The White House is not planning to set up a war room to fight impeachment efforts, according to multiple officials who denied reports of “panic” and “shell-shock” as Democrats step up their campaign against President Trump.
Two days of headlines dominated by whistleblower allegations have been followed by reports that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, or Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, might be on their way back to head up a rapid response team.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, insisted there was no need for a war room when formal impeachment proceedings had not even begun. “You’re getting that from people who want to create an impeachment war room to get back in or get through the door in the front place,” she told White House reporters. “Why would he do that?,” she said of the president. “He’s the most battle-tested person I’ve ever met.”
Bill Clinton set up a war room in the late 1990s as part of an effort to compartmentalize the Monica Lewinsky scandal and create a team that could focus intensely on fighting impeachment behind the scenes and in the press. The approach presented an image of a president devoted to governing the country rather than bogged down in a legal fight.
Clinton ultimately survived.
Other officials said it was still too early to think about rapid response units or war rooms.
“There has been talk about a war room being set up — but only in the media,” one official said. “There are no plans for a war room although it’s early days. Congress goes on holiday for two weeks now and who knows where we’ll be in a few weeks or months.”
If that perfect phone call with the President of Ukraine Isn’t considered appropriate, then no future President can EVER again speak to another foreign leader!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2019
For now, Trump himself is leading the fight against the charge that he abused his position by asking a foreign leader to provide dirt on a potential opponent in the 2020 election and that the White House hid relevant documents.
So far he is following a scorched-earth strategy developed during the Russia investigation to dismiss accusers as partisan critics engaged in a witch hunt.
“Sounding more and more like the so-called Whistleblower isn’t a Whistleblower at all,” he tweeted on Friday.
“In addition, all second-hand information that proved to be so inaccurate that there may not have even been somebody else, a leaker or spy, feeding it to him or her? A partisan operative?”
He fought the Mueller inquiry as much through headlines as legal arguments.
Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official and Heritage Foundation expert, said the Clinton example was a reminder of how impeachment was much more than just a legal question.
“It’s also a PR battle because as the Clinton case shows, even when a president has been proven to have actually broken the law, the American people are not going to want a president impeached and an election overturned unless they think the conduct was serious enough to warrant it,” he said.
The post ‘The most battle-tested person’: Trump to be his own ‘war room’ for now appeared first on Washington Examiner.