Trump’s attacks on Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski may come back to haunt him – big time.
It’s no secret that Trump holds the media in contempt. There was the now-infamous remark he made about Megyn Kelly in 2015 after a Republican presidential debate she had moderated in which he claimed she had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
NBC News reports that last Tuesday, “emboldened after CNN was forced to retract a story last week about the alleged connection between a Trump transition team member and a Russian executive,” Trump took to Twitter to attack CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times and The Washington Post, calling them “fake news.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
Most recently, he has taken to lashing out at MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski.
On Thursday he tweeted: “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
Scarborough and Brzezinski responded to the attack on Friday, saying it was “amazing how many lies he packed into two tweets,” later stating that Trump has “unhealthy obsession with Mika” and is “much more vicious with women.”
“He appears to have a fragile, impetuous, childlike ego that we’ve seen over and over again, especially with women,” Brzezinski added.
Even more damning, however, Joe and Mika alleged that the White House leveraged a National Enquirer story to try to force an apology for the pair’s recent coverage of the Trump administration.
MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski Friday accused the White House of threatening them with a negative tabloid story as a way to extract an apology for their tough comments on President Donald Trump.
In an op-ed article in The Washington Post, and then in a live appearance on “Morning Joe,” the couple said top White House officials warned them earlier this year that the National Enquirer was planning an exposé about their relationship, and urged them to beg Trump to get the paper to back off.
Trump seemed to confirm the story on Friday, tweeting: “Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show”.
This could prove to be catastrophic for the Trump administration and Trump himself if he ends up being implicated.
As Think Progress reports, “The threats, according to several legal experts, could violate federal and state laws.”
The White House threats, which Scarborough said were communicated via text messages he has saved, were presumably sent from Washington, D.C. to New York City, where Scarborough lives and works.
If so, New York, D.C., and federal law could be implicated.
Think Progress goes on to detail some of the laws that were potentially broken such as New York Penal Law § 135.60 (Coercion), which reads in part:
A person is guilty of coercion in the second degree when he or she compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from engaging in, or to abstain from engaging in conduct in which he or she has a legal right to engage, or compels or induces a person to join a group, organization or criminal enterprise which such latter person has a right to abstain from joining, by means of instilling in him or her a fear that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will:
5. Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule
After discussing the possible implications of this statute on the White House, Think Progress adds that: “Former White House counsel Norm Eisen said he believes White House aides violated that statute. Trump, if he was involved in the scheme, could also be implicated.”
A similar law in Washington D.C., D.C. Criminal Law § 22–3252 (Blackmail), could have been violated as well as federal statute U.S. Code § 872 (Extortion by officers or employees of the United States).
Think Progress concludes their article, stating:
Ultimately, of course, whether there was any legal violation depends on the facts. White House sources are claiming that Scarborough’s story is inaccurate and he reached out to the White House for help with the National Enquirer story. Scarborough says that Trump and the White House are lying and he has texts to prove it.