Chuck Todd Rationalizes Clinton/Lynch Meeting: ‘Could Happen by Happenstance’

Friday on Morning Joe, the conversation continued over the controversy surrounding former president Bill Clinton and his private plane rendezvous with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix. There was a stark contrast between the reaction of the Morning Joe hosts to that of NBC News panelist, Chuck Todd.  According to Joe and Mika, “There is no way [Bill and Hillary] don’t completely understand how completely inappropriate a meeting like that is.” Todd, on the other hand, boiled it down to “human error.”

JOE SCARBOROUGH: They're in the middle of an investigation, a criminal investigation that could change the course of American history. Yes, the president doesn't wait to, to schmooze with the attorney general who will decide whether his wife is indicted or not. 

CHUCK TODD: No, I hear you. But what I'm saying is, can you picture how that happens and how people make a human error here? 

SCARBOROUGH: No. No. 

TODD: Yes.

SCARBOROOUGH: Not in this case.

TODD: I think you can.

SCARBOROUGH: No.

TODD: Well. 

SCARBOROUGH: As a lawyer and a former public official, no.

TODD: Okay. [Chuckles] Alright. Okay.

SCARBOROUGH: Not even close. 

Todd went on to stand his ground with an outrageous justification that “we live in a world where everybody is guilty until proven innocent in politics.”

TODD: …But I'm just saying, you know, to assume, we live in a world where everybody is guilty until proven innocent in politics. It's too bad we live in this world. Everybody has earned this. Whether we like it or not. But let's be realistic. It's very possible how this could happen by happenstance. 

Yes, Chuck, let’s be realistic. Is it realistic to think that Hillary Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, intentionally waited for the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s plane to land on a private air strip so they could have a thirty-minute conversation about “golf and grandchildren?”

No, it’s not realistic, and it most certainly was not a “happenstance” case of “human error.” This was yet another example of a systemic problem of the holier-than-thou political world in which the Clintons’ psychosis flourishes. It is a world trodden with calculation and manipulation, and it is indefensible. 

View Full Transcript Here:

07-01-16 MSNBC Morning Joe
07:08:14 AM – 7:12:47 AM

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We've got Andrea Mitchell with us. So Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell, I'll have you guys take off with this. Chuck first, Bill and Hillary Clinton both have law degrees. I mean, there's no way they don't completely understand how completely inappropriate a meeting like that is. Is there? I mean could they just be hanging out with the attorney general because they want to get to know her? What?

CHUCK TOOD: Well, look, in Bill Clinton--

BRZEZINSKI: What am I missing here? 

TODD: Could we—look, can you picture Bill Clinton just sort of sauntering over and he's sitting on the tarmac and [in comically accurate Bill Clinton voice] “Oh look the attorney general is there and let me go and say hi.” I mean you can sort of see how this happens.

BRZEZINSKI: He waited for her!

TODD: And you're her, you look up and what do you do, kick a former president off your plane? I mean—

SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, no, no, Chuck, Chuck, look, I’m sorry--

TODD: Look, no, no, no, Joe, hang on, hang on. I’m just saying--

SCARBOROUGH: They're in the middle of an investigation, a criminal investigation that could change the course of American history. Yes, the president doesn't wait to, to schmooze with the attorney general who will decide whether his wife is indicted or not. 

TODD: No, I hear you. But what I'm saying is, can you picture how that happens and how people make a human error here? 

SCARBOROUGH: No. No. 

TODD: Yes.

SCARBOROOUGH: Not in this case.

TODD: I think you can.

SCARBOROUGH: No.

TODD: Well. 

SCARBOROUGH: As a lawyer and a former public official, no.

TODD: Okay. [Chuckles] Alright. Okay.

SCARBOROUGH: Not even close. 

BRZEZINSKI: Everything’s thought out.

TODD: Okay, fair enough. I mean, just, I can.

SCARBOROUGH: Can you, can you, let me turn it back to you. I'm not being defiant here. Can you?

TODD: No I'm just saying, I, you can picture how this happened. I'm not saying she did what she had to do this morning, I thought, frankly, they were going to have to go to special counsel and have to say, no, I’m going to hand it over. But it was clear to me she had to hand this over to a third party. By the way, this was a line of questioning I did with her ten days ago on "Meet the Press" because I never understood if she wants to stay on as attorney general. I think she has no choice but to find a way not to be the person not to make this decision about prosecuting her. In some ways this encounter now forces her hand in a way, I don't know why she didn't let her hand be forced before, which was, get this off of her plate. Let this be—[inaudible]

SCARBOROUGH: Okay.

TODD: But I'm just saying, you know, to assume, we live in a world where everybody is guilty until proven innocent in politics. It's too bad we live in this world. Everybody has earned this. Whether we like it or not. But let's be realistic. It's very possible how this could happen by happenstance. 

BRZEZINSKI: She’s gotten so many passes on this e-mail thing. It’s just. Okay.

SCARBOROUGH: Andrea Mitchell, we're in the middle of a hot and heavy investigation. 

SCARBOROUGH: I'm sorry. You've been in Washington a long time. I know Chuck has. I have, too. I can't imagine, I can't imagine this happening under any scenario that does not involve Bill Clinton?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well – 

SCARBOROUGH: It's such bad judgment.

MITCHELL: It shows bad judgment on both of their parts because as casual an encounter as they first described, just, you have to understand what the overall context is. I know what Chuck is saying because we all know Bill Clinton and we all know you're on a, at a private air strip and you have two secret service details, they talk to each other. He sees the motorcade and says, oh who is there? You know it's the attorney general. That said, let me tell you what our reporting is today from the justice department. That she is going to take this highly unusual step in Aspen today of making a speech and talking now about what she's going to do in the middle of an investigation. They never even confirmed what's happening in an investigation. You know that. So, she's going to have to make this announcement today in Aspen, previously scheduled appearance, obviously. And it's what she should have done yesterday, well, what they should have done is not have the meeting. What they're basically going to announce is what they are discussing. Which is that she is not going to overrule the career prosecutors and the FBI. In other words, she's not giving up her power, but basically she’s going to accept their recommendation. Whatever it is. And take herself out of that decision making part of it. 

BRZEZINSKI: Because of this meeting.

MITCHELL: Yeah. Because of this meeting.

SCARBOROUGH: Hey Gene—

MITCHELL: They were already discussing whether that was the right way to go, apparently. But had not announced it yet because the investigation, you know, it was premature. 

DONNY DEUTSCH: Hey Gene it’s Donny--

MITCHELL: The FBI has yet to interview Hillary Clinton. Now it's possible that she was interviewed without our knowing it. They’ve told us they will tell us after the fact. But that's the other piece of it. They still haven't interviewed Hillary Clinton, as far as we know. 

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