An increasingly worried Donald Trump has been calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell up to three times a day, pushing for “total loyalty” from Republicans as the impeachment inquiry progresses, a new report claims.
Publicly, Trump has taken a defiant stance toward the impeachment inquiry now working its way through the House of Representatives, going on the attack on Twitter and issuing a statement that the White House would not cooperate with the congressional investigation. But as CNN reported, the president has been less confident in private and is frantically pressing Republicans in the U.S. Senate to hold firm and prevent him from being removed from office.
The president is facing a quickly evolving inquiry related to a whistleblower complaint claiming he pressured Ukraine into digging up dirt on Joe Biden. A White House summary of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shows the U.S. president pressing his counterpart into investigating the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter. Democrats in charge of congressional committees have been aggressive in their investigation, issuing a number of subpoenas to top Trump administration officials.
Trump appears to be growing worried about the inquiry and has already been working to keep Republicans from turning on him, the report claimed. These efforts supposedly include threats to go on the attack to those who speak out against him.
“Trump has been lashing out at GOP senators he sees as disloyal, according to the person familiar with the conversations, telling McConnell he will amplify attacks on those Republicans who criticize him,” the report noted.
“McConnell faces his own dilemma of having to preserve the Republican majority in the Senate, while also placating an erratic President who demands nothing short of total loyalty. That will become harder as more details about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine trickle out.”
There have already been some Republicans breaking away from Trump. Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who has been open in his criticism of Trump in the past, said it was “appalling” that the president would push a foreign country to meddle in the upcoming election.
As Vox noted, other Republican senators have begun to publicly refute Trump’s allegations that the Bidens were involved in any kind of corruption in Ukraine. Trump has claimed that the former vice president’s threat to withhold aid funding to Ukraine unless it fired a prosecutor widely seen as corrupt was meant to protect his own son from being investigated. However, there is no evidence to support this claim, and in fact, a number of Republicans signed a letter at the time publicly backing Biden’s approach in Ukraine.