June 5, 2018

Morning Jokesters were discussing the Manafort story from last night. Joe Scarborough called it a "major signal" to the president and his crew that if you obstruct this investigation, Mueller is "going after you."

"We got a better window yesterday into how President Trump is thinking about this investigation," Willie Geist said.

"He asserted the absolute right to pardon himself of any crime. In the past two weeks, the president has broken several political and legal standards, including demanding the Justice Department investigate the Russia probe. Sending his lawyer to congressional intel briefing and now the pardon claims. The Republican Senate majority whip said, 'I wish he wouldn't comment on things like that, it raising questions which have been laid to rest.' The fellow members of the Judiciary Committee were skeptical of Trump's claims of the ability to self-pardon."

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: "I've read the constitution cover to cover. I'm rather fond of it. There's not a provision directly on point. And it would land in the map of the United States Supreme Court. Let's hope we don't get there."

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: "I think it would be a bad idea. Legally, I don't know. I know Nixon was one of the allegations against him was improper use of pardon powers, as one of the things in impeachment. But I do know this -- one of the limits of a president's authority is politics. I think the politics would be very bad."

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY: "If I were president of the United States and I had a lawyer that told me I could pardon myself, I think I would hire a new lawyer."

SEN. TED CRUZ: "That is not a constitutional issue I've studied, so I will withhold judgment at this point."

"So Kasie Hunt, it sounded like Ted Cruz is trying to outrun you guys in the Senate, but couldn't quite get away from you," Geist said. "The reaction on Capitol Hill to this? We heard some Republicans speak up and speak out about it. Not all of them, though, and you heard Ted Cruz sort of equivocate there. He knows better, doesn't he?"

"I think he probably does. I'm surprised he has taken to walking away quickly in most of these situations," Hunt said.

"So the fact that he did feel as though he had to fill some of that silence, I think is pretty telling. But you know, this is exactly why what you just saw there is exactly why Rudy Giuliani was on shows over the weekend saying, 'We're not going to do this.' He dismissed or tried to walk back claims in that memo by saying this is politically impossible. I think it was Chris Christie who said over the weekend it would be political suicide. And that is why and how if you are Republican, who has, these guys who call themselves constitutional conservatives, it's very difficult ..."

(Later in the show, Sen. Rand Paul sidestepped the question completely. Because integrity!)

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