Speed Reads

Trump Trouble

Trump's new 'Contract With America' is a ploy to distract him from airing his grievances, Maggie Haberman says

Former President Donald Trump is worried about what appears to be a snowballing criminal investigation of his business, and he has been for months, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN on Wednesday. 

"People close to him all say he is anxious about this," Haberman said. "I'm aware that Trump has been spending a lot of time at Trump Tower over the last couple of weeks, since he left Palm Beach and returned, ostensibly, to his club at Bedminster, New Jersey. But where he has been spending a lot of time instead is Trump Tower, and there have been lots of meetings related to these investigations." 

Politico on Wednesday quoted a Trump adviser saying "there's definitely a cloud of nerves in the air" on Trump's team, but CNN's Brianna Keilar also pointed to a different Politico article about Trump working with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on a new "Contract With America." Haberman said that's mostly a way of distracting Trump. "Newt Gingrich and Lindsey Graham, Graham in particular, have been trying to get Trump to focus on something policy-related," something "along the lines of the 'Contract With America,' which is what Newt Gingrich did in the 1990s," she said. "And part of why they're focused on that is because they want to try to get Trump to stop focusing on the 2020 election." 

Half of Trump's public comments are still about his false claims the election was stolen or untrue characterizations of the controversial audits still underway by his supporters, Haberman added, "and so I think this is an effort to try to move him past that, because it will help other Republicans in the midterms in 2022. Whether they will be successful, I think, is a real open question. Graham in particular has tried many different times to focus Trump's energy on policy, on something other than himself and on his sense of grievance, and he has been met with mixed success at best."