MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow is questioning whether President Donald Trump ordered a military strike against Syria to “distract from a catastrophic domestic scandal.”
What did she say?
According to Maddow, other countries will be weighing their response in light of how they perceive the military strikes. She said on her show Friday:
It will affect those other countries' view of this strike. It will affect their reaction to it. It will therefore affect the utility of this military strike if the president of the United States is believed to have issued the order to launch this strike tonight, even in part because people think he wanted to distract from a catastrophic domestic scandal that is blowing up at home at the same time. The perception that the president may have ordered these strikes in part because of scandal will affect the impact and the effectiveness of these military strikes. Unavoidably.
The problem is how the U.S.' action is going to be perceived, she said.
"Even if you give the president every benefit of the doubt. Even if his calculations about whether to launch this action against Syria tonight was taken with absolutely no regard for what else is going on in the president's life right now...what else is going on in the president's life right now unavoidably creates a real perception around the globe that that may have been part of the motivation for what he did and particularly for when he did it," she added.
The U.S.'s actions also have national security consequences, she said.
“It has national security consequences when the president orders missile strikes on Syria on a night like tonight,” Maddow said. “The strategic effect of that strike will be assessed by both our allies and our enemies.”
Trump announced the U.S. military attack against Syria Friday night as a response to reported chemical attacks carried out against civilians in that nation last week.
In an address from the White House, Trump said: "A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed force of France and the United Kingdom is now underway."
It's not the first time he has taken such an action. Trump also ordered a military strike on a Syrian air base in April 2017, also in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians.
What are some of the controversies?
One of the controversies Maddow is referencing is the FBI raid of the home and office of Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. It was learned earlier Friday that Cohen was under investigation for his “personal business dealings,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Next week, Trump will face the release of a book by former FBI Director James Comey. Excerpts from the book that were already released outline Comey’s interactions with Trump prior to his firing last spring.
There are also new reports about developments in the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. One of them confirms an allegation from the so-called “Trump dossier,” that Cohen traveled to Prague in 2016.