The FBI raided the law offices and home of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, on Monday morning. We now know they were looking for emails and documents related to Cohen’s $130,000 payment to the porn actress Stormy Daniels through a shell company—which Daniels said was hush money for her to keep quiet about her affair with Trump—along with evidence of any potential shady dealings in New York City real estate and Cohen’s ownership of valuable taxi medallions. (Cohen’s lawyers have called the raids “inappropriate and unnecessary.”)
If you can believe the great mass of tick-tock reporting published by the political press since then, Trump is madder than a wet hen about this latest development. Multiple outlets have reported that people close to the president (who, of course, remain unnamed) think special counsel Robert Mueller has finally crossed a “red line” that can’t be uncrossed and that his job is—once again—on the line, for real this time.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Trump is TOTALLY OUT OF HIS MIND and ABOUT TO CAREEN OVER THE EDGE. But just how mad is he about Mueller’s latest attack on his inner circle? Let’s see! (emphasis mine throughout)
‘He’s losing his shit’ (via Politico)
Angry and increasingly isolated, the president is more unpredictable than ever, according to four people close to him.
“A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning. He also added: “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”
A GOP operative close to the White House told POLITICO: “The all caps tweet, that’s the primal scream. That’s the war cry.”
“He’s losing his shit,” the operative added. “We’re at a different level now.”
He’s ‘bitching and moaning,’ ‘brooding and doesn’t have a plan’ (via Vanity Fair)
There have been times during Robert Mueller’s investigation—Mueller’s subpoenaing of Trump business records, for instance—when White House advisers worried Trump seemed on the verge of triggering a constitutional crisis by firing Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The stunning Cohen raid is another one of these moments. “He’s sitting there bitching and moaning. He’s brooding and doesn’t have a plan,” a Republican close to the White House said last night. “I could see him having a total meltdown and saying, ‘Fuck it, I’m firing all of them,’” a Trump friend told me. “This is very dry tinder. If someone strikes a match to it, you could see it catching fire,” added a former official.
Aides are talking Trump down from a mistake that could ‘consume his presidency’ (via The New York Times)
The early-morning searches enraged Mr. Trump, associates said, setting off an angry public tirade Monday evening that continued in private at the White House as the president fumed about whether he should fire Mr. Rosenstein. The episode has deeply unsettled White House aides, Justice Department officials and lawmakers from both parties, who believe the president may use it as a pretext to purge the team leading the investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.
Mr. Trump’s advisers have spent the last 24 hours trying to convince the president not to make an impulsive decision that could put the president in more legal jeopardy and ignite a controversy that could consume his presidency, several people close to Mr. Trump said. The president began Tuesday morning with a pair of angry tweets, calling the raids “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!” and venting that “attorney–client privilege is dead!”
‘A bomb on Trump’s front porch’ (via The Washington Post)
Cohen is Trump’s virtual vault — the keeper of his secrets, from his business deals to his personal affairs — and the executor of his wishes.
“This search warrant is like dropping a bomb on Trump’s front porch,” said Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney in Alabama.
Mark S. Zaid, a Washington lawyer, said the seizure of Cohen’s records “should be the most concerning for the president.”
“You can’t get much worse than this, other than arresting someone’s wife or putting pressure on a family member,” he said. “This strikes at the inner sanctum: your lawyer, your CPA, your barber, your therapist, your bartender. All the people who would know the worst about you.”
He’s stomping around visibly angry (via CNN)
Trump made the decision on his own to directly — and bluntly — address the FBI raid of Cohen’s office during his meeting with top military brass and his national security advisers. One White House official said there was no discussion among aides about the President not talking about it at his event.
He wanted to air his grievances, the official said, and react publicly to the news that had enraged him for the past two hours.
“You can see how angry he is,” the White House official said.
The raid ‘struck a nerve unlike anything else’
Exactly how much rope does it take to tie Trump to a chair to keep him from all-caps tweeting “YOUR FIRED MUELLER!!!”? Only time—and White House aides leaking their grave concerns to the Beltway press—will tell.