During Thursday’s edition of Morning Joe, the panel lost their collective mind over Vice President Mike Pence telling NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he would “respectfully encourage the Special Counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.” Co-host Joe Scarborough went so far as to compare the Vice President, whom he had previously referred to as a “Hapless Indiana Hoosier,” to Richard Nixon’s first Vice President Spiro Agnew, who had to resign because of corruption charges.
Scarborough began the nearly 20-minute segment by asking panelist Mike Barnicle: “What did Mike Pence know and when did he know it?” Scarborough also suggested that the Vice President had tried to portray himself as a “hapless Indiana Hoosier that Donald Trump and the rest of the White House…said nothing to.”
He also ruled that Pence’s desire “to kill an investigation that is pursuing how the Russians tried to undermine American democracy in 2016” illustrates that he may have “been lying to us all this time.”
Scarborough later asked one of his producers to pull a tape of President Richard Nixon from 1973, claiming that Nixon said “almost identically what Mike Pence has told Andrea Mitchell today.” Scarborough gleefully reminded the Trump-hating audience that Nixon made these statements just one year before he resigned the presidency.
Scarborough then tried to compare Pence to Agnew: “Well, now playing the role of Spiro Agnew for the Trump Administration is Mike Pence because this is exactly…Spiro Agnew continually attacked Watergate, he continually attacked the press’s coverage of Watergate. And of course Spiro Agnew ended up in jail. Now, I don’t know if Mike Pence is going to end up in jail.”
Agnew resigned in October 1973, and was replaced by Gerald Ford, who ascended to the Presidency ten months later upon Nixon’s resignation. As if that comparison was not outrageous enough, Scarborough also happened to get the facts wrong. Agnew never spent any time in jail, he resigned from the vice presidency as part of a plea bargain to avoid going to jail for tax evasion.
The media desperately wants President Trump to suffer the same fate as President Nixon. Every ournalist” on CNN and MSNBC wants to become the next Woodward and Bernstein, whom they revere for “taking down” President Nixon. The media will continue to engage in hyperbole as they seek to “take down” President Trump morning, noon, and night.
MSNBC's Morning Joe
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So, so, you know, Mike Barnicle, I think it’s a fair time to start asking this question. What did Mike Pence know and when did he know it? Mike Pence is an honorable man. Mike Pence says that General Flynn lied to him. Really? Did he? Is this the way Mike Pence wants this investigation to begin and then end prematurely before we get the truth to all the questions? We’re finding out now that Russian oligarchs may have had money funneled to them by Michael Cohen. The Southern District of New York is getting deep into this. We’re going to find out what Mike Pence knew and when Mike Pence knew it about, for instance, that meeting that Don Jr. set up. Did Mike Pence know anything about Donald Trump lying when he brought everybody together talking about the purpose of that meeting? I mean Mike Pence has been claiming that he was just out in the dark and that he was just this, just clueless hapless Indiana Hoosier that Donald Trump and the rest of the White House told, said nothing to. But you’ve just got to start asking yourself, if Mike Pence wants to kill an investigation that is pursuing how the Russians tried to undermine American democracy in 2016, my gosh, makes me sad to say this, Mike, but I guess we have to start asking the question why does Mike Pence want to kill this investigation, what did Mike Pence know about general Flynn, was he lied to or is Mike Pence the one who has been lying to us all this time?
MIKE BARNICLE: Well, I don't know the answers to any of those questions, Joe. I do know that Mike Pence’s role in this Administration is not that much different from a lot of people around Donald Trump. He acts more as an acolyte than he does as an independent Vice President of the United States. Mike Pence certainly was there at the edge of the creation of all these issues with regard to his distrust of Mike Flynn who is now under indictment. But I don’t know the answers to those larger questions. But they are certainly pivotal questions and we don’t know, at least I don’t know whether Mike Pence has indeed talked to the Mueller investigatory team yet or will he be called to testify. I do not know, David Ignatius, but this does open up even a door that’s already open but a door wider door to the extent, the extent of involvement of so many people, whether active involvement or passive involvement in these ongoing and growing scandals around Donald Trump.
DAVID IGNATIUS: Mike Pence, like everybody around the President, is going to have to answer for his actions, her actions, behavior. I just would note that any time one of these Trump surrogates says it’s time to close the investigation, I’m here to wrap up the investigation, we’ve been hearing that from Rudy Giuliani, you know that the investigation is getting close, that it hurts. And that’s why we’re hearing that these comments. I’m just struck that the things that we're talking about today involving, in effect, a payment fund to Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer, to get things done, fixer fund we'’ll call it, Mueller was on to seven months ago. He’s been chasing this. Think of all the different places he's been since then. I've said before, Mueller is like a shark. You only see him until a fin breaks the water and then pow, he moves in. And I think, you know, we’re going to see maybe very quickly more on this script.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So this is what he said. It’s an interview with Andrea Mitchell which you'll see in a bit. These are his words: “It’s been about one year since this investigation began. Our administration’s provided over a million documents. We fully cooperated in it. And in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up. And I would very respectfully encourage the Special Counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.” And Joe, you’ve been really restrained and respectful and even at times admiring of Mike Pence and the position he’s in. But at this point, he’s made this turn. I would ask the question did the President ask him to say that and is he that loyal to the President and not the country that he would say that. Or did he do that on his own and is this comment for you just a bridge too far when it comes to Mike Pence?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, to me it doesn’t matter why Mike Pence made this statement. He has free will.
BRZEZINSKI: Well, I think it does.
SCARBOROUGH: And…well, no, if somebody asked you to make that statement, you wouldn’t make that statement. If somebody asked me to make that statement, I wouldn’t make that statement. Because what Mike Pence, what we can do…And Alex, if you can, once we get this tape, let’s do a split of what Richard Nixon said in the summer of 1973 a year before he was run out of office, he said almost identically what Mike Pence has told Andrea Mitchell today. You know, when you go to a Broadway play, and I don’t go to a whole lot of Broadway plays. You know, Willie and I are usually work the orphanages that time of night. But you know how sometimes you go to a Broadway play they say now playing the role of so-and-so tonight is going to be and then they talk about the understudy? Well, now playing the role of Spiro Agnew for the Trump Administration is Mike Pence because this is exactly…Spiro Agnew continually attacked Watergate, he continually attacked the press’s coverage of Watergate. And of course Spiro Agnew ended up in jail. Now, I don’t know if Mike Pence is going to end up in jail. I do know this, Mike Pence was there when, when he, when Paul Manafort was around, when those meetings were being taken. And Willie Geist, it seems strange to me that any American who wants to get to the bottom of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 campaign would call for the end of an investigation that’s actually uncovering new connections to Russian oligarchs as we speak, would want to get rid of an investigation that’s already indicted 13 Russians, indicted Donald Trump’s first National Security Adviser, indicted Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager who Trump said was absolutely necessary to get him the nomination of the Republican Party, indicted an assistant campaign manager in Rick Gates, indicted who Donald Trump said was one of his top foreign policy advisers. I mean, the indictments are going left and right and if everything we hear is correct, Donald Trump’s personal attorney for a decade is going to be indicted by the Southern District of New York. No rational sane human being who wants justice served says kill the investigation when the investigation is still making great progress. That is unless you’re Spiro Agnew or Richard Nixon speaking before Congress a year before you learn about the tapes and Nixon has to resign.
WILLIE GEIST: For the last almost two years now, Mike Pence has walked a line between obsequiousness, which is what Donald Trump requires out of the people around him, and staying just one foot outside the blast zone just in case this thing blows up and he can be left standing. It’s unclear that he can continue to occupy that space. You can’t be that close to the President and stay clean as anyone around Donald Trump has learned. The truth though, Jonathan Lemire, is that Bob Mueller is not listening to the advice of Mike Pence.
BRZEZINSKI: But he might take a closer look.
GEIST: Bob Mueller’s not operating on the White House’s timeline, he’s not going to wrap it up because Mike Pence says this out loud in an interview with Andrea Mitchell. But all they do by saying these things out loud is to indict themselves in some way and say we really would like this to be over.
BRZEZINSKI: Let’s take the pressure off.
GEIST: And Bob Mueller is away, sequestered in an office somewhere not paying attention to what they are saying to him.
JONATHAN LEMIRE: Right. Bob Mueller is not going to listen to Mike Pence. Mike Pence does listen to Donald Trump, though. We don’t know if he had, was ordered to this today or not. But let’s remember Mike Pence left a football game early because Donald Trump asked him to do that if a player kneeled for the National Anthem and did so.
BRZEZINSKI: I’m going to go on a limb…
LEMIRE: You know, he has, certainly questions remain. He denies knowing about what happened… he says Mike Flynn lied to him in the early months of the administration, but certainly he is in the building; there is questions. Certainly he has exposure to a lot of what has happened since then. He did not, he actually had not joined the ticket yet in time for that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. So I don’t think he was not involved for that. But he certainly knows of the events that occurred afterwards. And what we’re seeing is this has continued, this has become the new talking point for Republicans is the idea that this investigation is interfering, it’s a distraction. The president can’t get the business of the country done because of it and it should end. And let’s remember, if you were going to have a ground swell of Republicans on the Hill to sort of not – to perhaps not oppose the president trying to end this investigation, Mike Pence is a liaison to those Republicans on The Hill. He has a far better relationship with a number of those Republican congressmen and senators than Donald Trump does. That could be a bridge. If he is giving his blessing to ending this, that may wear down some of the resistance of some Republicans who want to see the probe go forward.
BARNICLE: Peggy, the nation turns its lonely eyes toward you now for wisdom and perspective. And here’s the deal. Within the past 48 hours, we have seen in news reports that the President’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been given over the past 17 months or so basically a $2 million slush fund. We don’t know where the money went that he was accorded from various corporations. But we do know that he got the money. In the, in the wake of that news revelation, we have the Vice President of the United States with this still fresh in everyone’s minds basically saying let’s end this investigation. How does something like that happen to a rational human being?
PEGGY NOONAN: And it seemed to me it was timed for the 8:00 A.M. news cycle if I'm judging the tweet correctly. It would have been thought through in Mike Pence's office, it would have been thought through by Mike Pence. My own question is what is the political play here? What is the desired domestic response, what exactly are they doing, is this simply a matter of the base doesn’t like the investigation? I mean any Trump supporter in America will tell you it's been going on for a year, it’s a bunch of stuff, we never thought Trump was clean, we know people around him were hare ‘em, scare ‘em and so unsophisticated that they say things like I’m crushing it and oh, my God, everybody’s giving me money. So the American people, they’re thinking are there and they’re just telling their base we’re with you. Or are they telling Bob Mueller hurry up, buddy, everybody is tired, why don’t you have it done by next Thursday which means investigations must stop by next Wednesday. I’m not sure exactly what they are doing. I do not find this tweet surprising expect to the extent that as you say, Willie, Mike Pence has been able to keep himself out of the blast zone. It is an interesting decision and it wouldn’t have been impetuous to jump into the blast zone.
BRZEZINSKI: And it actually goes well beyond a tweet, it’s an actual interview with Andrea Mitchell. We have our, we have the tape right now. So perfect segue. Let's take a look, the Vice President.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Our administration has been fully cooperating with the special counsel.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Do you think this investigation is a hoax?
PENCE: And we’ll continue to. What I think is that it’s been about a year since this investigation began. Our Administration’s provided over a million documents. We've fully cooperated in it. And in the interests of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up. And I would very respectfully encourage the Special Counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.
SCARBOROUGH: It is so remarkable how much that copies Richard Nixon's statement before a joint session of congress in 1973, a year before he resigned.