This afternoon, a story in Reuters caught my eye. The title read, “In shakeup, Trump to set up ‘war room’ to repel attacks over Russia probe”. Here are a few highlights from the story:
“Once U.S. President Donald Trump returns from his overseas trip, the White House plans to launch its most aggressive effort yet to push back against allegations involving Russia and his presidential campaign, tackling head-on a scandal that has threatened to consume his young presidency.
Trump’s advisers are planning to establish a “war room” to combat mounting questions about communication between Russia and his presidential campaign before and after November’s presidential election …
Upon Trump’s return, the administration will add experienced political professionals, including Trump’s former campaign manager, and possibly more lawyers to handle the Russia probe, which has gained new urgency since the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to head the investigation.
A White House official confirmed plans to hold more rallies.
Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, will be involved in the new strategic messaging operation, as will Steve Bannon, another top adviser who specializes in managing Trump’s populist appeal and shaping his political image. Bannon and Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, have been laying the groundwork for the plan this week.
Kushner, who held several meetings with Russian officials following the election, is a focus of the probe.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, is also expected to be part of the effort.
“The goal of the White House is to try and contain the crisis and media coverage of the special counsel.”
Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a Trump friend, said he expects the president will travel more when he returns from overseas and encouraged the White House to focus on issues that pump up his base voters.
“From my perspective, I think the president should be doing the stuff that he does best, which is talking about his agenda: jobs, trade and security,” Ruddy said. Trump has scheduled a political rally for next week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The White House said other similar events are in the planning stages.
I don’t wish to spend 1,000 words on this, as it is uncertain quite exactly what is meant by “set up ‘war room’ to repel attacks over Russia probe”. But a few points may be worth thinking about.
A ‘war room’ was probably a poor choice of words, and ‘to repel attacks over Russia probe’ an even worse choice. Trump & Co need to keep their noses clean here, as their actions and speech to date have given them the appearance of having something to hide. When Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, then admitted that he did so because of the investigation into Trump, his advisors and their ties to Russia, he blundered. At that point, he began to look guilty as heck. If he wants anybody to believe he is innocent, he needs to back off, take the criticisms with grace, and speak to the FBI and the special prosecutor only when spoken to.
Jared Kushner has now been implicated in the tangled Russian-US web and has, like Trump, no business interfering in any capacity. He, too, is giving off smoke signals that look an awful lot like guilt.
I get nervous when I hear that part of their goal is to “contain the crisis and media coverage of the special counsel.” To contain the media coverage would be to stifle or tie the press’ hands, and this is not acceptable under any foreseeable circumstances.
Trump’s plan to travel more, hold more political, campaign-style rallies is absurd, despite what Mr. Ruddy may think. Ruddy says the job of the president is to “pump up the voters”, but it is not an election year and Trump needs to focus on doing the job, rather than campaigning for an election that he will never see! The job of the president is NOT to go about the country drumming up fans, inciting the masses, and bragging about his efforts, most of which are disastrous. The job of the president is to govern the nation. Trump is a showman, not a leader. He needs to realize very quickly that holding rallies are not in his job description. Personally, if he has that much time on his hands, I would prefer he spend it reading and studying the U.S. Constitution and learning about both our allies and our adversaries, as he seems to have the two confused. And, since I am one of his employers, my opinion should count for something!
And as for Corey Lewandowski … where to start? Trump fired him as his campaign manager in June 2016 and replaced him with bloomin’ idiot Kellyanne Conway. Lewandowski went to work for CNN immediately after leaving Trump’s team. In November, 3 days after the election, Lewandowski resigned his position as a CNN commentator and the following month started a political consulting firm, Avenue Strategies. “I will always be Presidnt-elect Trump’s biggest supporter,” Lewandowski said. Pass the ginger ale, please … or the wine. Then earlier this month, Lewandowski also quit the firm he had founded, leaving it for his partner, Barry Bennett, another former trumpidian, to run on his own.
Lewandowski himself may actually come under the cloud of suspicion in the Russian ties investigation, if he isn’t already, as he approved foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s now-infamous trip to Moscow last summer. The trip is now a focus of congressional and FBI investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Lewandowski told POLITICO he did not recall the email exchange with Page, but he did not deny that it occurred. The plot thickens and the web becomes ever more tangled.
As I said, I do not want to spend too much time dwelling on this ‘war room’ story until we see what comes of it and what the true intent is. However these were just a few things that raised red flags and I think bear watching. But then, anything involving Trump and his minions bears watching, for I do not trust a single one of them.