Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report — the redacted version of it currently available to the public — paints a picture of a chaotic White House, occupied by a president whose aides don’t even follow orders.
As NBC News noted in its analysis of the Mueller report, Trump may have actually failed to obstruct justice simply because his advisers refused to carry out orders, essentially saving the commander-in-chief from himself.
Mueller’s unflattering portrayal of the White House is deeply affecting the president, according to a new report from CNN. Individuals briefed on the matter claim that the president is glued to his television, fuming at cable news coverage portraying him as an incompetent leader unable to maintain control over his staff.
Trump is reportedly “furious” at former aides who talked to Mueller, in particular Don McGahn. The former White House counsel, according to Mueller’s report, said that the president asked him to do “crazy sh*t,” and Trump described the lawyer as a “lying bastard.” McGahn, who repeatedly refused to follow Trump’s orders, subsequently resigned.
Other White House aides, including Trump loyalists like Steve Bannon, repeatedly refused to follow the president’s orders and pushed back against many of his demands, according to Mueller’s report.
But according to an individual familiar with the behind-the-scenes happenings at the White House, this is nothing new. This is, in fact, how the Trump White House functions.
“That the President makes absurd demands of his staff and administration officials — who are alarmed by them and reluctant to follow them — is not only unsurprising but has become the norm,” the official told CNN.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 20, 2019
Even in recent weeks, Trump aides have “slow walked,” or flat-out ignored the president’s orders, hoping he will simply forget them. President Trump acknowledged on Friday some of the allegations made in the Mueller report, calling statements from his former aides “bullsh*t.”
“Because I never agreed to testify, it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bullsh*t & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad),” he tweeted.
But according to administration officials and White House insiders who talked to CNN, the Mueller report also appears to be fueling the president’s concerns about his current aides. Trump is, according to officials familiar with his thinking, worried that his new advisers will “betray” him as well.
Donald Trump is now “seeking assurances from those who remain that his orders are being treated like those of a president, and not like suggestions from an intemperate but misguided supervisor.”