President Trump has privately told associates he needs better “TV lawyers” to defend him publicly from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to a Washington Post report.
The report, based on 22 unnamed sources from the White House, Justice Department and “Trump confidants and attorneys connected to the probe,” also describes the president as scrambling “for survival” amid the probe while plotting his next moves with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), who joined the president’s legal team at the end of last month.
“Trump gripes that he needs better ‘TV lawyers’ to defend him on cable news and is impatient to halt the ‘witch hunt’ that he says undermines his legitimacy as president,” according to the report.
Giuliani told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in a May 2 interview that Trump had reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, which set off a media firestorm.
By disclosing the reimbursement, Giuliani contradicted what the president has claimed before about not knowing about the payment from Cohen to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford.
Giuliani has since attempted to clarify his remarks in subsequent interviews, stating Trump didn’t know the money was being used to silence Daniels about an alleged 2006 affair with the former reality TV star and real estate mogul.
The Post report comes as the special counsel investigation enters its second year this week.
“We’re on the same wavelength. We’ve gone from defense to offense,” Giuliani said to the Post for its report.
The president shows frustration with the FBI raids on Cohen “as often as 20 times a day,” one confidant tells the Post.
The FBI raided Cohen’s office last month, seizing emails, tax documents and records related to his $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
“Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past,” Trump tweeted one day after the raid. “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!”
The Post report paints a picture of “disarray and defiance” in the White House.
“The Mueller operation, like the former Marine Corps platoon commander who leads it, is secretive and methodical,” the Post report reads. “Ten blocks west in the White House, President Trump combats the probe with bluster, disarray and defiance as he scrambles for survival.”