for Joe Biden!

  11. Laura Ingraham was a major player in a legal action brought
    against Fox News for fibbing to the public about the results of the 2020. Fox was forced to settle for 88 million dollars
    to the corporation they had lied about on behalf of President
    Trump. This defrauding of the publc was exposed only
    because Fox had foolishly attacked someone with the
    money to defend themselves.
    Such a journalistic atrocity, one might assume, would
    attract the attention of someone supposedly engaged in
    reviewing the behavior of political journalists. But Bob,
    (perhaps having nothing to find even a weak comparison
    to at MSNBC?) has never as much as mention the case.
    Ingraham kept her job, issued no apology.

  12. "I can also see how it might
    be considered more cloudy"

    Whoa! A recognition of nuance by a Somerby-hater!

    1. It is not much nuance to point out that the current trial involves something that can be seen as illegal but is not as egregious as Trump's other crimes.

      Whoa! A Somerby fanboy misrepresenting something and then running with it!

    2. Hilarious! I say you can recognize nuance, and you tell me that's not true!

    3. Pied, I find this comparable to the last case (which of course just made no gosh darn sense to Bob) which was white collar crime. White collar crime is often complicated, it doesn’t mean it is no crime.

    4. Pied

      Not saying it is not true, saying it is not pertinent.
      But you are too attached to trying to score points to see how dumb your comment is.

  13. Sadly, Somerby dragged Einstein into the discussion again.

    Einstein did not pretend that he could make his work easy. In the introduction to his book, he said that the reader would have to know some mathematics and be ready to do some work.

    Einstein can't be blamed for the failure of other people to explain difficult subjects.

    1. In typical fashion, Somerby refuses to consider context, in this case: time dilation and length contraction.

  14. Completely left unsaid is that Section 17-152 of the New York Election Law applies only to state election. It cannot be applied to Trump's campaign for President, which is a federal office. So there's that.

    1. Holy shit, you mean the DA missed that and some anonymous clown on TDH knew it? LOL

    2. @5:02 PM
      So, instead of trying to ascertain what exactly the crime is in this trial, you just say: the DA should know what it is, and that's good enough for me. And you laugh.

      Sure, why not. Thank you for sharing.

    3. 5:21: hey, do YOU know how to ascertain that? Guess what: the prosecution made its opening statement several days ago.

    4. 3:46 that is false. There is a potential issue with federal preemption, but there are a multitude of ways of dealing with that, including precedents that indicate it's viability in this case.

      Here is a good source to follow the legal issues of the trial:


      It does look like Bragg has a fairly strong case.

    5. Trump has tried multiple times to have this trial moved to a federal court but the motions were all denied.

    6. 5:21
      Listen, I am really not that invested in it, but I am pretty sure that DA would not have made a mistake about the statute he is charging Trump with, or if he had inexplicably missed that it had to be a state office, then Trump's lawyers would be all over it.

      § 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.

      So why do you come to this blog to spread bullshit?

    7. For someone not invested you sound extremely confrontational and opinionated. All the while your whole contribution here is "the DA can't be wrong, end of story".

      But that's o-kay. Thank you for sharing.

    8. I just posted the exact statute and I can't find where it says it only applies to state office. Don't worry your pretty little magat head about it, the SC will say Donald J Chickenshit is King so it should make you happy.

    9. So you're resident idiot-moonbat, and you're "really not that invested in it".

      Sure, it makes sense now. Thanks for sharing, idiot-moonbat. Keep on going, by all means.

    10. It is a state statute. That's where it says it applies to state office.

    11. 10:03, show me where, shit-for-brains. You think Trump's team of lawyers missed that little detail?

  15. I am much more impressed that Bob doesn't understand Einstein than that Bob doesn't understand the law. You had us at Einstein, Bob!

  16. Somerby neglects to say that Murray seems to be referring to New York State Law 17-152 which states:

    "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."

    Somerby has left out the words "by unlawful means" which is where the crime part resides. He makes it seem like the woman speaking is clueless and saying something incomprehensible, when this is an actual state law and it was quoted accurately, except for the missing words "by illegal means" which is what makes the crime.

    I don't have the time to go back and see who left the words out in order to make this woman seem silly -- whether it was Somerby or Cooper or who, but this is a trivial and stupid thing to be focusing upon.

    Meanwhile, if you want to know what crime Trump is being charged with, go read the indictment and the opening statement of the prosecution. This isn't rocket science.

    Somerby loves to pretend there is confusion when there is none, because it gives hope to dumbshit Trump supporters that maybe they went to all this trouble to charge Trump with nonexistent crimes and then maybe he will get off. Even Somerby isn't stupid enough to believe that, so this is his attempt to muddy the waters just long enough for all those righ wingers to send Trump more money.

    1. Quaker in a BasementApril 27, 2024 at 3:49 AM

      "Somerby has left out the words 'by unlawful means' which is where the crime part resides."

      I don't think you're reading carefully. Our Host says this in his post:

      "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.'"

  17. Stormy and McDougal couldn't have told their stories any time they wanted. First, they tried that. At that point, Cohen stepped in. In the case of McDougal, they pretended to buy it and then refused to publish it. Since AMI had bought it, that meant McDougal could not tell it or sell it anywhere else because she no longer owned it. She was duped. In the case of Stormy Daniels, Cohen sent goons to threaten her, demanding that she sign an NDA that prevented her from talking about her experiences with Trump. She did that under duress, afraid she would expose her daughter to harm if she refused to sign it. In 2018, she sued to have the NDA removed and prevailed in that suit.

    Somerby does not seem to understand that people are genuinely afraid of Trump because he is a powerful man who can do actual harm to others. He has most of the Republican party cowering before his whims. Are these two women supposed to be braver than the many man who let him walk all over them, from contractors to politicians to mobsters (in his developer days)? Only Putin seems to be able to make Trump back off, and Putin poisons people who disobey him (or pushes them out of windows or blows up their airplanes).

    1. Don't over think it.

    2. "or pushes them out of windows or blows up their airplanes"

      Fancy, ain't it. What happened to old good depression-suicide and street robbery gone wrong?

  18. Quaker in a BasementApril 27, 2024 at 3:44 AM

    But it sort of hides the ball, which is, "How are you doing it?"

    This is the sentence that should be in bold type.

    Sure. People work to promote candidates. That's what elections are all about. But there are legal limits. You can't do anything you want and use "trying to win an election" as your excuse. The assertion of the prosecution is that Trump and his confederates used illegal means to promote his candidacy. Using illegal means is, by definition, illegal.