- The Washington Times - Friday, June 30, 2017

MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski claimed Friday that President Trump and his administration tried to threaten them with a negative story in the National Enquirer — in more fallout from Mr. Trump’s earlier tweets about the couple.

The two anchors of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” said in a Washington Post op-ed they wrote together that White House staffers had warned the pair that there was a damaging story about them in the National Enquirer earlier this month. Mr. Trump and his staff reportedly said at the time that if the pair apologized for their criticism of him that he would have the story killed, according to Mr. Scarborough.

“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,” they wrote. 

Mr. Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reportedly told the hosts to apologize so that story wouldn’t get published, New York Magazine reported.

Mr. Kushner allegedly texted Mr. Scarborough about the story before it originally ran in April. When he refused, another story ran in June headlines, “Joe & Mika: TV Couple’s Sleazy Cheating Scandal.”

Dylan Howard, an editor at the National Enquirer said that he has no knowledge of any discussions, according to CNN.

“We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions,” Mr. Howard said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he was “not aware” of any such exchanges between White House staff and the cable news hosts, CNN reported.

The story involved the beginning of their relationship and their past marriages. The MSNBC hosts are now engaged.

Mr. Scarborough pushed back on Twitter, replying to a tweet of Mr. Trump’s in which the president said Mr. Scarborough called him asking to kill the story.

“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,” Mr. Scarborough tweeted back.

This comes after the president attacked the pair in a series of tweets Thursday, saying they begged to see him at a New Year’s party in Mar-a-Lago, but that he refused. He also accused Ms. Brzezinski of “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

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