MSNBC's Joe Scarborough pretends that he and his cohorts would not have called it a partisan witch hunt if the Virginia Democrats had gone after former Gov. Bob McDonnell instead of the feds.
January 23, 2014

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough really has turned into nothing more than a right-wing troll that looks like he's angling for a job on Fox "news." This Thursday he took some time out from defending his good buddy, Chris Christie, to carry a little water for newly indicted former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, and to pretend he just can't understand why the feds got involved in the investigation -- and that it would have been better if the state Democrats had gone after him instead.

Does anyone really believe that he and his ilk wouldn't be howling like mad if the scenario he suggests here had actually happened? All you have to do is look at the way they've attacked the Democrats in New Jersey as being on a partisan witch hunt against Chris Christie.

To his credit, Chuck Todd actually left Scarborough momentarily speechless when he rightfully pointed out that the Democrats going after McDonnell would have just politicized the issue.

Rough transcript:

BRZEZINSKI: Joe, Bob McDonnell, on the face of it, it looks terrible, given the fact there are shopping sprees involved and gifts and watches and, yet, when you look at the technicalities its of it legally, I guess you could argue, if you wanted to argue the other side of this, this is a little bit of a witch hunt.

SCARBOROUGH: Well the indictment, the 43-page indictment, it just, it reads horribly for the judgment of the McDonnell's and for the way, especially Mrs. McDonnell conducted herself as First Lady of Virginia, no sense of propriety. It's devastating for them individually.

Legally, though, Harold Ford, as Mika noted last hour, it was even hard to get Blagojevich convicted when they had him on tape trying to sell a United States senate seat. There's just, in this case, legally again, I’m sure the prosecutors know something I don't, but from reading the indictment, there's one side of it.

There is horrible behavior on the McDonnell’s part but the quid pro quo is paper thin and I think at this point, it seems like the prosecutors may just be shaking them down to try to get an obstruction of justice charge and send somebody to jail for a year or two or possibly probation, but it seems like an overreach and I don't understand the U.S. Attorney, why the Attorney General has gotten involved in this.


BARNICLE: You know, the other interesting aspect of this case is that, first of all, there is no ethics law, real ethics law in the state of Virginia. There isn't one. You can take trains, planes, automobiles, cash, anything you want apparently if you're governor of Virginia. and the interesting question that will be answered if we followed this is what takes precedence here? The Virginia state law or the feds? I mean, if you're doing something in Virginia, if you're taking stuff that McDonnells took, it's legal, what takes precedence? The federal statute or state statute? I don't know.

FORD: Well, you have to imagine it's a federal indictment, the federal law would probably supersede but I'm not close enough to it to know.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, sure but the bigger question is Mike, obviously if they want to bring this up under an old act which they have done, they certainly can do that. The question is first of all, what precedent does it set? Does this mean that suddenly if you're a governor of a state that the ethics laws in your states are to be ignored? I think it's ridiculous standard and, again, I’m not exactly sure why the Attorney General didn't have more to do that day than go into a state. Listen, if Virginia finds something they want to convict this guy, go for it.

TODD: Yeah, but, Joe, in this climate --

SCARBOROUGH: Why is a federal government going into Virginia and...

TODD: How can you not?

SCARBOROUGH: What do you mean?

TODD: I just think, how do you not if you know this guy is doing unethical stuff, how do you not open an investigation? You know it's unethical. In this day, I guess I look at it from, you know, the voters are fed up with politicians and essentially, apparently, like they think every politician, by the way, does this, right? I think a lot of the public think that, a lot of politicians have a sugar daddy that does this for them look. Look, most politicians don't do this. You know, it is more after few bad apples and it is not a majority. But if you’re a... I sort of think the idea of trying to get at government corruption, I think you have to try.


STEIN: It sends a message to future politicians this is not going to be, you know, appropriate behavior that people will condone. It also sends a message for future donors, too. I think there was a value, a public value to this prosecution but I'm not sure it's going to be successful.

SCARBOROUGH: But again, why now... why not Chuck, the state of Virginia? It's not like they've got a Republican government in the state of Virginia. Democrats own the executive branch in Virginia. Democrats control all of Virginia. If there is a Republican governor that has behaved badly, why not let the Democratic government, dominated government of the state of Virginia go after him instead of the U.S. Attorneys coming in?

TODD: I just... why wouldn't you want the federal government to make sure that elected officials are sort of, are acting ethically and within the law? I mean, I guess I hear you but... and if you're Terry McAuliffe, did you run for governor to prosecute Bob McDonnell? You know, that's also not very... you know, if you're the state of Virginia, in many ways, let the Justice Department handle government corruption.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I don't get it, but...

TODD: You do you it in a state and it politicizes it.

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