US President Donald Trump repeatedly complains about the ongoing probe against him and his close associates and has told his confidants in private that he needs better “TV lawyers” to defend him against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia.
According to a revealing report in WP, “the president vents to associates about the FBI raids on his personal attorney Michael Cohen — as often as “20 times a day,” in the estimation of one confidant — and they frequently listen in silence, knowing little they say will soothe him.
The FBI raided Cohen’s office last month, seizing emails, tax documents and records related to his $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels. At the time Trump reacted to the FBI raids and called it a “disgraceful situation,” and once again said the entire special counsel investigation of Mueller is a witch-hunt that deflects attention from more important issues.
The report says Trump gripes that he needs better “TV lawyers” to defend him on cable news and is impatient to halt the “witch hunt” that he says undermines his legitimacy as president.
The report, based on 22 unnamed sources from the White House, Justice Department and “Trump confidants and attorneys connected to the probe,” describes the president as scrambling “for survival” amid the probe while plotting his next moves with former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani.
“We’re on the same wavelength,” Giuliani recently said. “We’ve gone from defense to offense.”
Mueller probe taking its toll on Trump?
Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and connections to Trump’s campaign and associates has resulted in a guilty plea from former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is cooperating, and an indictment of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is scheduled to go on trial in Virginia in July and in Washington in September on conspiracy, bank fraud and tax fraud charges.
The special counsel also is examining whether Trump obstructed justice in a variety of areas, from his request of then-FBI director James Comey to drop the Flynn investigation to his firing of Comey to his role dictating a misleading statement on behalf of Trump Jr. about his 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer.
The Post describes the probe as a “steaming locomotive, already delivering indictments or guilty pleas involving 19 people and three companies, while soliciting interviews with most of the president’s closest aides and outside associates.”
“This has moved at a lightning speed,” said Christopher Ruddy, a Trump friend and chief executive of Newsmax.
“They’re not messing around. They’re going very quickly. The number of indictments, pleas and other moves is just amazing. I think it will come to a head quicker than other investigations.”