MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski said Vice President Mike Pence had to "dirty himself" last week and call for an end to the Russia probe to win back trust from President Donald Trump amid White House intrigue.
New reporting shows Pence has been quietly amassing power in the Trump administration and Republican Party, and panelists on "Morning Joe" say the vice president is playing a dangerous game.
"He's been very deft behind the scenes," said MSNBC's Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt. "Every time there's a negative story about this president that relates to the Mueller probe, there's an anonymous Pence aide who is there and very available to tell you that, 'You know what? Mr. Pence was not aware of that, Mr. Pence was not in the administration when that happened, this happened well before his time, Mr. Pence was lied to about Michael Flynn.'"
"I think it says a lot about the way he is positioning himself," she added, "and quite frankly he is in dangerous territory if this becomes a snowball of reporting."
Host Joe Scarborough has suggested that Trump may not run for re-election, and he has said United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley would make a formidable candidate whether the president runs or not.
"I have heard from Trump people over the past several months that there is some doubt, they have doubts, nothing we've heard from Donald Trump, but they have doubts that Donald Trump will run in 2020," Scarborough said. "So if there are people close to Trump that believe he may not run in 2020, then Pence has got to get ready and Nikki Haley is -- she's building her own power base everyday at the United Nations."
Co-host Willie Geist said he's heard the same thing about 2020, but he doesn't doubt Trump will seek re-election.
"I still believe when push comes to shove Donald Trump wants to be a two-term president for the history books," Geist said. "He's concerned with what his historic portrait looks like. But remember it was about five days ago when Mike Pence told Andrea Mitchell that the Mueller investigation should be shut down, so he speaks when he needs to on behalf of the president, but I think if Trump is actually worried, if the reporting is true about Mike Pence, that reveals an insecurity deeper than we even knew."
Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski quickly agreed.
"Oh, he's an insecure man," Scarborough said, as Brzezinski agreed. "Definitely."
Brzezinski said Pence's comments to Mitchell were a direct response to the reports of GOP intrigue.
"You know what happened the other day," she said. "Pence had to dirty himself because Trump was getting so mad. We know Trump, and Pence had to cross the line (and) soil himself."