MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough clashed with former Obama adviser David Axelrod over the Justice Department’s probe into phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors.
Scarborough ripped into President Barack Obama over the revelations on Tuesday, calling the situation “sinister.” When Axelrod attempted to provide a defence of the administration, it set off Scarborough.
Axelrod had a point, recalling an appearance on “Morning Joe” last summer in which Axelrod defended the White House from charges that it was leaking sensitive national security information in an attempt to make Obama look good in his re-election campaign.
On Wednesday, Axelrod accused Scarborough of being part of the reason the leaks were so thoroughly investigated, along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others at the time.
“I appeared with you, and you challenged me with the same tone on these leaks and said, ‘When is the president going to send a strong signal to people that leaking classified information won’t be tolerated?'” Axelrod said to Scarborough. “‘When is is he going to make people accountable for these leaks?'”
That was when Scarborough blew up on Axelrod.
“I’ve heard the president’s defenders try to say this,” Scarborough said, his voice raising.
“I congratulate you guys for going off into a room and calling each other and coming up with this bogus argument. But never did I suggest that 100 AP reporters have all of their phone records seized, their private cell phone records seized, their home phone numbers seized! So please save that for somebody else that’s going to buy into that. Don’t shift this to me!”
On the larger point, Axelrod said he sympathized with Scarborough and worried about the “chilling” effect the White House’s probe would have on whistleblowers. But he still charged Scarborough with clamoring for an investigation.
Here’s a clip, courtesy of MSNBC:
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