Scarborough: It's a 'lie' to say Barr wasn't throwing 'rhetorical red meat' to base with spying comment

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Friday said it was a “lie” to say that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrCurrent and former prosecutors respond to Barr's 'concerning' comments on progressive DAs Attorney General Barr's license to kill Medical examiner confirms Epstein death by suicide MORE “was not trying to provide conservatives with rhetorical red meat” when he mentioned the word “spy” while appearing before a Senate committee on Wednesday.

The attorney general said that he is looking into efforts by the FBI to investigate members of the Trump campaign before the 2016 presidential election, saying he believes "spying” took place and he needs to be sure it was justified. The statement has drawn scorn from Democrats and cheers from Republicans.

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Scarborough was commenting on a Washington Post report on Thursday that cited an unnamed source “familiar with the attorney general's thinking” that Barr was not trying to “provide conservatives with rhetorical red meat.”

Turning to "The Circus" co-host John Heilemann, Scarborough pushed back on the assertion.

"Heilemann, that’s just such a total lie," the host said. "Everybody on the planet knew the second [Barr] said that [about spying], it was being thrown out as red meat, even though he backed off."

"He didn’t back off that much. He read it like a Sean Hannity script," Heilemann said in reference to the Fox News host. "And if he wasn’t doing that, what was he doing, given there’s no evidence for it whatsoever?"

"No evidence," Scarborough echoed.

The former GOP congressman's perspective comes as Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWhy the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing Rosenstein: Trump should focus on preventing people from 'becoming violent white supremacists' MORE defended Barr in a Wall Street Journal interview published Wednesday.

“He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think, is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein said.