In the final week before Election Day, most of the media was eager to announce that the race is already over for Donald Trump. However, as the recent breaking news story unfolded over the weekend on the renewed federal investigation of Hillary Clinton, that may no longer be the case.
On Wednesday morning’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough sharply expressed his opinion: “I cannot believe the hatred and the vitriol that was spewed at you for saying the race wasn't over last week by fools in the media who decided to go cheerleaders instead of being reporters and it's been that way for too long.”
Also adding: “Wouldn't that be the ultimate irony? If the last shot the media had at Donald Trump was talking about his ceiling that Willie and Mika and I were mocking reporters nine months for constantly talking about Donald Trump’s ceiling and being proven wrong every time. As Tom Brokaw says, ‘we don't know until people go out and vote’ concluding that “a lot of people got ahead of themselves last week, I got to tell you.” This of course, reflects the fact that most recent polls have indicated a much closer state of the race than was predicted last week.
Concerning, the breaking news coverage over the weekend on the renewed criminal investigation by the FBI into Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server as a public servant, Scarborough on Tuesday’s show blurted out that “this is not the press' fault or the Republicans’ fault, this is Hillary's horrific judgment.”
To his response, former DNC Chairman Howard Dean express denial about the unfolding scandal and essentially blamed the press for her problem, going on to praise Hillary Clinton for her ability to achieve a bipartisan consensus if elected President. Scarborough then scoffed saying: “You don’t think she has ever done anything wrong, that in on itself is disturbing to a lot of people. But I will agree with you, I hope she does works with the Republicans.”
To contextualize this negative news story on the Democratic nominee, the conversation at one point focused on the impact of FBI director James Comey’s decision to re-open the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton due to new available evidence.
The MSNBC host engaged the editor of Bloomberg Politics Mike Halperin who considered the decision a mistake, though Scarborough suggested that the media would have criticized Comey if he had not made the decision to investigate and the information was leaked about the discovery of these extra emails. Halperin stated that “if you have an indictment bring it and if you don't stay out of politics. It's so dangerous to have a prosecutor involved in politics.”
Scarborough then responded:
“All I have to say is, really quickly, Mike, to that point, first of all, yes, this does happen every two years but a major party candidate has never been under investigation by the FBI, first of all, and secondly an FBI director has never promised the chairman of the judicial committee he would keep him advised on any future developments, that may have been a mistake - the original sin. I’ll say again, I think Comey gets killed either way…”
Earlier in the conversation that day, Scarborough went out of his way to prove his critical claim about reporters taking political sides when he called out his colleague Harold Ford for acting as a campaign operative for Hillary Clinton and proceeded to say that as journalists their job is to report the facts regardless of partisan positions.
On Monday’s Morning Joe though both the host and co-host Mika Brzezinski made it clear that they had invited representatives from both political campaigns but were surprised that only Republicans appeared thus far on the show to make their case against the Democrats in the wake of Clinton’s negative story unfolding. The MSNBC commentators all apologetically interjected that there is no way that that the press could have ignored an in-depth coverage of this story, saying “You cannot not cover this story” and “you got to cover this story.”
Here are the series of excerpts from the October 31st and November 1st and 2nd discussions on Morning Joe:
MSNBC’s Morning Joe
6:13:21 – 6:16:05 AM
JOE SCARBOROUGH: …What a difference a week makes. A week ago you were basically accused of being everything short of a neo-nazi for simply saying this race could still be competitive. You were right, here we are a week later. I cannot believe the hatred and the vitriol that was spewed at you for saying the race wasn't over last week by fools in the media who decided to go cheerleaders instead of being reporters and it's been that way for too long. But here you are right again and right in the middle of it in Wisconsin. Who would have believed that last week? What's going on?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: An election!
MIKE HALPERIN: Hillary Clinton still has the advantages she's had from the beginning. Democrats have an Electoral College advantage, they have a demographic advantage. She's got more resources. She's got --
SCARBOROUGH: Right, but Mark ‘It’s over. It's all over! It's not even competitive!’ That's what we heard for three weeks. ‘It's not competitive.’ If you say it's competitive then you're a neo-nazi….
HALPERIN: Here's what's changed. Right now look at what Donald Trump has. First of all, he gave two very strong speeches yesterday. He's closing on the message that a lot of supporters including Paul Ryan had wished he had run on forever – Change, changing Washington. Not letting Clintons back in the White House. The candidate is performing pretty well, at least he did yesterday. Second is he's putting her on defense in these states. It's not just that people said the race was over. They said forget Pennsylvania. Forget Wisconsin. Forget Michigan. Forget Colorado. The Democrats, you know, the ad spending is one thing because they've got a lot of money. When Bill Clinton is going to Colorado, when Hillary Clinton is going to Michigan, when Chelsea Clinton and Tim Kaine are coming to Wisconsin, you know that they're feeling at least a little bit nervous. They've been tight lipped about their internals but there’s no doubt that right now Donald Trump has some plausible paths. She's still the heavy favorite to win this race. The biggest thing that I think has happened is the information flow since the Obamacare announcement last week, almost every day Donald Trump has been able to win the news cycle simply by reading the newspaper aloud.
HALPERIN: She has not been able to break through new stories from the WikiLeaks to Obamacare, to obviously the FBI matter. She has been on the defensive. One last thing, the Trump campaign was not competitive on paid media – up until recently, their ads are big, they are running ads saying Hillary Clinton is old and Donald Trump is change. That has always been the message if he had a path to victory he needed to run on and he is now.
SCARBOROUGH: To tell you how quickly things change in baseball and politics and actually Mark knows things change quickly in politics, that's why he didn't jump off a cliff saying the race was over last week. Nate silver had a tweet. Do we have that tweet? Nate Silver says that ‘at this point the election is a long way from being in the bag for Clinton. Trump has the same chance of winning as Cubs have a chance of winning the world series.’ That was two nights ago.
HALPERIN: There's one other point in Hillary Clinton's favor, which you still see in some polling even as it narrowed which they counted on from the beginning. A ceiling on Donald Trump support. If his support tops out at 42%, 43%, 44% - it's not enough to win and that is still the big question.
SCARBOROUGH: Wouldn't that be the ultimate irony? If the last shot the media had at Donald Trump was talking about his ceiling that Willie and Mika and I were mocking reporters nine months for constantly talking about Donald Trump’s ceiling and being proven wrong every time. As Tom Brokaw says, ‘we don't know until people go out and vote.’ A lot of people got ahead of themselves last week but I got to tell you, Willie – I look at the map and I still can only get Donald Trump to 265. I still – it’s I going to require him to win a Colorado or a Wisconsin to get beyond 265. Right now, it looks like -- I think "The Washington Post" said yesterday if you look at Real Clear politics averages, he's in the 230s right now.
6:20:54 – 6:22:50 AM
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I think there is likely there is relevant information here from everything you know about Comey's record and everything that has been said about him, and here’s the bottom line - everyone looks at this as some attack on Hillary Clinton and they are setting it up as an attack on Hillary Clinton, it all starts with the server. The FBI's integrity is in jeopardy, the Justice Department's integrity is in jeopardy, her campaign is in jeopardy because of the server and hundreds of thousands of emails that should not have gone in and out of that server, there’s nothing you can say – that’s where it begins…
HAROLD FORD JR: But Mika - I can say something, he came back, Mr. Comey came back and said they believe, they want time to go and investigate this.
BRZEZINSKI: Because there was not supposed to be a private server.
FORD JR: Mika, but he cleared her of that…so if you’d like to go back and retread that, that's fine.
BRZEZINSKI: I am not going to … but they found new information.
FORD JR: Mr. Comey has already said after investigating this, her server, there was no prosecutor that would move forward. Did he not say that 6 months ago? he’s come back now…
BZEZINSKI: But they found something…
FORD JR: Let me finish my point, he came back and said, ‘we have found a trove of new emails that we believe need to be investigated, we wanted to let you and Congress know…we don’t know what’s there… that’s what he said, so I am not going to speculate
BRZEZINSKI: What’s he supposed to do?
SCARBOROUGH: He said, ‘maybe pertinent to the investigation…’
FORD JR: Which, you and I both know that they may not be pertinent to the investigation
FORD JR: So all I am saying – wait, but this is right before an election!
SCARBOROUGH: Harold, I understand it’s right before an election…calm down, nobody’s fighting you
FORD JR: I'm not --
SCARBOROUGH: We’re on the same team…
FORD JR: ou know better than what you’re saying and that’s fine –
SCARBOROUGH: No Harold, you know better than what you’re doing - you’re acting like a campaign operative on here. We’re just trying to get to the bottom of this.
FORD JR: Likewise
SCARBOROUGH: So we’re not putting horns on Jim Comey…
FORD JR: Neither am I
SCARBOROUGH: We just want the facts.
6:39:29 – 6:41:51 AM
SCARBOROUGH: Here’s the most important question out of all of this because, I am a Republican and I have seen this, the Clintons always skate – nothing is ever going to happen to the Clintons, it never does.
HOWARD DEAN: Possibly because they actually have not done anything wrong. It’s a possibility.
SCARBOROUGH: No, that's not the possibility. That's not actually it.
DEAN: That’s not where you were headed…
SCARBOROUGH: But here's the important question for America, if Hillary Clinton is elected president of the United States, has she learned her lesson?
DEAN: That's a great question.
SCARBOROUGH: Have the Clintons learned their lesson with foundations, with hundreds of millions of dollars and with the paranoia, do you think they have learned the lesson so she can go in and be a great president and not be dogged by self-inflicted wounds?
DEAN: Self-inflicted wounds are also inflicted by the press and you have no control over those.
SCARBOROUGH: No, self-inflicted wounds are actually self-inflicted wounds.
DEAN: Well, that’s an assumption
SCARBOROUGH: Why isn't Barack Obama had these types of problems? You know why, because Barack Obama stays far away from the line that Clintons never stayed away from. Barack Obama would never go to a line like this – ever in a million years would Barack Obama enrich himself while he's president of the United States or allow his wife to enrich herself while leveraging – so please, this is not about Democrats or Republicans. So the question is, this is not the press's fault or the Republican’s fault, this is Hillary's horrific judgment, and the question is will she learn or keep blaming the other people?
DEAN: So, I continue to disagree with the premise here… I think Hillary Clinton will be a great president assuming she wins next Tuesday and the reason is she's very smart and puts scenarios together that make sense, and the facts matter to her – it won’t be an ideological presidency, and my biggest hope for her presidency is that she will work with Republicans. I hope she desperately sits down and starts to do something again and she had a record of that in the United States Senate.
SCARBOROUGH: I hope she will, but you didn’t answer my question. So, I'll take that as..
DEAN: I disagree with the premise of it
SCARBOROUGH: You don't think she has learned anything because you don’t think she has ever done anything wrong, that in on itself is disturbing to a lot of people. But I will agree with you, I hope she does works with the Republicans because she did when she was in the Senate.
7:05:55 - 7:08:55 AM
SCARBOROUGH: What should Comey have done?
MARK HALPERIN: Well, he shouldn't -- as I understand it, his explanation for this is he promised the Hill he would keep them posted and she should not have done the original public statement, he shouldn't have speaking about whether she would be indicted or not, he should have done his speaking through the Justice Department and court and having done that, again, I totally take Mika's point, we don't know what they have and we know they did not have an indictment and that's the only way the Justice Department and the FBI should seek?
SCARBOROUGH: I will ask again, what should Jim Comey have done?
BRZEZINSKI: Maybe his mistake was the first time…
HALPERIN: He should have urged his investigators to be aggressive and look for wrong doing and recognize that, and I don't think he should have brought an indictment before the election if he was not fully ready to bring it, and they should not rush it and if they were not ready to indictment, he should have been quiet and told investigators - investigate where the evidence leads.
SCARBOROUGH: What would you have said and what we have said and what would The Wall Street Journal editorial page have said and what would 50 million voters have said if they found this evidence a week after words and a week afterwards he indicted Hillary Clinton, a week after she was elected president of the United States, and then you know we all would have rightly pounced on him and asked how long you have had this information, and how many e-mails did you have? Did you not think this might have been relevant -- I am not defending and I think he's in a no-win situation and you seem to think it's a little more black and white and I think we would have killed him either way.
HALPERIN: If it had not been for that The Wall Street Journal story that ran Sunday we wouldn't know at this point all the investigating that had gone on with some controversy inside the FBI and Justice Department about the Clinton foundation. This is not some new and interesting problem. Prosecutors deal with this every election season and the right thing to do according to justice policy, if you have an indictment bring it and if you don't stay out of politics. It's so dangerous to have a prosecutor involved in politics.
SCARBOROUGH: All I have to say is, really quickly, Mike, to that point I'll say what I said before, first of all, yes, this does happen every two years but a major party candidate has never been under investigation by the FBI, first of all, and secondly an FBI director has never promised the chairman of the judiciary committee he would keep him advised on any future developments, that may have been a mistake - that may have been the original sin. I’ll say again, I think Comey gets killed either way…
BARNICLE: Well, he does…
7:28:03 - 7:28:23 AM
BRZEZINSKI: Thank you very much. We've invited representatives of the Clinton campaign on the show. That offer still stands.
SCARBOROUGH: Also senior Democrats. We even asked Ed Rendel as a former prosecutor – but if you’re a senior Democrat in Washington DC, we would love for you to be on the show. In fact, call in.
BARNICLE: You cannot not cover this story. You cannot not cover this story.
SCARBOROUGH: You're not watching Twitter are you? You got to cover this story. Three e-mails. There are 650,000 e-mails. None of them went to and from Clinton's server. Actually, there's metadata that shows there were thousands to and from the Clinton server. We invite -- just as we invited every Republican candidate throughout the Republican primary process to call in on our show like Donald Trump did, and only one did. The funniest one did. We love Lindsey Graham. Lindsey called in. He's great. I would love for you to call in just today. Pick up the phone. Call us. We miss you. Senior Democrats? Democrats on the Judiciary Committee? Hillary Clinton. Anybody in Hillary Clinton's campaign? Anybody. We would love to have you call into our show. We miss you. We want to catch up.