Back home after for­eign trip, Trump faces slew of chal­lenges

Cape Breton Post - - World -

His whirl­wind for­eign trip com­plete, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump faces a slew of po­lit­i­cal and pol­icy chal­lenges at home and mush­room­ing in­quiries into al­le­ga­tions that Rus­sia med­dled in the U.S. elec­tion and had im­proper deal­ings with his cam­paign and as­so­ci­ates.

Trump re­turned to Washington late Satur­day after a nine­day trip to the Mid­dle East and Europe, his first trip abroad as pres­i­dent. Await­ing him were re­ports that his son-in-law and se­nior ad­viser, Jared Kush­ner, spoke with Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to the United States about set­ting up se­cret com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Moscow dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion.

White House aides pre­pared for po­ten­tial changes ahead, with the pres­i­dent mulling a staff over­haul amid frus­tra­tions over what he views as his com­mu­ni­ca­tion team’s fail­ures to push back against al­le­ga­tions. A rally planned Thurs­day in Iowa was post­poned due to “an un­fore­seen change’’ in Trump’s sched­ule.

While overseas, Trump’s long­time at­tor­ney, Marc Ka­sowitz, joined a still-form­ing le­gal team to help the pres­i­dent shoul­der the in­ten­si­fy­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tion and his as­so­ci­ates’ po­ten­tial in­volve­ment. More at­tor­neys with deep ex­pe­ri­ence in Washington in­ves­ti­ga­tions are ex­pected to be added, along with cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­perts, to help the White House

in the weeks ahead.

“They need to quar­an­tine this stuff and put the in­ves­ti­ga­tions in a sep­a­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tion,’’ said Jack Quinn, who served as White House coun­sel for Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton.

Dur­ing the Mon­ica Lewin­sky in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Clin­ton White House brought on a ded­i­cated group of lawyers and a cre­ated a sep­a­rate me­dia op­er­a­tion to

han­dle in­ves­ti­ga­tion-re­lated in­quiries so they didn’t com­pletely sub­sume the pres­i­dent’s agenda. “I think that was enor­mously help­ful,’’ Quinn said.

Trump, ac­cord­ing to one per­son fa­mil­iar with his think­ing, be­lieved he was fac­ing more of a com­mu­ni­ca­tions prob­lem than a le­gal one, de­spite the in­ten­si­fy­ing in­quiries. The per­son, like oth­ers, spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity in or­der to dis­cuss

pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

As he mulls new ad­di­tions and out­side re­in­force­ments, Trump has en­ter­tained bring­ing his for­mer cam­paign man­ager, Corey Le­wandowski, and for­mer deputy cam­paign man­ager, David Bossie, for­mally back into the fold. Both Le­wandowski and Bossie dis­cussed the prospect with the pres­i­dent be­fore his trip, ac­cord­ing to one per­son told of the con­ver­sa­tions.

AP PHOTO

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and first lady Me­la­nia Trump walk from Ma­rine One across the South Lawn to the White House in Washington, Satur­day, as they re­turn from Sigonella, Italy.

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