Entries from May 2017
JFK 100 Centennial Celebration

Interviewed for Chronicle on WCVB Channel 5’s “JFK 100 Centennial Celebration” report, veteran columnist Mike Barnicle says: “The first Catholic president being elected, the assassination, Lyndon Johnson, the Great Society, our plunge into Vietnam. The sadness of history and the way we regard history today is that too many young people know more about Lady Gaga than they do John F. Kennedy.” Watch the whole segment here.

Sen. Manchin: “It is Hurtful”

“Senator, when you go home to your state, eyesight alone will tell you – and tell anyone actually – that your state is afflicted with some problems: Rural poverty, drug addiction. When you look at the bill that came over from the House – the health care bill – and think about people in need of basic health services, basic human needs: Food stamps, things like that. Is your level of frustration with public life at its height right now? Has it ever been higher? How do you handle it?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during a conversation about the House Republicans’ health care plan. Hear Manchin make his case for his state, and its citizens. “It is hurtful,” Manchin said of the Republican healthcare plan. “I’ve never see this kind of insensitivity.” Watch the exchange here.

Rep. Hines on Healthcare

In an interview with Congressman Jim Hines (D-CT), Morning Joe’s veteran columnist Mike Barnicle asks that in light of the health care bill that passed the House without additional funds for cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s research, “has it ever occurred to you perhaps to ask some of the people on the other side of the aisle who are in support of positions like this: ‘How were they raised’?” Hear Hines’ response here.

More Troops to Afghanistan?

Morning Joe’s veteran columnist Mike Barnicle asks Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) his position on the report that General Joseph Dunford and Secretary James Mattis will recommend to President Donald Trump that an additional 5,000 American troops be sent to Afghanistan. “You’re the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee. Could you tell us what is the objective behind additional troops at this point in time? And what would your position be on the insertion of additional troops?” Hear Reed’s response here and why he believes the US counterterrorism position in Afghanistan is “critical.”

FBI Finds Document a Fake

Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle speaks with The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt about a secret document that officials say played a key role in then-FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable. “Michael, pursuing the FBI angle in this and the FBI’s involvement in this, the timing of the document: It’s an email from Debbie Wasserman Schultz to someone who supposedly works for an organization funded by George Soros. Why did it take so long to conclude that it was a fake?” asks Barnicle. Hear Schmidt’s response here.

What are they thinking?

“Elise, your party, and Joe’s party – Republicans. What is the mindset of people drafting this bill that has now popped out of the House and is over in the Senate? Medical programs, drug abuse programs, opioid treatment programs have been severely cut. What are they thinking about there?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of MSNBC political analyst Elise Jordan during a conversation about the House Republicans’ proposed health care plan. Listen to Jordan’s response here on MSNBC.

Slamming the Press?

“You can track all of the candidates’ prior statements about the media: ‘The media is against us. The media is against you, the people,’ and it leads inevitably to something like this. And it also leads inevitably to such a pathetic statement that the campaign released, which discounts the one thing that the media, the press is after – truth. It completely discounts the truth of what happened…Where is the assault charge? That’s what I want to know,” comments Morning Joe’s veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during the conversation about Montana Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte’s alleged “body-slam” of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs after questions about the Republican healthcare plan. Hear more of the discussion here about how President Donald Trump branding the media as “enemy of the people” has helped create an animosity toward the press.

Memorial Day Weekend Attire

“It’s an American flag tie,” proudly says Morning Joe’s veteran columnist Mike Barnicle as he responds to host Joe Scarborough’s teasing about about his shirt and tie combination at the top of today’s show. What do you think of the patriotic, colorful combo?

Trump’s Budget Proposal: The Harm is Real

“Senator, what’s your sense of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle? How will they deal with this blatant hypocrisy coming from a Republican administration and a Republican president?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) during a conversation about President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, which contradicts some of his own campaign promises. “The harm is real and the claim that it comes into balance is a scam,” said Van Hollen. Click to hear more of Van Hollen’s comments.

More Troops to Afghanistan?

“Senator…Secretary Mattis and General Dunford are scheduled any day now to provide the President with a recommendation for inserting maybe as many as 5,000 more troops into Afghanistan, 16 years after that war began. What is the objective, and would you be in favor of additional troops?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). Listen to Coons’ response here.

Trump’s Reality Check

“Tom, this is not the first President of the United States you’ve seen mired in controversy and scandal at home and using a foreign trip abroad to enhance his prestige and make him feel better obviously about himself and his Administration. What happens when Donald Trump returns home?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw in reference to President Donald Trump’s first overseas trip of his presidency. Hear what Brokaw has to say about what happens when “reality kicks back in again” for Trump.

Treasonous Path

“Is it that the Russians are so skillful or that their intended targets are such dupes?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of former FBI Agent Clint Watts during an interview about Russia’s ability to use individuals for meddling in the affairs of other countries, following former CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee where he suggested that Russia might have lured Trump campaign associates onto a “treasonous path.” Listen to Watts’ response here about the Russians’ tactics and motives.

The Tragedy of the Trump Presidency Thus Far

“The tragedy of the Trump presidency thus far is: This is Day 125 and there are 60 million people out there who for various reasons – fear, anxiety, anger, whatever – voted for him. (They) invested their fears, their hopes, their dreams in his presidency, in the hope of getting something done that would improve their lives, and that appears not going to be able to happen,” explains Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle during a lengthy panel discussion about Trump’s motivations and leadership with hosts Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meacham.

The President and the Pope

“You’ve got two men here, the Pope and the President, both pulling their individual institutions in different ways. The Pope pulling the Catholic Church even further toward the least among us, helping the least among us in the Third World, in the United States – everywhere. And you have the President of the United States pulling a portion of his political party even further to the right — in direct opposition to what the Pope believes. How does that work out in a conversation?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Father James Martin during a Morning Joe panel discussion about President Donald Trump’s visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. Hear Martin’s thoughts here.

Trump’s Influence on Upcoming Races

During a Morning Joe conversation with Axios co-founder/CEO Jim Vandehei about President Donald Trump’s ongoing unpopularity and the impact it may have on upcoming political races, senior contributor Mike Barnicle asks: “Do you find it striking though that with a lot of Republican Senators – at least to my view – and a lot of members of the House, there is no striking defense of the President?” Listen to Vandehei’s response here.

Push Back for the Poor

“Senator, we have a concerted attack on the poor in this country going on right now in this budget. I don’t know anyone, anyone who would love to be born poor in America. So, who’s going to lead the fight in the United States Senate against this attack on the poor?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) during a conversation about President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal and how it will impact the less fortunate. Hear McCaskill talk about the bipartisan push back she expects. “I don’t think there’s very many Republicans who have an appetite for getting rid of Meals on Wheels.” Listen in here.

The Ignorance Defense?

“Charlie, at its most basic level, ignorance of the law has never been a defense. It’s like saying, ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to put money in the parking meter so please don’t give me a ticket.’ Is a president’s or Donald Trump’s total ignorance of the process of laws, how they apply to the Director of National Intelligence or to the head of the FBI, would that be a defense?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of The New York Times national security and legal reporter Charlie Savage during a conversation about reports indicating that President Trump called two of the nation’s top intelligence officials and urged them to publicly deny that there is any evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. Listen to Savage’s response here.

President Trump’s Attitude Toward Israel

“Mr. Ambassador, there is clearly a mood, an almost a euphoric mood in Israel and among Israel’s diplomats like yourself, about this trip of President Trump to your country. Part of it, though, seems to some observers, rooted in a resentment of Barack Obama’s administration. Can you explain the difference between Barack Obama’s administration and his attitude toward Israel, and President Trump’s attitude toward Israel?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon during a conversation about Israel / U.S. relations. Hear Danon’s response here.

Immunity for Flynn?

While the Morning Joe panel talks about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn invoking the Fifth Amendment in response to a subpoena for documents from a Senate panel probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, senior contributor Mike Barnicle offers: “General Flynn, he has an absolute right and his lawyers are absolutely correct to invoke the Fifth Amendment. And in an odd way, I’m told by two people who were involved in this investigation that he is kind of in a strong position right now to get immunity because to move this investigation forward, you’ve got to speak to General Flynn. He has a story to tell, as his lawyer said, and he has got to tell that story.”

US Intel into Russia is Trumping Priorities

In the ongoing discussion on Morning Joe about the intelligence community resources dedicated to investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, senior contributor Mike Barnicle explains: “There are better, more important things for our intelligence services and the intelligence services of countries around the globe to be doing rather than here, domestically, being preoccupied with what the President says or doesn’t say.” Listen to more of the discussion here as it contrasts the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, that left 22 dead and scores injured to the Trump/Russia investigation at home.