Panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” agreed that special counsel Robert Mueller was conducting a strategically brilliant game of chess against President Donald Trump, the target of his investigation — who wasn’t even playing the same game.
The special counsel has reportedly been cooperating with New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, which could ensnare former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a pardon-proof trap, because presidential pardons don’t cover state crimes.
“Paul Manafort is clearly becoming very much in the crosshairs of this probe, both with his own dealings with foreign governments, his time working a pro-Russian party in the Ukraine, but also now, as suggested, the idea that he could be leaned upon here,” said Jonathan Lemire, White House correspondent for the Associated Press. “This is going to happen in a state jurisdiction, (so) the president can’t pardon you.”
He said the president’s unusual pardon last week of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio signaled that he was willing to flout conventions for issuing pardons, but the involvement of Schneiderman — who has a long history with Trump — took away that powerful option.
Trump pardons Arpaio and Mueller hits — it’s like they’re paying chess,” said BBC anchor Katty Kay, “and it’s check again. Mueller hits back, 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.”
Historian Jon Meacham, executive editor at Random House and contributing editor for Time, said Trump was vastly outmatched against Mueller.
“I think Mueller is playing chess and Trump is playing Donkey Kong,” Meacham said.
Host Joe Scarborough agreed, and cited a months-old tweet that still made him laugh.
“Mueller’s playing three-dimensional chess and Trump is playing four-dimensional Hungry Hungry Hippo,” Scarborough said.
‘Deeply hurt’ Ex-Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweets out Bible verse about being persecuted
Former Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale is "deeply hurt" after being demoted Wednesday night by Jared Kushner, according to Politico.
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them," Parscale tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) July 16, 2020
GOP officials admit 2020 platform is basically whatever’s on Trump’s Twitter account
President Donald Trump has shaped the Republican Party into his own image in less than four years on the job, and that doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon.
Nearly half of the House Republicans on the job when Trump took office in 2017 have either retired, resigned, been defeated or are retiring in 2020, and many of the GOP newcomers are devoted Trump loyalists, reported Politico.
“Whether the president wins or loses, his policy views and style have firmly taken over the Republican Party — nationalism and white grievance, those kinds of things,” said Matt Moore, former chairman of South Carolina's GOP. “I don’t think that Trumpy politics will be leaving the stage anytime soon.”
Coronavirus data disappears from CDC dashboard after Trump hijacks info
The Trump administration on Tuesday forced all hospitals and states to make a significant and immediate change in how they report coronavirus patient data, hijacking the information to be funneled into the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Experts warned the move could allow the administration to politicize the data, hide it, be less transparent, all of which interferes in the real-time usage of information to fight the coronavirus pandemic.