U.S.

Trump Distracting From Scandals by Pulling Out of Iran Deal, Morning Joe Host Says

President Donald Trump may have announced the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord in order to distract the public from the myriad scandals that have plagued his administration, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski alleged Wednesday.

Brzezinski, a frequent critic of the president who was also a target of his Twitter wrath last year, challenged Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the multinational agreement intended to keep Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal. She also suggested Trump’s sanity was “being questioned” around the world.

“This does draw us more into the Middle East,” Brzezinski said on the MSNBC show, according to Mediaite. “Our allies are upset, for sure, at a time when I think the president’s sanity is being questioned globally.”

She noted Trump had originally shown his disdain for the Obama-era deal with Iran on the campaign trail, but also questioned if Trump was trying to “deflect from something else.”

“It was a campaign promise, it does appeal possibly to his base,” Brzezinski said. “But the totality of this president’s behavior and decisions does lead me to question why he does anything, and whether or not it’s to deflect from something else. I don’t think he has the moral compass to make a decision based on our own national security even, at this point.”

The prospect of Trump trying to create a distraction from his scandals has been brought up before, and The New Republic noted last month that the president had attempted to misdirect the public throughout his first 15 months in office.

GettyImages-956113088 President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that reinstates sanctions on Iran after he announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. After two and a half years of negotiations, Iran agreed in 2015 to end its nuclear program in exchange for Western countries, including the United States, lifting decades of economic sanctions. Since then international inspectors have not found any violations of the terms by Iran. Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Trump’s announcement about re-imposing sanctions on Iran did coincide with a number of revelations in the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and questions about the payment made to adult actress Stephanie Clifford, who performs under the name Stormy Daniels, less than two weeks before Trump’s election victory.

Specifically, Trump’s personal attorneys have been at the heart of the latest developments. Former New York City mayor turned Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani revealed that Trump had paid back another personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the money Cohen had given to Clifford for her silence about a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

Cohen, Trump’s “fixer,” is also still embroiled in a federal investigation into his businesses, as well as the payment made to Daniels. After Trump announced the pull-out from the Iran deal, Clifford’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, released a document Tuesday accusing Cohen of taking $500,000 over the course of a year from a Russian oligarch linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Cohen's attorney did not immediately return a request for comment. How Avenatti learned of the alleged payment remains unclear.