‘Morning Joe’ Pushes Hillary on Foundation, Lets Up in Touting ‘Remarkable,’ ‘Turning Point’ Speech

Hillary Clinton joined the cast of characters on MSNBC’s Morning Joe late in Friday’s show and co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski questioned her somewhat fairly about the Clinton Foundation and had facial expressions that embodied the lack of trust the American people have in her, but they backed off at some points in hailing her “remarkable” Thursday afternoon speech that could be seen as a “turning point” in the presidential election and politics as a whole. 

Scarborough kicked off the questioning by wondering why Clinton didn’t come out immediately and label Donald Trump a racist during her “remarkable speech yesterday” but later changed his tone when the topic shifted to the Clinton Foundation. 

He attempted to ask why she doesn’t begin the process of removing she and her family from the foundation now and when Clinton seemed to boast that the fight against diseases like HIV/AIDS is incumbent on the foundation’s work, Scarborough shot back: 

Madame Secretary, though, and you all have done remarkable work in the fight against HIV and AIDS, but you are not suggesting and nobody related you with the foundation is suggesting that continued progress will stop if you transfer those assets over time, understood it would take awhile, over to the Gates Foundation or some other foundation that would continue your good work. That fight is not dependent solely on the Clinton Foundation remaining in place, is it?

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Brzezinski jumped in moments later and informed Clinton that, despite her spin, “it's really fair to take a look at the work the Clinton Foundation has done” and express concern at possibility of additional “e-mails or foundation ties to foreign entities that will be revealed” either before the election or afterward if she’s elected.

Clinton naturally claimed that there won’t be any additional batches of e-mails discovered that would bode poorly for her and Brzezinski surprisingly kept up the pressure by wondering if Clinton would be excoriating her GOP opponent if it wasn’t Trump and they had run a foundation that took foreign donations:

But it does — it raises questions. Madame Secretary, if a Republican candidate who was actually credible was running against you and served as secretary of state and ran a foundation that took donations from foreign entities, wouldn't you be criticizing him or her for a conflict of interest? And in retrospect, was that a good idea if you’re not going to be doing it, in some cases, as president?

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Eventually, Brzezinski backed off and lamented to Clinton that “[t]here’s so much noise” in this election and wondered if the Democratic presidential candidate is working to “build that trust up with voters at this time when people are feeling negative, to say the least, about this election overall.”

“You know, on key issues that impact society, I have to say you have been saying the same thing for decades and you have been doing the same work for decades. Hillary Clinton, thank you so much for coming on this morning,” Brzezinski later concluded.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Morning Joe on August 26 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe
August 26, 2016
8:37 a.m. Eastern

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Madame Secretary, thank you so much for being with us. I think everybody around the set this morning has concluded it was a remarkable speech yesterday but equally remarkable to us is the fact that Donald Trump, who contributed to your campaign and said wonderful things about you not so long ago, is now calling you a bigot. You said he was a fun guy but now you're talking about him stoking the flames of racism. Do you think Donald Trump is a bigot or a racist because he said you are?

(....)

SCARBOROUGH: Is that a message that you're giving — that you’re sending out to Republicans as well as independent voters cause many people believe you are now trying to reach over and tell Republicans hey, you know what? You got a choice. I am going to be a uniter. I am going to work with Republicans as well as Democratic. You don't have to vote for this guy.

(....)

SCARBOROUGH: Alright, Madame Secretary, let's move onto another topic that — one we talked a good bit about yesterday on the show and knocked some of your people around a little bit and that is the Clinton Foundation. I want to ask you a couple of really quick questions on the Clinton Foundation. The first is a question that even some liberals are asking, people around the set were asking yesterday. If you believe that the Clinton Foundation has done great works and I think most of us believe it has done great works, why not transfer the responsibilities to, say the Gates Foundation or some other foundation to completely eliminate any conflicts if you become the next president and commander in chief?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Joe, it's a fair question and I appreciate, you know, the concerns that people have expressed and that's why I have made it clear if I'm successful in November, we are going to be taking additional steps, but the fact is winding down some of these programs takes time. You don't just turn on and off a switch, even trying to negotiate with partner groups takes a lot of serious effort. 

SCARBOROUGH: Is that something you would consider, though? Is that something you would consider over time?

(....)

SCARBOROUGH: Madame Secretary, though, and you all have done remarkable work in the fight against HIV and AIDS, but you are not suggesting and nobody related you with the foundation is suggesting that continued progress will stop if you transfer those assets over time, understood it would take awhile, over to the Gates Foundation or some other foundation that would continue your good work. That fight is not dependent solely on the Clinton Foundation remaining in place, is it?

(....)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So, I think it's really fair to take a look at the work the Clinton Foundation has done and take the time to hear about it, which is what we’ve been doing. There’s so much more you can do as president, obviously ans so I guess the question would be, are you certain that there are no e-mails or foundation ties to foreign entities that will be revealed that could perhaps permanently impact your presidential prospects? 

(....)

BRZEZINSKI: But it does — it raises questions. Madame Secretary, if a Republican candidate who was actually credible was running against you and served as secretary of state and ran a foundation that took donations from foreign entities, wouldn't you be criticizing him or her for a conflict of interest? And in retrospect, was that a good idea if you’re not going to be doing it, in some cases, as president? 

(....)

BRZEZINSKI: There’s so much noise and so much at stake. I just — I wonder with the questions raised from speech money to foundation ties how you build that trust up with voters at this time when people are feeling negative, to say the least, about this election overall?

(....)

SCARBOROUGH: Madame Secretary, you know, in every campaign there is a defining moment. I remember in '92 it was your husband up in New Hampshire, of course, Barack Obama's speech on race in 2008 was seen as a significant moment. Do you think yesterday's speech that you gave, in your opinion, may be a defining moment, a turning point in this campaign when talking about what is at stake for the American people in our future?

(....)

BRZEZINSKI: You know, on key issues that impact society, I have to say you have been saying the same thing for decades and you have been doing the same work for decades. Hillary Clinton, thank you so much for coming on this morning. 

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals MSNBC Morning Joe Video Government & Press Clinton Foundation Joe Scarborough Mika Brzezinski Hillary Clinton
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