The Manafort Indictment
Trump is reportedly 'seething' and plotting after Mueller indictments, aides are 'freaking out'
The White House spent Monday insisting that everything was calm after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of President Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his top aide, Rick Gates, plus the newly announced guilty plea of a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos. Trump's lawyers and White House press secretary insisted the president had no big reaction to the news.
But "Trump's anger Monday was visible to those who interacted with him, and the mood in the corridors of the White House was one of weariness and fear of the unknown," The Washington Post reports. Trump spent much of Monday watching TV upstairs in his private residence, "seething," a Republican close to the White House tells CNN. "In the hours after the indictment," The Associated Press says, "the president angrily told one confidant that Manafort had been a campaign 'part-timer' who had only helped steer the convention and got too much credit for Trump's ability to hold onto the nomination."
Trump had been expecting the Manafort indictment, but was taken off guard by the news that Papadopoulos had been cooperating with Mueller. "The walls are closing in," one senior Republican in close contact with top staffers told the Post. "Everyone is freaking out." The Post adds:
Away from the podium, Trump staffers fretted privately over whether Manafort or Gates might share with Mueller's team damaging information about other colleagues. They expressed concern in particular about Gates because he has a young family, may be more stretched financially than Manafort, and continued to be involved in Trump's political operation and had access to the White House, including attending West Wing meetings after Trump was sworn in. [The Washington Post]
Trump is said to be especially concerned that Mueller might be nosing around in his business dealings. His lawyers and top aides are encouraging him to refrain from attacking Mueller, but former strategist Stephen Bannon and adviser Roger Stone are urging him to go on the offensive.