September 23, 2019

A Sunday AM Joy panel discusses the brazenness that Trump has, daring to bring up the business dealings of other people's kids. Ever heard of Don Jr., Eric, and most of all, Ivanka?

JOY ANN REID: You know, there is an interesting -- you talk about meta-narrative, Mehdi. You have two different stories that the Trump backers are playing to try to merge them together and turn them into a Joe Biden scandal. On the one hand, you have Rudy Giuliani (who admitted within 30 seconds of denying it) that he was trying to push the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden.

Now the narrative all over the right if you read all of their posts and tweets is somebody needs to look into Joe Biden.

Joe Biden's got something wrong with his son, looking to the son.

But what the foreign minister said, the part of the translation that I saw online in which he said, we work with parties on both sides of the United States. We weren't trying to do anything here that was illegal, that was off-key. We work with everyone regardless of who they are. Now you have the Trump people trying to push back and erase the Giuliani part of the story and try to shift the narrative onto the part of the story that has to do with Joe Biden. What do you think?

MEHDI HASAN, THE INTERCEPT: There's so much to say about this story. As for the Ukrainian denials, what are they going to do, come out and say, yes, Donald Trump did pressure our president eight times in a single phone call? It's absurd.

You're right about the pivoting. Steve Mnuchin tried to pivot. When Jake Tapper said what about Trump's kids, he didn't want to talk about that. You have to admire the brazenness of the hypocrisy when it comes to Donald Trump's attacks on opponents. For this president of all presidents to attack the child of a rival. I mean, should we talk about Ivanka Trump and her Chinese trademarks? Should we talk about Don Jr. and Eric and the Trump organization and the nonexistent Chinese wall between them and the guy in the Oval Office? It's the irony of all ironies. They're shameless, brazen, taking advantage of both siderism.

I think Trump will carry on doing this. Joy, one thing that's missing from your timeline that you showed at the start, for me, July 25th is the day he made the call to the Ukrainian president allegedly eight times pressured him to investigate Biden's son. What happened to him on July 24th the day before. Robert Mueller testified saying this president has not been exonerated; this president could not be indicted. What happens? Nothing. No change. So if you're Donald Trump and you say, wait a minute, I can get away with 2016, why wouldn't you do it again in 2020?

REID: The thing is, Malcolm, there's a bifurcation here in this story in that the Giuliani part of the story is about whether or not he's trying to get an investigation going. There is no reporting that I see, whether it's The Wall Street Journal, whether it is the Washington Post or The New York Times that says the call was about the investigations necessarily, but then there is this tie to the money because the thing that they may or may not have known was happening, was that the money that should have gone to the Ukraine for their defense was actually on hold. We don't know whether the conversation was about -- about the money, about the aid that was being held up to the Ukraine. They could have been seven or eight conversations. Even if they're part of the same scandal, the conversation didn't necessarily have to be Donald Trump repeating what Rudy Giuliani was doing. The foreign minister talked about this being serious conversations about serious issues. They didn't say what it was about. What do you think of that? If Donald Trump was talking to them about their aid and how they could get it or not get it, that is the same scandal: which would mean "You can't get the money unless you do what I want."

MALCOLM NANCE: Well, you know, I always use what I call Nance's Law. That is coincidence takes a lot of planning. This circumstance, the planning is phenomenal. There is no way that anyone could believe that that Ukrainian defense allocation was suddenly held up, which by the way benefits only Moscow and only places pressure on the Ukraine. If that was actually a surprise around the Capitol that that was being done, that the United States was considering not giving that lethal aid to the Ukraine. So the Ukrainians know that. So they're between a rock, Vladimir Putin and his forces which are literally killing the Ukrainian soldiers every day and a new hard place. Donald Trump was literally going to hold up lethal aid to the Ukraine, which they took years for us to get to them, in order to help Vladimir Putin. If you're Zelinsky, Donald Trump is supposedly a deal maker. I'm going to try to finesse this. Donald Trump, in this circumstance, looks like he's working for Moscow.

REID: The way you're shifting the narrative was tweeted about. The switch in strategy away from denying -- "nothing happened", "no", "there was nothing wrong with it", Donald Trump called the situation perfect, may mean that Trump finally read something, the transcript of the call. Also, isn't this the same guy who two days ago denied the story because he knows his calls to foreign leaders are heavily populated. Now he's saying they weren't. They're playing in between here. First, they said, no, no, no, it didn't happen. Giuliani is saying it happened. They're saying nothing happened. Now they're shifting to say this person was a spy or shouldn't have been on the call in the first place.

HASAN: This is classic Trump administration defense strategy on every scandal that's happened so far. There's always the denial, and then there's the embrace. We know. We didn't talk about Ukraine, but if we did, who cares. We didn't collude with Russia. But if we did, who cares. It was only a matter of time before they start going after quote, unquote, deep state conspiracies. I said this when the story broke on Thursday, that they are eventually going to say this whistle-blower is part of some conspiracy against the president. You saw Trump say we don't know who he or she is but he said they're a partisan. How do you know they're a partisan if you don't know who they are. All of the contradictions come out. He has his Republican enablers, people like Josh Hawley. This is "the deep state" again, and they will keep pushing this argument. They will on one front, attack the whistle-blower and the whole story as a conspiracy. You have Trump saying "enemy of the people" to which we have become numb. And on the other hand, they'll say Biden's son needs to be investigated. I'm of the view that Biden's son is a problem for Biden. There's a long history. That doesn't make Trump's attacks true, but it does make it a good point. The Democrats always bring a knife to a gunfight. Have we seen the Democrats focus on Jared and Ivanka on any kind of similar level the way that Trump has gone after his former vice president's son?

REID: Thank you very much for that deep tease because that's our 11:00 A-block that we're going to talk about, whether or not the Democrats are ready to fight this fight, Mehti. Interesting endnote.

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