Deep paranoia has set in at the White House, where President Trump and his aides have hunkered down to prepare a strategy to respond to indictments they are certain will come within days, if not hours.
The president is bitter and angry and difficult to deal with, and he’s been lashing out at people inside and outside the White House for days.
Roger Stone, political operative and friend of the president, is in the crosshairs of Mueller’s team, as is author Jerome Corsi and perhaps Donald Trump Jr., who has told friends he expects to be indicted soon. This is so far along and so certain of happening the administration already is working on responses for surrogates.
These conclusions all come from a Politico story headlined, “‘Preparing for the worst’: Mueller anxiety pervades Trump world” – subhead: “Half a dozen people in contact with the White House and other Trump officials say a deep anxiety has started to set in.”
The insights into the president’s mood, his level of certainty indictments are on the way and his angry mood are supported by no on-the-record interviews. The entire story is based on anonymous sources with, even by author Darren Samuelsohn’s admission, have varying degrees of ability to discern what if anything is going on.
“Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. insist they aren’t worried about special counsel Robert Mueller,” Samuelsohn’s story begins. “But half a dozen people in contact with the White House and other Trump officials say a deep anxiety has started to set in that Mueller is about to pounce after his self-imposed quiet period, and that any number of Trump’s allies and family members may soon be staring down the barrel of an indictment.”
Samuelsohn pointed to a Trump tweet – “an oddly detailed condemnation of the special counsel and his team” – in which Trump wrote of the Mueller team: “They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with answers they want,” Trump wrote, and investigators “don’t … care how many lives they ruin.”
This is a “presidential taunt,” Samuelsohn said, but it is no such thing. He also pointed to Trump snapping at a reporter that a query about shutting down the problem “was a stupid question,” although Trump has maintained the probe is a hoax since its inception.
“’You can see it in Trump’s body language all week long,’” a “senior Republican in touch with the White House” is quoted as saying. “’There’s something troubling him. It’s not just a couple staff screw-ups with Melania. It led me to believe the walls are closing in and they’ve been notified by counsel of some actions about to happen. Folks are preparing for the worst.’”
Anonymous reports the president is freaking out are based on … “a spate of anonymously sourced media reports “suggesting Mueller’s self-imposed quiet period that started about two months before 2018 Election Day is about to transition into a Category 5 hurricane.”
Further evidence that something is about to happen comes from motions filed by Mueller in recent days to postpone sentencing of Paul Manafort and his aide Rick Gates because they are still testifying to Mueller about other matters in the investigation.
Samuelsohn then wrote “In and around Trump world, the pressure is tangible. He said political operative Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi expect to be indicted soon – Stone hasn’t said he anticipates an indictment since May.
As for Trump Jr., not only does his lawyer deny he ever said he expects to be indicted, but Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for the president, said he can’t imagine what Trump Jr. would be indicted for.
But “others in contact with the White House say they are picking up a very different sentiment – paranoia that Mueller is far from finished and that there may indeed be more indictments either about to be filed or that have already been entered in federal court under seal.”
He then quotes John Schindler, a columnist for the Observer, who wrote last week Mueller has “dozens of sealed indictments.” How does Schindler know? “He cited an unnamed intelligence community official who has worked with Mueller.”