President Donald Trump is obsessed with special counsel Robert Mueller and the damning 400-page report and his friends are begging him to move on for his own personal and political well-being.
A Politico report Thursday compared Trump’s PR disasters to former President Bill Clinton, who gave a tearful apology and moved on with his political career. Trump, by contrast, not only can’t stop talking about it, he can’t stop lying about it, prompting even more stories about the facts of the incriminating revelations.
In the Twitter rants that have followed the release of the report, Trump has lambasted the special counsel, the FBI, Democrats, and anyone else he can find. He outright called key testimony from his own aides “total bullsh*t” and unleashed a torrent of retweets from conspiracy sites and right-wing outlets that have Trump on their prayer list.
“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself. Nevertheless, Mueller was NOT fired and was respectfully allowed to finish his work on what I, and many others, say was an illegal investigation (there was no crime), headed by a Trump hater who was highly conflicted, and a group of 18 VERY ANGRY Democrats. DRAIN THE SWAMP!”
As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself. Nevertheless,….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2019
While the president maintained his innocence and spent years saying the full Mueller report should be released to the public, his Attorney General censored many pieces of the report. Meanwhile, the president is standing in the way of anyone tied to his administration complying with Congressional subpoenas.
Close allies are worried. Politico cited one former Trump campaign official saying the days that followed the report were “a complete and utter disaster” that did nothing more than create more negative press.
“Obviously it’s not a smart strategy,” one former White House official told Politico. But unfortunately for Trump, there are “very few” West Wing staffers left who are willing to tell the president to give it up.
“He needs to let it go. It’s especially not helpful to him, but he just can’t help himself,” the former official said.
Democrats are in a tough spot of their own, with the base demanding impeachment and independent voters demanding progress on legislative agendas. Some would eagerly like to move forward with the latter, but the president’s inability to stop fighting with the 400-page report is cornering them. But it’s unclear if that’s part of Trump’s plan.
A Politico reporter told CNN Wednesday that the president needs the fight to move forward. According to Michael Kruse, Trump is following the playbook of mentor Roy Cohn.
“So the Cohn’s playbook, deny, delay, counter-attack and shamelessness as a weapon. Here we are 50 years later, we see a lot of Roy Cohn in Donald Trump,” he said.
“In the big spectrum of everything, people are still deeply concerned about prescription drug prices.. They’re wanting to see Washington focused on immigration reform,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA), told Politico.
But even with Democrats passing legislation in the House, progress might still be stalled. Mitch McConnell has said that he refuses to vote on any legislation that the president won’t sign. Such was the case with a huge immigration bill that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) crafted over many years. While it would have passed the Senate and finally stopped the ongoing policy problems, it didn’t have money for Trump’s wall in it. So it was dead on arrival.
Similarly, McConnell allowing any legislation from Congress to move forward makes it appear as though Democrats are focusing on the issues they know Americans want. If McConnell refuses to vote on any House legislation, it could make Democrats look like the only things that are moving forward are the hearings on the White House and the president.