February 23, 2016
Donald Trump: 'Morning Joe' Leaked Open Mic Catches Alleged Favoritism [Video]

An audio clip featuring the Morning Joe personalities and Donald Trump has been released this week, and it's raising some eyebrows. CNN Money reports that the clip of off-air conversations between Donald Trump and the Morning Joe team, recorded during commercial breaks at the MSNBC Trump Town Hall event last week, is stoking concerns that the Morning Joe co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, are too friendly and comfortable with GOP front-runner Trump.

The recording was released by Harry Shearer, a comedian and radio host, on his radio show. Shearer, who is well-known for lending his voice talent to the long-running animated sitcom, The Simpsons, reportedly obtained the tape and released it in order to illustrate the "latest evidence" that the Morning Joe co-hosts may be too friendly with Donald Trump, potentially compromising their journalistic integrity.

He reportedly wanted to give his listeners the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not the Morning Joe hosts and were "in the tank" for Trump.

Harry Shearer himself had his own opinion about the off-air recording.

"You can cut the adversarial tension there with a knife. A butter knife, but still."

During the recorded off-air conversation between Donald Trump and his Morning Joe interviewers, listeners can hear the trio talking comfortably and in a very friendly manner about his prospects in Nevada and South Carolina, as well as the "ineffectiveness" of the many attack ads that have been released against him and the overall success of his presidential bid.

[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]

In the audio recording, Brzezinski can be heard telling Donald Trump that she had a "wow moment" when the former reality TV star brought a pair of men on stage following their removal of a protester from a Trump event.

Responding to the Morning Joe co-host's praise, Trump says, "I saw it, I watched your show this morning. You had me almost as a legendary figure."

The Hill reports that the recorded audio exchange between Trump and Morning Joe becomes even more disconcerting when Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski go on to tell Trump that they were wrong for saying that The Donald hadn't done well at a GOP debate earlier in February, especially in the face of subsequent polls.

The pair go on to discuss potential questions for Donald Trump related to deportation, with Scarborough saying that "we really do have to go to some questions."

The two hosts go on to say they were wrong for believing that Trump had done poorly during the most recent GOP debate earlier this month, noting polls suggested otherwise.

Trump can then be heard saying, "Nothing too hard, Mika."

Morning Joe Power Couple
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]

The too-close relationship between Joe Scarborough and Donald Trump has reportedly been the cause of some contention at NBC, with some insiders calling the Morning Joe hosts' hero-worship of Trump "over the top" and "unseemly."

At this point, MSNBC has not commented on the tape.

As for Donald Trump, his "self-funded" presidential campaign has definitely gotten a boost from the amount of media attention the former reality TV star has garnered. During the recorded exchange with the Morning Joe co-hosts, however, he can be heard saying that he has "nothing to gain" from his participation in the Trump Town Hall event on MSNBC.

"You, you get great ratings and a raise...me, I get nothing."

Following that statement, Donald Trump tells the Morning Joe team to "make us all look good," to which Joe replies, "Exactly."

The release of the audio has drawn serious criticism from other media figures, with Steve Deace calling the recorded conversation "clear coordination/coaching between a national show and a campaign."

While some are calling this situation a bit of a scandal, it seems that the Trump campaign has weathered far worse. It remains to be seen whether or not the release of this off-air conversation between Donald Trump and the Morning Joe co-hosts will have any impact on his presidential bid.

[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]