MSNBC's Joe Scarborough hammered House Speaker Paul Ryan for allowing his fellow Republicans shred constitutional norms.
The "Morning Joe" host called out Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) for helping President Donald Trump interfere with the Justice Department investigation into his campaign ties to Russia, and he faulted Ryan for letting them do it.
"Paul Ryan is the speaker of the House, while constitutional norms are being ripped to shreds," Scarborough said. "Are we to believe that Paul Ryan and his staff member does not know what is going on here? That this is what (Turkish president Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan did in 2014, not what Americans have done since James Madison and (Alexander) Hamilton sketched together the United States Constitution? Is he really that out in the dark? Are his advisers really that out in the dark?"
"At what point does Paul Ryan stop worrying about the Republican Party and start worrying about the republic?" he added. "We're at that point now."
MSNBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt said Republicans privately express shock and horror at Trump's actions, but they won't say it on the record.
"People sound so different when the cameras aren't on, behind the scenes," Hunt said. "Everybody, I feel like most people that I talk to in both parties, obviously the degree of outrage and concern varies, and there are certainly some Republicans who will say, 'All right, everybody just needs to take the temperature down.'"
"But for the most part people are, in fact, you know -- they have their jaws on the floor," she added. "They use swear words that we can't use on TV when they talk about this presidency, but they won't say it in public."
Scarborough challenged Ryan to take a patriotic stand before he leaves Congress later this year.
"Not to cover old ground, but, god, it was Barry Goldwater, firebrand conservative, really the founder of a modern conservative movement, that drove to the White House and told Nixon, 'It's over,'" Scarborough said.
"We're not even asking Paul Ryan to do that," he continued. "We're just asking Paul Ryan to pick up the phone and go, 'Hey, Devin, listen, you're my buddy, you've been loyal to me, I understand, but you've stepped over the line here. Mark Meadows, you've stepped over the line. You want to take me on, you want to divide our party before I leave? We can do that, but you're going to lose. You'll have the votes in the short run, but you're going to destroy the Republican Party.'"