Donald Trump may be in a confused haze of denial when it comes to last night’s appointment of a special counsel to prosecute his Russia scandal, as evidenced by his whiny tweets this morning and his distracted performance at this afternoon’s press conference. But it turns out his own team is acting scared and reeling, seeking outside legal counsel in a sign of how serious things are becoming.
That tidbit came this afternoon from CNN, which revealed on-air that Trump’s own legal team including his personal lawyer Michael Cohen have spent the day putting together a plan for hiring outside counsel to represent Trump’s interests (link). And when your own lawyers are out trying to hire even more lawyers for you, it’s a sign of just how dire the situation has become – and how quickly things are shifting in favor of those who want Trump to take a fall.
Now comes the tricky part for both sides. How quickly or slowly will Special Counsel Robert Mueller choose to work? Will he aim for expediency in light of the dangerous current circumstances for the nation, or will he aim for thoroughness in light of the importance of getting the investigation right? How much or little will he share with the public as he goes? How effective can the congressional committees investigating the scandal be while not interfering with Mueller’s work?
But things are far trickier now for Donald Trump than for those who stand in opposition to him. If he’s lawyering up, then he’s figured out how much trouble and jeopardy he’s in. And if he hasn’t realized it, then his own team certainly has, based on their actions today. It’s not clear that Trump is in a stable enough mindset to deal with what’s coming, and as his Russia scandal intensifies, he could end up being his own worst enemy.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report