President Trump needs to lawyer up because if Democrats win either house in the upcoming midterm elections, he will find himself investigated like never before, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The president’s “advisers and allies are increasingly worried that he has neither the staff nor the strategy to protect himself from a possible Democratic takeover of the House, which would empower the opposition party to shower the administration with subpoenas or even pursue impeachment charges,” the Post’s Philip Rucker, Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker wrote.
There have been “broad discussions” about bringing on new layers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals. “
“Within Trump’s orbit, there is a consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands.”
It’s worse now since White House counsel Donald McGahn told Trump he will depart once the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh. Three of his top deputies have already departed. Another leaves Friday, the Post reported.
Like many stories in the Post involving confusion at the White House, this one is based solely on anonymous sources – “26 White House officials, presidential advisers, and lawyers and strategists close to the administration; most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.”
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he and Trump have discussed the “possibility that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will issue a damning report to Congress.” The two have also discussed impeachment “at different times. It’s the only thing that hangs out there. They can’t [criminally] charge him.”
Trump cannot understand the investigative furor he will face, according to the Post. He gets upset when staffers even mention what he calls “the I word” – impeachment.
“I don’t know if he’s really thought about it in depth yet,” Giuliani said.
But “winter is coming,” another anonymous source said. “Assuming Democrats win the House, which we all believe is a very strong likelihood, the White House will be under siege. But it’s like tumbleweeds rolling down the halls over there.
“Nobody’s prepared for war.”
But it would be war, the Post reports. The oversight committees “likely would use their subpoena power as a weapon to assail the administration, investigating with a vengeance.”
The article does not note how this would be different from what is happening now.
The Post labeled this “a lack of preparation.” The article cited unnamed White House officials as saying he is “focused squarely on helping Republicans preserve their majorities in the Nov. 6 midterm elections rather than, in the words of one senior official, ‘panicking about something that could happen.’”
Part of the problem is that Trump has lawyer envy, according to the Post.
Trump envies his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for having Abbe Lowell as his lawyer. He envies Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon because they have William Burck representing them.
“He wonders why he doesn’t have lawyers like that,” an unnamed source told the Post.
The problem is that Trump “sees the administration has having a singular focus – him – and therefore is less concerned with the institution of the presidency and not aware of the vast infrastructure often required to protect it.”
Bill Clinton had 40 lawyers – and sometimes as many as 60 – working to defend the president from various investigations, according to Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel under Clinton.
The story is an example of fake news. There is no crisis at this time that suggests Trump should hire dozens more lawyers. This is an example, based almost solely on anonymous sources, of the Post trying to paint the president as impulsive and imprudent.
Besides, momentum in the congressional races seems to be moving toward Republicans. Larry Sabato’s first-pass guess had Republicans winning 201 seats, Democrats 198 with 35 still in the toss-up category.