MSNBC's Joe Scarborough challenged Senate Republicans to get to the bottom of a highly unusual whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump now that new details have emerged.
Former U.S. officials told the Washington Post that the whistleblower filed a report with the intelligence community's inspector general over a "promise" Trump made in a July 31 phone call to a foreign leader, and "Morning Joe" panelists grappled with the handling of the complaint by acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.
"It looks to me as if the Trump administration is deliberately seeking to undo the rules that have bounded U.S. intelligence activities, basically since the Watergate and the intelligence scandals in the '70s," said Post columnist David Ignatius. "It's a big deal."
Scarborough accused Maguire of engaging in a "coverup" by refusing to turn over the complaint to the House Intelligence Committee, but has agreed to testify before the panel next week.
"What are they covering up is the question?" Scarborough said. "It is a coverup."
MSNBC contributor Steve Rattner agreed.
"It is totally a coverup," he said. "I think the obvious issues of intelligence and what went on between Trump and this foreign leader are central to this, but so is the relationship between the White House and the Congress of which this is yet just another example of the White House essentially refusing to follow normal procedures, law, separation of powers, and the rights of Congress to know what's going on here."
Scarborough asked what congressional Republicans intended to do about the administration's refusal to follow the law.
"Are the Republicans curious at all about the inspector general, an independent inspector general saying that what the president said was so deeply troubling that they need to be made aware of it?" he said.
Co-host Willie Geist said he wouldn't be holding his breath while Republicans decided whether to confront this latest abuse, and Scarborough named and shamed GOP senators in hopes of spurring them into action.
"Knowing that 'Moscow Mitch' McConnell is not even protecting American democracy from the Kremlin, when Republicans now, former conservatives like (Grover) Norquist are now coming out," he said. "The Trumpists are coming out and saying you have to protect our democracy."
Rattner asked whether any Republicans cared that the president allegedly made a promise to a foreign leader that prompted a formal whistleblower complaint.
"Put aside 'Moscow Mitch, where is Lindsey Graham?" Rattner said. "Where is Tom Cotton? Where are the people who say they're most focused on the integrity of the U.S.?"