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TRUMP TIPS HIS HAND: HE'LL BACK OUT OF THE DEBATES WITH BIDEN - 5.16.24

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SERIES 2 EPISODE 176: COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN

A-Block (1:45) SPECIAL COMMENT: DON'T BE FOOLED. TRUMP HAS SET THE TABLE SO HE CAN BAIL OUT ON THE DEBATES.

"Please let this TRUTH," Trump wrote after the CNN and ABC debates were announced (and "TRUTH" is just an ironic brand name, like everything else Trump calls his crap), "serve to represent that I hereby accept debating Biden on Fox News. The date will be Wednesday, October 2nd. The hosts will be Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. Thank you.”

The Publishers' Clearing House style childish fake legalese ("Represent...hereby...thank you") is the tell. Trump has agreed to the two debates with Biden and simultaneously given himself a way out of going to either of them. Some time between now and the Atlanta debate next month he can simply insist Biden "recommit" to the imaginary third debate, and when Biden refuses, he can back out - claiming Biden backed out first.

A late statement from the Biden campaign yesterday showed I'm not the only one thinking this could be in the cards. It's Trump to a tee: What does he have to gain from a debate in which there is no audience, where microphones go off automatically when time expires, and in which Biden does not flail.

ALSO: HOW DID MSNBC LET THAT SCOOP GET AWAY? An in-court witness told them, live, Tuesday night, that he saw Trump reviewing the comments of his surrogates who insulted the judge and his family in Trump's place. It was evidence that there was a Trump conspiracy to evade the gag order and it was a huge story. And Alex Wagner changed the subject.

Regardless: Justice Merchan must conduct a hearing immediately. It was Trump who CALLED Mike Johnson and the other Republican prostitutes his "surrogates." Presumably there will be more of them today. They are a new and clever means of Trump violating the order by proxy and Merchan should send him to jail for it.

B-Block (31:28) POSTSCRIPTS TO THE NEWS: "How MSNBC’s Leftward Tilt Delivers Ratings, and Complications," read the headline in The New York Times. Suddenly I was young again. This was obviously some sort of re-print from 2007. My hair was dark, I could still digest pizza. The sub headline made me happier still: "NBC’s leaders have been forced to grapple with how to square its cable news network’s embrace of progressive politics with the company’s straight-news operation.” Ah yes, thumbing through my scrapbooks from 2006 and 2007 and – that was in the New York Times YESTERDAY? SERIOUSLY? NBC executives are still exploiting The New York Times to whine about the "partisanship" of MSNBC? Holy crap!

C-Block (49:00) THINGS I PROMISED NOT TO TELL: Since we're on this subject, time to re-tell the saga from June 2009 when the "friction" The New York Times reported on yesterday as if it were new (or even just not impossibly old) was so bad that the Chairman of GE - the corporation that then owned us - had decided to take MSNBC off the air because the $200,000,000 a year we made him just wasn't enough to compensate him for having his conservative Mom call up and yell at him.

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