MSNBC Analyst Compares Trump to Bill Clinton on Reaction to Special Counsel

July 26, 2017

MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin compared President Donald Trump's behavior regarding the special counsel investigation to Bill Clinton's during an appearance Wednesday on "Morning Joe."

Trump has publicly berated Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the past week, saying he would not have picked him if he had known Sessions would recuse him from the Russia investigation and calling him "weak" and "beleaguered" in tweets.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin has hampered the Trump administration since May.

Host Joe Scarborough asked Halperin what Trump had to gain from flogging his own Justice Department chief, who was one of his earliest, prominent Republican backers and gave him credibility with the border-hawk wing of the conservative movement.

"I think the president right now is acting very reminiscent of Bill Clinton when he had an independent counsel on his back," Halperin said. "It's very easy, as the president suggested, to say, 'Well, this is all about the presidency and the independent counsel is out of control,' and he blames Jeff Sessions for that. It's much worse to have an independent counsel going after you than the regular Justice Department, for a variety of reasons."

Trump's decision to go after Sessions, in spite of it putting him in conflict with part of his base, is based on the president's frustration with the special counsel, Halperin said.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation of the Clintons over the Whitewater controversy in the 1990s ultimately led to the discovery of Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky and his impeachment for obstruction of justice and perjury.