Scarborough: White House 'Lying' to Explain Benghazi Email

Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:12 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The White House is "lying" and using "doublespeak" in its attempts to explain an email that indicated the administration crafted talking points to describe events surrounding the 2012 Benghazi attacks, talk show host Joe Scarborough said.

Discussion exploded on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday about the email between then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice and a White House official and the subsequent White House explanation regarding the email's contents.

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Story continues below video.



White House press secretary Jay Carney attempted Wednesday to explain why the administration did not previously release the email with other requested documents about the attack. Carney said the "emails and the talking points were not about Benghazi."

"You see the White House spokesperson lying on national television. You see an ABC newsperson shocked that he's lying, and treating the press corps and Americans like they're stupid. He says it's not about Benghazi," said Scarborough, a former Florida congressman.

"Republicans and conservatives have been called fools for a year now for saying this happened," he added.

"Morning Joe" panelist Donny Deutsch, an advertising executive, said it was "fool's gold" for Republicans to use the revelation to harm Democrats in the 2016 presidential election. He said the email was simply "political strategy" for the administration of President Barack Obama to explain the Benghazi bombing.

"We, as voters, understand both Republicans and Democrats are political animals," Deutsch said.

A fiery exchange erupted between Scarborough and Deutsch.

"When it's Democrats that cover something up, it's politics. When Republicans cover something up, it's a scandal. It would be on the front page of The New York Times. It would be on the front page of every newspaper in America. But when Democrats cover up, you think it's shrewd political games," Scarborough said.

Government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained the email through the Freedom of Information Act. The email was from senior White House official Ben Rhodes to Rice and several other administration officials.

The email released Tuesday contained advice for talking points as Rice prepared to go on national Sunday morning talk shows to explain the events surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The email advised Rice to "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy." Some Republicans immediately decried the content of the email as proving the administration of President Barack Obama sought to cover up the cause of the attack for political purposes.

Deutsch predicted it would be a "stupid move" for Republicans to "bite" on the email issue. Scarborough questioned the media coverage of the emails.

"What about the media biting? What about the media doing their job? What about the media calling a cover-up a cover-up?" Scarborough asked.

Deutsch explained the "average American" would determine the administration was just managing a crisis.

"What I am saying is I think the average American can sit back and go, 'Yeah, that presidential office was trying to manage this crisis, just like a Bush White House would, just like a Reagan, just like a Clinton White House would,'" Deutsch said.

"It's politics," Scarborough responded.

"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski said it appeared the White House was either "covering up something or they forgot to release the email."

"The question we have now is whether they released other prep emails for Susan Rice, and where [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton stands on all of this. And that may serve the Republicans very well if they don't have good answers," Brzezinski said.

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