Even as the White House appears to settle on the legal tactics to stave off Democrats’ impeachment demands, uncertainty and unease over Trump’s messaging approach remains high among his Republican allies, who see the ever-growing inquiry consuming the White House.
Trump has offered scant indication he is turning his focus to governing, despite his lawyers writing in a letter to Democrats that “he remains focused on fulfilling his promises to the American people.”
Instead, the President has spent hours tweeting about the impeachment and lighting up the phone lines of his allies on Capitol Hill — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to whom he’s stressed the importance of Republican unity.
In private, Trump is increasingly leaning on the Republican leader in the Senate. In a return to the President’s panicked behavior during the height of the Mueller investigation, Trump is calling McConnell as often as three times a day, according to a person familiar with the conversations.
McConnell has told a small number of Republicans about the President’s calls.
“This story, based on a single anonymous source, is categorically false. Leader McConnell never said anything like this,” Doug Andres, a McConnell spokesman, said.
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.
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.