Washington Post’s Rubin Misrepresents Emoluments Ruling In Latest Trump-Fueled Gaffe

jenrubinWashington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is being ridiculed for a column in which she claims that the “walls are closing in” on President Donald Trump.  Critics have noted that in May 2017 Rubin declared the “walls are closing in” on Trump due to his firing of FBI Director James Comey. Then last October, she declared the “walls are closing in” due to impeachment.  Now the walls are back as if this is one long struggle of transferred claustrophobic anxiety.

The more important aspect however is not the fear of moving walls but the misrepresentation of the recent ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  We previously discussed how some have misrepresented the ruling, but Rubin, again, appears entirely untethered by any editorial (or ethical) requirements of accuracy. Rubin’s column is based on another misrepresentation of the underlying facts.

Rubin is marketed as the Post’s “conservative opinion writer” despite a long array of controversial statements about both conservatives and Republicans.  Most recently, Rubin declared Trump supporters to be as a group “primarily motivated by racism. This is why Trump does this.” It is not however Rubin’s ideological tendencies but her aversion to facts that that has repeatedly unleashed criticism across the political spectrum.

Rubin often appears to write on cases or testimony that she does not actually read.  This is a case in point, literally.  As I wrote earlier, the Fourth Circuit opinion was clear:

“The 9-6 opinion, below, however has been misrepresented or misunderstood by some.  It is not a ruling on the merits but rather the technical standard for what is called an interlocutory appeal.  It essentially blocks a Hail Mary play to shutdown the lawsuit.  Nevertheless, the dissenting judges denounced the lawsuit as based on a “wholly novel and nakedly political cause of action.”

The appeal to the Fourth Circuit turned on the question of when a litigant can take an interlocutory appeal, or an appeal taken before the resolution of issues or the merits has been reached by the district court.

…In reality, for those who are seeking an exciting decision on foreign influence, this opinion will be something of a disappointment.”

Rubin however was not “disappointed.”  She, again, simply said what she hoped the opinion said rather than what it actually said in the same breathless “Trump is a goner” language.  Such erroneous legal accounts seem to be eagerly embraced by the Post and other media outlets with no apparent fact checking.

In her latest Post column entitled “A sweeping setback for Trump’s foreign business dealings,” readers are told that the “The full 4th Circuit repudiates Trump’s receipt of foreign emoluments.” Literally everything is wrong with those statements.  The ruling was not a sweeping setback but a technical ruling on the availability of an interlocutory appeal. Indeed, even the majority noted that “Respondents press novel legal claims. But reasonable jurists can disagree in good faith on the merits of these claims.” Moreover the “full 4th Circuit” did not repudiate the Trump’s receipt of foreign emoluments.  It expressly declined to rule on the merits and even that decision was a 9-6 split.  Six judges excoriated the majority because they believed that the underlying theory was so unsupportable that it warranted immediate appellate review.

Rubin however goes on to say “a federal appeals court has held he cannot derive income from foreign governments that frequent his businesses.” The court not only never said that, it expressly stated that it would not state that. It confined its ruling on the narrow and technical question of when an interlocutory or mandamus action is permissible. Rubin actually cited the same counsel, former House impeachment counsel Norm Essen, who was involved in an earlier erroneous column. She quotes Essen as declaring “This case shows that the rule of law is fighting back against Trump’s pathological and illegal selfishness.” It was a ruling on when a party could seek appellate review and the technicalities of the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 21. It was manifestly not, as Rubin again quotes, part of that “essential story of the Trump presidency: a president who puts his personal and political interests above the national interest and the law.”

For full disclosure, I recently clashed with Rubin over her personally attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write. I also challenged her on an equally bizarre column where she wrote about my impeachment testimony with a clearly false account of a “concession” pulled out of me by counsel Norm Essen, the very same source that she uses for this latest column.  In both cases, it seemed likely that Rubin did not read the underling column or the testimony — a signature for her columns.

What is most interesting is how little of this actually matters. (Not the law. Not the facts.)  The media is increasing untethered to the factual record or legal authority. It simply does not matter.  Readers want to read of victories of the “the rule of law … fighting back against Trump’s pathological and illegal selfishness.”  When it comes to the actual ruling of the court, it is all immaterial.  As the Post’s Rubin has repeatedly shown, the old adage in the media remains that “there are just some facts too good to check.”

169 thoughts on “Washington Post’s Rubin Misrepresents Emoluments Ruling In Latest Trump-Fueled Gaffe”

  1. Does anyone actually listen to a thing Jennifer Rubin says? Wow. Hard to imagine. She’s that awful.

  2. Most of the media has devolved to Democrat propaganda mouthpieces. Their stories can be considered campaign contributions. It does not matter if it is true or not. What matters is if they can get voters to believe it in time for 2020. Machiavellian journalism.

    I wish we had more straight news, less op-ed, and the media respected viewers and readers enough to allow them to form their own opinion.

    It is ironic that the same “journalists” who call all Trump supporters racist blame the President for the division of the country. The dehumanizing slander of conservatives has been going on for many years. When Obama was in office, if you criticized him about anything you were racist. It’s just reached fever pitch, an inevitable result of the trend.

    Will it continue, ever higher, until there’s fighting in the street? Or will people learn how to think, question what they hear, and become more neighborly?

    1. Karen, if you think the media is all against you, that means you’re OUTSIDE the mainstream. There’s no other way of putting it.

  3. The Washington Post has gone south. South of Panama. Wipe with the Post when on the poddy but don’t read it ever.

  4. Any relation to the Rubin or Ruben that bailed out G/S and his own million dollar retirement using tax dollars excuse me. Social Security dollars and RR Retirement Trust dollars? Seems to run int he family or at least Partly Hardly in the halls of Schumer and Pelosi.

  5. It’s fascinating that JT, in his role as Trump surrogate, gets so caught up with what Rubin thinks. Something about her really gets to him. Maybe her never Trumper status? Maybe that’s where he truly wants to be but is locked contractually to the PAC money that may be locking him into writing this blog, for instance? Clearly, people who write blogs like this do so for a couple of reasons…

    One is they are affiliate marketers. No links to jet one over to a web page selling something though.

    And knocking out 15 articles per week is a lot of work. Clearly JT does it on some version of Dragon Anywhere dictation device, does a quick edit, misses some typos, and posts. Fifteen articles/posts is a lot of material. Only reason to do it each and every week is due to being contractually bound.

    Mr. Turley is a social media influencer who has worked within Republican orthodoxy going back to his days in testifying against Clinton. And if his claim that he votes Dem from time to time is true and not just a tag line he tosses off for cover, he’s in a pretty tortured position. I don’t envy him.

    Just wish he could let the thing with Rubin go though. It’s looking like a rather Trumpian resentment with accompanying inability to let go.

    1. He is not a Trump surrogate. You lie.

      Jennifer Rubin is worthless and stupid. She is not a conservative. She is a straw man conservative set up by Jeff Bezos’ fake news operation to harry and troll Trump voters. End of story

      1. Kurtz, you’re wrong. Find any of her columns from the Obama or W eras,

        JT is a Trump surrogate, and that is being polite.

            1. So she needled Obama for some stuff. She writes whatever the Bezos bosses tell her to, most likely. Bezos is the richest man on Earth, he probably didn’t like Obama either.

              I read that article and it was about public health response. Same sort of needling they are doing on Trump. There is only so much they can do about these things. I can’t recall the specifics of Obama admin’s disease policy.

              But Im going to say this much: OBAMA DESERVES MUCH PRAISE FOR LIMITING GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH. Of course we don’t know if that was his personal decision or a lesser functionary, but his adminstration deserves credit for that in retrospect.


              Engineering viruses to be more infectious is a dangerous bad idea and it should have stayed “banned”


              Probably that’s what happened in Wuhan, epidemiological frankenstein research plus accidental release. I suspect the PRC is lying about it and some of our own virologist “experts” are lying about it too.

              1. Kurtz, I’ve been aware of her going at least unto W’s terms and she was always a GOP hawk and Democratic critic. Bezos didn’t own the WaPo then. BTW, he is known for keeping his hands off editorial direction though his business and tech acumen is credited with rescuing it and turning it into a profitable and growing paper with strong on-line presence.

                It would be terrible if he weaponized his position to carry on a personal vendetta, you know, like Trump does constantly and specifically now with the post office were he just put a crony donor in charge.

        1. As for who is deemed a surrogate, only Trump or his campaign can confer such agency. Turley is not his agent. This is factually incorrect. You are perhaps saying he is “like” a surrogate, but that does not mean he IS a surrogate. in point of fact he is not.

          do facts matter? I only ask for a friend.

          1. I’d venture to say, to put a finer point on it, that JT is more properly a surrogate for forces that find themselves bound to supporting Trump because there isn’t another alternative for them at this point in tiime.

          2. In the realm of the factual…, do you think JT does this blog because this is his version of putting up his favorite apple pie recipes for the world to enjoy? He’s actively influencing.

            Any reason why there are 3 posts a day put up? (a rather herculean task I might add).

            If you ask why it’s hard to fathom how there couldn’t be a contract involved. And then you ask who would the contract be with…, and you keep asking the deeper questions…, and you see the general theme of his posts…, well, I’ll leave you to that.

            1. let’s just say for the sake of argument, maybe i have a twitter account. maybe I put up 3 a day too., and there’s no contract. im just building my brand like other “influencers”

              there’s nothing sinister about having an opinion and publishing often!

              1. No there isn’t. But have you ever written three articles every week day without being bligated to doing it? Apples and oranges on the twitter account due to length. And JT is much more freewheeling there.

    2. Ah yes, the ol’ logical fallacy of attacking the person when you can’t penetrate their argument.

  6. It hasn’t been whether so many of these people are partisan – it’s that they’ve been liars. Rubin and about 90% of the press as well as the collusion cabal of Clapper, Powers, Brennan, Rice, Shumer, Schiff(t)), M Waters, and now Biden and Obama. It’s their constant lying and their manufacturing of outrage that has hurt America … hard to know when it will end.

  7. Do you know what sane people would do when this kind of stuff repeatedly happens? They would cancel their subscription to the Washington Post. Because you can get bullsh!t free at your nearest cow pasture.

    But Democrats are not sane people, by and large. They do not want the truth. They want mommy and daddy to tell them a bedtime story, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. And, Mommy and Daddy have to tell it the exact same way each time, and never ever let Daddy Bear sit in his chair before he eats his porridge! Because that way they do not have to think New Thoughts.

    People who continue to vote for Democrats have mental issues. I was talking to an older person in Georgia the other day, and she started thanking God for President Trump out of the clear blue sky. She told me she used to be a Democrat, but she does not know what happened to the party. She told me she hates Nancy Pelosi, and she never thought she would be voting for a Republican. I then felt free to tell her that me and my family were the same way. We were all once good Democrats. Heck, I even worked for Hillary Clinton in 2008.

    But smart people wake up and see the party for the corrupt, race-baiting, liars and crooks they are. I guess the rest are just too darned stupid and stuck in their ways.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. For crying out loud. “Neoconservatism” as a distinct tendency within starboard thought, evaporated around 1992.

      Rubin was on retainer to produce content for Commentary, which at one time was part of a discrete circle of publications and letterhead organizations. Some of the people with that in their occupational history are inveterately hostile to Trump. Some are not. In the not category is Norman Podhoretz, who was the editor of Commentary from 1960 to 1995.

      Rubin quit practicing law a number of years ago. JT has been inadvertantly building a case for the thesis that she did so because she was bad at it.

      1. It was alive and well during W’s administration — Rubin was one of them along Max Boot, Bill Kristol and a host of others that are not never Trumpers, and the author of the article notes what they advocated for.

        1. Excuse me, they ARE now neverTrumpers. It’s not a big jump from seeing a monolithic terrorist organization that will destroy the United States, to a claim that the President is a foreign agent undermining America.

          1. SteveJ, have you met Kurtz and mespo? They think there’s a domestic terrorist organization in bed with Chicomms to destroy America.

            1. Anon – I am offended that my name is not on that list as well. They just arrested another one the other day.

        2. It was alive and well during W’s administration —

          No, inane babble about ‘neocons’ was common at that time. The younger Kristol and younger Podhoretz were not advocating anything out of the ordinary for Republicans and were not pushing a distinct perspective on policy.

          1. Well of course. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about seeing a tin-pot dictator in Mesopotamia as a threat to us, or expecting Jeffersonian Democracy there.

            That was all very reasonable. About as reasonable as seeing Russian collusion and treasonous behavior in a phone call — which Bill Kristal did.



            1. Well of course. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about seeing a tin-pot dictator in Mesopotamia as a threat to us, or expecting Jeffersonian Democracy there.

              You’ve made two misrepresentations in two sentences, because your argument stinks.

              Sorry to break it to you, Steve, but the policy option you deride had almost universal support among Republican officeholders. The Buchanan-Paul segment of the Republican Party is good for about 4% of the primary ballots. Four of the seven members of Paul’s Liberty Caucus in Congress declined to endorse his candidacy.

                1. pushes for a stunningly anti-Conservative initiative, it

                  Again, random internet blowhards don’t get to define political terminology nor bind anyone else with their random musings.

                  1. Well the clip attached to my comment doesn’t send you to a bunch of Internet blowhards. And in any case, you could respond to any statement with a cavalier dismissal like that. You don’t agree with it. So be it.

          2. That is correct, except they provided the intellectual justification. They/you all wanted to invade Iraq.

            1. Book, one might add that before invading Iraq, Bush and Republicans cut taxes first. The first time in history taxes were cut ‘before’ a war! That partially explains why the debt was already at historic highs ‘before’ the pandemic began. And now Trump proposes more, you guessed it, tax cuts!

        3. SteveJ, I hate to spring this on you, but upwards of 90% of GOP office holders who are enabling Trump were gung ho on Iraq and dollars to donuts about that many who voted for him in 2016 and who post to this site. If you’re turning your nose up at neo-cons, what are doing with Trump?

          1. I was totally against Iraq and I didn’t vote for Bush Jr

            Just speaking for myself here, but there’s a lot of people who were disaffected with neocons who didn’t vote for Bush Jr, who came back and voted for Trump

            And of course Hillary had the higher level of donations from military contractors didn’t she. And Wall street. among others. Neocons loved her. Still do.

            And we can see that when Trump tried to de-escalate military conflicts, the Pentagon, and their allies in the press were all over him.

            But here you are trying to squeeze some juice out of rotten old sour grapes

            1. Yeah, and in 4 years no one will admit voting for Trump. How did that guy W get elected? No one voted for him.

              Hillary had the higher level of donations from anyone not a maniac.

              What military conflicts has trump tried to de-escalate? Iran?

              1. Syria in case you forgot we argued about it for weeks

                and actually he has shown restraint against Iran. That would have been a war had the neoconservatives had their way, back under Obama, who also showed restraint on Iran, and commendably so.

                He has also not gone kinetic with Russia, more than just selling the Ukrainians more stuff, which is fine anyways. If McCain had his way — remember him? I didn’t vote for him either. “Bomb Bomb Iran,” despicable war hawk! And he hated Trump.

                This one’s a losing battle Book, the deeper you dig the more obvious it becomes

                1. Kurtz, you act like there’s a principle he’s following. There isn’t! He brags about boosting defense spending, threatens in the most graphic terms to annihilate populations, and picks fights with Iran because …….. Obama. You might as well being following a rabid coyote.

                  1. I would agree that he uses excessive bellicose language

                    that is not necessarily the same as taking bellicose action

                    look to the situational context and data points and it’s clear he is following what he promised, a strategy which disfavors military interventions

          2. Well it would be nice if the Democratic nominee could discuss things like Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Unfortunately, the Democratic nominee supported all 4 of them. So for this election, like the last one, it’s a wash.

            In addition, I have to acknowledge this: Trump is the first President since Ronald Reagan who hasn’t involved the United States in a new war. And he was the only presidential candidate from either party that said George W. Bush lied us into war in Iraq during the 2016 debates.

            1. Trump said that 15 years later and he’s trying to crank up Iran and is upping SA aid in Yemen.

              Your mistake Steve is to assume Trump is a normal human who GAF about anything beyond his own immediate needs. There is not a single serious bone in his body. If you don’t believe me check his “positions” over the last 15 years, or even since the 2016 campaign. Remember trade deficits, the debt, health care, Mexico and the wall – remember that? Its whatever gets him through the next few hours.

              1. PS You ignore the fact that the overwhelming numbers of GOP voters and office holders all loved Iraq and W. They’re still in the party.

                1. Well my two Senators voted no. I’ve been voting against my congressman for years, albeit for a number of reasons. I also have to take into account people like Dennis Kucinich who vote no for no reason in particular.

                  But that still leaves the problem at the Presidential level. Biden, Clinton, and Kerry. Yes, Yes, and Yes. What are we to do about this?

                  1. SteveJ, unlike the near unanimous GOP support for Iraq in Congress, the majority of House Democrats voted against it while a slim majority of Senate Dems voted for it, and clearly with the midterms coming up and war fever – “mushroom cloud” BS and all – most were taking a cynical political stance. It was the primary reason I couldn’t support Hillary in 2008, though pretty early I was impressed by Obama. She (and Kerry) eventually admitted she was wrong – not cynical, which was the truth – and so did Biden. In the real world that’s sometime the best you get. I think it is obvious that if Gore had won as he should have, we never would have invaded Iraq, nor would Clinton, Kerry, and Biden been asking to.

                    A fact you may remember was that early in his 1st term Obama considered what we should do in Afghanistan and against Biden’s advice – he said we should begin a slow down aimed at pulling out – renewed our commitment there.

            2. And then, directly due to his ignorance, ineptitude, incompetence and corruption, his lack of action around Covid 19 led to the deaths of more people than Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

              And still counting.

              1. Heckish – lovey, if all those people died, then their blood in on the hands of the ChiComs.

  8. “she claims that the “walls are closing in” on President Donald Trump.”

    Sounds familiar, I think I’ve heard this song and dance before.

  9. Turley, not matter how much you try to obfuscate with law and facts, this was a bombshell. A historic decision. Donald Trump is done. He is done. There’s no question about that. This was a turning point. It’s the beginning of the end. This requires impeachment proceedings. Mike Pence might have to assume the office of the Presidency.

    Trump’s Presidency is crippled. It reminds me of the last days of Nixon. May 14, 2020. You can mark it down. I do not think the President will serve out his term.

    1. SteveJ, no matter how much you try to obfuscate with lawlessness and fiction, this is a nothingburger. Donald Trump is winning. He is winning! There is not question about it. He is the rudder for America. It is the end of the beginning, and his re-election will show it. He rode through the shampeachment proceedings. And Mike Pence will be his vice-president again, not rising to the presidency, but staying solidly beside him.

      Trump’s Presidency is masterful! It is a first of its kind, since he is a greatest president we have yet had in America. It is being marked down by historians, scholars, people of all sorts and kinds. He is finishing his first term and greatly anticipating his second term! It will be Party Time again in America!

    2. True that Steve, and my gosh, did you hear Obama’s going to be frog marched form the basketball court?

  10. Turley is correct, they don’t care about the actual outcome, what they care about is commanding the narrative. “Emoluments” is something they’ve been pressing for some time, which from the very outset, they clearly could not win without huge leaps of law. Which, democrat authorities have also proven themselves quite capable of.

    Look, we shall either go forward in coming decades firmly committed to the age-old adage, that “none here shall be the oppressed,” or we will burn upon the funeral pyres of injustice. It doesn’t matter to me, my ancestors fought a thousand years to get to the here and now, we can fight for a few thousand more.

  11. Professor Turley is a brilliant man. I as a conservative I may disagree from time to time but I see fairness and admire his objective review on these matters. We need more Liberals to stand up for truth as he does. Good on you sir!

  12. In the absence of any good sports contests, the public has turned to the media as a substitute for a “Sack,” a “hit,” or “Spiking the ball, and celebrating.” So now, the headlines in nearly every publication are about someone “dunking” on someone else, she was “totally destroyed” by another, etc. The media, once they figured out how to measure clicks instead of extrapolating with Nielsen ratings, has been feeding us what sells for quite a while…true or not, helpful or not, factual or not. And we just keep buying it. What else do we expect them to do, now that they are a business with stockholders and revenue targets? YOU CAN’T TRUST THEM ANYMORE. Like Enron, Monsanto, and other nefarious corporations who cheated, broke the law, polluted, and killed people, the “media” are now in that league…a business complex based on revenue and what sells. Truth be damned. A good lie gets more clicks from us.

    1. Mostly correct Bob, and I almost gave you a +1 until the ending.

      You need to differentiate between those mostly selling opinions – all the cable news networks – those mixing a lot of soft news with news – the network news shows – and those who are selling dependable and accurate reporting (not perfect reporting) but who have editorial content. These include editorially liberal WaPo and NYTs and the editorially conservative WSJ. These go to the desks – or screens – of CEOs, upper staff, libraries, and institutions every day and don’t survive without being mostly accurate and providing dependable news. You can skip the opinion page and know whats going on. If you don’t read them, or local outlets of similar mission, you won’t.

      You’ll never know what’s going on if you just watch Fox, CNN, or MSNBC.

  13. What a hack. Don’t you have anything better to do than war with MSNBC commentators? Even Trump gets away from the TV on occasion for a hamburger.

    PS By omission can we assume you similarly screen Fox News for inaccuracies and partisan commentary and find no offenses?

    Did you think our 24/7 opinion networks sold scrupulous fact finding?

    Were you born yesterday?

    1. Paul, There are no conservatives anymore, William Buckley died years ago. #30 trillion in debt.

  14. This business of the media lying by omission, and more frequently now by actual commission, it’s not only disturbing but needs somehow to be checked. The question is, how do we accomplish that when people are only willing to listen to the side they want to hear?

    1. Eliminate Earl Warren’s bon bon to his adoring fans in the media, New York Times v. Sullivan.

  15. If you want evidence of the WaPo’s dishonesty, look at the heading – “conservative columnist” – in the screen shot.

    Ms. Rubin is the very definition of a partisan hack.

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