Back home after foreign trip, Trump faces slew of challenges
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
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.
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.