Is there such a thing as too much Trump?

“Go run the country,” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy told President Donald Trump, wrapping up a 47-minute phone interview with the leader of the free world, which ended with Trump wishing a happy birthday to co-host Ainsley Earhardt’s father.

They had, it seemed, run out of new ground to cover.

After all, it had been only a few hours since Fox News viewers heard from the president, who had also called in for an 11 p.m. interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream Wednesday night.

And Trump didn’t exactly go dark before his late-night caller, or disappear from view after his morning chat. On Thursday night, he spoke to supporters at a “MAGA” rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. After his Fox & Friends interview, he addressed reporters in the Oval Office, noting, among other things, that he has no plans to fire his chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Continue reading “Is there such a thing as too much Trump?”

Trump eager to woo back advisers who have moved on

Even in the moment when his favored advisers announce that they’re leaving him, President Donald Trump is often already discussing how and when he can get them back.

When his former top economic adviser Gary Cohn told him he was leaving last March, after losing a long-running battle on tariffs, the blow of another big departure was eased by the prospect of a roaring return.

“Gary’s been so great. We’re going to miss him so much,” former communications director Hope Hicks told the president, according to “Fear,” Bob Woodward’s book on the Trump White House. “This is a shame. We’ve got to find a way to bring him back.”

“Of course,” Trump responded. “We’re going to bring him back.”

Hicks herself has since left the building, but is another person the president believes isn’t necessarily gone for good. “I love Hope, she’s great,” Trump told reporters on Air Continue reading “Trump eager to woo back advisers who have moved on”

‘This is march or die’: Kavanaugh urged to hit back hard

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is being advised by allies to mount an aggressive and proactive campaign to win over the swing-vote senators who will determine whether he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, even as the FBI undertakes a weeklong investigation of sexual assault allegations against him.

One White House official said on Sunday that no new television appearances were currently planned for Kavanaugh, but that “anything to further his case will be done with senators and with the FBI” and that the possibility of public events later in the week had not been ruled out.

Friends, meanwhile, said they were encouraging Kavanaugh — whom one described as “shell-shocked” by the crisis engulfing his nomination fight — to continue playing offense, the way he did in his testimony on Thursday.

“I’d want people to see me this week,” one Republican close to the process said of Kavanaugh, noting that the aggressive Continue reading “‘This is march or die’: Kavanaugh urged to hit back hard”

White House press briefings fade amid Kavanaugh crisis

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Brett Kavanaugh’s angry and emotional testimony on Friday morning — via a television hit with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos from the White House driveway.

Behind a door a hundred or so yards away, the James S. Brady Briefing Room looked like an airport luggage storage room. The famous podium in front of the blue White House seal was surrounded by bags and camera equipment, the front row of seats filled by technicians working crossword puzzles.

Over the past two months, this scene has become the norm. Sanders has relied more on television interviews to push the White House’s message — this week she has spoken with anchors like NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and the hosts of “Fox & Friends” — while bypassing the briefing room. “He was incredibly powerful and very clear and he’s been unequivocal from day one that this did not take place Continue reading “White House press briefings fade amid Kavanaugh crisis”

Ford questioning leaves some Trump allies cringing

White House officials were glued to their television screens throughout the building on Wednesday, watching the emotional testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee — and cringing over the decision by Senate Republicans to hire a female prosecutor to question her.

“That’s a disaster,” said one administration official. The official argued that Republican lawmakers had made a mistake by caving to the pressures of identity politics and hiring a woman to quiz Ford so as to avoid having an all-white male lineup of GOP Senators do the questioning. Trump allies also recognized the bad optics of a prosecutor seeming to interrogate a victim widely seen as sympathetic in a nationally-televised Senate hearing.

"She seems sincere, kind, thoughtful and credible," a former Trump White House official said. "Hard to suggest she is politically motivated."

Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor chosen to question Ford on Continue reading “Ford questioning leaves some Trump allies cringing”

‘I could be convinced’: Trump sends mixed message on Kavanaugh charges

In a Monday night television interview, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh seemed confident that President Donald Trump had his back.

“I know he’s going to stand by me,” Kavanaugh told a Fox News interviewer. “He called me this afternoon and he said he’s standing by me."

But in an upbeat, sprawling news Thursday news conference, Trump — who taunted and flattered reporters and seemed to be enjoying his own spectacle — left himself an escape hatch. Instead of delivering an unequivocal defense of his embattled court pick, he at once seemed to support and undermine his no-longer-out-of-central-casting nominee.

“They’re going to have a big shot at speaking and making their case,” he said of the women accusers, although only one of them is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Saying that he intends to watch tomorrow’s hearing, he added: “I could be persuaded, also” about Continue reading “‘I could be convinced’: Trump sends mixed message on Kavanaugh charges”

Kavanaugh’s wife tests standing by your man in the #MeToo era

Ashley Estes Kavanaugh did not have to be persuaded to sit by her husband’s side and vouch for the character of the man she married.

The high-profile role that she filled on Monday night, speaking publicly on behalf of her husband in a prime-time Fox News interview, made her the latest in a long line of political spouses who have chosen to speak up on behalf of their scandal-tarred men.

But it also made her perhaps the most consequential of the #MeToo era, and a test of whether that playbook still works in a world where women are increasingly primed to believe the women accusers.

Mrs. Kavanaugh has been thinking about her role more in survival terms, according to one person close to the couple. For the past week, the wife of the man chosen by President Donald Trump to sit on the Supreme Court has been an equal partner Continue reading “Kavanaugh’s wife tests standing by your man in the #MeToo era”

Kavanaugh accuser leans on Democratic operative for advice

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teenagers, is being advised by Democratic operative Ricki Seidman.

Seidman, a senior principal at TSD Communications, worked as Joe Biden’s communications director during the 2008 general election campaign, after he was named Barack Obama’s running mate. In 2009, according to her online biography, she helped the White House manage the confirmation of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Before that, she worked in the Clinton White House as deputy communications director.

“I believe her and I think she’s very courageous for coming this far,” Seidman said in a brief interview, confirming her role advising Ford.

Democratic operatives in Washington, D.C. have been cautious about linking Ford and her claims to partisan activists working on her behalf over concerns about further politicizing an already complicated case. “[Ford] didn’t come Continue reading “Kavanaugh accuser leans on Democratic operative for advice”

Even Ivanka’s liberal New York haters like her on Instagram

During the 2016 election, YouTube sensation Casey Neistat posted a rare endorsement video, encouraging his legions of followers to support Hillary Clinton.

“This has to do with morals and principles,” he said.

His moral opposition to Trump, however, hasn’t stopped Neistat from being a fan of Ivanka Trump’s – online, at least.

Neistat is a frequent “liker” of the First Daughter’s posts on Instagram, doling out little red hearts of endorsement to everything from pictures of her son Theodore’s second birthday to a photo of Ivanka Trump working with Kim Kardashian on criminal justice reform – and even a post in which she wished Donald Trump a happy birthday.

Ivanka Trump has been widely criticized by progressives for positioning herself as a moderating force in the White House with little to show for her efforts. But despite a pervasive sense that she has burned her bridges to New York society Continue reading “Even Ivanka’s liberal New York haters like her on Instagram”

Trump’s assault on Woodward riddled with contradictions

President Donald Trump has called journalist Bob Woodward’s book on his administration a work of “fiction” and a “scam,” claiming that quotes in the book are “made up" and that the author is a "liar."

At the same time, sources familiar with his thinking said he is livid at his former economic adviser, Gary Cohn, and his former staff secretary, Rob Porter, for “leaking” to Woodward.

It’s difficult to rationally argue that the book could be both: fiction dreamed up by Woodward, and a betrayal by former top stewards of the administration, who shared with the famed journalist alarming details about how the White House functions.

But it’s not hard for Trump, who often spouts two opposing views intended for different audiences. And his supporters often soak up the contradictory claims just as readily as he spits them out, taking it all in stride.

Call it a belt-and-suspenders approach.

Continue reading “Trump’s assault on Woodward riddled with contradictions”

Woodward book renews doubts about Kelly

President Donald Trump was already mad at his chief of staff, John Kelly, when explosive details of Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book “Fear” landed on Tuesday — including disparaging comments Kelly reportedly made about his boss.

The episode upset the delicate equilibrium between Trump, who hates to be managed, and Kelly, who has largely accepted being sidelined in the West Wing, instead renewing the friction between a president who demands loyalty, and a chief of staff who Trump and his allies believe is more concerned with protecting his own reputation.

Kelly had managed to tamp down speculation about his imminent departure from the White House with an internal announcement in late July that he had agreed to stay on as chief of staff through the 2020 re-election campaign, according to more than half a dozen current and former White House officials and people close to Trump, but the publication of his Continue reading “Woodward book renews doubts about Kelly”

Trump allies fume at McCain memorial addresses, urge counterattack

President Donald Trump’s allies went on the counterattack Saturday after tributes to the late Sen. John McCain took pointed aim at the president.

As Washington mourned McCain, Trump’s people grew angry. Some even hoped for — but didn’t get — a blistering tweet from the president. And they privately chastised Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, for attending the senator’s memorial service.

“@realDonaldTrump ran for @POTUS ONE time and WON,” tweeted Katrina Pierson, an adviser to Trump’s campaign. “Some people will never recover from that.”

McCain’s service was, on one level, a return to old Washington civility, with Republicans and Democrats, past presidents, friends and foes gathered in unity. But as its tributes echoed with overt criticism of the president, it only deepened the hostility between the city’s establishment and the outsider in the White House.

Early Saturday morning, mourners were preparing to gather at Washington Continue reading “Trump allies fume at McCain memorial addresses, urge counterattack”

Why Mark Penn Is Sounding Trumpy

Mark Penn recently moved into a brand new office on Washington, D.C.’s I Street, just a few blocks away from the White House, where he used to have an office during the Clinton administration.

It’s been a decade since Penn served as a top strategist for the Clintons, enjoying the inside-the-Beltway “genius” status conferred on architects of winning presidential campaigns. Since then, Penn has become an iconic Washington archetype: the heretic — a party insider who reliably criticizes his own team. That’s made him a villain to many of his fellow Democrats, who despise him for everything from Hillary Clinton’s flameout in 2008 to his relentless criticism of the party’s leftward lurch.

And yet the walls of Penn’s new conference room are still decorated with handwritten notes from Bill and Hillary, two poll-focused politicians who relied on his methods for 15 years and four elections between them. “Thanks Continue reading “Why Mark Penn Is Sounding Trumpy”

Brock makes a $2 million ask to counter Bannon’s new group

Steve Bannon may have yet to win back the heart of Donald Trump or any minds in the White House.

But with his newly launched political action group, which is focused on keeping Republican control of the House by framing the midterm elections as an up-or-down vote on impeachment, the former White House chief strategist has struck fear in at least one fellow operative: David Brock.

On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton’s former hatchet man hit up his vast donor network to raise an additional $2 million specifically to counter Bannon’s new 25-person, pro-Trump rapid response and polling operation.

Brock, who has rarely spoken publicly since returning to his role leading a web of liberal advocacy groups after a heart attack last year, said it’s irrelevant to him whether Bannon has the blessing of the president – what’s important is that Democrats fight back. “I assume he’s opportunistic and trying to be Continue reading “Brock makes a $2 million ask to counter Bannon’s new group”

Trump wages war against New York

Even in the West Wing, all politics is local.

President Donald Trump — raised in Queens, made in Manhattan — in the past week is finding his latest targets back home, turning New York political leaders into liberal punching bags that offer him familiar and useful foils ahead of the midterm elections.

It’s an old political playbook — attack elite, liberal New York, and the heartland loves you — but it’s also personal for Trump, whose relationships with some of New York’s political leaders go back generations.

On Monday, the president deliberately attacked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is fighting for his third term, as a presidential wannabe. He told attendees at a fundraiser in Utica that Cuomo once promised he would “never run for president against” him and then urged him to get in the race. “Oh, please do it,” Trump goaded. “Anybody who runs against Trump suffers. Continue reading “Trump wages war against New York”

Trump wages war against New York

Even in the West Wing, all politics is local.

President Donald Trump — raised in Queens, made in Manhattan — in the past week is finding his latest targets back home, turning New York political leaders into liberal punching bags that offer him familiar and useful foils ahead of the midterm elections.

It’s an old political playbook — attack elite, liberal New York, and the heartland loves you — but it’s also personal for Trump, whose relationships with some of New York’s political leaders go back generations.

On Monday, the president deliberately attacked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is fighting for his third term, as a presidential wannabe. He told attendees at a fundraiser in Utica that Cuomo once promised he would “never run for president against” him and then urged him to get in the race. “Oh, please do it,” Trump goaded. “Anybody who runs against Trump suffers. Continue reading “Trump wages war against New York”

Bannon attempts his political comeback

Steve Bannon is attempting a political resurrection, launching a 25-person pro-Trump rapid-response and polling operation that is framing the midterms as an up-or-down vote on the president’s impeachment.

The former White House chief strategist has started Citizens for the American Republic, an outside political group that intends to advise surrogates, generate talking points, and flood the TV and radio airwaves ahead of a perilous midterm election.

As part of the campaign, Bannon — a former Hollywood producer who’s made several conservative films — will soon release a new documentary, “Trump@War,” which he plans to release in September on the two-year anniversary of Hillary Clinton’s now-infamous speech in which she referred to Trump supporters as “deplorables.” The slickly produced movie depicts the president in deeply flattering terms, casting him as a populist hero who’s followed through on his campaign promises and defied a long line of liberal critics.

It notably Continue reading “Bannon attempts his political comeback”

‘People are terrified’: Trump staffers live in fear of Omarosa’s next tape

A daily trickle of revealing internal conversations between staffers. Growing anxiety about what one might have once said. No sense of how long it will go on.

Omarosa Manigault Newman’s slow release of secretly taped conversations from inside the Trump campaign and White House is having the same effect on staffers as the daily dumps from WikiLeaks had on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, when chairman John Podesta’s emails were trickled out during the final stretch of the race.

“People are terrified,” one former Trump aide said of the tapes. “Absolutely terrified.”

On Tuesday, the fifth day of her one-woman news cycle, Manigault Newman released a taped conversation from the 2016 campaign, in which former spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and another African-American Trump adviser, Lynne Patton, discussed the possible existence of an N-word tape.

“He’s said it,” Pierson says on the recording. “He’s embarrassed.”

The latest reveal indicates that Manigault Continue reading “‘People are terrified’: Trump staffers live in fear of Omarosa’s next tape”

Omarosa claims to have secretly recorded Jared and Ivanka

She says she’s got Javanka on tape, too.

Jilted ex-“Apprentice” star and former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has told friends and associates that she has tapes of private phone calls from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, according to two sources with whom she has discussed the recording.

She claims her stash of recordings — which she is dribbling out to keep the publicity machine going around the release of her new book “Unhinged” — includes a condolence call she received from the couple the day after she was fired by chief of staff John Kelly last December.

Both Trump and Kushner can be heard wishing Manigault Newman the best and telling her they had no idea her head was on the chopping block, according to the people with whom she has discussed the call.

Manigault Newman’s claim about the new tape provides additional confirmation Continue reading “Omarosa claims to have secretly recorded Jared and Ivanka”

Omarosa claims to have secretly recorded Jared and Ivanka

She says she’s got Javanka on tape, too.

Jilted ex-“Apprentice” star and former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has told friends and associates that she has tapes of private phone calls from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, according to two sources with whom she has discussed the recording.

She claims her stash of recordings — which she is dribbling out to keep the publicity machine going around the release of her new book “Unhinged” — includes a condolence call she received from the couple the day after she was fired by chief of staff John Kelly last December.

Both Trump and Kushner can be heard wishing Manigault Newman the best and telling her they had no idea her head was on the chopping block, according to the people with whom she has discussed the call.

Manigault Newman’s claim about the new tape provides additional confirmation Continue reading “Omarosa claims to have secretly recorded Jared and Ivanka”