President Trump spent much of the past week “brooding” because he was “anxious about the Russian investigation’s widening fallout with his former campaign chairman standing trial,” according to the Washington Post.
He “has fretted that he is failing to accrue enough political credit for what he claims as triumphs” and “at rare moments of introspection for the famously self-centered president,” he has “expressed to confidants lingering unease about how some in his orbit – including his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. – are ensnared in the Russia probe, in his assessment simply because of their connection to him.”
In a piece Sunday headlined “Trump at a precarious moment in his presidency: Privately brooding and publicly roaring,” by Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker, the writers cited interviews “with 14 administration officials, presidential friends and outside advisers to the White House, many of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity to share candid assessments.”
“The new, uneasy reality for Trump at an especially precarious moment in his presidency” is that he is increasingly worried about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation closing in on him and his aides and is somehow offsetting the worry with other strange behavior.
He broods privately, but “in public, Trump is a man roaring. The president, more than ever, is channeling his internal frustration and fear into a ravenous maw of grievance and invective. He is churning out false statements with greater frequency and attacking his perceived enemies with intensifying fury” – witness his “fresh broadside … on Twitter at 11:37 p.m. Friday, mocking basketball superstar LeBron James and calling CNN’s Don Lemon ‘the dumbest man on television.’”
The “frequency of the president’s mistruths has picked up as well,” the Post wrote, noting Trump has now made 4,229 false or misleading claims so far in his presidency, an average of nearly 7.6 such claims per day and an increase of 978 in just two months.
Last Thursday, the president “turned a Pennsylvania rally to support Republican Senate candidate Lou Barletta into a Trumpian grieve-fest, returning repeatedly to his favorite foil – the “fake, fake, disgusting news,” as he bellowed – to portray himself as a victim of chronically unfair coverage from ‘horrible, horrendous people.’”
His “indignation with the Mueller investigation has long been evident, but it is boiling over with growing ferocity,” the Post wrote. It bases this claim on the Trump reportedly having tweeted the phrase “witch hunt” 46 times in June and July as opposed to just 29 times during April and May.
“Trump’s lawyers,” the Post reports, “say it is the president himself who is calling the shots in what is becoming an all-out public relations blitz to discredit Mueller.”
This is because, according to the Post, Rudolph Giuliani, his lawyer and the former mayor of New York, “has convinced him Mueller has nothing incriminating about him.”
The president also “has seethed privately about the trial of Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman. “The president privately fumed to one friend after another – on Air Force One, in the Oval Office and over the phone – that Manafort ‘has absolutely nothing to do with me,’ according to people close to him.”
This is true. The acts with which Manafort has been charged occurred in 2006 and 2007, nearly a decade before the brief period he spent working for Trump.
Trump calls the investigation that attempts to link him to wrongdoing involving the Russians before the 2016 election as the “Russia hoax,” and he again last week announced his team is working to ensure there is no actual compromising of American vote totals by measures that attempt to harden election systems.