July 14, 2017

As the news about a former Russian intel operative at Trump Jr.'s meeting exploded, Morning Joe's Mike Barnicle asked Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham why the Trump family is more of an issue in this presidency.

"This seems to be a bit different, this particular family issue in the Trump presidency. And I have no idea as to the level of illegality or collusion that existed in that meeting, but the level of ignorance of how we operate as Americans and as people in political life as Americans is kind of astounding," Barnicle said.

"Well, the Trump example both in terms of the family and of the in-laws, is unique in American history at this level of, and ambient reality of the power of that circle," Meacham said.

"You know, yes, Bobby Kennedy was attorney general, and, yes, President Kennedy joked that he thought Bobby should get some legal experience by being attorney general before he went out to practice. But Robert Kennedy was a formidable figure.

"This is more like the Borgias. or the Bonapartes. Remember, Napoleon put various brothers and cousins in different thrones, and it's taking a toll."

He added additional thoughts:

"One, there's another former Soviet intelligence officer in this mix, his name is Putin. That's important to remember. This guy started out at the KGB. Second, about two weeks after the inauguration I had a conversation, private conversation with a former Obama official, so take this for considering the source, and I said, 'What do you think about the Russia question?' And this person said 'I don't have any doubt that it's true.'

"And I said, well, tell me how this happens. I mean, surely they don't just call up and make an appointment at Trump Tower. Well, turns out maybe they did."

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