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Scarborough: Trump and Supporters ‘Embarrassing Themselves’ Over Op-Ed, ‘This is Not Treason’

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, the hosts and guests naturally talked abut the anonymous New York Times op-ed published last week after an enraged President Trump called it “treason”, which came up a lot on the Sunday news shows. Host Joe Scarborough had some choice advice on the topic.

Like many other journalists and pundits, Scarborough and his co-hosts, notably Mika Brzezinski, offered little respect or admiration for the anonymous author choosing to remain nameless. But the notion it constituted treason or “sedition” is another level, as Brzezinski pointed out.

“There’s a lot of questions as to whether or not not following the system in reaction to the president is the right way to go,” said Brzezinski. “I think it’s a very slippery slope and extremely dangerous.”

“But the investigation into “who done it”? That seems also to be a slippery slope as well, calling it treason. Also a slippery slope,” she said, prompting NBC political reporter Heidi Przbyla.

“Did not hear from any of the administration officials, Mika, who hit the airwaves, a good explanation of how anything that was in that op-ed could qualify as treason,” Przbyla replied. “It was simply a member of this administration exercising their most fundamental right, under the First Amendment, to free speech.”

Scarborough listed a few examples of times in the past when information was leaked to newspapers that administrations “didn’t want to hear”, saying it’s nonsense to treat this as treason.

“It happens all the time, and for Trump and his supporters to call this treasonous or sedition, as Andy McCarthy of National Review and Fox News said, they just need to be quiet and stop embarrassing themselves,” he said. “Anybody that’s ever persecuted– prosecuted a sedition case knows, this is not sedition, this is not treason. This is someone exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Former adviser to the Bush administration Mark McKinnon agreed.

“And patriotism,” he replied to Scarborough. “It’s just another example that should cause a lot of people some disturbance that once again President Trump is trying to direct the Justice Department for political reasons, not for any serious policy reasons, but when he gets news he doesn’t like he directs his Justice Department to investigate to try and do things for him politically.”

McKinnon suggested the author may have been inspired by the speeches and remembrances of Sen. John McCain last week, but noted that McCain would have put his name on something if he were going to say it.

The Morning Joe crew are not alone in their assessment, and even Trump’s surrogates and spokespeople can’t offer a defense of the “treason” charge. On Sunday, Mike Huckabee refused to call it treason or defend calling it that, saying only that Trump just means this is “very serious”, and Kellyanne Conway was without words for justifying a criminal investigation when pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Watch the clip above, courtesy of MSNBC.

[Featured image via screengrab]

Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

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