Donald Trump is reportedly thinking about calling call it quits, with White House sources saying the president may not be seeking re-election in 2020 as the Russia scandal has the walls falling in around him.
On Monday, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates were arrested on charges that they laundered millions of dollars through overseas shell companies. It was reported as the first arrest to come from the Robert Mueller-led Russia investigation, though just a few hours later new reports surfaced that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his work as an intermediary between Russian interests with “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign, the New York Times noted.
It is believed that Robert Mueller could be using both Manafort and Papadopoulos to turn on larger targets in the investigation, including potentially Trump himself. With the scandal growing around Trump, there are increasing indications that he is not planning to seek re-election in 2020.
Just before Manafort turned himself in, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said it is not a given that Donald Trump will be on the Republican ticket again in 2020, Newsweek noted.
“There could well be a primary,” Paul said in an interview on MSNBC (via Newsweek).
Paul also remarked that Republicans will need to know if Trump is planning to seek re-election, noting that the answer has not come yet.
Just days before that, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a close ally of Trump and one of the key advisers during the 2016 campaign, said even he did not know if Donald Trump was planning to run for re-election again. In an interview with Matt Lauer, Christie hinted that Trump may be worn down by his abrupt immersion into the world of politics.
“Four years is a long time, and especially for someone who has not spent a lifetime in politics, so I think those years affect him differently,” he said. “So I’m sure the president will make whatever decision is best for him and his family and the country.”
The Newsweek report noted that Donald Trump may be trying to find a way to make a “graceful exit” that would be perceived as a win for him.
If Donald Trump is planning to quit after his first term, he has not yet given any public indication of it. The president has made a number of campaign stops and has raised millions of dollars for his 2020 campaign — though close to 10 percent of that money has gone to lawyer fees for Trump and his children amid the Russia investigation, CNN reported.
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