As President Donald Trump prepares for a new congressional session — the first of his presidency in which Republicans won’t be in control of both chambers — his White House is bracing for a political battle for which many of the president’s allies fear he is underprepared.
This article was originally published at Salon
A source close to the president believes that Trump is concerned about impeachment being a “real possibility” although other aides are convinced that only the campaign finance violations have any real chance of sticking, according to CNN. The report also describes White House officials as convinced that special counsel Robert Mueller won’t find enough in terms of potential collusion with Russia to convict the president of a crime. Although they believe there might be enough in terms of campaign finance violations to constitute a crime, they don’t believe that issue alone will be enough to motivate both parties to forcibly remove him from office.
Democrats, by contrast, are discussing not only impeaching Trump based on the alleged campaign finance violations and the Trump-Russia scandal but also indicting him after he leaves office if he is defeated in 2020. A separate CNN report detailed Trump’s concerns about the specifics of what will happen once the Democrats take over Congress:
Trump has become increasingly concerned in recent weeks about what his administration is facing come January, when newly empowered Democrats are expected to unleash the full force of their oversight powers on the Trump administration.
Those include compelling Cabinet secretaries to testify, requesting the President’s tax returns and scrutinizing some of his most controversial policy decisions. Trump often complained that Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, was not politically shrewd enough for the task.
Many of Trump’s Republican allies are also worried about his legal situation, with some expressing concern that he and his White House team aren’t sufficiently prepared for whatever Robert Mueller might put into his report, according to The Washington Post. The paper, which based its reporting off of “interviews with 14 administration officials, presidential confidants and allies,” elaborated on the seeming inadequacies of how the Trump White House is planning for the future:
Rather than building a war room to manage the intersecting crises as past administrations have done, the Trump White House is understaffed, stuck in a bunker mentality and largely resigned to a plan to wing it. Political and communications operatives are mostly taking their cues from the president and letting him drive the message with his spontaneous broadsides.
“A war room? You serious?” one former White House official said when asked about internal preparations. “They’ve never had one, will never have one. They don’t know how to do one.”