MSNBC: Trump Distractions ‘Guarantee’ Media Spend Less Time Investigating Clintons

Monday on Morning Joe, details emerged that a Clinton Foundation donor, who gave between $1 and $5 million, was appointed to advise then Secretary Clinton on the International Security Advisory Board. According to ABC News, Chicago commodities trader Raj Fernando was appointed to the board to advise Clinton on “nuclear security and other classified arms control matters” at the behest of the Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. According to the Clinton campaign, Fernando was appointed to “reflect a balance of backgrounds and points of view.”

As co-host Joe Scarborough accurately pointed out, “[Fernando] knows absolutely nothing about nuclear security.” Host of Bloomberg Politics’ With All Due Respect, Mark Halperin, insisted that while every administration puts “donors to various causes in jobs,” this one “went over the line.”

JOE SCARBOROUGH: And, by the way, rich people who are completely ignorant about this. It was shocking to the people that actually were on that board. Mark Halperin when his name was floated because he was so unqualified for it, but Cheryl Mills sent this Clinton family foundation donor over and forced him on there. 

MARK HALPERIN: You want to balance qualified with unqualified to get a range of skills. Look, every administration puts donors to various causes in jobs. But this is not making somebody ambassador to Belize or some other country. This is a security position and the proof that this went one over the line is that as soon as it got scrutiny they withdrew the guy. 

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.

HALPERIN: But again, the Clinton people will say, oh this is business as usual, every administration does favors for its donors. But this one went over the line. 

BBC’s Katty Kay acknowledged that but for Donald Trump’s daily gaffe repertoire consistently diverting the attention of the media, the focus would be on investigating the Clinton campaign. According to Kay, because of Trump, “it is almost guaranteed that we don’t spend as much time on it as we normally do.”

…But I also think that all of this is distracting of course from what we should be looking at. There’s so much in the Clinton campaign at the moment. So many questions about links between the foundation and the state department. Between whether there was pay for play going on in the foundation with access to Hillary Clinton. And what Donald Trump is doing is almost guaranteeing that that's not getting the kind of attention that it might normally get. Not from the press, we're covering it, but from the public. Because what he is doing and so whacky and so out there that of course dominates headlines all the time. I mean it’s the absurdity of what Donald Trump is doing. Is that there is something to investigate in the Clinton campaign and he’s making it almost guaranteed that we don't spend as much time on it as we normally would do. 

Though Kay insisted the “press is covering” the links between the Clinton foundation and the state department, the mainstream media has made their priorities very clear. Daily condemnation of “whacky” Donald Trump is a much more entertaining narrative than an objective investigation into widespread corruption of the Clinton campaign.

View Full Transcript Here:

08-15-16 MSNBC Morning Joe
06:27:10 AM – 06:31:05 AM

JOE SCARBOROUGH: So, a conservative group is working in federal court to try to force the state department to reveal records that could explain how a major donor to the Clinton Foundation got a seat on an intelligence advisory board. ABC news reports that aides to then secretary Clinton insisted that a Chicago commodities trader be appointed to the International Security Advisory board, which advises the secretary on nuclear security. On nuclear security and other classified arms control matters. E-mail shows when state department officials inquired about Fernando who gave between $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton family foundation they were told he was added by Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. "Raj was not originally on the list sent to S. (Which is shorthand for Secretary Clinton.) He was added at their insistence." The Clinton campaign told ABC that Fernando was appointed to the board to reflect a balance of backgrounds and points of view. Like, for instance, people that know absolutely nothing about Intel. People that know absolutely nothing about nuclear security. 

NICK CONFESSORE: Rich people. Have to have rich people on the board. All about balance.

SCARBOROUGH: And, by the way, rich people who are completely ignorant about this. It was shocking to the people that actually were on that board. Mark Halperin when his name was floated because he was so unqualified for it, but Cheryl mills sent this Clinton family foundation donor over and forced him on there. 

MARK HALPERIN: You want to balance qualified with unqualified to get a range of skills. Look, every administration puts donors to various causes in jobs. But this is not making somebody ambassador to Belize or some other country. This is a security position and the proof that this went one over the line is that as soon as it got scrutiny they withdrew the guy. 

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.

HALPERIN: But again, to the Clinton people, oh this is business as usual, every administration does favors for its donors. But this one went over the line. 

SCARBOROUGH: But one where you're dealing with nuclear security? 

CONFESSORE: No it’s ridiculous. Look, the government, unfortunately, is full of do nothing jobs and board positions. The president's council on the arts, the whatever for these donors to sit on and say they're a board member for the government or a presidential appointee.

HALPERIN: Even ambassadors.

CONFESSORE: Yeah, and ambassadorships to smaller countries. There are plenty of places to salt these guys away and check off the box. Why would you put him on this board of all boards? 

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. The campaign further added it's not unusual for the state department chief of staff to be involved in personnel matters but Katty Kay, I mean, I don't know. I can't imagine. Can you think of any other situation where you've got a guy who is rich and ignorant of nuclear, of the nuances of nuclear security being in a position where he could influence our policy? Our nuclear—it’s unheard of, right?

KATTY KAY: I can't think of it, I mean we'd have to ask, John is the historian, maybe come up with a case where that happened. Not just small countries you get ambassadorships, the current ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun was also an early donor to the Obama campaign back in 2008 so there are very big jobs.

HALPERIN: But he does speak English. 

KAY: [Laughing] He does speak English. 

SCARBOROUGH: He does speak—oh wait, Trump actually may have his fingers on the nuclear codes.

JOHN MEACHAM: We consider this a very important diplomatic posting. Don't feel insecure just because you lost the colleagues.

KAY: No. Not insecure. Just, but I also think that all of this is distracting of course from what we should be looking at. There’s so much in the Clinton campaign at the moment. So many questions about links between the foundation and the state department. Between whether there was pay for play going on in the foundation with access to Hillary Clinton. And what Donald Trump is doing is almost guaranteeing that that's not getting the kind of attention that it might normally get. Not from the press, we're covering it, but from the public. Because what he is doing and so whacky and so out there that of course dominates headlines all the time. I mean it’s the absurdity of what Donald Trump is doing. Is that there is something to investigate in the Clinton campaign and he’s making it almost guaranteed that we don't spend as much time on it as we normally would do. 

Tell the Truth 2016 NBDaily Campaign Watch Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Morning Joe Video Journalistic Issues Government & Press Katty Kay Joe Scarborough Mark Halperin Nicholas Confessore Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
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