Joe Scarborough Eviscerates Donny Deutsch's 'Disgraceful' Defense of White House on Benghazi

On Thursday's MSNBC Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough annihilated liberal pundit Donny Deutsch's attempt to defend the Obama White House over emails showing a cover-up of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack: "I got everybody here apologizing for the White House. What about a cover-up here, Donny?!...what's the politics of the White House lying about something that we all know they're lying about?" [Listen to the audio]

Deutsch actually tried to spin the Democratic scandal as bad for Republicans: "I want to put up a warning for the Republicans because obviously the Republicans are seizing on this and jumping in. I think this is fools gold for 2016." Scarborough tore into him: "Why are you jumping to political strategy instead of talking....about what [White Press Secretary] Jay Carney did, the double speak?!"

Citing Carney's claim that the recently released emails were not about Benghazi, Scarborough slammed the administration:

Jay Carney is saying it's not about Benghazi when you know it's about Benghazi! And we know it's about Benghazi. And Chuck Todd knows it's about Benghazi. And he [pointing to Mike Barnicle] knows it's about – everybody watching knows it's about Benghazi. And you're talking about how the Republicans – you see the White House spokesperson lying on national television. You see an ABC News person [Jonathan Karl] shocked that he's lying and treating the press corps and Americans like their stupid, he's says it's not about Benghazi.

Republicans and conservatives have been called fools for a year now for saying this happened. They don't release it with the original documents that are released. They finally reluctantly are forced to release it. Then you have the White House lying about it yesterday saying it's not about Benghazi. And your only reaction is, "Hey, Republicans better not overreact to the cover-up."

Deutsch argued: "My reaction is this, that we as voters understand both Republicans and Democrats are political animals and are going to manage a crisis in their situation to their favor."

Scarborough shot back:

So when Democrats cover something up, it's politics. When Republicans cover something up, it's a scandal. It would be on the front page of The New York Times. It would be on the front page of every newspaper in America. But when Democrats cover up, you think it's shrewd political gamesmanship. That's a disgrace, Donny. It's a disgrace. This is disgraceful.

Deutsch again predicted trouble for the GOP on the issue: "I am saying that if the Republicans bite, it's a stupid move. And what I just said I will stand by."

An exasperated Scarborough declared: "What about the media biting? What about the media doing their job? What about the media calling a cover-up a cover-up?!" Deutsch laughably replied: "The media has covered this."

After the contentious exchange, even liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski went after Deutsch:

Now, come on. It's either they were covering up something or they forgot to release the email. The question we have now is whether they released other prep emails for Susan Rice and where Hillary Clinton stands on all of this. And that may serve the Republicans very well if they don't have good answers.

Here is a full transcript of the May 1 shoot-out:

7:29 AM ET
 
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So the email that you all are talking about is written by deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes. I think we flashed it up there. To then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. The email was sent two days before Ambassador Rice went on five Sunday talk shows and blamed an anti-Islamic video for the attack.

One of the goals listed in the email, "To underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy." So they're trying to really clarify exactly what her focus is.

Republicans say the email is a smoking gun and should have been released with the rest of the Benghazi material, as we were talking about. But the White House disagrees, arguing that it was about broader Middle East policy and didn't have to be released.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that's ridiculous.

JONATHAN KARL [ABC NEWS]: Why were you holding back this information? Why was this email not turned over to the Congress? Why was it not released when you released all the other emails? This is directly relevant. Why did you hold it back?

JAY CARNEY [WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY]: Jon, again-

KARL: Why did it take a court case for you to release this email? Why was it classified?

CARNEY: Jon, I can say it again and again, and I know you can keep asking again and again, this document was not about Benghazi.

KARL: It was her prep for the Sunday shows.

CARNEY: It wasn't her only prep, Jon. She relied on – for her answers on Benghazi on the document prepared by the CIA, as did members of Congress. We – the White House, rather, and others involved in her prep, said when it comes to Benghazi, there's been a document prepared by the IC so that everybody is working off the same information, Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Congress, administration officials.

SCARBOROUGH: You talk about double speak. I mean, Donny Deutsch, I mean, manage the brand here where the spokesperson for the White House is saying a directive to Susan Rice about Benghazi is not about Benghazi. It's about broader Middle East policy. No, it's about Benghazi.

DONNY DEUTSCH: I want to put up a warning for the Republicans because obviously the Republicans are seizing on this and jumping in. I think this is fools gold for 2016. I do not think the Benghazi – I think if they focus on this-

SCARBOROUGH: What about the cover-up for the White House? I got everybody here – I got everybody here apologizing for the White House.  

DEUTSCH: I'm not.

SCARBOROUGH: What about a cover-up here, Donny?!

DEUTSCH: I am talking about political strategy. I think that-

SCARBOROUGH: Okay. But why are you jumping to political strategy instead of talking-

DEUTSCH: I'm just giving my point of view.

SCARBOROUGH: No, why aren't you talking about what Jay Carney did, the double speak?!

DEUTSCH: Because – it is double speak, but I'm talking politics. This is a political show.


SCARBOROUGH: So tell me, what's the politics of the White House lying about something that we all know they're lying about. When Jay Carney is saying it's not about Benghazi when you know it's about Benghazi! And we know it's about Benghazi.

DEUTSCH: If they're gonna run against Hillary Clinton on this, I think it's a bad political move.

SCARBOROUGH: And Chuck Todd knows it's about Benghazi. And he [pointing to Mike Barnicle] knows it's about – everybody watching knows it's about Benghazi. And you're talking about how the Republicans – you see the White House spokesperson lying on national television. You see an ABC News person shocked that he's lying and treating the press corps and Americans like their stupid, he's says it's not about Benghazi.

Republicans and conservatives have been called fools for a year now for saying this happened. They don't release it with the original documents that are released. They finally reluctantly are forced to release it. Then you have the White House lying about it yesterday saying it's not about Benghazi. And your only reaction is, "Hey, Republicans better not overreact to the cover-up."

DEUTSCH: My reaction is this, that we as voters understand both Republicans and Democrats are political animals and are going to manage a crisis in their situation to their favor. So what I am saying it's both-

SCARBOROUGH: So when Democrats cover something up, it's politics.

DEUTSCH: Joe, Joe, you know what?

SCARBOROUGH: When Republicans cover something up, it's a scandal.

DEUTSCH: I think the Republicans should run on this.

SCARBOROUGH: It would be on the front page of The New York Times. It would be on the front page of every newspaper in America. But when Democrats cover up, you think it's shrewd political gamesmanship. That's a disgrace, Donny.

DEUTSCH: No, I'm saying it is a reality. No, it's not a disgrace.

SCARBOROUGH: It's a disgrace.

DEUTSCH: I am saying what that office did is reality.

SCARBOROUGH: This is disgraceful.

DEUTSCH: I am saying what that office did is reality. And I am saying that if the Republicans bite, it's a stupid move. And what I just said I will stand by.

SCARBOROUGH: What about the media biting? What about the media doing their job? What about the media calling a cover-up a cover-up?!

DEUTSCH: The media has covered this. You're pointing to a spokesperson of the United States – of the President. What I am saying is, I think the average American can sit back and go, "Yeah, you know, that presidential office was trying to manage this crisis just like a Bush White House would, just like a Reagan, just like a Clinton White House would." The reality of what I'm saying is a political football, it's a stupid football.

SCARBOROUGH: You know what? We're going to get you video. Mika, we need to get video through to here.

BRZEZINSKI: Was he engaging in double speak or even a potential cover-up?

DEUTSCH: Double speak, yes.

BRZEZINSKI: What is double speak?

DEUTSCH: It's politics.

BRZEZINSKI: No, no. Now, come on.

DEUTSCH: It's politics.

BRZEZINSKI: It's either they were covering up something or they forgot to release the email. The question we have now is whether they released other prep emails for Susan Rice and where Hillary Clinton stands on all of this. And that may serve the Republicans very well if they don't have good answers.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.