‘He’s always focused on Russia’: Aides say Trump is sidetracked by Kremlin as legislative agenda stalls
Beyond his very public feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), sources close to conversations with two senators say President Donald Trump is unduly focused on Russia.
According to Politico, Trump called Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Bob Corker (R-TN) to admonish them for their support of two bills related to the Russia investigation. Tillis introduced and passed a bill that adds protections to special counsel Robert Mueller, and Corker supported bipartisan sanctions against Russia.
Three sources close to Corker told Politico that Trump called the senator earlier this month to express his displeasure with the Russia sanctions bill, claiming it was bad policy. Corker, in turn, was “unrelenting,” and sources familiar with the conversation said the president sounded “frustrated” with the senator’s assertion that the bill would pass with bipartisan support.
On August 7, the report continues, Trump called Tillis on August 7 and reportedly brought up a bill he co-sponsored that will mandate a judicial review when and if special counsel Robert Mueller is fired.
Paired with Trump’s attacks on McConnell, which reportedly stem from the Senate majority leader’s unwillingness to defend the president against the Russia probe, these calls are yet another example of the many Russia-related scandals coming out of the White House.
“It seems he is just always focused on Russia,” a senior GOP staffer told Politico.
The report also notes that calls such as those to Tillis and Corker (which new White House chief of staff John Kelly intends to “curb”) are commonplace.
“Trump has been known to see a senator on TV or think about an issue and immediately ask White House assistant Madeleine Westerhout to dial the senator,” the report reads.