Joe Scarborough: Barr Will Never Get His Reputation Back, "Bizarre" That Presidents Can Pick Their Own Attorney General

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough continued his criticism of Attorney General William Barr on Thursday morning's edition of "Morning Joe," saying that Barr's behavior with regard to the Mueller report may make him "the person responsible for a change in the way we choose our attorney generals."

"It seems bizarre at this point that a president should be able to select their own attorney general," Scarborough said. "Who can decide how the investigations are run against them, who can decide which political enemies gets prosecuted, who can decide which political allies don't get prosecuted, can decide what corporations don't get prosecuted. I mean, the fact that -- I mean, Donald Trump has shown us actually a flaw, a significant flaw in our constitutional system of checks and balances. This is not the way America is supposed to run."





JOE SCARBOROUGH: So many problems obviously with an attorney general who is supposed to be a neutral arbiter and not a Roy Cohn-type figure, not only holding it and having a press conference to spin it but making sure that the President of the United States, who of course, he and how many members of his inner circle are in jail now or have had felonies because of the investigation, you have someone at the heart of all of these actions, who was given an opportunity to review the report before members of the press and the American people, who paid for it.

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC: The attorney general now is going out of his way to make this more complicated and confusing than it could be. He could have his press conference at 3 p.m., after Congress has looked at it and the redacted version has been looked at by the public and have questions for the attorney general. But he wants to set a narrative in the morning. If that report comes out later today, and some reports say it is likely redacted and it exonerates the president as Attorney General Barr's four-page letter said that it did, that there was no collusion, I'll be happy there's no collusion, but we need to see the report and the way they're rolling this out just opens more questions.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Also, it is vintage Trump to have someone to push someone out there and maybe even put himself out there, which he's saying he might do to try and brand it his way. He even had his daughter, Ivanka, during her travels being the queen of Ethiopia of something, and she said there was no collusion, and she also went as far as to say what the report doesn't say, there was no obstruction. On obstruction, we do know that the report says because Barr quoted it, that on obstruction it was not an exoneration. And Ivanka was branding it as that from that from wherever she was, all of a sudden coming out of nowhere having her analysis of the report. Then the Attorney General of the United States doing this for the president, he may say he feels he needs to do this, this seems to me, just analysis here, exactly like something Trump would do, push someone out to brand it and rebrand it itself and then the report comes out and we have to go through all of it and do our best to deal with it fairly with every piece of information painstakingly.

SCARBOROUGH: But, Michael, it's also short-sighted. He does something once again that is going to scuff up his reputation. Actually, his reputation is shot... I'm talking about the attorney general. Here's a guy that served in Washington for 30 years, had the respect of Republicans -- he won't get his reputation back. It's shot. It's shot, it is sullied, the way he's handled himself. I always accused Donald Trump of being a day trader. Well, this is being an hour trader. He's so desperate to put his spin on the report, he knows what he's doing is wrong. He knows attorney generals like Loretta Lynch gets in trouble for just having a conversation with Bill Clinton for a couple of hours.

He has turned over an entire report to the White House and let them prepare their rebuttal before the American people, who paid for this report get to see it first, before the Oversight committees in Congress who have a constitutional duty to review it have had a chance to see it. And the thing is, it's not like he's going to change the facts. This time tomorrow after everybody's read it, he's just going to look worse.

MICHAEL STEELE: This is the part that I scratch my head over, what little bit of hair I have left, I'm sitting there going, wait a minute, why do you need to prepare a rebuttal?

BRZEZINSKI: What are you rebutting? Must be upset about what you're seeing.

STEELE: All the pre-scripting of this from the White House. The president has been, as we saw in the clip. no collusion, I'm completely exonerated. Well, I don't need to have a rebuttal to an exoneration.

BRZEZINSKI: I have to tell you, I'm worried about what happened to the country here, about what happened to our election process.

STEELE: That's never been a concern, Mika, what happened to the country. The concern, as you saw in the clip with the first daughter and the president himself is about how this concerns the president and how it impacts him. And how it impacts him, and to your point, Joe, what is so damaging and this is what I've been hearing around town in D.C. over the last few days, just shock even among Republicans, about what Barr has done, the way he's played this has surprised and hurt a lot of people.

SCARBOROUGH: He's got some people on the far right wing and just some sad, pathetic Trump apologists that are trying to make this seem normal. It's a breach of norms. Catty, it is so interesting, Barr may be the person responsible for a change in the way we choose our attorney generals. We've seen the breaching of norms for the past two years, and political norms, and it seems bizarre at this point that a president should be able to select their own attorney general, who can decide how the investigations are run against them, who can decide which political enemies gets prosecuted, who can decide which political allies don't get prosecuted, can decide what corporations don't get prosecuted. I mean, the fact that -- I mean, Donald Trump has shown us actually a flaw, a significant flaw in our constitutional system of checks and balances. This is not the way America is supposed to run.

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