A new report suggests the White House is panicking as Robert Mueller’s investigation reaches its conclusion and Donald Trump appears to be in increasing legal trouble.
According to The Washington Post, “A beefed-up White House legal team is gearing up to prevent President Trump’s confidential discussions with top advisers from being disclosed to House Democratic investigators and revealed in the special counsel’s long-awaited report, setting the stage for a potential clash between the branches of government.”
In other words, the White House is terrified that the final Mueller report will be filled with damning revelations, and they are trying to build a legal strategy to prevent at least some of the report from being made public.
More from The Washington Post:
The strategy to strongly assert the president’s executive privilege on both fronts is being developed under newly arrived White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who has hired 17 lawyers in recent weeks to help in the effort.
He is coordinating with White House lawyer Emmet Flood, who is leading the response to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on his now-20-month-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Flood is based in White House Counsel’s Office but reports directly to Trump.
There is a growing sense that the special counsel’s closely held investigation could come to culmination soon. Some Trump advisers think Mueller could deliver the confidential report explaining his findings to senior Justice Department officials next month. Under the rules authorizing the special counsel, the attorney general can then decide whether to share the report or parts of it with Congress and the public.
Some House leaders have vowed to immediately seek to obtain a copy of Mueller’s findings. But the White House would resist the release of details describing confidential and sensitive communications between the president and his senior aides, Trump advisers say.
Trump’s legal strategy is shifting as Mueller wraps up
On her program on Wednesday, Rachel Maddow pointed out how this seems to be a major indication that Trump’s legal strategy is changing as Robert Mueller prepares to drop his final report.
“It’s been a strange mismatch between the presidential legal jeopardy here and the presidential legal defense,” the MSNBC host said. “Up until now.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) January 10, 2019
It has been a weird thing that his legal representation has not been like A-list folks or even B-list. It’s been like a grab bag. They’re the white elephant lawyers who were otherwise available. It’s been a strange mismatch between the presidential legal jeopardy here and the presidential legal defense. Up until now. Now that would seem to be changing if in fact the new White House counsel really has just added 17 new lawyers to the White House counsel’s office within the past couple of weeks, and none of them are people who are also planning on continuing their talk radio shows while they do this gig.
Trump knows he is in serious trouble
All signs point to the final Mueller report being devastating for this White House. The news that Trump is bringing on 17 more lawyers to prepare for its release further confirms this reality.
Luckily, as I noted earlier, Democrats are prepared for the growing likelihood that the White House will try to bury the final Mueller report. If that scenario plays out, new Democratic leadership in the House plans to either call Mueller to testify or subpoena the report itself.
At the end of the day, Donald Trump can hire all the lawyers he wants to prevent the full release of Robert Mueller’s report, but Democrats now have the power to fight back – and they aren’t afraid to use it.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.