Special counsel Robert Mueller painted a damning picture of the Trump administration, even as he handed the president a victory on the central issue of collusion with Russia.
The Trump White House, as portrayed by Mueller, revolves around an impulsive and angry president who issues orders that underlings often defy, ignore or seek to delay.
The depiction will enrage a president who fixates on the concept of strength and is hypersensitive about any suggestion that he is not in absolute control of his administration.
“He will be livid to see this spelled out — and it is not clear that he is always aware when his advisers are doing this,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “For someone who is already a little bit paranoid about institutional opponents, it will create even more of a sense of distrust within the White House.”
But people who have served in the Trump White House told The Hill that they heard the ring of familiarity — and felt no surprise — at the depictions offered in the special counsel’s report.
“I’ve personally been on the receiving end of a Trump broadside for trying to get him not to do something nuts,” one former White House official recalled ruefully.
A GOP strategist with ties to the White House, asked about the willingness of advisers to frustrate the president’s desires, laughed and said, “I think it was a good thing.”
The strategist asserted that Trump could be “very impulsive and choose to pop off” — a trait that created an imperative among people around him to save him from himself.
“Many of his staff who have experience — legal or political — understood the great perils that he would put himself in,” the strategist said.
Referring to those details becoming public, this source added, “I think it will annoy him. It will make him angrier. But at the same time, it may be a private lesson that he is learning that his staff were loyal by protecting him.”
It is far from clear that Trump sees it that way.
The president tweeted on Friday that statements within the Mueller report “are fabricated & totally untrue.”
Trump added, “Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed.”
The remark could be seen as a reference to former White House counsel Donald McGahn.
According to Mueller,
Source: The Memo: Mueller’s depictions will fuel Trump angst | TheHill