‘They’re in full-scale war’: White House creating a ‘war room’ as scandals besiege Trump administration
Donald Trump is mulling the creation of a “war -room” as the administration beefs up its communications operations to contain fallout from the ongoing Russia probe, the Washington Post reports.
“The White House is embracing the fight, which is going to last as long as Donald Trump is president,” a Trump ally similarly told Axios. “We’re getting street fighters ready to go.”
The “war-room” effort—spearheaded by controversial chief White House counsel Stephen Bannon—would be modeled after the large-scale team of lawyers and aides compiled by Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. During Clinton’s tenure, that team dealt with issues arising from the Lewinsky affair to afford the White House space to carry out administrative tasks.
The president is also considering a “beefed-up operation” that could mark the return of familiar characters—including former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager David N Bossie.
“The bottom line is they need fresh legs; they need more legs,” former Trump adviser Barry Bennett told the Post. “They’re in full-scale war, and they’re thinly staffed.”
White House aides have also reportedly engaged in low-key discussions about whether Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner should take a leave on absence in the wake of reports he discussed setting up a backchannel for communications between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.
Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn declined to respond to that report. “We’re not going to comment on Jared,” Cohn told Axios. “We’re just not going to comment.”
Still, some sources pushed back on that report, insisting there’s no indication Kushner’s place in the White House is in jeopardy. CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday tweeted Trump’s son-in-law is “keeping his head down” and “eager to cooperate” with the Russia investigation.
Kushner not going anywhere, I’m told. He’s keeping his head down to focus on work and is eager to cooperate with inquiries, source says.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 27, 2017
Other potential changes include a new role for White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus as ambassador to Greece, and an elevation of deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ role. The White House denied any looming staff shake-ups.