Looks like Epstein conspiracy theories are catnip for the Morning Joe gang. Two days ago, we noted that Joe Scarborough had tweeted out a bizarre theory based on Russsian involvement, and suggested that it was "bullshit" to label Epstein's death a suicide. The irony/hypocrisy of Scarborough's assertion was that he proceeded to condemn President Trump for having retweeted another theory.
Scarborough was away from the show today. But Morning Joe kept the conspiracy-mongering going, while continuing to condemn President Trump for dabbling in conjecture about Epstein's death.
Willie Geist led off, calling it "unfathomable" that the two guards responsible for Epstein had fallen asleep. Mike Barnicle picked up the thread, saying it was "inexplicable" that the jail warden had removed Epstein's cellmate. That teed up the BBC's Katty Kay to point the conspiracy finger:
"It's one thing if people are really tired and they do their job shoddily. Another if it's made at a senior level the decision that you leave this prisoner alone and that the cellmate was moved out, I understand it, just the night before. That’s what’s leading people to think: this is just one coincidence too many. Because it looks like a decision was made very consciously that would have put this prisoner in a position where he could do this, knowing that he had already tried to do that."
Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire then weighed in to accuse President Trump of "traffick[ing] in conspiracy theories."
When it comes to Epstein conspiracy theories, Morning Joe has a blatant double standard. Conspiracy-mongering: cool! Conspiracy theories suggesting that a former Dem president could be involved: verboten!
Here's the transcript.
6:02 am EDT
WILLIE GEIST: This is unfathomable to people: that at a facility like this, a federal jail, that theoretically is a maximum security kind of place with that kind of a high profile inmate, that the two guards could fall asleep like something out of a bad movie.
MIKE BARNICLE: That two guards fell asleep, and they falsified records indicating that they had checked on him every half-hour, which clearly they had not. So they're in legal trouble right away.
One of the larger issues here, Willie, is the warden himself at that prison. How he allowed, or how the warden allowed Epstein to be in a cell by himself. Normally, it is protocol: anyone who has been on suicide watch has a cellmate for various, obviously logical, reasons. You alert someone if someone tries to commit suicide in the cell with you. That cellmate was removed from the cell for inexplicable reasons as yet to be explained, apparently about a week or ten days ago, and Jeffrey Epstein was alone to do the deed.
KATTY KAY: It's what Mike is talking about that is leading rise to these conspiracy theories. Because, one thing if people are really tired and they do their job shoddily. Another if it's made at a senior level the decision that you leave this prisoner alone and that the cellmate was moved out, as I understand it, just the night before. That’s what’s leading people to think: this is just one coincidence too many. Because it looks like a decision was made very consciously that would have put this prisoner in a position where he could do this, knowing that he had already tried to do that.
WILLIE GEIST: Right. Because he did have a roommate, a cellmate who was transferred out.
KAY: He had a cellmate who was then transferred out.
. . .
JONATHAN LEMIRE: This is what the President loves to do. And this is not a new phenomenon. He traffics in conspiracy theories. And we should never forget, his entire political career is based on the back of one. The racist lie that was birtherism, suggesting that the first African-American President of the United States was ineligible for the position because he was actually not born here. That's what the President said.
Earlier: On the subject of false Obama birth narratives, see The Audacity of Myth: How the Media Ignored Obama's Lies About His Own Biography and Memoir