MSNBC's Morning Joe isn't taking the news that Attorney General William Barr's summary of the Mueller Report cleared President Trump of collusion and the evidence on obstruction of justice was not sufficient to recommend indictment well. For co-host Joe Scarborough, the story was not years of media false cries of collision and obstruction, but a poll that found, "Actually getting someone who will act like Roy Cohn as your Attorney General doesn't really work."
Scarborough also compared Barr to Joseph McCarthy's lawyer last Friday. However, he may have bungled his analogy, because the real McCarthyites were people like Scarborough who saw Russian agents or Manchurian candidates behind every corner. The supposedly conservative Scarborough repeated Democratic talking points about Barr being Trump's personal and handpicked Attorney General, despite every Attorney General throughout American history being handpicked.
After a rant that accused Trump of not being a millionaire, Scarborough thought it was relevant to remind Republicans that they lost in 2018, as if that that any bearings on the content of the Barr letter. "You want to try to stop us? You want to try to stop us from seeing what's in the Mueller Report?" Scarborough continued without any basis in reality.
Fellow co-host Mika Brzezinski then cited an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll where only 29% of Americans thought the Barr Letter exonerated Trump. Morning Joe cited the low number as support for their thesis that the public is fully aware that Trump is lying and trying to distract from Mueller not exonerating him on obstruction, despite Barr and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein saying there was nothing to recommend such a charge.
After a week of coverage on the exoneration-obstruction controversy where the media has said that Trump was not exonerated, only 40% in the same poll said that Trump was not exonerated, meaning 31% do not know. A more honest narrative would have noted that those 40% are probably the same people who would say Trump colluded with Moscow no matter Mueller said, but that wouldn't fit the narrative.
Before tossing the conversation to the panel. Scarborough again accused Barr of "acting actually more like Ray Cohen" and accused Barr of "defending [Trump] first instead of the American people" without any evidence of actual obstruction.
Here is a transcript for the April 1 show:
6:02 AM ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Actually getting somebody who will act like Roy Cohn as your Attorney General doesn’t really work. Only 29% of Americans believe he's been exonerated. If I'm not mistaken, and maybe I am, I think that number's actually gone down since the Mueller Report. Still, it means even some of his most hard-core supporters and I mean that really do follow him in this swirl of a personality cult don't even believe him. But, isn't that crazy? You are exactly right. He's a billionaire, is what he claims. I don't even know if the guy’s a millionaire to be honest with you with all the debt, his daddy gave him a couple hundred million to get started, he may not even be a millionaire. We can’t see his tax returns, so it’s probably what the case is and then of course, “I’m the smartest guy,” have you ever met anybody that's actual intelligent in a goes around telling you that they're intelligent? Cause I haven’t. I've met a lot of stupid people who try to convince me how intelligent they are by telling me how smart they are, but it's usually just the opposite, but we can’t see his transcripts. The same thing he attacks Barack Obama for, he’s guilty for and sends out threatening letters ‘cause just wasn’t a good student and everybody knows he wasn’t a good student and now of course he’s exclaiming he’s exonerated when we all know he's not. It is remarkable that he always tries to change the subject to before the election, he tried to change it to caravans, he tried to make up stories about disease-ridden foreigners coming to our lands, having to send troops to the border. It didn’t work. That’s what I keep telling people. Republicans, it doesn’t work. You tried this, you went along with the lies and up had the worst loss in the history of the United States republic. Your midterm loss, you lost by more votes than any party ever has. And it just keeps going on and on. So now he's talking about he's going to close off the border. Listen, we don't care what you say, Donald, okay? We know it's all a scam. And voters know it's all a scam. And most importantly, Mika, only 29% of Americans believe that he's exonerated. He says he's not playing games. He is playing games.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well, and this --
SCARBOROUGH: And the games don't work. You lose. Oh hey, Republicans “Oh, he’s such a smart…” Like I said last week everybody talks about “He’s such a genius and how can we beat” Hey, guess what? You lost. You lost the midterms. Again, broke all records for just getting your political heads knocked off your shoulders. Couldn't have gone worse for you. That's Donald Trump's Republican Party. And now it's happening again. You want to try to stop us? You want to try to stop us from seeing what's in the Mueller Report? And Donald Trump thinks he can change the topic? Can't change the topic. Mika, he says he's not playing games, he's playing games but it's a game he always loses.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well ultimately the page turns, but it's interesting because this branding exercise he's been working on for years now, “no collusion”, now “fully exonerated,” it’s not working. Multiple polls in the last week show that Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Special Counsel’s report has failed to lift the so-called cloud over President Trump. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll asked Americans their opinion based what they know of the Mueller Report with just 29% saying it clears Trump…
BRZEZINSKI: … and 40% saying it does not with the rest unsure. Since we haven't seen it, those numbers actually bear out to common sense. This as a "Washington Post" poll told respondents that the president and Mueller had made different claims on exonerations and asked who do you believe more? Only 32% said they believed Trump's claim of total exoneration, while 61% agreed with Mueller's report of no exoneration. Again, Joe, if you'll remember in Attorney General Barr's letter, which I guess he says isn't a summary because it's too difficult to summarize 400 pages…
SCARBOROUGH: He changed his mind. Not a summary now.
BRZEZINSKI: In this letter, the one of the very few quotes he uses from the Mueller Report is that this is not an exoneration so the President is trying to brand exactly against what this report is going to be saying. That, we do know. We have to wait for the rest of the report. Nobody has seen it.
SCARBOROUGH: Did I see this weekend? It's unbelievable. He actually had his acting chief of staff going out going, “Well, you know, it’s not, it doesn't matter whether it was unethical, him talking to the Russians as much as he did. We're not talking about whether it's unethical or not.” ‘Cause course it was unethical.
BRZEZINSKI: He's talking about Adam Schiff.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, he's talking about Adam Schiff, but Tom Nichols, ethics and morality obviously stopped mattering to this administration and a lot of Republican voters a long time ago. Here you have the White House, my gosh, backed into the corner thinking this Mueller Report could be washed away with a letter from an Attorney General who is acting actually more like Roy Cohn, what Donald Trump wanted his Attorney General doing, defending him first instead of the American people. And those numbers, those numbers are abhorrent for Donald Trump. You want to explain why only 29% of Americans believe that the report exonerates him.