Donald Trump “obsesses” over the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Russian government, Politico reports.
“The more people talk to him about it, the more he obsesses about it,” one adviser told the publication.
Trump has contemplated beefing up his communications team as a series of damning leaks threaten his ability to push through a robust legislative agenda. So far, the president — whose party controls both chambers of Congress — has had only one major “win” in his first 129 days: The passage of the American HealthCare Act in the House of Representatives. That bill still has to go through the Senate, a process leaders warn could take months.
Aides described a chaotic White House reeling from the latest revelations that Trump’s son-in-law contacted the Russian ambassador to establish a backchannel line of communication between Trump’s transition team and the Russian government.
“We are letting others dictate entirely how we are perceived," one official told Politico. “The calendar changes every day. There is no rhyme or reason to a lot of it.”
As scandal ensnares the White House, the president Sunday pushed back on charges from what he described as “the fake news media.”
“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Trump wrote. “Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention names...it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!”
While insisting the sources listed in news reports are fabricated, the president also called for the prosecution of such supposedly fabricated sources.
Trump aides, including chief White House counselor Steve Bannon, see the leaks as a product of the "deep state," suggesting they’re the target of a vast conspiracy against the Trump White House. Kushner, meanwhile, reportedly blames a series of unflattering leaks about his team on Bannon, who’s called Trump’s son-in-law a “globalist” and a “cuck.”
Despite reports that the president is mulling yet another staff shake-up, the president remains defiant, insisting the fake news media is trying to muddy his message.
“The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don't want America to hear the real story!” Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter.