On Friday, the journalists at Morning Joe hinted that an infraction by staffer Kellyanne Conway could somehow ultimately lead to impeachment. The hosts spent a large chunk of time discussing a TV appearance in which Conway suggested people buy from Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. Joe Scarborough compared, “One of Bill Clinton's, by the way, articles of impeachment by a Republican Congress, is for abusing his office.”
During the conversation, commentary editor for the Washington Examiner Tim Carney, began by explaining that the President’s actions of defending his daughter Ivanka, along with Conway and press secretary Sean Spicer, confirms any worries that people may have had about Trump’s ties to his and other businesses. The phrase “Corruption formula” was also used several times throughout the show referring to members of the cabinet defending Ivanka .
Carney continued: “So I think the semantic fights really do drag them down. Because you know what? The adversarial media loves fighting over words. That’s their favorite thing to do is fight over words. And this fight will go on forever.”
Mika Brzezinski and Scarborough agreed. Scarborough replied, “It's a great point. And now, of course, you have more than just a back and forth fight. You have an ethics violation and -- what’s going to be attached to that -- And you watch. There is an ethics violation. Let’s say it goes to the White House. They ignore it....The people want to take him out of office eventually, they’ll say, okay we are going to put that right there.” Brzezinski declared: “Yeah we will put that on the shelf right there”
Scarborough drew comparisons of this situation with Trump to Bill Clinton’s scandals in the White House: “One of Bill Clinton's by the way, articles of impeachment by a Republican Congress, is for abusing his office. You hear about high crimes and misdemeanors. One of his articles of impeachment was for abusing his office. People who are going to do that will put that right there.”
As they continued talking Walter Isaacson, former Time magazine editor, claimed negative narratives about Trump and his cabinet were his own fault because of issues like him defending Ivanka’s clothing line at Nordstrom’s. “The narrative is he is sort of aggrandizing himself. He’s you know, helping himself. There’s a sort of whiff of corruption as he enriches his self through things. And then does it with Ivanka, which she does not deserve.” He concluded by explaining if Trump wanted to change the narrative he would do so.
MSNBC contributor Mike Barnacle commented as well, claiming “We have a President for whom politics is personal and the personal is political.”
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Here is the February 10 exchange:
MSNBC - Mornining Joe
TIM CARNEY: You know that Donald Trump does not like to have any slight go without a punch-back in the face so Sean Spicer goes out there and feels he has fight over every little word, all th4ese semantics, fighting over the word ban when they were using that word ban, fighting over the word – over whether or not this was a failure. Going out there – You know Donald Trump was upset that Nordstrom went after Ivanka and so he goes out there and he says this is an attack on the President's policies. I thought that was a horrible idea! Confirms all of our worries about the conflicts of interests with Trump's business. But so Spicer is going out there being the brawling guy who can't let a slight, or a perceived slight go without a response. This makes Donald Trump the easiest President in the world to distract from anything he’s doing. This was what Hillary tried to do during the campaign --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: And ultimately to bring down!
TIM CARNEY: Throw him a bar and he goes right back at it. So I think the semantic fights really do drag them down. Because you know what? The adversarial media loves fighting over words. That’s their favorite thing to do is fight over word. And this fight will go on forever.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Very good point.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: And– And now it's a great point. And now, of course, you have more than just a back and forth fight. You have an ethics violation and -- what’s going to be attached to that --
BRZEZINSKI: Made by sloppy obsessiveness.
SCARBOROUGH: And you watch. There is an ethics violation. Let’s say it goes to the White House. They ignore it.
BRZEZINSKI: When it's clear.
SCARBOROUGH: The people want to take him out of office eventually, they’ll say, okay we are going to put that right there.
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah we will put that on the shelf right there
SCARBOROUGH: One of Bill Clinton's by the way, articles of impeachment by a Republican congress, is for abusing his office. You hear about high crimes and misdemeanors. One of his articles of impeachment was for abusing his office. People going to do that will put that right there. And Walter, what does this eclipse? This eclipse an important phone call with a leader of China.
WALTER ISAACSON: Right you have a leader of China and you have a leader of –
SCARBOROUGH: And a leader of Japan
ISAACSON: A Japanese prime minister, everything like that. And what you do is you create a narrative. And unfortunately, the narrative of this administration, which plays into Trump – You can't blame it on Sean Spicer, whatever this is. This is Trump. The narrative is he is sort of a grandizing himself. He’s you know, helping himself. There’s a sort of whiff of corruption as he enriches his self through things. And then does it with Ivanka, which she does not deserve.
BRZEZINSKI: Well and also, quite frankly, just to be really – this hurt her brand. If they– if they wanted to be— if you care about these things and you're thinking about them, they literally did the opposite thing that they should have done if they were trying to protect that.
ISAACSON: Looks like Melania's lawsuit. It all plays into a narrative. You the narrative to be we are meeting with the Japanese prime minister because tpp was actually well thought through, that decision to move away from it– and we are going to make individual trade deals.
SCARBOROUGH: And then we talked to China. There was a big problem with China but we talked through it and actually we are going to try to figure out how to have better --
ISAACSON: Under the conventional rules, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Better– but but that’s actually – Here is the bizarre thing, Walter. In some ways, on the inside, they are playing by conventional rules.
SCARBOROUGH: Mattis is doing what Mattis needs to do. Tillerson is calling who Tillerson needs to call. We saw yesterday reports of what I heard them talking about four or five weeks ago that they were going to move towards a Middle East peace from the outside in. That they were going to --
ISAACSON: Smart move.
SCARBOROUGH: It is a very smart move –
ISAACSON: One that they haven't gotten that much publicity on because –
SCARBOROUGH: And guess what. They are doing it quietly. They’re doing it with Saudi Arabia. They’re doing it with Egypt. They’re doing it with the uae They’re doing it with Jordan. He talked with king of Jordan. They are all quietly working behind the scenes and believe it or not we would never know this! But they actually are advancing forward on a lot of foreign policy initiatives that may end up paying off in a big way. But all we hear about is because of them, it's their fault, the nasty phone call with the prime minister of Australia. The nasty phone call with Merkel. The –
BRZEZINSKI: Selling the–
ISAACSON: But there is a larger narrative they have to get out of which is the Russia thing with Michael Flynn and what he did and him walking back his comments, denial that he had done it. You're going to always be looking at this narrative of are they playing it for Russia?
SCARBOROUGH: But here is another example. Something that most people missed. There was a readout on --
SCARBOROUGH: On the Putin call! Where Trump said -- and, by the way, this is something for us to all kind of think about. Donald Trump crazy. But in some cases, crazy like a fox. He's on the phone with Putin, and Putin is talking about an arms treaty. He goes, wait, what is that? I don't know what that is. What is, that guys? And his staff tells him. And he goes, oh no I don't like that. No, no. – Another thing I don't like – And so he pushed back on the arms treaty and so people read it and go, oh God he is so dumb, he didn't know there was an arms -- Maggie Habberman said he was talking about it in detail four weeks earlier and they were talking about their strategic plans. Like the guy knew. He was sitting there playing Putin like basically being passive aggressive, I guess. But, again, it's --
ISAACSON: It doesn't work with the narrative that national security adviser was playing things behind the scenes before they came in –
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. What people should be talking about today along with China and Japan is the fact that he pushed back on Putin and said, no, we are not going to agree.
MIKE BARNACLE: That’s the nut of his problem. The big story today is China.
MIKE BARNACLE: And it’s –
SCARBOROUGH: And nobody is talking about it
MIKE BARNACLE: And we are talking about his tweeting about John McCain because we have a President for whom politics is personal and the personal is political.