TrumpWatch, Day 333: Fear of Trump “Meltdown” Over Russia Investigation

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Donald Trump presents the National Security Strategy, December 18, 2017

“The President’s mantra is ‘All this Russia stuff, it’s all going to wrap up soon.'”


Developments on Day 333 of the Trump Administration:

Trump Thinks Inquiry Will End Soon

White House sources are concerned about a “meltdown” by Donald Trump when he discovers the Trump-Russia investigation is not ending in the near-future.

“Multiple sources who have spoken with the President” say Trump has been less frustrated in recent weeks with the inquiry, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. However, that mood has come from Trump’s expectation of a quick absolution, as he boasts to friends and advisors that he expects Mueller to clear him of wrongdoing in the coming weeks.

Trump has even said that the Special Counsel will soon write a letter that Trump can show Washington and the world. The statement is an echo of Trump’s repeated requests early this year to James Comey — before he dismissed the FBI Director in May — to state that the President was not under investigation.

The account of Trump’s behavior, reported by CNN, is based on interviews with almost three dozen White House officials, lawmakers, outside advisors, friends of the President, and “sources familiar with the Mueller probe”.

Trump is dismissive of the Russia inquiry, referring to it as “bullshit” and proclaiming, “I don’t know any Russians!” A source said, “The President’s mantra is ‘All this Russia stuff, it’s all going to wrap up soon.’ He repeats it as fact.”

The source commented, “Part of me is like ‘Are you serious? You believe this?'”

Last week rumors circulated, amid a revelation that Mueller has tens of thousands of e-mails from the Trump transition, that Trump would fire the Special Counsel this Friday. Trump finally told reporters on Sunday that he will not dismiss Mueller.

See TrumpWatch, Day 332: Trump — I’m Not Firing Mueller

White House lawyer Ty Cobb and Trump’s personal attorney John Dowd, have tried to prevent Trump from lashing out by saying that he will be exonerated in coming months. A “source who speaks with the President” said, “What they are trying to do is manage Trump. That’s what everyone tries to do.”

However, “a longtime friend” of Trump’s warned that the lawyers have “lulled him into a false sense of security”: “I’ve known him long enough to know that disappointing him is a problem and they’ve built up a level of expectations for him that are unrealistic.”

There is no sign of an imminent end to Mueller’s investigation, which has already led to two guilty pleas — former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Trump “foreign policy advisor” George Papadopoulos — and the indictments of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his top aide Rick Gates.

But Trump’s camp believes that a sustained campaign, including media allies such as Fox, to discredit the investigation could soon pay off. Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team, said of reports of private, anti-Trump statements by two investigators — both of whom have been taken off the inquiry:

If you’re Mueller and you want to have any shred of credibility, you have to find a way [to close the investigation]. If you reach the conclusion that the President of the United States doesn’t have anything to do with this….He’s going to have to find some way to make that public. We’re at that point now.

See VideoCast with CNN: Frantic Trump (and Fox) Seek a Constitutional Crisis Over Mueller

But “one source familiar with the situation” spoke of the toll on White House staff: “The commotion around the investigation is morale-crushing to everybody.”

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