He wants war. He wants it to be his way, or no way.
That’s the word that’s emerging from Trump’s legal camp, regarding the departure of lead attorney, John Dowd, as well as Trump’s strategy moving forward.
Among other ideas that are reportedly being floated, the president is considering creating an alternate “West Wing” that will be without a chief of staff, and surrounding himself with a gaggle of brownnosers, willing to let him be every inch the reprobate embarrassment that John Kelly has desperately sought to disguise from the world.
There will be four “co-equal principals,” reporting to nobody but Trump.
No, he’s not about to fire John Kelly, for now, but he’s apparently signaling that John Kelly’s position will be for appearances, only.
“He was f**king excited and jubilant,” said one Trump friend who spoke to him in recent days. “He was like, everything’s great and these f**kers in the media are beside themselves.”
He’s charging ahead, just as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is turning more specifically to Trump, himself.
Recently, Mueller crossed one of Trump’s so-called “red lines,” by issuing subpoenas regarding the Trump Organization’s business practices. He’s also requested a face-to-face with the president.
In the days since Mueller issued the subpoena, Trump has been on the attack. Last Saturday, Trump encouraged Dowd to call for an end to the Russia probe, a source told me. On Sunday, Trump blasted Mueller as partisan, tweeting: “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” And on Monday, he retained combative lawyer Joseph diGenova, who once declared on Fox News that the Justice Department was framing Trump with a “false crime.”
And today, Dowd could no longer resist the pressure and resigned as Trump’s top attorney.
Ty Cobb has been the lawyer overseeing the president’s response to Mueller, and he has urged him to play it cool. After doing it his way for months, however, insiders say Trump is tired of Cobb’s “go along to get along” strategy.
In private, Trump friends and outside advisers have been stoking his desire to go on the offensive for months. Trump has heard that his lawyers are “idiots”; that Mueller’s probe is a “coup d’etat”; and that Trump’s only crime is having “won the election.”
He’s hearing a lot of that from his lackeys over at Fox News.
And following that line of thinking, he’s looking for tough lawyers that will let him tweet and insult himself out of trouble.
In recent days, he has made overtures to Emmet Flood, a veteran of Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense team, as well as Ted Olson, George W. Bush’s solicitor general. (Olson declined.) Their reticence highlights a larger problem for Trump: no heavy-hitting white-shoe law firm seems to want to represent him. According to two former administration officials, before hiring Cobb last summer, Trump was turned down by major white-shoe law firms that would have normally jumped at the opportunity to represent a president.
That, and they likely want to get paid.
His latest addition, diGenova, was recommended by David Bossie and Fox News harridan, Judge Jeanine Pirro.
He’s also considering adding Victoria Toensing, wife of diGenova and a frequent Fox News guest.
“She’s a killer,” one Republican who knows the couple said. Toensing is currently representing William Campbell, a former lobbyist and F.B.I. informant, who claimed in an interview with members of three congressional committees that Russia steered money to the Clinton Foundation to grease the so-called Uranium One deal. The hiring of Toensing would be a sign that Trump wants to flip the script and investigate his investigators. Appearing on Fox News, Toensing has called for a second special prosecutor to investigate Mueller, the logic being that he was F.B.I. director at the time that the Uranium One acquisition was approved.
Oh, yeah. Perfect. That sounds like a sound strategy.
Sources say Trump is also looking to possibly bring back Marc Kasowitz.
Kasowitz was bounced last July, after telling some random person in email, “Watch your back, b*tch.”
Building up this team and surrounding himself with people who tell him being combative and profane is a winning strategy in Washington has emboldened Trump to say he wants to sit down with Robert Mueller.
That was one area where he and John Dowd clashed. Dowd, knowing his client, advised against sitting down with Robert Mueller.
Speaking with reporters at the White House today, however, Trump told them that he’d like to sit with Mueller, in person.
He’s not going to bully Robert Mueller. I dare say, his attorneys aren’t going to bully Mueller.
But this is the new direction of Trump. All the rest of us can do is sit back and watch the show.