Speed Reads

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Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough claim Trump tried to blackmail them

On Friday, Morning Joe co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough published an op-ed titled "Donald Trump is not well," spurred by the president's vicious Twitter attacks on Brzezinski on Thursday. In the piece, the hosts revealed that "this year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas."

While Brzezinski and Scarborough did not expand beyond that tantalizing detail in their op-ed, they did on Friday morning's Morning Joe. "We got a call that, hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys," Scarborough alleged. "And [Trump] is friends with the guy who runs the National Enquirer. And they said, if you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story."

"And let me explain what they were threatening," Brzezinski added. "They were calling my children. They were calling close friends of mine. And they were pinning the story on my ex-husband, who would absolutely never do that, so I knew immediately it was a lie and that they had nothing."

Both Brzezinski and Scarborough emphasized the persistence of the calls and the blackmail-like nature of the "top White House staff members'" threats. President Trump responded to the allegations on Twitter:

Scarborough replied to the tweet: "Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months."

Watch Brzezinski and Scarborough tell their story below. Jeva Lange