While credit goes to Thursday’s CBS This Morning for leading the broadcast with the controversy swirling around Bill Clinton having a 30-minute private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch amid the FBI investigation to Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal, the hosts of the morning show proceeded to dismiss the suspicious incident as an “innocent” encounter.
Turning to Bloomberg Politics editor John Heilemann, co-host Charlie Rose downplayed: “...the former President and a meeting with Loretta Lynch which seems on the face of it, simply to be an innocent meeting of two politician saying hello. But – ” Heilemann replied: “Yes. Just not just smart, right? Not a smart thing to do. You know? The case she is still being investigated by the FBI. The Justice Department has jurisdiction over that case.”
Fellow co-host Gayle King whined: “They are at the airport at the same time....Why can't he just go over and say hello?” Heilemann worried about the bad “optics” of the meeting but gave the Clintons the benefit of the doubt: “Because none of us will never know if all he did was just go and say hello. So, I take them for their word it was all perfectly innocent. But, again, your wife is under investigation. She [Lynch] is the nation's top law enforcement officer.”
Contrast that softball approach to how the cast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe lambasted the Clinton’s over the issue earlier in the morning:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So, this morning there are questions about what could have been discussed during a private meeting between former President Bill Clinton.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You are--Mike's laughing. I mean, you can't make this up.
BRZEZINSKI: And attorney general Loretta Lynch yesterday?
SCARBOROUGH: You can't make this up.
BRZEZINSKI: No. Oh, I'm sorry, it happened on Tuesday. The face-to-face claim, came as the justice department investigates Hillary's use as a private e-mail server as secretary of state. The attorney general says the meeting with the former president was unplanned. And that she and Bill Clinton never discussed the e-mail investigation. We're told the two just happen to be at the Phoenix airport at the same time when the former president thwarted her plane.
MIKE BARNICLE: What is the word here? Optics?
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, this is beyond optics. This is unbelievable. This is--
BRZEZINSKI: He got on her plane and met with her?
MARK HALPERIN: The good news is this gives Rush Limbaugh material for three hours today.
SCARBOROUGH: [Laughter] He’s not going to have to research now.
HALPERIN: It gives him a lot to talk about.
Liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski openly mocked the idea that Lynch and the former President didn’t discuss the ongoing e-mail investigation:
BRZEZINSKI: I don't think she needs anyone to tell her this is not a good idea. This is so obvious, right? I mean, and they didn't talk about it?
HALPERIN: I bet you they didn't talk about it.
BRZEZINSKI: [Laughs] Come on, stop! Everybody stop. Okay?
HALPERIN: [Smiling] I bet you they didn’t.
Reacting to Halperin’s naive assertion, she bitterly added: “Okay, well this is why this is never going be a problem for Hillary Clinton, people are too afraid to talk about the truth and the fact that this was wrong from the get go....we’ll just move on just like everyone else does. Even though it’s a complete sham.”