Frantic White House advisers try to downplay Trump’s irresponsible threat to stop Mueller from talking
According to a report at Politico, Donald Trump’s tweeted threat to stop special counsel Robert Mueller from testifying before Congress caught some of his closest advisers by surprise and they quickly reached out to the press to dismiss and pretend it never happened.
On Sunday, Trump demanded Mueller not agree to discuss the 400-page report he submitted to Attorney General Bill Barr, setting off a firestorm of criticism that he is once again obstructing Congressional oversight.
Politico reports, “more than a dozen people from Trump’s close orbit downplayed in interviews the prospect that the president’s weekend tweet about Mueller should be taken as an official warning.”
The report notes that those close to Trump say he won’t invoke executive privilege “before the one House committee with the power to begin impeachment proceedings against the president.”
On Monday, a former White House counsel said that Trump has already likely been advised that he doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on — but that didn’t stop him from complaining on Twitter — which has his defenders scrambling.
“He is not signaling anything other than, as an innocent man so found by Mr. Mueller, he just wants this over. He’d like to govern. That’s all he’s saying,” explained outside Trump legal adviser Joe diGenova.
“Where did he say he would block [Mueller] from testifying? I know that’s what the media said — but where did he say it?” an unidentified Trump official added — ignoring the fact that Trump tweeted: “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!”
Trump legal adviser Rudy Giuliani also reached out to reporters saying, “I think I’d have to hear the words ‘We’re invoking executive privilege’ to know they’ve come to that conclusion.”
According to Ted Kalo, former Democratic general counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller’s testimony could be an explosive gamechanger for Trump.
“This certainly seems like the biggest hearing for Congress since Watergate,” Kalo explained. “His ability to explain his conclusions and defend his report is the whole ballgame right now.”
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