Here's why Trump's 'everyone in DC is a criminal' response to Russia allegations should worry Republicans
President Donald Trump (AFP / Mandel NGAN)

President Donald Trump's political strategy to respond to the continuing Russia probe suggests he's more deeply involved than his defenders claim, according to one legal expert.


MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber appeared Monday on "Morning Joe," just ahead of the unsealing of indictments in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, and examined the president's pushback.

"We're not seeing a legal-political strategy to cordon off a few bad actors that may have gotten caught up in the campaign," Melber said. "This person has a history and maybe this other thing happened -- that's what you would expect in a pure innocent strategy."

Melber said the president's response should worry his allies.

"The type of strategy we're seeing is much more (that) everybody does it, maybe everyone in Washington is a criminal and let's talk about that," Melber said. "And I think that's an ominous sign for allies of the president who are hoping to lean into a legal strategy that involved cordoning off maybe Cambridge (Analytica), maybe (Paul) Manafort and a few individuals to extend the metaphor, throw the bath water out, but keep the presidential baby."

Host Joe Scarborough joked about his choice of metaphor, given the president's antics, but said it may be impossible to limit the scope of the probe.

"The problem is you can't limit it, because there were so many contacts with Russia," Scarborough said. "There were so many sort of bizarre connections. You have national security adviser going over sitting next to Vladimir Putin. You had a guy that ran your campaign that was running pro-Russian (political campaigns).

Co-host Mika Brzezinski reminded viewers that Trump "will not criticize Russia, in no, way, shape, or form."

"(You have) a president who has been trying to get into Russia and build the largest tower in Russia for some time now," Scarborough continued. "His two sons saying at different times going all the way back to maybe 2009 that most of the money the Trump Organization gets they get from Russians. You can't cordon this off. It didn't just start during the campaign -- this goes way back."