The White House is in a state of “total panic” amid the quickly spiraling scandal regarding Donald Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden’s son.
On Thursday, a whistleblower complaint was published, outlining allegations that Trump undertook a campaign to pressure Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, into digging up dirt on Hunter Biden’s business dealings in that country. A summary of a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president showed Trump pressing him to investigate Biden, and the whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump took a number of other actions meant to pressure the country into giving in to his request.
As NBC News noted, the allegations and ensuing impeachment inquiry have hit the White House hard. A source close to the White House said there is a rising sense of anxiety and concern that the allegations could be very damaging to Donald Trump, despite his public insistence that there was nothing wrong with the phone call.
“There’s not a lot of confidence that there’s [nothing] there,” this source said.
The report noted that White House officials are not sure how to proceed and there is no plan to deal with the allegations, adding that the situation appears so serious that Trump’s usual actions to distract the media will not work this time.
Another source described the White House as “shell-shocked,” with increasing fear that Donald Trump will grow so erratic that he could no longer be managed.
There appear to be some very mixed messages coming from the White House as well, The Daily Beast noted. While White House officials have tried to project calm in the increasing likelihood that Trump will be impeached, the president himself has hinted at a violent response to the whistleblower and whoever fed the person information. At a private event in New York on Thursday, Trump was recorded making cryptic threats that appeared to hint at capital punishment.
“I want to know who’s the person—who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy,” Trump said. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason—we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
The report from The Daily Beast noted that Donald Trump has not yet formulated a plan to respond to the impeachment inquiry and has not yet brought together a “war room” in the White House to respond.