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.
Couple who ran demon-obsessed gay ‘conversion therapy’ camp indicted on human trafficking charges
An Alabama couple who operated a controversial gay "conversion therapy" camp has been indicted on human trafficking charges in connection with a new religious facility they set up in Texas.
A grand jury indicted 49-year-old Gary Wiggins and 34-year-old Meghann Wiggins after investigators found they had forced children to work at their Joshua Home for troubled boys, reported KXAN-TV.
Burnet County officials raided the 10-acre property near Bertram in July 2018, where they removed eight boys between 10 and 17 years old as part of an investigation into possible abuse, neglect, labor violations, fraud, licensing violations and human trafficking.
Trump officials to face congressional grilling over president’s link to white nationalist terrorism
Next week, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are poised to question members of the Trump administration about the dangerous rise in white nationalist violence.
Just last weekend, a man slaughtered dozens of people in El Paso, Texas, after citing an "invasion" on the Southwest border.
In addition to questioning senior national security officials about the rise in white nationalism violence, they also plan to ask them whether they think President Donald Trump is instigating violent acts with his rhetoric, reports Greg Sargent in the Washington Post.
WATCH: Off-duty cop pulls gun on man for sitting in his parked car while black
A Tuscumbia, Alabama police officer is on leave after a video went viral that shows him pulling a gun on a black man who was sitting in his car, WAFF48 reports.
The video, which was posted to Facebook by Ryan Williams, shows a man claiming to be an off duty Tuscumbia police officer approach Williams who is sitting in a parked car, and ask him for his identification. The man claims he saw Williams driving recklessly, but according to Williams, who is the one filming the video, he was sitting in the motionless car the whole time.