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“Is it that the Russians are so skillful or that their intended targets are such dupes?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of former FBI Agent Clint Watts during an interview about Russia’s ability to use individuals for meddling in the affairs of other countries, following former CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee where he suggested that Russia might have lured Trump campaign associates onto a “treasonous path.” Listen to Watts’ response here about the Russians’ tactics and motives.

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Treasonous Path

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“The tragedy of the Trump presidency thus far is: This is Day 125 and there are 60 million people out there who for various reasons – fear, anxiety, anger, whatever – voted for him. (They) invested their fears, their hopes, their dreams in his presidency, in the hope of getting something done that would improve their lives, and that appears not going to be able to happen,” explains Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle during a lengthy panel discussion about Trump’s motivations and leadership with hosts Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meacham.

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The Tragedy of the Trump Presidency Thus Far

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“You've got two men here, the Pope and the President, both pulling their individual institutions in different ways. The Pope pulling the Catholic Church even further toward the least among us, helping the least among us in the Third World, in the United States – everywhere. And you have the President of the United States pulling a portion of his political party even further to the right -- in direct opposition to what the Pope believes. How does that work out in a conversation?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Father James Martin during a Morning Joe panel discussion about President Donald Trump’s visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. Hear Martin’s thoughts here.

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The President and the Pope

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During a Morning Joe conversation with Axios co-founder/CEO Jim Vandehei about President Donald Trump’s ongoing unpopularity and the impact it may have on upcoming political races, senior contributor Mike Barnicle asks: “Do you find it striking though that with a lot of Republican Senators – at least to my view – and a lot of members of the House, there is no striking defense of the President?” Listen to Vandehei’s response here.

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Trump’s Influence on Upcoming Races

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“Mr. Ambassador, there is clearly a mood, an almost a euphoric mood in Israel and among Israel’s diplomats like yourself, about this trip of President Trump to your country. Part of it, though, seems to some observers, rooted in a resentment of Barack Obama's administration. Can you explain the difference between Barack Obama's administration and his attitude toward Israel, and President Trump's attitude toward Israel?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon during a conversation about Israel / U.S. relations. Hear Danon’s response here.

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President Trump's Attitude Toward Israel

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While the Morning Joe panel talks about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn invoking the Fifth Amendment in response to a subpoena for documents from a Senate panel probing Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, senior contributor Mike Barnicle offers: “General Flynn, he has an absolute right and his lawyers are absolutely correct to invoke the Fifth Amendment. And in an odd way, I'm told by two people who were involved in this investigation that he is kind of in a strong position right now to get immunity because to move this investigation forward, you've got to speak to General Flynn. He has a story to tell, as his lawyer said, and he has got to tell that story.”

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Immunity for Flynn?

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In the ongoing discussion on Morning Joe about the intelligence community resources dedicated to investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, senior contributor Mike Barnicle explains: “There are better, more important things for our intelligence services and the intelligence services of countries around the globe to be doing rather than here, domestically, being preoccupied with what the President says or doesn't say.” Listen to more of the discussion here as it contrasts the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, that left 22 dead and scores injured to the Trump/Russia investigation at home.

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US Intel into Russia is Trumping Priorities

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As the Morning Joe panel marvels that President Donald Trump apparently does not know that Israel is located in the Middle East and ponders if his recent statements are “malicious” or “plain stupid,” the show’s senior contributor Mike Barnicle adds: “Is it part Captain Queeg? Is it part John Gotti? We now have to ask how much a part of it is Chauncey Gardiner? Because that's where we are on this…Israel has been in the Middle East for quite some time.” Listen to Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough’s take on Trump: “We’ve gone from ‘Being There’ to ‘Dumb and Dumber’."

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Trump’s Middle East Mistake

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“He incriminates himself nearly every day in one way or another,” says Morning Joe’s Mike Barnicle about President Donald Trump and reports that he called two of the nation’s top intelligence officials and urged them to publicly deny that there is any evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. Listen in on the conversation with host Joe Scarborough, Barnicle, former Treasury official Steven Rattner and former advisor to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Elise Jordan about a possible legal case for obstruction of justice against President Trump and how the issue has “hijacked” his agenda.

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Russia Probe Problems Continue

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“Senator, we have a concerted attack on the poor in this country going on right now in this budget. I don't know anyone, anyone who would love to be born poor in America. So, who's going to lead the fight in the United States Senate against this attack on the poor?" asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) during a conversation about President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal and how it will impact the less fortunate. Hear McCaskill talk about the bipartisan push back she expects. “I don’t think there’s very many Republicans who have an appetite for getting rid of Meals on Wheels.” Listen in here.

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Push Back for the Poor

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“Charlie, at its most basic level, ignorance of the law has never been a defense. It's like saying, ‘I didn't know I was supposed to put money in the parking meter so please don't give me a ticket.’ Is a president's or Donald Trump's total ignorance of the process of laws, how they apply to the Director of National Intelligence or to the head of the FBI, would that be a defense?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of The New York Times national security and legal reporter Charlie Savage during a conversation about reports indicating that President Trump called two of the nation’s top intelligence officials and urged them to publicly deny that there is any evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. Listen to Savage’s response here.

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The Ignorance Defense?

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“You could not have come up with a better candidate for this position than Bob Mueller,” explains Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle as the panel examines Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Listen in to the conversation with The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

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Russian Meddling Probe

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Morning Joe’s Mike Barnicle spoke with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) about the possibility of his former colleague Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) leading the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation, as it was reported that Lieberman is one of four candidates currently being considered for the chief post. Hear what Murphy has to say in the conversation of political v. law enforcement experience when it comes to the position of new FBI director.

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The Next Leader of the FBI

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While the Morning Joe panel analyzes the Justice Department’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into the probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, senior contributor Mike Barnicle says: “What adjective do you want to use to describe Bob Muller? Honorable, honest, character, great integrity, inspires tremendous loyalty in the people who work for him; led a Marine Corps rifle team in Vietnam after graduating from Princeton…There will be no leaks. I can tell you from personal experience with him, knowing him for over 30 years, there will be no leaks out of this investigation. There will just be the hard-nosed plotting, timely, time-consuming work of an investigation.” Listen to more of the discussion here.

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Former FBI Director Robert Mueller

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“Michael Schmidt’s reporting indicates that the President asked the Vice President, the Attorney General, and the Chief of Staff to leave the Oval Office. Is that intent?,” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of public policy professor Harold Ford Jr. during a conversation about President Donald Trump possibly having committed obstruction of justice when he privately asked then FBI Director James Comey to end the federal investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, which New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt originally reported. Listen to Ford Jr.’s response here. Only on MSNBC.

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Is that Intent?

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“We're right at the edge of Title 18, Section 1503 of the United States Code, which is obstruction of justice, and we have (FBI) Director Comey's contemporaneous notes….I don't think anybody can predict where this Congress is going to go on this, especially the Republican Senate and the Republican House,” says Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle, as he references New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt’s recent article that reveals FBI Director James Comes wrote in his notes that President Donald Trump asked him to end the federal investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Listen to more of the discussion here.

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At the Edge

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“They are caught in one of the age-old elements that beleaguer all cover ups and that is: ‘A lie is the hardest thing to remember',” says Morning Joe’s senior contributor Mike Barnicle during a conversation about the various stories coming out of the White House about the President Donald Trump’s surprise firing of FBI director James Comey. “They can’t figure out which story to tell from hour to hour about what occurred over the last five or six days.” Listen in here for the inside story from The New York Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush and The Washington Post's national political reporter Robert Costa about the difficult job today and ahead for President Trump.

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Inside the White House

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The Morning Joe panel, in conversation with the Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson, the best-selling author of Einstein, continue to discuss the fall out from President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI director James Comey. “What you have had happen…is just one more indication that Donald Trump and clearly the people around him do not understand the presidency itself and the value of the presidency to this country,” says senior contributor Mike Barnicle. Tune in to hear more about the White House’s potential “constitutional crisis."

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Constitutional Crisis?

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While the conflicting stories continue to swirl about why President Donald Trump unexpectedly fired FBI director James Comey in a termination letter that claims Comey told POTUS that he is not the subject of an FBI investigation, Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle explains: “I was told that line in the letter that the President wrote to Comey firing him; the three times…’thanks for telling me three times I'm not a subject of an investigation,' I was told flat out by two agents that never happened. And another person told me there's a possibility that the President inadvertently waived executive privilege going forward by mentioning that in the letter.” Listen to more of the discussion here with Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist and former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.

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Comey Fallout Continues

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During the ongoing Morning Joe discussion as to why President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey this week, including reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may have been ordered by POTUS to write a memo recommending Comey's dismissal, senior contributor Mike Barnicle explains: “(Rosenstein) has only one option to maintain his sterling credentials, and that is to appoint a special prosecutor. So, we're going to see going forward exactly what happens here, but the logic of what the White House is trying to sell in terms of the chain of evidence concerning how and why Jim Comey was fired by the President does not stand up to common sense.” Listen to more of the conversation here.

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Comey Questions Swirl