With the focus of the discussion on the Mueller report shifting from collusion to obstruction of justice, some in the media are just as convinced that President Trump obstructed justice in addition to having colluded with the Russians. Their proof that Trump is guilty of obstruction is in his behavior, because innocent people do not act the way Trump has acted. One of these media personalities is MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who made the charge during Monday's Morning Joe.
After fact-checking the President's tweet that said, "I have never been happier or more content" and rating it as false, Scarborough declared: "An innocent man does not screech and complain and whine all weekend."
Plenty of innocent men have complained that they have been targeted or accused of things they haven't done, but that hasn't stopped media personalities from repeating various iterations of it. Similar reactions were common when Brett Kavanaugh defended himself against accusations of sexual assault.
Referring to Trump's purported reaction when Mueller was appointed, CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert explained: "I'm guessing that’s not how an innocent person reacts." When Trump tweeted a Game of Thrones meme saying "It's Over," Jedd Legum tweeted, "PRO-TIP: Innocent people don't need memes." CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted this: "Happy people don't obstruct justice. Trump's frustration at leaks and investigation are evidence of guilt, not innocence. But let's see the report . ."
While the Mueller report's obstruction portion did not paint a flattering picture of the Trump White House, to say that someone is guilty based on their reaction to be accused, is not sophisticated analysis. Rather it is an effort to make the facts align with your pre-determined anti-Trump outcome.
Here is a transcript for the April 22 show:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: President Trump spent the holiday weekend at his Florida club trying to project he's happy and calm, yet his anger over the Mueller report continued to boil over in public view. The White House took the rare step of releasing photos of the president with radio host Rush Limbaugh on Trump's golf course.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Happy.
BRZEZINSKI: Unusual since they typically don't even confirm he's playing golf during his frequent visits to golf properties. The president later retweeted his Director of Social Media Dan Scavino, the guy who used to run his clubs, who wrote, “I am with the president at the southern White House. I have never seen him happier!”
SCARBOROUGH: See, there you go he's happy. He’s happy
BRZEZINSKI: Trump then sending that message himself yesterday morning, quote, “I have never been happier or more content –“ Yet, all day long…
SCARBOROUGH: Yet, Mika what did he do all weekend?
BRZEZINSKI: Well, he continued…
BRZEZINSKI: … to fume over the 448-page Mueller Report, alleging he has been historically mistreated. While aides and allies went on television to dispute the report’s description of Trump's reaction when he learned the special counsel had been appointed, when he said, quote, “Oh, god, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency.”
SCARBOROUGH: Uh, Jon Meacham, it’s almost as if they are reading talking points sent out by somebody saying…
BRZEZINSKI: They would never do that on Fox News
SCARBOROUGH: An innocent man—an innocent man-- does not screech and complain and whine all weekend, so it’s almost as if somebody got to all of them and said, “ You need to start staying the president’s happy.”