Donald Trump’s Tweet Exposes Strange Blackmail Scheme Against ‘Morning Joe’ Co-Hosts
Is President Using National Enquirer to Blackmail Journalists? Some Journalists Say Yes.
PresidentÂ Donald TrumpÂ appears to have just implicated himself in a blackmail scheme.
After being attacked by President Trump, MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough andÂ MikaÂ Brzezinski penned a Washington Post op-ed expressing their concern about the president’s fitnessÂ â€“ to watch their show, and revealed some of the details the president had mentioned in his two-tweet attack.
“President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal,” the co-hosts write. “Americaâ€™s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, ‘Morning Joe.'”
That was the first paragraph of their opinion column titled, “Donald Trump is not well.”
This is the second:
“The presidentâ€™s unhealthy obsession with our show has been in the public record for months, and we are seldom surprised by his posting nasty tweets about us. During the campaign, the Republican nominee called Mika ‘neurotic‘Â and promised to attack us personally after the campaign ended. This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper calls it a “stunning charge.”
Stunning charge from Joe and Mika in today’s Washington Post –> pic.twitter.com/DhzLRYR0Dl
â€” Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 30, 2017
To the casualÂ reader this may have seemed an odd thing to mention up so high in the op-ed, when there are so many other things they discuss, but they know their audience well, and his name isÂ Donald Trump.
Likely assuming Trump wouldn’t get very far in their counter-attack, they clearly baited him up top.
And it worked.
“Watched low ratedÂ @Morning_JoeÂ for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show,” Trump tweeted just before 9 AM Friday.
It took Joe Scarborough all of seven minutes to respond.
“Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven’t spoken with you in many months,” he tweeted to Trump at 9:02 AM.
“Why do you keep lying about things that are so easily disproven? What is wrong with you?” Scarborough followed up with at 9:03 AM.
On Friday morning’s show, the couple offered more background, as Philly.com’s Rob Tornoe reportsÂ (see video above):
â€œWe got a call from the White House that theÂ National EnquirerÂ is going to run a negative story against you guys. Donald is friends with the guy who runs theÂ National Enquirer,â€ Scarborough said, claiming he received multiple calls from three individuals at the top of the Trump administration saying the president would call theÂ Enquirerâ€™sÂ owner David Pecker and spike the story if he personally apologized to him forÂ Morning Joeâ€™sÂ coverage.
â€œThatâ€™s blackmail,â€Â Morning JoeÂ co-host Donnie Deutsch said.
â€œThey were pinning the story on my ex-husband,â€ Brzezinski added, â€œAnd I knew he would never do that. So I knew it was a lie and they had nothing. These calls persisted for quite some time. They were threatening. They were calling my children.â€
â€œThese calls persisted for quite some time. Then Joe had the conversations that he had with the White House where they said, â€˜This could go away,â€ Brzezinski said.Â â€œOur response, after talking to my ex-husband, talking to Joe, talking to my kids, was â€˜screw it, let them run it.’â€
So, let’s sum up.
The President admits first of all that he has the power to “stop a National Enquirer article.” That in itself is news, and should make the paper’s readers at least ask why.
Raw Story’s Brad Reed has the answer:
TheÂ National Enquirer’sÂ “boss David Pecker is a longtime Trump ally.”
WATCH: Scarborough Says GOP Congressman Told Him He ‘Was Scared’ for Morning Joe Co-Hosts After Trump Private Explosion
The link mentioning David Pecker goes to a new article by Jeffrey ToobinÂ in The New Yorker.Â
Next, as ThinkProgress editor and founder Judd Legum says, what Scarborough is describing is blackmail:
What you are describing is blackmail so it is time to name names. If you keep the names secret, you enabling them to continue. https://t.co/ONBfk2FOCP
â€” Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 30, 2017
Both Trump and the “Morning Joe” co-hosts admit The National Enquirer was going to run a scandalous piece on Scarborough and Brzezinski. For some reason apparently it did not. But clearly, both parties acknowledge there was a story and there was discussion between the co-hosts and the White House, be it Trump and/or his aides, to kill it.
Some responses via Twitter:
Former GOP Congressman:
.@JoeNBC just now says that National Enquirer & Trump colluded to blackmail Joe and Mika w negative story unless Joe apologized to Trump.
â€” David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) June 30, 2017
Journalism school professor:
National Enquirer used for Trump blackmail & harassment of @joenbc, @morningmika. Its owner might buy Time. https://t.co/aZKa46OVge
â€” Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) June 30, 2017
Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones:
Trump and senior WH aides colluding with the National Enquirer to blackmail journalists is a big deal. Congress should investigate.
â€” David Corn (@DavidCornDC) June 30, 2017
Former Obama DOJ chief spokeasperson:
Hard to believe we live in a country where the president sics a supermarket tabloid on tv hosts who criticize him unless they apologize.
â€” Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) June 30, 2017
CNN senior media correspondent:
Is the White House using the National Enquirer to threaten and blackmail journalists? @JoeNBC says yes https://t.co/O0qAt4qGOh
â€” Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 30, 2017
Also via Twitter, again, ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum offers a thread that includes these statements, and a link to ThinkProgress’ story byÂ Aaron Rupar, “Morning Joe hosts say Trump tried to blackmail them with National Enquirer hit-piece”:
1. Let’s be clear about what Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough are alleging https://t.co/aczuzyIGgF
â€” Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 30, 2017
2. They are accusing President Trump of BLACKMAIL. This isn’t just tawdry. It could be illegal
3. They are basically accusing Trump of ordering the National Enquirer to pursue a hit piece against them
4. They describe Mika, Joe and her kids being harassed over a period of time
5. The top White House aides contact Joe and say it’ll all go away if he calls Trump and apologizes for his coverage
6. Implicit here is a promise to make future coverage more favorable to the White House
7. These are very serious charges and, according to Joe, he has written proof that it happenedÂ
‘Beneath the Office’: Some Republicans Criticize Trump’s Attack on Female Journalist, Most Refuse or Ignore
First Lady Melania Trump Defends President’s Vulgar Attack on Journalist Mika Brzezinski
Twitter Explodes in Anger After Trump Says ‘Low I.Q. Crazy Mika’ Brzezinski Was ‘Bleeding Badly From a Face-Lift’
To comment on this article and other NCRM content,Â visit our Facebook page.
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'GOOD LUCK WITH THAT'
‘Trying to Have It Both Ways’: Ivanka ‘Flailing’ as Trump Indictment Slams Family
While Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken to their social media platforms to viciously lash out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting their father on a reported 30 charges, Ivanka Trump posted a rather muted statement on her Instagram account which simply said, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”
According to Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis, the so-called “First Daughter,” who served in the White House with her father, is trying to stay true to her former president dad, while distancing herself from his legal problems — and it is not going to work for her.
As Lewis put it, Ivanka is “flailing” in her attempts to shed the memory of her participation in the Trump administration that reached its lowest point on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
“It’s hard to argue with anything Ivanka says here, but it is not a statement of moral clarity. Nor is it (conversely) a statement of strong support for her father. She’s flailing and trying to have it both ways,” Lewis wrote before adding, “Now, it’s understandable that a daughter might not want to utterly condemn her father. Further, children are not responsible for their parents’ sins. Except, of course, if you consider the fact that Ivanka served as the primary weapon in the ‘Trump’s not such a belligerent pig as his four decades as a public figure would make you think’ propaganda push.”
RELATED: Trump is so ‘unmoored from reality’ he can’t act as a defense witness: ‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter
Noting that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who has baggage of his own — both stuck with Trump in the White House for all four years, Lewis added, “As far as the former first daughter goes, she and her husband might be done with politics, but once you’ve been a party to an administration like Trump’s, it’s going to be a long time before politics is done with them.”
“So, Ivanka, you want to have a seat at the cool apolitical kids’ table? You want to be once again accepted by the socially liberal billionaires’ children you used to go to the Hamptons with and now have Miami Beach playdates with? You want to enjoy the privileges of being a Trump with none of the shame? Good luck with that,” he concluded.
You can read more here.
Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
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