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Morning Joe: Why Scarborough Is So Angry (And So Wrong) About Algeria

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Morning Joe: Why Scarborough Is So Angry (And So Wrong) About Algeria

Bill Murray

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were kind enough to host a discussion of my new book, Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton. But as the discussion got a bit hot, among the subjects that came up was Joe’s “inventive” theory about the Algerian government’s donation to Haitian relief via the Clinton Foundation in 2010, which he elaborated during the publicity rollout for Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash. After I departed the set this morning, Scarborough continued to vent his displeasure with me. The following excerpt from pages 435-426 may suggest why he was so irritated that he would attack me when I was no longer present to defend myself and my work — and it certainly shows why his verbal indictment of the  Clinton Foundation was so wrong:

Journalists who had paid only fleeting attention to the foundation’s work over more than a decade proclaimed their concern about its finances, transparency, and efficiency.

Commentators with very little knowledge of any of the foundation’s programs, still unable to distinguish the Clinton Global Initiative from the Clinton Health Access Initiative, confidently denounced the entire operation as dubious. Others glancingly recognized the good achieved by the foundation before moving on to denounce the Clintons’ “greed.” And media stars who had eagerly participated in Clinton Global Initiative events, broadcasting gushy interviews with Bill Clinton, suddenly voiced angry suspicions, unproven accusations, and inventive theories.

On April 27, for example, Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, held forth about a 2010 donation to the Clinton Foundation from the government of Algeria, which had been earmarked for Haiti relief. That donation mistakenly went unreported as a pass- through, because it never accrued to the foundation balance sheet.

But to Scarborough, who had conducted a very friendly interview with Clinton from a set at CGI in September 2010, the Algerian money smacked of corruption. He had a theory, too: Algeria’s government wanted to be taken off the State Department’s list of nations that support terrorism.

“I think it was Algeria, maybe, that had given a donation that went unreported at a time when they wanted to be taken off of the terror list in the State Department,” he mused. “They write the check, they get taken off the terror list. . . . At the same time, and then it goes un- reported by the Clinton Foundation. . . . Is there a quid pro quo there? I don’t know, that’s really hard to tell.” Scarborough continued in that vein for several minutes.

The facts were considerably less exciting. Algeria had never been on the State Department’s terror list, which only included four nations; in fact, the Algerian government routinely fought terrorists within its borders and had long been a valued ally of the United States against terrorist organizations operating in North Africa.

Not at all chastened by this blunder, however, Scarborough continued to savage the Clintons the following morning when he interviewed Peter Schweizer. Having once represented a Florida congressional district, Scarborough compared the Clintons unfavorably to several former congressional colleagues and a recent governor of Virginia who all had been convicted of bribery. The proven criminal behavior of the elected officials, he insisted, “pales in comparison to [what is in] this book.”

Much of the most damning material in Clinton Cash, however, turned out to be either factually inaccurate, melodramatically exaggerated, or both. Within weeks after publication, major media outlets reported significant errors discovered in its pages.

Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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  1. YAHG2 September 13, 2016

    Mika and Joe can bring the receipts or shut up. This kind of sloppy journalism and innuendo is irresponsible no matter who it’s aimed at.

    1. Jon September 13, 2016

      Hold journalists accountable? What’s next, holding candidates and their surrogates accountable? This is 2016.

  2. chester September 13, 2016

    Too bad that the last few words of each line were covered by ads. I would have read it, if legible, but I won’t fight through the ads to do so.

    1. Habl September 13, 2016

      No ads on my view – check your browser.

      1. Jon September 13, 2016

        I have ads covering the last few words of each line too.

      2. iamproteus September 14, 2016

        I have an ad blocker on my computer and can read it all with no problem. I strongly recommend that you do the same!

  3. Fillet John September 13, 2016

    This dynamic duo was groveling at Donald Trumps feet not so long ago. Then Joe had a revelation. He might look bad when Trump loses. Suddenly he appears to grow a conscience? Nah. back to the idiocy.

  4. Otto T. Goat September 13, 2016

    Good job taking notes while watching a show no one else does. I’ve forwarded this piece to the Pulitzer Prize committee.

  5. LeftOCenter September 13, 2016

    Joe “Dead Intern” Scarborough is insufferable.

  6. Joyce Kirkham September 13, 2016

    What kind of an outfit are they running here? Those stupid ads cover the last few words of every line!! If you want people to read your site you’d better get busy and fix that.

    1. Bruce388 September 13, 2016

      After trying this article on three browsers with the same dismal results, I tried copying and pasting to a word processor. Perfection.

    2. Thoughtopsy September 13, 2016

      Get Chrome Browser, then get a Chrome Extension called “Disconnect” and another one called “AdBlock”.
      Cleans everything right up.
      If you still see ads with both running, right click the AdBlock icon top right and choose “Block an Ad on this Page” then click on the offending Ad and move the slider until it disappears, but the content remains. Then click “Block”.

      This will sort everything out.

      1. iamproteus September 14, 2016

        Exactly! Works like a charm….only better!

  7. Seth34 September 13, 2016

    Joe Conason is just smarter than Joe Scarborough and also has a better grasp of the facts of the Clintons. If you have a panel of people telling you what you want to hear all the time, it can be a jolt when someone comes on the show and is more knowledgeable. I like Morning Joe but we all can get a little taken with ourselves so losing an argument to Joe Conason may be just what the doctor ordered.

    1. Habl September 13, 2016

      Joe is stuck in the middle between Trump, the Republican candidate, and Trump, the hopeless uneducated and immoral buffoon. He loves to show his impartiality by calling Trump out but never fails to light up every time there’s a new Clinton item to talk about, Trump behaves himself for a day or two, or Hillary loses a couple of points in the polls. He wants to be on the winning side but without dirty hands. He’s a coward masking as a lion. As for Mika – she doesn’t belong on the show at all. She’s an averagely intelligent person, by nature a liberal, who’s been Stockholm Syndromed by Joe.

      1. Janice Archer Weaver September 13, 2016

        Trump has a BS degree in economics from the prestigious Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Maybe it’s you who are uneducated to not do some research before you make incorrect statement!

        1. latebloomingrandma September 13, 2016

          Yeah, and I’d like to see his grades.

          1. Janice Archer Weaver September 13, 2016

            He graduated. He PASSED. He’s a billionaire!

          2. dpaano September 13, 2016

            And you know this how? How do you know he’s actually a billionaire…he refuses to release his tax reports so we would be able to know that for a fact! As for graduating from Wharton….his father paid them dearly for him to graduate….maybe YOU need to do some research before you make incorrect statements!!!! Seriously?

          3. Janice Archer Weaver September 13, 2016

            Oh I guess he’s a squatter at Trump Tower. Hijacked TRUMP jet. There is no proof his father paid for his diploma. You’re just another left wing lying loony. Get on back to your fellow cult followers on Hillary.com.-So long!

          4. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            Trump did not finance the construction of the Trump Tower. A German bank, and four investors, including George Soros, did.
            Don’t confuse selling his name to foreign entrepreneurs, for a fee, with personal wealth.
            He is wealthy, but I am not sure he is as rich and successful as he pretends he is.
            As for his tax returns, I suspect the reason he does not want to make them public, as oppose to every presidential candidate during the last 40 years, is because he has paid little or no taxes, has borrowed money from Russian oligarchs to stay afloat, and because most of his income comes from foreign business deals, including outsourcing. Revealing those facts would destroy his narrative, including his image of financial invincibility, and patriotism.

          5. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            Why is he not in jail?

          6. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            Money talks. A fact he has proudly acknowledged.

          7. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            Here is an excerpt from a speech Trump delivered in Clear Lake, Iowa, while running for the GOP nomination:
            “You know, it’s interesting. I was looking at the ones I’m running
            against. I’ve contributed to most of them — can you believe it? I’ve
            contributed to most of them. And one of them said, No, I don’t think
            you’ve contributed to me. They found out I did. I contribute to
            everybody. I’ve given to Democrats. I’ve given to Hillary. I’ve given to
            everybody, because that was my job. I’ve got to give to them. because
            when I want something I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass. It’s
            true. They kiss my ass. It’s true.”

          8. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            He took ownership of that right from the beginning. Big deal. We elected him as the nominee anyway. Then there’s Hillary who participates in that behavior also but lies and tries to cover it up!

          9. FireBaron September 14, 2016

            “We”? Considering less than 35% of the Republicans who showed up to vote in the primaries actually voted for him. Luckily the Republicans are always more concerned about primaries, so maybe 20% of Registered Republicans actually showed up as opposed to 15% of Democrats. That means only about 7.5% of Registered Republicans supported Donald Trump as the party’s nominee. So your “we” is a small body of misogynist, xenophobic, jingoistic people who are probably in their current financial situations because people like Teflon Donnie doesn’t use US based manufacturing for his products and prefers to hire H1B Visa holders to work in his properties in the US. If he really wants to “Make America Great” maybe he should have had those hats made in the US instead of China. Maybe he should hire US Citizens at a prevailing wage on his properties instead of H1B holders at minimum wage.

          10. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            Look at the scoreboard: TRUMP WINNER!

          11. dpaano September 14, 2016

            I think you’re looking at the same scoreboard as the one for the Rams (who are losing terribly already this season). Polls already show that Hillary has more Electoral College votes than Trump and stands to win this election.

          12. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            Give me an example of pay to play that compares to Trump’s campaign donation to Pam Bondi in 2013.
            The allegation of wrongdoing involving the Clinton Foundation is centered around the leader of Bahrain pledging over $30M to promote education in his country, and the fact that he had dinner with Hillary sometime after that. Never mind that the pledged money did not go to the Clinton Foundation, or that the pledge took place in 2005, almost four years before Barack Obama’s Inauguration, and Hillary becoming SoS. Short of that foreign leader being clairvoyant, it takes a lot of imagination to turn that into a pay for play example.

          13. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            OK, you got me. The Clinton’s are white as snow!

          14. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            No, they are not, but they have accomplished a lot more, and are more qualified and experienced, than Trump and anybody the GOP can throw at us.

          15. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            Accomplishments and experiences have to be good to have merit!

          16. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            Indeed. Implementing economic policies that led to unprecedented economic growth, a budget surplus, and the creation of 23 million jobs in 8 years are considered relevant by most people. Keeping us out of wars (with the exception of Kosovo), is relevant to most Americans. Devoting a lifetime to the pursuit of equality and better opportunities for women, is important to most people, regardless of gender. Pushing for healthcare reform to ensure ALL Americans have access to comprehensive medical care, is considered important for most people with a minimal sense of humanity and morality. Fighting for the rights of ethnic and cultural minorities, for the right to vote, and for greater access to formal education, is appreciated by most Americans.
            Last, but not least,
            is the outstanding work being done by the Clinton Foundation throughout the world.

          17. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            Clinton had a surplus by sticking a gun to the middle classes heads and taking 60 %. I know, I was one of them. His economy was the faux .com bubble. He was offered Bin Laden 3 times on a silver platter. I had equality and opportunities long before a Clinton came along by mine and my parents hard work. What has a Clinton done for heathcare? I know the cost of Obama Care in my state is going up 60% and insurance exchanges are dropping like flies around the country. It’s my belief that the Clinton Foundation is a slush fund for the Clintons.

          18. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            We, clearly, have very different memories of the factors that contributed to the elimination of Reagan’s deficit spending, and producing budget surpluses for the first time in many decades. I worked at NASA for 40 years, and one of many things pursued by Clinton, and implemented by Al Gore, was to streamline the Federal government workforce, and eliminate the fat in the budgets of most departments and agencies. More realistic taxation contributed to the elimination of deficits. Yes, the .com boom helped a lot.
            He tried to get bin Laden. Unfortunately, OBL left the camp he was at, moments before the missile struck. In W’s case, he failed to capture or kill OBL for the 7 years that followed 9/11. At one point he said that getting OBL was not a big deal. President Obama authorized the raid that brought justice to OBL two years after his Inauguration.
            Yes, equality and opportunities existed long before Clinton became President, and Governor of Arkansas…for those who could afford to send their children to college, to private schools, and offered them the financial help that was unavailable to most middle class Americans. It is also important to remember that Hillary’s commitment to help women and the poor, during her tenure as SoS, went beyond our borders, and included powerful speeches in countries where women rights are not even an after thought.

          19. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            We can agree on one thing, we have very different memories of the Clintons.

          20. dpaano September 14, 2016

            No, they aren’t…..no one is! But, they have told the truth more than Trump on many issues!

          21. dpaano September 14, 2016

            And how did she lie? It would be interesting to see how much “out of context” you have taken anything that she’s said about this.

          22. dpaano September 14, 2016

            So true, yet he complains because Hillary met with foreign dignitaries who later donated to the Clinton Foundation (and got nothing of any substance in return politically). Trump believes in “pay to play” wholeheartedly and supports it!

          23. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            Interestingly, it does not bother them that the PRIVATE Trump Foundation donated $25,000 to Pam Bondi’s campaign, that she dropped her plans to investigate Trump University four days later, and that the IRS fined him $2,500 for not including that donation, and a $25,000 self-portrait, in his tax return filing.

          24. dpaano September 14, 2016

            That’s the question we ALL ask ourselves, but with all the lawsuits against him….it’s just a matter of time!

          25. A_Real_Einstein October 13, 2016

            He will be soon.

          26. Janice Archer Weaver October 13, 2016

            With your crystal ball abilities, you should give of yourself to the NSA. Your talents are waisted here!

          27. A_Real_Einstein October 13, 2016

            You’ve been played. Not very bright are you? Wasted not waisted. How does it feel to be a moron?

          28. Janice Archer Weaver October 14, 2016

            You tell me!

          29. dpaano September 14, 2016

            His apartment in the Trump Tower is paid for by the Trump Foundation, as is his jet. This is a BIG tax write-off for him (which we’d see if he’d release his tax returns)!!! As for your comment about my “fellow cult followers,” yes, I’ll stick with them because they actually KNOW what they’re talking about…..unlike you.

          30. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

            The same is true for John McCain, who graduated second from the bottom in his class at Annapolis. The fact that his Daddy was a well known Admiral did not hurt.
            W graduated with a C average, and it showed throughout his presidential tenure.

          31. FireBaron September 14, 2016

            He inherited 99% of his billions, and based on analysis by Forbes, his net worth has grown by less than 1% since he inherited them from his father.

          32. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            You are on Loony Lefter Fact Check Time!

          33. dpaano September 14, 2016

            No, he’s on ACTUAL fact-checker time!!! If you did your homework like most of us do here, along with valuable research, you’d see the truth. But, you’d rather sit in your troll hole and just believe all the lies that you’re being told. Hang in there…it’ll all be over in November and you can look forward to a Hillary presidency!

          34. Middle September 14, 2016

            He’s also a rich kid whose daddy bought him a medical deferment so he could dodge the draft and later denigrate heroes like John McCain and a Gold Star mother who gave a son to this country. he’s a blowhard, a bully, and a coward.

          35. Janice Archer Weaver September 14, 2016

            I’ll wait on your proof that his daddy bought off the U.S. military on a legitimate deferment. How about Hillary calling the Benghazi Mon a liar (I know ironic Hillary bringing attention to the word liar)? And Hillary is white as the driven snow I suppose???

          36. dpaano September 14, 2016

            She never called a Benghazi mother a liar…..apparently you have no idea what “taking it out of context” means!

          37. Robert Eckert September 16, 2016

            “Legitimate” deferment? He claimed that his feet were crippled. Does this appear to be true, even slightly? Did he have some kind of miracle cure or major surgery?

          38. Janice Archer Weaver September 17, 2016

            Bone spurs are a legitimate deferment. Take it to the military. Cured? Don’t know? Maybe he got some of Hillary’s miracle meds that cure cough/seizures/falling/fainting/
            fatique/blood clots/flue/allergies/thyroidism/

          39. Robert Eckert September 17, 2016

            Does he, in fact, have any bone spurs that interfere with his ability to walk? Did he at the time? If he did not there was nothing legitimate about it. If he did but doesn’t now, when did that change?

          40. Janice Archer Weaver September 17, 2016

            I have no idea and I don’t give a damn. Get yourself a life!

          41. Robert Eckert September 17, 2016

            Trump leaves a trail of lies and frauds everywhere he goes but you don’t give a damn but you are obsessively concerned about Hillary.

          42. dpaano September 14, 2016

            I want to see his school records from Wharton!! He asked President Obama to provide HIS….we should be able to see Trump’s. Might be interesting to see his grades, etc. From what I understand, many who went to Wharton at the same time don’t remember EVER seeing him in classes or on campus! Makes me wonder how he actually got his degree (except that I think Daddy paid for it)!

        2. Habl September 15, 2016

          Uneducated in what matters for sure.

          1. Janice Archer Weaver September 15, 2016

            You make no sense (???)

          2. Habl September 15, 2016

            What I mean is that Trump acts as if he were uneducated. He says dumb things that he can’t back up. He’s shown absolutely no understanding of the complexities of governance. His notion from the other day, for instance, that the Fed is acting on Obama’s behalf is utter nonsense. He goes on an on about how screwed up the country is, but he brings few new ideas to the table. When he does have an idea, it’s generally impractical, such as the wall. He backtracks so often that it’s hard to understand what he really means on any given issue. He lies constantly and then lies about lying. He never admits a mistake but claims he was just misunderstood. He’s acting pretty well behaved these days (by Trump standards), but he’s been brought under tight rein by the professionals in his campaign. His extemporaneous utterances are still over the top crazy.

          3. Janice Archer Weaver September 15, 2016

            As opposed to the dumb things Hillary says “Half of Trumps supporters belong in a basket of deplorables”. Blames Bill’s adultery on “Right Wing Conspiracies”. Even though she signed a paper saying so “I did not receive any security training”. “I never used an Ipad at State”. “I was under snipper fire”. “I was named after Sir Hillary”. ” I don’t believe I ever lied to the public”!!! Hillary’s rote answers every time she’s caught: 1) I’m sorry. 2) I made a mistake. 3) If I had to do it all over again. But Trump is over the top crazy???

          4. Habl September 15, 2016

            Some percentage of Trump supporters certainly do belong in a basket of deplorables. Do you doubt for a minute that Trump has attracted a bunch of bigoted crazies, in part because he didn’t call them out for what they were early on? Whatever else she’s done, and I doubt the seriousness of most of it, she hasn’t, in my mind, done anything disqualifying. Trump, on the other hand, lost me the moment he lied about seeing thousands of Muslims cheering as the WTC came down. Every time I hear about another American Muslim being victimized, most recently a woman set on fire, I can’t help but blame his words and attitude. He has done and said so many outrageous things that I believe he’s already harmed the country even before becoming president. Blow up NATO? Give Japan and South Korea nukes? Cozy up to Putin? God alone knows what he’ll do once in office, should he get that far.

          5. Janice Archer Weaver September 15, 2016

            Love your Fraudian Slip “even before becoming president”. President Trump 2017!

          6. Habl September 15, 2016

            Where’s your rebuttal?

          7. Janice Archer Weaver September 16, 2016

            I have no rebuttal for a bunch of exaggerations, lies, and misinformation. Take it to Hillary.com Fantasy Land. So long & good luck to you.

          8. A_Real_Einstein October 13, 2016

            Thanks for nominating Bozo the Clown. Not only will Hillary win easily but we are taking back the Senate possibly the House and the Supreme Court. 1,000 Thank Yous.

        3. pisces63 October 10, 2016

          He’s uneducated when it comes to politics, the workings of our government , of other governments, laws, constitution except for the 2nd amendment. Brexit. None nuclear proliferation groups, etc. Who cares about Wharton. How about social sciences at your local high school. My granddaughter, 10, learned the constitution this summer and she said she sees now, how Hitler fooled a country, just listening to trump!!

          1. Janice Archer Weaver October 10, 2016

            You’re full of crap and passing your crap onto your granddaughter. You should be ashamed. Take it to Hillary.com. You’ll find common ignorance there!

    2. latebloomingrandma September 13, 2016

      I like Morning Joe, the show, when Joe is not there.

    3. Dominick Vila September 14, 2016

      Looks like Scarborough had an Aleppo moment…

    4. FireBaron September 14, 2016

      (fill in the blank) is smarter than Joe Scarborough. Well, maybe not Teflon Donnie.

  8. Vocalic Scissors September 13, 2016

    It’s only criminal if it’s the Clintons. We know more about the Clintons’ lives than Donald Trump. The Clintons released their taxes. The Clinton Foundation is an open book. Yet, we want to know more and there is nothing else to learn. We also know that Trump is a liar and a tax dodger. He pays off Attorney Generals and buy Judges. He attacks the ones that he cannot buy. And we don’t want to know. Boy, America has been dumbed down!

  9. Jack Hughes September 13, 2016

    I wish Joe Conason was designated for live fact-checking during the upcoming debates — assuming Trump doesn’t weasel out of them.

  10. Monica Barber September 17, 2016

    He is alleging that Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation effectively “invaded” the nation and attempted to bribe him.


  11. Monica Barber September 17, 2016

    Yes, don’t believe the Haitian’s themselves, right?

  12. Jan Bounds October 2, 2016

    Fortunately I never watch morning Joe because I do not care for him in any way and I felt this way about him way before Trump took over his shoe. It was pitiful and painful to be a witness to that scenario.

  13. cutter October 11, 2016

    Joe left Congress because he was going to be defeated in his district. He had mokved too far right for the district.


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