The Morning Joe panel discussed at length the Washington Post story printed Wednesday night that goes inside of 'Bill Clinton Inc.' Joe Scarborough and the panel spent a significant time debating the "ethical and moral deficit" of the Clintons.
Scarborough criticized former Clinton aide Doug Band for "bragging" about pay to play hustling. Scarborough asked for the New York state Attorney General to launch an investigation into the foundation and called for the Clinton Foundation to "shut down" for the time being.
Ron Fournier later joined the panel and argued with Clinton loyalist Steve Rattner on the significance of the WaPo findings and pay-for-play action including the Clinton State Department and Clinton Foundation. MSNBC's Kasie Hunt commented this is just a preview of "what comes next" under a Clinton presidency. She said it makes the American public question if they are "ready to have the Clintons back in the White House."
"This basically confirms everything Ron Fournier has been saying: follow the money," Scarborough said of the story.
"The Washington Post article is absolutely fascinating on 'Bill Clinton Inc.,'" Scarborough said at the top of Thursday's broadcast. "$66 million to him personally and they're bragging! They're bragging at the memo that they can shake down the same corporations that they're taking donation money for, that they can shake them down for $66 million for 'Bill Clinton Inc.'"
"For Bill and Hillary Clinton personally, does that confirm what you and a lot of Clinton skeptics that supported Bernie Sanders were worried about all along?" Scarborough asked guest Eddie Glaude Jr., chairman of African American studies at Princeton.
"Well, it's certainly, um, yes," Glaude Jr. answered to laughter. "It certainly confirms a deep suspicion that there's an ethical deficit that defines how they operate in the political domain, how they operate generally. They have an ethical and moral deficit."
"And they're actually bragging about being able to shake down foundation clients for Bill Clinton money. Doug Band is bragging about it. And it's not like Doug Band dreamed this up on his own, he was doing his boss's bidding," Scarborough said.
"They're bragging about using this foundation to make the Clintons hundreds of millions of dollars. Shouldn't the Attorney General for the state of New York launch an investigation? And at least shut down the foundation like they did with the Trump Foundation? Because there is so much more money involved here," Scarborough wondered.
MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt weighed in on the WaPo story and what it means for Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy.
"The second thing I'll say about it, right now, Hillary Clinton is enjoying an enormous honeymoon period," Hunt told Morning Joe. "She's really riding high. You can see it in her demeanor on the campaign trail. She's extraordinary -- she went to an Adele concert in Miami the other night. A couple weeks out from the election."
"I think what you're seeing in these stories and what your seeing in this conversation going on is a preview of what comes next in the event that she does win this election," Hunt said. "This is the conversation that Republicans in Washington will want to have over and over and over again. I think they're already digging into this material on Capitol Hill. That does pose significant challenges. Part of why we have been talking for so long on whether the American public is ready to have the Clintons back in the White House?"
Scarborough took a swing at the media for taking a break from investigating Trump and looking into the Clintons, joking someone will receive a Pulitzer for digging up the Trump portrait story.
"This is sleazy and everybody knows it's sleazy. You're trading in public service while somebody is Secretary of State," he said.
"Larger amounts of money and the world is used as opposed to Palm Beach and a flag," co-host Mika Brzezinski said, referencing Trump.
"You're shaking down the world for $66 million instead of a Rolex watch or a life-size portrait," Scarborough said, also referencing Trump. "Somebody is going to win a Pulitzer prize for finding a life-sized portrait of Donald Trump that he paid money for with the family foundation. We're talking about $66 million, maybe a $100 million."
"I call that more than ethically challenged," Brzezinski chimed in.
Brzezinski added this is "perplexing" to her father Zbigniew.
"The Clintons and the foundation bearing their name are facing fresh scrutiny over extremely blurred lines between the organization the family's multi-million dollar fortune," MSNBC's Brzezinski said about a new Washington Post expose on the Clinton Foundation. "The revelation stems from the latest release of e-mails by WikiLeaks, allegedly hacked from the personal account of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta."
"A purported 2011 memo from longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton Doug Band lays out extensive fundraising efforts by him and his company Teneo on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons personally," Brzezinski reported.
Brzezinski then read from the Washington Post story she cited from.
Later in the show in the 7am hour, when Fournier joined the panel, Scarborough responded to the Clinton complaint of "poor pitiful me" when they are under investigation. Scarborough said the Clintons habitually participate in activity "that crosses the line" and brings cause for an investigation.
"When I read these e-mails that were stolen, these hacked e-mails in the Podesta cache you see people like John Podesta and Neera Tanden basically echoing my columns the last 18 months," Forunier observed. "Because it was those kinds of people, people close to the Clintons who knew what they were doing, was undermining the public's trust in government, which is important to Democrats, and was awfully close if not actually quid-pro-quo and at the very least it undermined her moral authority to take on Republicans."
"And that's exactly how this has played out," Fournier declared. "Her trust numbers have collapsed as predicted by her own people and we now see that Doug Band put in writing in that memo the worst fears of the Clinton folks. Not Ron Fournier, but the Clinton folks who for months now have begged the Clintons to come clean."
Fournier said the State Department-Clinton Foundation relationship was "unethical" and "inappropriate," while Steve Rattner called it "an appearance problem."
"It's not okay, but it's legal," Rattner also said.
"What we see is a moral and ethical deficit, and what does that say about America?" Fournier said about the Clintons' tentacle in politics.
"Here we are, today's October 27th, 2016, and we're just getting this information out today. What are we going to learn tomorrow? What are we going to learn next week? And the Clintons always say, 'Oh, we have been so investigated, there's a vast right-wing conspiracy,' and they keep doing stuff that crosses the line. They keep doing stuff that requires investigations and then they are shocked that they are being investigated and it's poor, poor pitiful me in the words of Linda Ronstadt. Why is everybody always picking on me? That's because they just can't help themselves. And that is why Bernie supporters and other Democrats just have Clinton fatigue and now the whole country signs up for it for another four years," Scarborough described the situation.