The cast of Morning Joe set their freakout level to def-con red in the wake of Donald Trump’s not-so-secretive dinner meeting with Vladimir Putin. “I’m not trying to make this look sinister,” a panicked Mika Brzezinski exclaimed frantically, “I'm not sure who is. We're just wondering what happened there.” An indignant Joe Scarborough deceivingly declared, “I don’t know what to say,” before going on to, disappointingly, say quite a bit on the matter. However, Mark Halperin arrived to steal the show in the end by stating, “If President Obama had done this exact thing and had not disclosed, there would be tons of questions about it.”
The full exchange went as follows:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI:...President Trump reacted with anger, calling the report sick, insisting the press knew and said "Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!" Joe, I'm not trying to make this look sinister. I'm not sure who is. We're just wondering what happened there.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, actually, it's the President himself who may have made this look sinister. Certainly, Mark Halperin, a lot of foreign policy minds, not only in Washington, but across the world especially among our allies, are deeply disturbed that the President of the United States has now spent three hours with Vladimir Putin, someone that he's long been accused of having an abnormally close relationship with, an unusual admiration for and now he's had three hours of meeting without a national security adviser by his side. And this one-hour meeting, which was not known to the press, this side meeting that the press did not know about, he actually spoke to Vladimir Putin with no American there, only an interpreter from the Kremlin.
I don't even know what to say Mark. How do you follow up a week where your son has been caught lying day in and day out and day in and day out and one of your top advisers has been caught lying time and time again, your attorney general has been caught lying about meetings with Russians, the vice president has been lied to repeatedly about meetings with Russians. It goes on and on and on. And then he takes a meeting which they don't tell the press and they don't give a readout to the press with Vladimir Putin by himself and with an Russian interpreter.
MARK HALPERIN: This White House should know that if President Obama had done this exact thing and had not disclosed, there would be tons of questions about it. But, obviously, this president has a different set of problem and suspicions regarding his relationship with Russia and with Putin so they shouldn't be the least bit surprised that this is the result particularly because the meeting was not disclosed and that meeting is now lost to history.
A lot of foreign policy professionals have already said this is not good practice for the President to be in a conversation like that where he doesn't even control the translation in any way. I'd like to think America would send someone with the President to that dinner will have someone at the dinner that would speak more than two languages, but in this case that meeting is now lost forever and there's nothing the White House can do to put to rest suspicion about what took place, nothing they can do because there's no record of what happened except for what Putin wants to say about the meeting.
So, a dinner conversation in front of several world leaders now amounts to a secret, undisclosed meeting? If that’s the new standard, then doesn’t that fall under classification? Will the press need to have a hand-written copy of every single word uttered by the President when speaking with any foreign actor? Or is that just the standard as applied to Trump and not everyone else?
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