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.?”
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.
The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.
It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.
GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.
Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.
"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."
Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.
White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."
Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.
Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.