‘Things are about to get pretty ugly’: Morning Joe warns Hope Hicks departure shows Mueller probe heating up
Joe Scarborough (MSNBC)

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" struggled to stuff a week's worth of major stories Thursday into the opening two minutes like a traveler trying to cram a week's worth of clothes into an overnight bag.

The show's producers and commentators hardly knew where to begin following Paul Manafort's arraignment, President Donald Trump's renewed attack on attorney general Jeff Sessions, who then struck back, and reports that the special counsel is probing Trump's knowledge of DNC hacks and his efforts to fire the attorney general.

Then came the president's surprising embrace of extreme gun control measures, the abrupt departure of White House communications director Hope Hicks and reports that Jared Kushner's companies got a major loan from a billionaire after visits to the White House.

"The news gods must be crazy," host Joe Scarborough said. "Yes, my friends, that was all yesterday."

Scarborough said he barely knew which story to comment on first, but he decided to focus first on the bipartisan gun safety meeting, where Trump said he would be willing to take guns away from perceived threats before going through due process.

"It was an extraordinary news day, and then in the middle of it, you saw an (Associated Press) poll that came out that said 57 percent of Americans think the president of the United States is a racist," he said.

Co-host Willie Geist said the "firehose of news" analogy barely sufficed, saying that any one of those stories would have lasted all year in previous administrations, and MSNBC contributor Eugene Robinson tried to find a theme in the wreckage.

"If you want to boil it down, chaos and corruption, I think would be the, you know, the overarching theme of (Wednesday), and let's not forget open warfare between the president and his own Justice Department," said Robinson, a Washington Post columnist. "They had that dinner last night with Jeff Sessions and the solicitor general and (deputy attorney general) Rod Rosenstein photographed to send a message back to the president that we're united and you know, you have to deal with us on that basis -- just extraordinary."

Scarborough said that new reporting on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation had recently picked up pace, and he warned viewers to buckle up.

"Bob Mueller is not nibbling around the edges anymore, he's going straight in and he's asking the questions, did Donald Trump know about the Russian hacking of the DNC?" Scarborough said. "Did he plan things out? Things are about to get pretty ugly inside the White House and the question is for somebody like Hope Hicks, why did you stay that long? I mean, there's not much good news for a lot of people, and Hope Hicks also, of course, involved in that Air Force One meeting, the drafting of the memo. She was just sort of a courier, but at the same time, I mean, she's got to get ready for Mueller. She's got to get ready for a trial. I mean, things could get ugly."