President Donald Trump can’t escape reality forever — and neither can his most ardent supporters, it turns out. Just recently, he faced new filings from Special Counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York that condemned him and his team, and a new Axios report asserts that “hardcore MAGA influencers” are losing their grip on the president’s position.
An anonymous Trump “loyalist” explained after a day of consultation with people ideologically aligned:
‘These are the people most predisposed to believing the “witch hunt” rhetoric, but they are now expressing real concerns… I think SDNY has changed people’s perceptions… that’s viewed as a greater potential threat to Trump directly than Mueller. ‘Collusion’ is still met with eyerolls… and even MAGA loyalists are asking why Trump feels the need to go on Twitter with bizarre legal explanations that don’t seem to help.’
In New York, prosecutors for the first time confirmed last week that Trump had personally directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to carry on with an illegal hush money scheme meant to silence women with whom he’d had affairs. The same day, Special Counsel Mueller’s team delivered another round of revelations, including that Cohen had been in touch with a prominent Russian promising “political synergy” with the Kremlin as early as late 2015.
Mueller has also revealed that Cohen lied to Congress about the extent of efforts to construct a Trump Tower Moscow that was so intertwined with the Russian government that Vladimir Putin was going to get a penthouse.
Trump has defended that effort by insisting he “lightly looked” at the project that was “very legal and very cool,” which fits as one of the bizarre explanations that Trump loyalists are beginning to question.
He’s not alone in his bizarre explanations, to be sure, having roped in his administration to work similar nonsense. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asserted that last Friday’s filings revealed nothing new — but that doesn’t erase the fact that they confirmed the already present reporting that Trump was personally involved in Cohen’s campaign finance law violations.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) got in on the action too, dismissing the significance of campaign finance law violations during a recent appearance on Fox News because “there’s a lot of members of Congress” who’d have to leave if they should be taken seriously.
House GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy states that if campaign finance crimes are a violation then lots of Congressmen (probably in his caucus) will have to go.pic.twitter.com/LQw3G9zM8w
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) December 10, 2018
Apparently even “MAGA Jim 5000” and his pals can’t take these people seriously.
The issue has relevance beyond the president’s social standing, since he’s facing a no doubt tight re-election battle in two years.
In the meantime, Axios reports that political savvy is on top of the list of qualities the administration is looking for in a new chief of staff after Trump announced John Kelly would be leaving soon. Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers had been set to take the job, but he’s leaving the administration instead, and reported candidates range from North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
The staffing need is just one issue for the Trump team to tackle ahead of the storms on the horizon.
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