Entries from Apr 2018
“The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America.”

“Your story is a couple of things: One, it’s about your physical escape from Yemen, but, from just hearing you speak right now, it’s also about your intellectual escape from how you were raised. The four people who helped you, were they of your faith? Were they Muslim?” asks veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of peace activist Mohammed Al Samawi, who joins Morning Joe to talk about his book “The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America.” Listen to Al Samawi’s response here and more of the conversation with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

A Matrix Award for Mika Brzezinski

Congratulations are in order for Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, also founder of Know Your Value, an organization devoted to helping women from all career and life stages reach their maximum potential, who received a 2018 Matrix Award this week from New York Women in Communications for her “accomplishments and contributions” to the industry. Veteran columnist Mike Barnicle, whose wife Anne Finucane is a past recipient of the honor, said of the awards ceremony: “The highlight, Joe, I think, was you presenting Mika with a portion of the award from bended knee.” Watch part of the awards presentation and listen to more of the conversation here.

Pompeo’s Double Duty?

“We’ve heard that Mike Pompeo has enormous influence with President Trump. He gets along quite well with him. Now is he going to be secretary of state, plus secretary of defense? Is he going to have his biggest say in the troop movements and troop placements as Secretary Mattis? I think that’s going to be a potential collision that we’re going to be watching,” says veteran columnist Mike Barnicle to Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough as the panel talks about President Donald Trump’s nomination as Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, following the Senate Foreign Relations Committee having approved the confirmation of Pompeo. Listen to more of the discussion here.

Comcast Cares Day

As Comcast celebrates 17 years of a company-wide public service day, “Comcast Cares Day,” Morning Joe’s Nicolle Wallace and Mike Barnicle talk with senior executive VP & chief diversity officer of Comcast Corp. David Cohen and Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans about their combined efforts to end extreme poverty, a campaign that honors the life of legendary human rights activist Nelson Mandela and his mandate. Hear more about the program now.

Pat Cunnane on his new book, West Winging It: An Un-presidential Memoir

Pat Cunnane, former deputy director of messaging in the Barack Obama White House, stops by the Morning Joe set to talk about his new book, West Winging It: An Un-presidential Memoir, published this week. Asks veteran columnist Mike Barnicle: “I have seven kids. You just said that this was your first job out of college. How does that happen? How do you get there?” Listen to Cunnane’s response here.

New MN Senator weighs in on Washington chaos

Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle speaks with Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) about her experience thus far as a new senator from Minnesota amid the chaos in Washington. “I understand you’ve only been there three and a half months, but what’s your sense of the operation of the Senate because of what’s going on in the White House?” asks Barnicle. Hear Smith’s response and how the “sense of chaos and recklessness and instability—it bothers people in my home state. We don’t think it should be that way.”

POTUS attorney Michael Cohen’s woes

During the Morning Joe panel discussion about the possibility of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and close friend, turning against the president and cooperating with federal prosecutors if faced with criminal charges, veteran columnist Mike Barnicle talks about the “human nature aspect” of what Cohen is going through after the federal raid of his offices. “We talk about it in terms of indictments….But the stress of this, the financial stress, the personal stress around the kitchen table in the morning with your wife and your children is enormous.”

Trump and Putin

“With Trump, if you’re an investigator, and you’re looking at this thing, and you’re looking at these Comey memos, there’s a ‘tell’ in there. And the ‘tell’ is that Trump is upset with Flynn because Flynn did not tell him on time that Putin (had called),” says Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during the panel discussion about the release of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos recounting his conversations with President Donald Trump, in particularly Comey acknowledging Trump was partly irked with his then-national security adviser Michael Flynn due to the White House’s delay in responding to an election victory congratulatory phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Listen to more insights on the Trump/Putin dynamic here.

Comey memos released under Republican pressure

While the Morning Joe panel talks about the Justice Department releasing to congressional committees a closely guarded set of memos that former FBI Director James Comey wrote recounting his conversations with President Donald Trump, veteran columnist Mike Barnicle explains: “I would submit that the most important aspect of the memos is not their release and it’s not the content of the memos because Comey has basically said everything on the public record that is in the release of those memos. It is the fact that they were released under pressure by a political party in the House of Representatives about an ongoing federal investigation. That’s the critical point.” Listen to more of the discussion here and how these memos “are not good” for President Donald Trump.

Congressional Republicans versus the Justice Dept.

“Robert, we have one player in here who has yet been unnamed this morning in this drama that we’re talking about, and that is the retiring Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, who is leading, clearly, an undisciplined group of people out on their own, apparently, unless he’s involved in it. Devin Nunez doing things with his committee that are just incredibly outrageous in a sense, and now you have two members of Congress, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, going down, and as you just put it, confronting the Justice Department, basically saying: ‘Hand over stuff that we want to use for political ends.’ Where is Paul Ryan and what happens to his reputation?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of Washington Post political reporter Robert Costa during a conversation about a meeting Meadows (R-NC) and Jordan (R-OH) had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to express concerns over the slow pace of Department of Justice documents being turned over to Congress, which is the latest example of friction between congressional Republicans and senior Justice Department officials. Listen to Costa’s response here.

Attacks on the Justice Department

“Chuck, the assault on former FBI Director Comey, is fairly predictable. We knew it was coming. But the assault on the Justice Department itself and on elements of the FBI, in particular, are not only fairly unpredictable but seem to be growing and are deeply, deeply political. What damage has it done to the institution – never mind the morale – but to the institution itself of the Justice Department and the FBI?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, during a panel conversation about the attacks against the Justice Department under the Trump Administration. Hear what Rosenberg has to say about how Trump could impact the agencies’ effectiveness in the field.

What will Michael Cohen do?

“Michael Cohen is certainly smart enough to know that given the pending charges that might be lodged against him by the federal government that he could be buried beneath a jail for 20, 25 years,” says Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle on this morning’s show. “And with young children, that is a huge factor in you making up your mind whether you cooperate or non-cooperate” with the federal government in an investigation. Listen to more of the conversation with Josh Earnest, White House press secretary under President Barack Obama, about whether or not Cohen would turn against the president and cooperate with federal prosecutors if faced with criminal charges.

Barnicle: “At some point, someday…this investigation is going to be over.&...

“At some point, someday this is going to end. This investigation is going to be over. There’s going to be a conclusion. Yes, at some point, someday it will happen,” says Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during the panel discussion of the ongoing and ever-expanding Russia investigation. “But,” he continues, “the largest danger is not existent in Washington today. It’s existent out in the country where all of this coming at people every day, like a fire hose –of events, scandals, and shocking statements (has) many, many people anesthetized to the shock of what is happening to our constitutional system of government on a daily basis.” The conversation can be heard here.

U.S. and N. Korea Upcoming Meeting

“Richard…what’s the level of concern in the world of diplomats around the world about the potential meeting between the president and the leader of North Korea in that he would glibly agree to something during the course of the negotiation that we would have no intention of carrying out?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, during a panel conversation about President Donald Trump’s expected meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Listen to Haass’ response and the discussion here.

What’s next for North Korea?

As the Morning Joe panel discusses what role our allies, specifically Japan, will play in the Trump Administration’s push toward denuclearizing North Korea, veteran columnist Mike Barnicle asks Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations: “Hovering above all of this, though, is the fact that despite Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang, there is no State Department. There is very little fringe element of a diplomatic approach on this. And one of our most vital allies in the region, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in Japan…are sort of on the outside of this looking in. How does that affect this whole thing going forward?” Listen to Haass’ response and more of the conversation here.

President’s tweets are “normal.”

During the Morning Joe conversation about President Donald Trump breaking his Twitter silence about his battle with adult film actress Stormy Daniels, raising questions about the sketch of a man who Daniels said harassed her to keep her from talking about a sexual encounter with Trump, veteran columnist Mike Barnicle explains: “The odd thing, though, is you get the feeling that the back and forth over the tweets and all of the tweets from the president, specifically, have sort of immunized much of the nation into thinking that, ‘oh, yeah, this is normal.’ I think that’s the most dangerous aspect of all of this—that people think, ‘this is normal discourse. This is what the president does.’” Listen to more of the discussion here.

CIA Director Holds Secret North Korea Meeting

Morning Joe’s Willie Geist and Mike Barnicle talk with Washington Post reporter Shane Harris about his breaking news report that CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea as an envoy for President Donald Trump to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “What do we know about the logistics of this meeting and how it was set up? What intelligence agencies were our allies in this? How does he get there and who sets it up, really?” asks Barnicle. Listen to Harris’ response here.

Haley v. The White House

Listen in on the Morning Joe panel discussion about U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s rejection of a White House official’s suggestion that she had mishandled an announcement of new sanctions against Russia out of “confusion.” Veteran columnist Mike Barnicle asks Andy Card, former White House chief of staff to President George W. Bush: “Could you talk a bit about the danger of the lack of communication, the lack of discipline that’s so evident on a daily basis in this White House?” Hear the defense of Haley here. “She doesn’t go rogue,” said Card.

The Legacy of First Lady Barbara Bush

As the Morning Joe team remembers discusses the life and legacy of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who passed away yesterday at age 92, veteran columnist Mike Barnicle asks Andy Card, longtime friend and former White House Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush: “In this passing of Barbara Bush, one can’t help feel but a lingering sense that it’s accompanied by the passing of decency. She was a decent person above all else….Do you worry at all about the passing within the Republican Party of so much of what Barbara Bush and obviously her husband represented?” Listen to Card’s response here and the “conscience” of Barbara Bush that lives on.

WH counsel Don McGahn’s influence

Listen in on the Morning Joe conversation between veteran columnist Mike Barnicle and The New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt about White House counsel Donald McGahn, following the newspaper’s report that McGahn threatened to quit the Administration over President Donald J. Trump’s attempt to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in December. More here.