MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called on Republicans to stand up to President Donald Trump’s “Nixonian” provocations.
The “Morning Joe” host said the president was moving closer to triggering a full-blown constitutional crisis by calling on the Justice Department to investigate his predecessors, and he said the GOP must take action to preserve the rule of law.
“A lot of really good people in that party, a lot of people like (Sen.) Rob Portman (R-OH) who actually care about the Constitution,” Scarborough said. “The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has said stay away from Bob Mueller.”
“You’ve had a lot of people who came out, good, decent, honorable, upstanding citizens — this puts more pressure on them, a president who only can be described this weekend as Nixonian,” he added. “This is a lead-up to the ‘Saturday Night Massacre.’ So what does, say, (Sen.) Joni Ernst in Iowa do about this? What do other good Republicans in the Senate and the House do about this?”
MSNBC’s Elise Jordan, a former Bush White House and State Department aide, said Trump has been warned repeatedly not to interfere with the special counsel, but she worried that he would be unable to control his own worst impulses.
“I feel there has been a coordinated Republican effort to impress upon him that firing Bob Mueller would really, really be the fracture and upset the tenuous alliance that exists right now that’s condoning of this behavior from Donald Trump,” Jordan said. “The question I have can Donald Trump ever control his impulsivity enough when he really is threatened to not do that.”
Scarborough said, flatly, no — and Jordan said the president’s behavior on social media this weekend was part of a worrisome pattern.
“After what he did this weekend, this was not some well thought-out grand strategy,” Jordan said. “This was Donald Trump mouthing off on Twitter, exercising his Twitter hand. On Sunday morning, the morning other presidents previously went to church, Donald Trump is having a Twitter war. That’s why I think he has to continually up the ante when it comes to shock value, and I think it’s only going to continue with what he gets away with here.”
Presidential historian Jon Meacham agreed that Trump appeared to be at the same point Richard Nixon was when he ordered Justice Department officials to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox — and he predicted Trump would eventually face impeachment.
“One Nixonian element here that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of attention, at least explicitly, is both Nixon and Trump have an ongoing obsession with their former opponents in a way that I think shapes what they do in deleterious ways, to say the least,” Meacham said.
He said Nixon justified his White House recordings by saying that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson had done it, and he was obsessed with the president who had defeated him in 1960.
“He was always obsessed with what President Kennedy had gotten away with, in his view, and remember, of course, that’s clearly true with President Trump, with an obsession with both Obama and Secretary Clinton,” Meacham said.
He said the midterm elections would play a crucial role in determining Trump’s fate.
“The most important political story in the country right now, in many ways, are those 435 House races,” Meacham said. “I’ve been skeptical of this, but I would bet a good bit of money this is going to end up in the House with some kind of impeachment proceeding, and the makeup of that body and ultimately the reaction of the United States Senate, which is supposed to be the great deliberative check and the great final hammer on these things, I think we’re going to end up — that’s going to be the season finale of this.”
So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire
In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Trump lawyer Purpura busted by MSNBC for lying on the Senate floor during impeachment trial
Moments after the end of the Saturday's Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, MSNBC host Brian Williams pointed out that one of Donald Trump's attorney's lied on the Senate floor about the president's Ukraine scandal-- and he had a clip handy to prove it.
Sharing footage of attorney Mike Purpura stating the higher-ups in Ukraine were unaware that Donald Trump was withholding aid until after the government helped him by announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, the MSNBC host called the attorney out.
To make his point that Pupura was being untruthful, Williams then showed a clip of Defense Department official Laura Cooper, who testified that Ukrainians were asking about the delay on the day of the Trump phone call that was the starting point of the impeachment trial.
‘That dog doesn’t hunt’: Ex-senator burns down fake GOP outrage over Schiff’s ‘heads on pikes’ comment
Speaking to MSNBC's Brian Williams on Saturday, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) had no patience for the GOP senators, including the so-called "moderates" Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), complaining about the closing comments by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) quoting an anonymous source to CBS News saying President Donald Trump and threatened senators would have their "head on a pike" if they voted to convict.
"Several Republican senators took umbrage," said Williams. "Collins is said to have reacted verbally in the chamber. Murkowski was hurt afterwards. Can they really pin a vote on injured feelings?"