Rachel Maddow Analyzes Trump’s Closing Arguments as Jury Deliberations Begin: ‘A Rabbit Out of a Hat’

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow analyzed how Donald Trump’s legal team concluded their arguments, specifically around the details of an alleged less than two-minute conversation between Trump and his former personal counsel Michael Cohen about Stormy Daniels.

“The prosecutor acted out for the jury a phone call between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump — a phone call as it could have happened,” Maddow said Tuesday night. “This is an important phone call, because the defense had sort of hung a big part of its case on the idea that Cohen was lying about a phone call he said he had with Donald Trump about Stormy Daniels, because that call was very short. That phone call was only, I believe was a minute and thirty-six seconds long.”

She then continued, breaking down the situation: “Cohen also in that time said he also spoke to Trump’s body guard, he had to speak to Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller and say, ‘Hey, will you put Trump on,’ and then he spoke with Trump about Stormy Daniels. The defense claim that if it was only a minute and thirty-six seconds that wasn’t enough time for Cohen to have had any substantive discussion with Trump about Stormy Daniels and about this alleged hush money plot.”

On Tuesday, closing arguments were given in Trump’s New York hush money case. Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche spoke first and took the opportunity to go after the validity of that phone call Cohen said he had with Trump on Oct. 24, 2016. In his testimony, Cohen said Trump’s bodyguard Schiller put the former president on the phone so they could discuss Cohen paying Daniels. Afterward, Blanche presented Cohen with a text conversation that happened around the same time as Cohen’s phone call claims, and Blanche stated the text chat was merely regarding Trump needing help with a teenage prankster.

“We all know that he called Keith Schiller to talk about the fact that a 14-year-old had been harassing him for several days and forgot to block his number, and Mr. Cohen wanted to fix that,” Blanche said.

Maddow said the event was one of the most telling moments from the case, specifically as it relates to how it will impact the jurors’ decisions.

“For me, if you’re the jury, the defense has offered … a few alternate explanations for the fact pattern that’s been presented,” Maddow said. “One of the most compelling, surprising, memorable moments was when the defense said, ‘Hey, that call that Cohen described where he had to get Keith Schiller to get Trump on the phone, let me tell you what else is in Michael Cohen’s phone records around there. Let me tell you about this 14-year-old child that was harassing Michael Cohen. You didn’t know about that. This is a rabbit out of a hat.”

She went on: “This is a whole new interpretation of this fact pattern. And the reason this is important is not only because it’s memorable and it’s going to stick in your mind as something the prosecution didn’t tell you, but it also disapproves that that call with Trump ever happened. And so even if that was the one most compelling, most memorable thing that the defense produced, Josh Steinglass today totally said, ‘Wipe that off the ballot sheet,’ in terms of whether or not you think you’ve got a contrary explanation of the facts that punctures the believability of the prosecution’s case.”

Jury deliberations started on Wednesday, where they became the first panel to go over criminal charges against a former president of the United States.

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