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‘Morning Joe’ panel blasts Trump campaign for Melania’s plagiarized speech: ‘It is a ripoff’

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Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough (MSNBC)

Melania Trump gave the first major speech of her life Monday night at the Republican National Convention — but her success will be overshadowed by some pretty obvious plagiarism accusations.

Portions of the speech closely resembled a speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention, and panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” blamed Donald Trump’s bare-bones campaign staff for the ethical lapse.

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“If you turned off the TV even an hour after her speech, as Joe (Scarborough) said, the reaction was, ‘Wow, for someone who stepped onto a stage and made the first big public speech of her life, she nailed it,'” said panelist Willie Geist. “If you wake up this morning to this, I just ask you, how does this happen? How does it happen? Because when you see it side by side, it is a ripoff.”

Panelist Mark Halperin said Trump’s campaign did a “huge disservice” to the candidate’s wife by allowing her to give the plagiarized speech.

“It’s a campaign that is so skeletal, they’re lucky that stuff like this doesn’t happen more often, given how few people work there,” Halperin said. “No campaign that had a full apparatus could possibly let something like this happen, and this is the way conventions are scored. It’s unfortunate for her, because if this hadn’t happened, the story today would be what an incredible job she did. Instead, the story is the campaign let her down.”

“I think by the end of today, probably sooner, someone in the campaign’s going to take responsibility for this and have to leave,” Halperin added. “Not only for accountability, but also to take the onus off of her.”

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But the Trump campaign started Tuesday morning by denying the strong, word-for-word similarities were plagiarized from the First Lady’s speech.

“There was no plagiarism, the lines from Melania’s speech were not lifted,” campaign manager Paul Manafort said on CNN, and then flatly denied the similarities could be described as plagiarism. “Of course not.”

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The “Morning Joe” studio audience then erupted into laughter, and the panelists said that couldn’t be a good sign for Trump and his campaign.

“This is the same man that came on our show yesterday morning and called John Kasich, the governor of this state, an embarrassment,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski. “Why don’t we think that maybe Paul Manafort should look for another job. I’m serious.”

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The studio audience again erupted in laughter, and then loud applause.

“That guy is so negative, that guy is so divisive,” Brzezinski said, as the audience continued to clap. “What does he do besides create trouble.”

Scarborough distanced herself from Brzezinski’s comments, which seemed to annoy her, and she got another round of applause when she asked the audience whether they agreed.

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“Guys, we’ve got a crisis management issue here,” Scarborough said. “When you make a mistake, and it’s clear you (made) a mistake, you get it behind you as quickly as possible.”

He said Trump’s campaign has too often let problems “bleed and bleed and bleed” instead of reacting quickly and then moving past them.

“This will be the story of the day until they do something to change the story of the day,” Halperin said.

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The Arab uprisings were weakened by online fakes

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The Arab uprisings a decade ago were supercharged by online calls to join the protests -- but the internet was soon flooded with misinformation, weakening the region's cyber-activists.

When Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011, rumours and uncertainty created "panic and hysteria", said ex-activist and entrepreneur Houeida Anouar.

"January 14 was a horrible night, so traumatic," she said. "We heard gunfire, and a neighbour shouted 'hide yourselves, they're raping women'."

As pro-regime media pumped out misinformation, the flood of bogus news also spread to the internet, a space activists had long seen as a refuge from censorship and propaganda.

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Dr. Fauci warns of post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge in US

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The United States is the worst-affected country, with 266,074 Covid-19 deaths, and President Donald Trump's administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.

"There almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel," Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union."

Travel surrounding Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday made this the busiest week in US airports since the pandemic began.

"We may see a surge upon a surge" in two or three weeks, Fauci added. "We don't want to frighten people, but that's the reality."

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Sidney Powell’s new election lawsuit cites election experts she won’t even name: legal expert

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President Donald Trump's former election lawyer, Sidney Powell, has filed her lawsuit in Georgia suing Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) for what she says is a fraudulent election.

But lawyer Mike Dunford explained that it doesn't exactly work that way. Reading through Powell's court document "Emergency Motion for Declaratory, Emergency, and Permanent Injunctive Relief and Memorandum in Support Thereof."

"If you want emergency relief it is very helpful to be as clear and concise as humanly possible," he explained. "Pointing the court back to your 100+ page complaint with its 29 exhibits isn't how that is best done. To put it very mildly."

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