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Friday, June 30, 2017

Morning Joe co-hosts accuse White House of blackmail over tabloid story. This is a felony, an impeachable offense. | US news | The Guardian

"Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the hosts of MSNBC’s politics show Morning Joe, on Friday accused White House staff members of blackmail.



Scarborough and Brzezinski also said Donald Trump lied about a December encounter, and that his “unhealthy obsession” with their program did not serve his mental health or the country well.



The two TV hosts, who are engaged to be married, postponed a vacation in order to respond to Trump’s Thursday tweets about them – tweets that drew widespread condemnation. Trump called Brzezinski “crazy” and said she was “bleeding badly from a facelift” when he saw the couple at his Florida estate.



On Friday’s Morning Joe, Scarborough claimed several top White House staffers had warned him about an unflattering article about him and Brzezinski due to published in the National Enquirer, and told him Trump could arrange for the story to be pulled – if the MSNBC host called the president to apologize for negative coverage of the administration.



Scarborough, a former Florida Republican congressman, said: “We got a call: ‘Hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys, and Donald is friends with … the president is friends with the guy that runs National Enquirer.’ And they said: ‘If you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story.’”



He added: “I had, I will just say, three people at the very top of the administration calling me. The calls kept coming, and kept coming, and they were like: ‘Come on, Joe, just pick up the phone and call him.’”



Scarborough said he declined to do so, and the story ran. Brzezinski also alleged that as part of the National Enquirer’s reporting, her teenage daughters were harassed with frequent phone calls.



In a tweet on Friday morning, Trump fired back, and alleged that Scarborough had called him about the negative article. “He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show,” wrote the president of the United States.



The National Enquirer put out its own statement. It read: “At the beginning of June, we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story.



“We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.”



A recent New Yorker magazine article detailed a close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of the Enquirer’s parent company, and how the supermarket tabloid has lauded Trump and printed damaging articles about his political opponents.



A spokesman for the New York County District Attorney declined to comment on whether they were investigating the claims. The district attorney’s office has a policy of not commenting on investigations, including whether or not an investigation exists.



Morning Joe co-hosts accuse White House of blackmail over tabloid story | US news | The Guardian

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