Morning Joe: 'Mueller's Playing Chess, Trump's Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos'

Donald Trump: See how I pardoned Arpaio? I can do that for you, too, Paul!
Bob Mueller: I see you and raise you.

Watch the entire video. It's long, but you will like it. It will make you smile for the rest of the day.

Morning Joe shared the news that last night, Politico confirmed that special counsel Robert Mueller is sharing evidence about Paul Manafort with New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman.

"And this is where the rut-roh comes in," Scarborough said

Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes. You do not have power over that. You can't do anything about that," Mika said, addressing Trump.

"Eric Schneiderman is a Democrat, and a vocal critic of Trump whose investigation into Trump University resulted in a $25 million settlement last year. This as the Financial Times reports Muller interviewed Rinat Akhmetshin as a Russian lobbyist and officer," shesaid.

"The report says he gave testimony for several hours on the meeting set up about damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. He told the Financial Times, 'I don't know what you're talking about.' What do you think?"

"Paul Manafort is becoming central in this probe," said AP reporter Jonathan Lemire.

"But now the idea that he could be leaned upon here, this will be addressed in a state jurisdiction, the president can't pardon you. The president pardoning Joe Arpaio, the implication is he could pardon you -- but taking it to a state level takes that away. There was dealings that Schneiderman would ping him on business dealings and Trump would hit back. And the New York Observer, the newspaper here in the city run by Jared Kushner, has run several scathing and some not particularly fact-based damaging pieces on Eric Schneiderman."

"So we should expect the National Enquirer to follow through," Scarborough said.

"Donald Trump, as we noted several times a day, he's a day trader. And he does things like fires James Comey, which actually gets him Bob Mueller. He does things that he thinks is going to get him out of a trap that only makes things more difficult. There is now talk that any pardons of anybody not on -- not only doesn't take care of the problems on the state level for these people, but also that that is an abuse of the pardon power and would almost be prima facie evidence of abuse of power and would lead to impeachment down the road. The question is, is anybody telling Donald Trump this, and if they are, is Donald Trump listening?"


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"He's a cyborg who has a head, a heart and a brain," Mark Halperin said.

"One of the underappreciated aspects of how he's building this investigation is his ability to coordinate. His investigative members are not issuing immunity. He's coordinating within the Justice Department and the FBI. You don't hear any unhappiness coming from there. Now he's coordinating with another guy with subpoena power, another guy who is fearless and not afraid of Donald Trump and a guy who can bring charges that the president can't pardon for.

"None of this is an accident. We're seeing through a glass darkly what the Mueller investigation is like. We see only a tiny bit of it but it's clear there's a strategy here, a fearlessness and there's a level of coordination that makes anyone trying to help the president on this be put in a very defensive position."

Scarborough pointed out that Trump can no longer make this go away by firing Bob Mueller.

"I mean, he's the last guy you would want on your trail. And then I went back to the focus groups and what they were saying about Donald Trump being his own worst enemy, there would not be Bob Mueller but for all the missteps Donald Trump has made -- not over the past 30 years, but over the past six months. That guy is on -- his face is on our show right now because of the actions, the missteps, the stupid political calculations --"

"The lies," Mika interjected.

"The lies that Donald Trump has made over the past six months. Forget the Russian campaign. We'd still be dealing with Comey. But not this guy. He's like ten times the challenge for Trump,"

"It also is all rooted in the monomaniacal focus on the probe. It's like you're stopped by a police officer and whatever you do, officer, don't look in the trunk. I think that's what happened with Comey, and you're right, that's what gave you Mueller," Halperin said.

"So what is the Trump strategy? It's shoot the messenger in the kneecaps, shoot the media as much as you possibly can so that when Mueller has something and it's reported in the press, he'll be able to say this is fake news," historian Jon Meacham said.

"And tweet about fake transgender bans," Mika interjected.

"Mueller is showing himself to be this fantastic -- this interview took back three weeks ago, this is the first we're hearing about it. Trump pardons Arpaio and Mueller hits -- it's like they're paying chess, and it's check again. Okay, we'll go to the state level and this is where you can't pardon them. The way that Mueller is handling this is strategically brilliant. He's keeping the investigation going but he's giving signals to Trump he's not going to be messed with," BBC correspondent Katy Kay said.

"I think Mueller is playing chess, Trump is playing Donkey Kong," Meacham said.

"Or Whack-A-Mole," Mika said.

"Mueller's playing three-dimensional chess and Trump is playing Hungry Hungry Hippos," Meachem responded.

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