Earlier this month I said in an article for The Duran that President Trump’s erratic behaviour has played a significant role in creating many of the problems he has suffered as a result of the Russiagate scandal.
I said in that article that though the situation was not yet irretrievable, Trump needed without delay to improve the quality of his White House operation by bringing in experienced professionals to run it and to help him respond to the swirl of unsubstantiated allegations that have centred on his campaign.
However if disaster is to be avoided then the President has to change his ways, and has to realise that he cannot go on trying to run the government in the same seat-of-the-pants way that he ran his business.
Above all that means the President needs to get himself some proper professional advice and help, since it is clear that his existing advisers – Bannon, Kushner and Preibus – are simply not up to the job of doing it.
Trump took a first step in that direction just before he went on his trip to the Middle East and Europe by appointing Marc Kasowitz, a tough New York litigator, to act as his private lawyer.
Now there is talk of a proper ‘war room’ being set up to spearhead the President’s counter attack in the scandal. Here is how Reuters reports it
Trump’s advisers are planning to establish a “war room” to combat mounting questions about communication between Russia and his presidential campaign before and after November’s presidential election, while bringing new aides into the White House, administration officials and persons close to Trump told Reuters.
The strategic shake-up comes as Republicans in Washington increasingly have fretted that the probe, continued chaos in the West Wing and Trump’s steady slide in opinion polls will derail the president’s drive to reform healthcare, cut taxes and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.
Upon Trump’s return, the administration will add experienced political professionals, including Trump’s former campaign manager, and possibly more lawyers to handle the Russia probe, which has gained new urgency since the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to head the investigation, the sources said.
(bold italics added)
This should have been done long ago, but better late than never.
One of the most deeply frustrating things about the whole Russiagate scandal is the way the President and his officials because of their inexperience have continuously let promising lines for possible counter attacks pass. By way of example, the immediate reaction to the Washington Post story about Trump sharing classified information with Lavrov should have been to launch an aggressive media attack against the Washington Post for running a story that had leaked information to ISIS and which seemed intended to cause trouble between the US and Israel.
A true professional – a James Baker for instance – would not have let such an opportunity pass. I would add that James Baker, though retired, is still around and the President could do worse than ask for his advice. For what it’s worth my opinion is that if someone like James Baker had been running things in the White House the administration would have had no difficulty exposing the total lack of substance behind Russiagate long ago, in which case the scandal would not have got past first base.
Much will depend on who Trump brings into his “war room”. As several people have pointed out, Kasowitz though by all accounts an excellent lawyer, does not have a criminal law background or political experience. Trump should bring in a lawyer who does to help Kasowitz. One person who has been mentioned is Theodore Olson, who was George W. Bush’s Solicitor General, and who has extensive experience serving in the US government under the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, and who as a member of the Federalist Society presumably has political views close to the President’s own.
With Republican voters sticking by the President, and no evidence discovered implicating him or his campaign in anything illegal or even wrong, I am confident he will quickly be able to put the whole Russiagate scandal behind him if he can get a good operation working for him in the White House, and if he finds himself a new FBI Director prepared to take the leaks investigation seriously. The future of his administration is in his hands.