MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough still thinks of himself as a conservative and defender of constitutional norms. On the Thursday run-up to Attorney General William Barr's press conference and the release of the Mueller Report, the self-appointed defender of true conservatism managed to play both a Democratic communications strategist and call for a change in the Constitution, because Barr is Roy Cohn reincarnated.
Scarborough gave Democrats some free messaging advice towards the end of the opening segment. He encouraged at least some Democrats to stay in Washington during the Easter weekend to "own Saturday and Sunday" to ensure there is "an explosion of news on Saturday that completely dominates the cycle Sunday and leading into next week." He declared, "They need to hold press conferences, they have to prepare to get the big Easter morning headlines by what they reveal on Saturday, which will actually hurt Donald Trump."
Earlier in the lengthy opening segment, Scarborough began by declaring that Barr's press conference has, "So many problems, obviously with an Attorney General who is supposed to be a neutral arbiter and not a Roy Cohn-type figure."
Scarborough then said that Barr had "shot" and "sullied" his reputation for his actions as AG and that he won't get it back. He accused Barr of willful malpractice, "He knows what he's doing is wrong." He tried to compare Barr briefing the White House to the infamous tarmac conversation Loretta Lynch had with Bill Clinton, but of course, Clinton was not heading the Executive Branch in 2016.
He then dismissed anybody who does not agree that Barr is acting as Trump's wingman by holding a press conference or saying there was not enough evidence to support an accusation of obstruction of justice as "far right-wing" or "some sad, pathetic Trump apologists." The self-styled defender of the Constitution then told BBC Washington anchor Katty Kay that, "I think Barr may be the person ultimately responsible for changing the way we choose our attorney generals, because we've seen the breaching of Constitutional norms for the past two-and-a-half years and political norms and it seems bizarre at this point that a President should be a able to select their own attorney general."
Barr and Trump have, "shown us a flaw, a significant flaw in our constitutional system of checks and balances," Scarborough asserted. He added: "This is not the way America is supposed to run." All of it as if he was saving checks and balances while saying that they should be destroyed. Nothing is an antithetical to Constitutional norms as "independent" departments or agencies. The DOJ is held accountable by the voters through the election process, if the voters do not like Trump's AG, his DOJ, or the Senators who voted to confirm him, they can vote them out. An actual conservative would understand that and be wary of giving bureaucrats more power.
Here is a transcript for the April 18 show:
6:04 AM ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So many problems obviously with an Attorney General who is supposed to be a neutral arbiter and not a Roy Cohn-type figure, not only holding it and then having a press conference to spin it but making sure the President of the United States and he and how many members of his inner circle are in jail now or have had felonies because this investigation, you have somebody at the heart of all of these actions who was given the opportunity to review the report before members of the press and the American people, who paid for it.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Michael, it's also short sighted. Again, he does something once again that is going to scuff up his reputation. Actually, his reputation is shot…
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: You mean the Attorney General.
SCARBOROUGH:… I’m talking about the Attorney General. Here's a guy that served in Washington for 30 years, had the respect of Republicans -- he won't get his reputation back. It's shot. It’s sullied, the way he's handled himself over the past couple months and it’s so short sighted. I always accused Donald Trump of being a day trader. Well, this is being an hour trader. He's so desperate to put his spin once again on this report, that he knows what he's doing is wrong. He knows Attorney Generals like Loretta Lynch gets in trouble for just having a conversation with Bill Clinton for a couple of hours. He has turned over an entire report to the White House. And let them prepare their rebuttal before the American people who paid for this report get to see it first, before the Oversight Committees in Congress who have a Constitutional duty to review it have had a chance to see it. The thing is, it's not like he's going to change the facts. This time tomorrow after everybody's read it, he's just going to look worse.
SCARBOROUGH: He's got some people on the far right wing and just some sad, pathetic Trump apologists that are trying to make this seem normal. It's a breach of norms. Katty, you know it’s so interesting and I think Barr may be the person ultimately responsible for changing the way we choose our attorney generals, because we've seen the breaching of Constitutional norms for the past two-and-a-half years and political norms and it seems bizarre at this point that a President should be able to select their own Attorney General, who can decide how the investigations are run against them, who can decide which political enemies gets prosecuted, who can decide which political allies don't get prosecuted, can decide what
corporations don't get prosecuted. I mean, the fact that -- I mean, Donald Trump has shown us actually a flaw, a significant flaw in our constitutional system of checks and balances. This is not the way America is supposed to run.
SCARBOROUGH: Willie, they need, you know what they're going to need to do is they're going to need to at least have enough people staying in town to drive that message. You have to own the weekend. You need to get the report. Let them own Thursday and Friday because people aren’t paying attention. Democrats need to own Saturday and Sunday. They need to hold press conferences, they have to prepare and get the big Easter morning headlines by what the reveal on Saturday, which actually will hurt Donald Trump, and then they need the Sunday shows, which will dominate the next week, so somebody to stay in town and they need to make sure that there is an explosion of news on Saturday that completely dominates the cycle Sunday and leading into next week.