Trump Bitched Out McConnell about Not Protecting Him in Russia Probe on Day Manafort Raid Story Broke

Donald Trump continues his habit of alienating people he needs to help him survive his presidency. The NYT provides details of the souring relationship between Trump and Mitch McConnell, which it says culminated in an August 9 phone call.

In a series of tweets this month, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. McConnell publicly, then berated him in a phone call that quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.

During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue. He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation.

Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.

In offhand remarks, Mr. McConnell has expressed a sense of bewilderment about where Mr. Trump’s presidency may be headed, and has mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond, according to people who have spoken to him directly.

In point of fact, the tweets started on August 9 (about 2:25PM) and continued through the next morning. Both the tweet described as occurring before and the one occurring after the phone call reference only the TrumpCare debacle, not the Russian investigation.

According to the NYT, Trump was “even more animated” about McConnell’s “refusal” to protect him from Russian investigations.

August 9 was the day the WaPo first broke (around 10:00AMthe story of the July 26 raid on Paul Manafort’s home. The raid itself, of course, was conducted by the FBI. But all the stories about it include allusions about the fact that it came after Manafort’s interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee and immediately after Manafort reluctantly agreed to cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee on threat of subpoena; Manafort had tried and failed to limit his appearance to SSCI.

Now go back to the language the NYT uses. “Refusal” to protect Trump.  That’s sure an interesting word, “refusal.” Did Trump contact McConnell about the subpoena to Manafort back on July 25? Or did McConnell refuse some other tangible request from Trump? If so does Robert Mueller know about it?

In response to reports on the raid, Trump lawyer John Dowd made all sorts of crazy comments to the press about how FBI had acted improperly because they hadn’t exhausted all options for obtaining the materials seized on July 26. Even Fox News said Dowd was trying to protect the President with his comments. And some of the reporting noted that among the seized documents were Manafort’s notes for his interview with SSCI.

That is, all the reporting on the raid intimated that it had as much to do with the Congressional testimony as Mueller’s own investigation.

And sometime that day, Trump called McConnell and complained the Majority Leader wasn’t providing him sufficient protection. Refused to protect him, in fact.

In any case, Trump’s attacks have gotten the thin-skinned McConnell wondering “whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond,” which sure seems like a bad opinion for Trump to have fostered given that McConnell would have a big influence on how any impeachment trial would proceed if it ever got to the Senate.

Update: Coverage of the Glenn Simpson (head of Fusion GPS, which did the Steele dossier) interview with SJC makes clear that his was the first voluntary testimony, meaning Manafort (and Don Jr) have not sat for an interview yet.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
    • Rayne says:

      Oh fie! Now the market’s open tomorrow will be flooded with futures orders. I’m going to see if I can write an algorithm to trade popcorn futures in dark pools in Asian and European markets before US opens.

      Suppose I’d better look into butter (cattle futures) and salt (Morton Salt’s parent K&S AG) while I’m at it.

  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    God may have an inordinate fondness for beetles, but it’s Mr. Trump who has an inordinate fondness for those who protect him from investigations of his ties to Russia. And hatred for those who don’t.

    Mr. Trump hasn’t much imagination. He is concrete and two-dimensional. That suggests Trump knows and fears something Mr. Mueller can only suspect. Until Mr. Mueller obtains an indictment, we will not know what that is, unless Congress furthers its own investigations and documents it for the public record.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Which if one follows the Ollie North model, might be what was really behind Devin Nunes’ expedition to the WH: taint all of the evidence so Mueller can’t use it.

      Impeachment is a political process, and as long as Caesar Disgustus is willing to sign off on GOP dreams, or sabotage the rule of law and Obamacare, etc., they will let him stay where he is to deflect attention from what they are doing in Congress.

      Also, how many times did he mention the ten sailors dead / missing from the USS John S. McCain last night?  None, because these are mere servants for him and easily replaced.

  2. orionATL says:

    the picture and accompanying story from cbs about simpson are very interesting.

    no big noise from charles (snake) grassley about what happened generally in the interview, and no noise that he had found what he was hoping to find.

    voluntary testimony from simpson. no hedging from simpson about dealing with clients on both sides of any political divide.

    strong, confident commentary from gps fusion lawyer.

    this could get interesting when other players are required to lay their cards on the table.

    cf : http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/attorney-glenn-simpson-reveal-clients-trump-dossier-investigators/story?id=49367909

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