MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham agreed the increasingly frantic comments by the president and his lawyer betrayed their deepening anxiety over the direction of the special counsel probe.
President Donald Trump kept up his Twitter attacks on the media and law enforcement officials over the weekend, and attorney Rudy Giuliani memorably insisted “truth isn’t truth” as he defended his client on television.
“We're through the looking glass,” Meacham said. “Giuliani isn’t doing anything that he doesn't think Trump wants him to do. You can hear Donald Trump saying it.”
Meacham was struck by the president comparing his own White House counsel to Richard Nixon’s whistleblowing White House counsel, John Dean, who Trump called a “rat.”
“Where you have the old image of Nixon talking to the portraits, I see Trump talking to mirrors and Rudy,” Meacham said. “You know, he's just wandering around talking to himself and creating this.”
He compared the president’s attempts at obfuscation to the “debate” over climate change.
“It's extreme weather,” Meacham said. “The press, broadly put, (special counsel) Mueller, the facts say X. They are going to say Y and take their chances that the right number of folks and the right number of electoral states agree with them.”
The historian said Trump and Giuliani weren’t even trying to disguise their efforts, but he doubted they would be ultimately successful in confusing the public.
“It's not even an attempt at this point, but the assumption that you simply can fool enough of the people enough of the time to maintain this temporal hold on power, and it's a cynical exercise from the very top,” Meacham said.
“It starts with Trump,” he continued. “It radiates to a couple of these other, forgive me, New York tabloid figures, and because of an underlying anxiety in the country, it has worked nationally, or at least deeply enough certainly that we're going to have to deal with it. It's why the midterms will tell us so much. History is not going to reward Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the way he spent his Sundays in 2017 and 2018.”
Scarborough said the strategy wouldn’t work, and he said the president could not survive politically.
“Just look at political history,” Scarborough said. “He's a 40-percent president. Presidents with 40 percent approval ratings, my gosh, with re-elects in the low 30s and the very states that put him over the top in 2016, their parties don't win midterm elections and they don't get re-elected. There is no happy ending for the Trump administration, especially as they pile one lie on top of another lie on top of another lie.”