President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.
Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election…
Small style guide correction: that is called a “lie.” He asked them to “lie.”
Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
Mike ‘Payola’ Allen writing at Axios’ morning email thingie:
The West Wing appears to be absorbing key lessons from its predecessors, although even Trump allies tell me he’s just beginning to take steps to wall off the controversy that should be begun on Day 1:
- Trump aides recognize the Russia defense will be essentially permanent, and are finally planning structures to reflect that.
- A key takeaway from past administrations is to designate one office or official to handle all the legal and communications issues, so there’s a consistent response and everyone else isn’t constantly sucked in.
…which will make it even easier for The Russian Usurper to undermine this official.
- In “Trump looking at outside counsel for Russia probe,” the WashPost’s Bob Costa and Ashley Parker report: “[A]ttorneys who have spoken to the White House and who are seen as the finalists are Marc E. Kasowitz; Robert J. Giuffra Jr.; Reid H. Weingarten; and Theodore B. Olson.”
…and I’d be surprised if any of them would take on a client as undisciplined as The Russian Usurper.
- “Two other attorneys who were originally viewed as contenders but have since drifted away from the mix … are Brendan V. Sullivan Jr. … and A.B. Culvahouse Jr.”
…I rest my case.
- “Kasowitz, who has known Trump for decades, is expected to take a leading role.”
- Separately, Trump “personally reached out to two of his former campaign aides — his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and his deputy campaign manager, David Bossie — to sound them out about working with the administration as crisis managers,” per Politico’s Eliana Johnson and Josh Dawsey.
If they cannot stop the leaks, they can punch the reporters who print the leaks?
What could go wrong? One Trump ally said the list of legal eagles is encouraging: “These guys know how to fight a war.”
- Be smart: Both Republican and Democratic lawyers tell me the legal “Team of Rivals” could replicate some of the West Wing’s dysfunction, forcing lawyers who are used to being in charge to compete for Trump’s ear.
It won’t work. The Russian Usurper will eff-up.