President Donald Trump is setting up what his administration is calling a “war room” to fight against allegations that he is linked to sensitive information that may have been leaked to Russia.
Reuters reported Friday that Trump aids established the special operation as the president wraps up his tour of the Middle East. He returns Saturday.
Trump opponents allege that he had communication with Russia before he defeated Hillary Clinton for the presidency in November. Trump continues to deny the allegations, saying he had no ties to the Russian government or President Vladimir Putin.
The announcement comes as the United States Justice Department has appointed special counsel to investigate the situation with Russia, a scandal that could threaten to bring down Trump’s presidency within his first six months in the White House.
Trump is reportedly keying in on information he believes is being leaked to media from the intelligence community, something eyed closely since FBI Director James Comey was fired earlier this month.
“Since the firing of Comey, that really exposed the fact that the White House in its current structure… is not prepared for really a one-front war, let alone a two-front war,” the source told reporters. “They need to have a structure in place that allows them to stay focused (while) also truly fighting back on these attacks and these leaks.”
What did Donald Trump achieve in the Middle East? https://t.co/7ppfIXzsZX— The Economist (@TheEconomist) May 26, 2017
Although the White House has declined to comment on who will be manning Trump’s war room, sources say Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager; Steven Bannon; Jared Kushner and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will be part of the team. That report flies directly in the face of the Justice Department investigation as Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, has been in contact with Russia in recent months about official business, yet is not accused of wrongdoing.
The investigation into the Russia situation is the first time in Trump’s presidency impeachment has been mentioned. Even some Republicans may not be against impeaching the president, while others say Trump is still important to the party, most notably because of health care reform. Experts also say some Democrats are against impeachment proceedings.
“Congress is highly polarized — Democrats and Republicans are unlikely to cooperate for impeachment,” the Economist Intelligence Unit told Newsweek. The unit also believes Republicans will continue to enjoy a majority in the House of Representatives following the November 2018 midterm elections.
Meanwhile, Trump has business to tend to; he still has hundreds of appointments to make, something leaders say is of higher importance for the party in order to pass a health care bill and begin measures for tax reform.
But, the more Trump turns to Twitter and uses his forum to keep the Russia problem in the news, the more of a profligate he becomes in the eyes of key figures.
“He talks when he shouldn’t,” billionaire Trump donor Stanley Hubbard said Friday afternoon.
Most of Trump’s tweets during the last week are about his push for world peace, as he shared footage of he and Pope Francis during a trip to the Vatican. The president also tweeted about meetings in Saudia Arabia and Israel.
He then chided NATO, reiterating months-long cries that member countries are not paying their share.
According to Trump, 23 of 28 member nations are not paying for their defense under the NATO agreement. Reports show that a portion of that claim is true. Trump is focusing on a goal members have set to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on their own defense. Only five countries have reached that goal: Britan, Estonia, Greece, Poland, and the United States. No NATO nation is behind on payments.
As for the 2 percent benchmark, it is not part of an legal agreement, which some say makes Trump incorrect in his assessment of the situation. Gary J. Schmitt, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, also noted that Trump’s claim sidesteps the United States’ investment in European security.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]