First, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he didn’t talk to Pam Bondi. Now, it turns out he did, and not only that, he gave a massive discount to Bondi for her fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Wednesday, Morning Joe tried to break down Trump’s back and forth and detailed the long history of Trump evading laws and restrictions.
“Trump has said in the past, as you showed, that he gave money to politicians for favors,” commentator Mark Halperin said. “To put this to rest, he should put out all of the documentation from his office. How did this contribution come to be made? Where’s the paperwork? Where are the emails? Where are the memos that say, ‘Hey, let’s, right now, give Pam Bondi some money. By the way improperly through our charity.’ And, Pam Bondi’s office should put out all the internal emails from her office that talk about the decision not to make him part of the litigation. Maybe there’s not any connection, but the onus is on them now.”
Co-host Mika Brzezinski repeated, “Oh, please,” over and over.
Halperin repeated that the onus is on the Trump campaign and Bondi’s office to prove there was no impropriety and nothing illegal that occurred. Mike Barnicle agreed, remarking that there should be a paper trail available in the Attorney General’s office that is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
“And in Trump’s office too,” Halperin agreed. “It’s a strange bit of timing, because, again, Trump has bragged. This is what he did. He gave money to politicians in order to control his decisions to get favorable results. And he said that’s how he succeeded.”
“You can see a timeline and a direct result of the money,” Brzezinski said. “Which is what he says he does with money, he buys people off. He makes deals. And he got a deal to not be investigated in an area where he has a real weak spot and that’s Trump University. I’ve never seen a campaign and a family get more defensive than when you bring up Trump University because they have a weak spot there.”
In the following hour, Brzezinski walked through the entire Trump/Bondi scandal in an attempt at creating a timeline.
She played the interview of Bondi on Fox Business news saying she refuses to be bullied by Hillary Clinton over the Trump University scandal.
“The 2013 donation by the Donald J. Trump Foundation was made four days after it was announced the Bondi said she was considering joining New York State’s investigation into Trump University,” Brzezinski outlined.
She continued, clarifying that Trump’s donation violated federal rules that ban charities from giving political donations. “Trump and his team also failed to disclose the gift to the IRS. Instead, saying the donation was given to a related group with a similar name. Effectively, obscuring the contribution. Trump paid the $2,500 penalty imposed on his foundation by the IRS for the errors and also reimbursed the foundation the full amount from his personal account.”
A New York Times investigation outlined a long history of Donald Trump ignoring or circumventing campaign finance rules. It states that the Federal Election Commission fined Trump in the 1990s “for exceeding the annual limit on campaign contributions by $47,050.”
In 2000, the New York State Lobbying commission also fined Trump for $250,000 after he failed to disclose the full extent of his lobbying to state legislators. Then, there’s the matter of the fundraiser for Pam Bondi.
Monday, Trump denied he had any communication with Bondi, saying “I never spoke to her” … “Never spoke to her about that at all.”
“And then he said, he actually did,” Brzezinski said. “So, first, he said he did not speak with her. And then he said he did speak with her. And he said when he did speak to her, he was referring to the investigation, and, um, Trump has long flaunted, by the way, his use of political donations to buy influence.”
Former President Bill Clinton slammed Trump for attacking his foundation saying, “Unlike his foundation we actually say who gives us money and what we spend it on.”
Meet the Press host Chuck Todd explained that Bondi “has had one too many of these run-ins” and concluded that the latest scandal with Trump will probably be “the exclamation point.” He continued that she’s made “one too many mistakes.”
“Either this is a lie or one hell of a coincidence,” Mark Halperin concluded.
Watch the video below:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) September 7, 2016