A growing number of Republicans fear that a series of new revelations in the extensive investigation in Russia has dramatically increased the legal and political threat to Donald Trump's presidency – and threatens to consume the rest of the party as well.
President Trump added to the turmoil on Saturday by announcing the abrupt resignation of his chief of staff John F. Kelly, who he lacks the political discernment and finesse to steer the White House through the insidious months.
Trump remains stubborn in his belief that he can outsmart opponents and survive any threat, according to the advisers. In the Russia investigation, he continues to yell the denial and announces doubtfully that the recent allegations of his former employees are "completely clear".
But among the Republican allies complaining that Trump and the White House are not afraid A real plan to deal with the Russia crisis while facing a number of other domestic and foreign difficulties.
Given the start of his third year in office and his election campaign, Trump enters a political hailstorm. Democrats are preparing to take control of the house in January to investigate corruption. The global markets are stumbling from its trade war. The United States is isolated from its traditional partners. Investigations of Special Envoy Robert S. Mueller III on Russia's interference are intensifying. And on Friday, court files were filed in a separate federal process.
The White House adopts a policy called "armpits" by the officials for the results of Mueller and calculates that most voters of the GOP base will believe what the president says they believe
But some allies are annoyed that the president's coalition could break under growing pressure. Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump strategist who helped him master the most difficult phase of his 2016 campaign, predicted that 2019 would be a year of "siege warfare" and the inner circle of the president as naively optimistic and straightforward leaves.
Democrats will handle the Muller report with gun violence, and the president needs a team that can go to the mattresses, "Bannon said. "The president can not trust the GOP to be there when it matters. , , They do not feel obliged to stand by Trump.
This portrait of Trump's White House at a precarious time is based on interviews with 14 administrators, confidant presidents, and allies, some of whom were under the condition of anonymity to openly discuss private exchanges.
Instead of building a war room to deal with criss-crossing crises, as governments have done in the past, the Trump White House is understaffed, in a bunker mentality, and is largely preoccupied with a wing's plan. Political and communication officials usually orient themselves to the president and let him drive the message with his spontaneous broadsides.
"A war zone? You are serious? Said a former White House official when he was asked for internal arrangements. "They've never had one, never will have one. They do not know how to do it.
However, Trump's decision to change his chief of staff seems to be a recognition that he needs a strong political team for the remainder of his first term. The top candidate for this job is Nick Ayers, Vice President Pence Chief of Staff, and an experienced Campaign Supervisor known for his political acumen and deep network in the party.
During the 18-month Special Prosecution Trump has single-parented his own fraudulent reality, attempting to sully the reputation of Mueller's operation and state prosecution in order to discredit their preventive implications.
The President has told friends that he thinks the special lawyer is bumping into it and has found nothing useful. "It's all games and trying to connect points that are not really meaningful," a friend described Trump's view of Mueller's progress. "Trump is angry, but he's not really worried."
But recent court filings by Müller provide new evidence of Russia's efforts to form a political alliance with Trump before becoming president, and describe how his former advisors work with prosecutors.
Several GOP Senators were particularly shocked by last week's discovery that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had joined forces with Muller's team 19 times – a disturbing signal for them that the investigation could be more serious than anticipated. According to senior representatives of the Republicans.
Even in the friendliest conditions, there are new signs of trouble. Tucker Carlson, moderator of the Fox News Channel, a reliable primetime booster from the president, accused Trump last week in an interview for failing to keep his campaign promises, understanding the legislative process, and effectively regulating it.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are still inclined to assist Trump and cast doubt on the president. However, a pro-Trump senator said privately that a break point would be if Müller documented a plot with the Russians.
"Then they lost me," the senator said, noting that several Republican lawmakers were willing to publicly break with Trump if they believed that it was in their interests – how many about the role of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the brutal murder and fragmentation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), An outspoken Trump critic and frequent subject of his anger, said: "The president's situation is fraught with danger, and this is obvious to anyone who attracts all attention. These are all my republican colleagues.
Another break point could come when Trump pardons his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has aroused the president's sympathy when he was sent to solitary confinement in a Virginia jail after his agreement with Mueller's White team collapsed, both home counselor and Republican Lawmakers said. Trump consultants said that they understand that a pardon from Manafort could be difficult to defend and that Republicans might be called to reprimand.
The Special Council on Friday accused Manafort of saying "multiple recognizable lies" in interviews with prosecutors. Manafort was convicted of tax offenses and bank charges and pleaded guilty to further charges, including the conspiracy to cheat the United States by concealing years of income and not lobbying for a pro-Russian party and a politician in Ukraine. 19659026] Meanwhile, Trump's legal team is not only preparing new developments for Müller, but also an attack on Congressional requests. The new white house attorney, Pat Cipollone, and his colleague Emmet T. Flood are the leaders, though both have tried to step out of the limelight.
Cipollone has reviewed the CVs of republican congressmen experienced in conducting investigations Officials tried to recruit them to the White House. In the meantime, Flood, who had advised former President Bill Clinton during his removal, has been preparing to exercise executive rights once the Democrats of the House have gained the majority.
However, recruitment remains difficult as potential employees are worried that they might hire a personal lawyer to join and express insecurity about the ongoing unrest in the White House hierarchy. as evidenced by Kelly's announced departure on Saturday.
Bannon said he and others urged White House contacts to convince David N. Bossie, Trump's former deputy campaign manager, and a former congressional investigator known for his tough tactics.
Trump's chief field lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said that he and his team were busy writing a defiant "counter-report" to Müller, the chairman, who this week had 87 pages. Giuliani described the effort as a collaboration in which he, Jay Sekulow, Jane Raskin and other lawyers formulate various departments and then exchange them in the group, debating how to frame different passages about the president's behavior and Russia's interference should.
They write a lot and choose what to include. We try to think through all possibilities, "said Giuliani. "I am sure we will publicly take the lead in defending [Trump] when it needs defense, as we always do."
Some of Trump's allies have encouraged him to strengthen his legal team. One confidant recalled that he had told the president, "You must have an army of lawyers who know what the hell they are doing."
So far, Trump's PR strategy was mainly to attack Muller and not to tackle the facts of his investigation. But Lanny Davis, a former Clinton lawyer, said the approach has limits.
"No matter what your client says, if you are not prepared with substantive messages to refute the charges, you will fail," Davis advises Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who may be arrested for his crimes, including lying congress because of its Russia contacts. "Even if you think the Trump strategy of attacking the messenger will continue to work, it will not work once the Mueller report is ready."
Former Parliament Speaker Newt Gingrich said Clinton's experience in 1998 when the embattled president questioned the special squad The prosecutor, who was warned of the GOP's abuses, is instructive to Trump and the Republicans and shows them how to be in chaos both combative and self-assured.
"You can not have so many smart lawyers, with the full power of the government, and not something bad came out," Gingrich said of the special adviser's team. "Müller has to find something like Trump jaywalked 11 times. The media goes crazy for three days and yells, "Oh my god! Oh my God! "
But Gingrich said," This is not a moment of crisis for Trump or the party. Remember, we thought we had Clinton on the ropes, but Clinton continued to smile and his popularity increased. "
The White House awaits its hardened followers on Capitol Hill as a political flank, especially the Republicans of the house such as Mark Meadows (NC), Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Devin Nunes (California ), the frequent guests are on Fox News Channel. In January, Jordan and Nunes will be the leading republicans of the House Oversight Committee and the House Select Committee of Intelligence, positioning them as public faces of the Trump Defense and as antagonists of the Justice Department's leadership.
Republicans near Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said there was an implicit agreement that Jordan and Meadows and others were in orbit at the time The Republicans, who want to sit in their seats, will try to avoid getting caught up in the stalemate over the probe, as has been the case for over a year.
"For most home republicans, the feeling is," We're ready for that to end. We're not nervous, but we have Mueller's fatigue, "Meadows said.
But the Democrats are determined not to prematurely end the investigation, Deputy Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), A member of both the News Committee and the House's Justice Committee sits down, saying, "Our job is to protect the presidential investigation – whether it's to fire millers, intimidate witnesses or hamper investigations."
Trump critics like the retired Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz) – which has sponsored legislators who protect Mueller but have been largely ignored by his colleagues – warned that the eardrums of Trump's loyalists along with the president's relentless struggles with Mueller put Republicans at risk Lulled the place.
"It's as if the party is a frog, slowly cooking in the water, conditioned to not worry And not too much thinking about what is happening around them, "Flake said. "You are not sure what to do because it is without a doubt the party of the president. There is a lot of whistling in the cemetery these days. "
Giuliani dismissed Flake's criticism in the same way he and President Müller had taken over – with a spiky character attack rather than a deliberate refutation.
"He is a bitter, bitter man," Giuliani said of Flake. "It's sick, nobody likes it and they want it to be gone."