Send in the lawyers
After President Trump was impeached for a second time, the White House posted a video Wednesday evening of the president "unequivocally" condemning the "violence and vandalism" at the U.S. Capitol last week and urging his supporters to "ease tensions, calm tempers, and help to promote peace in our country." Advisers say the video was partly the result of Trump's "realization of the catastrophic fallout from the deadly siege," The New York Times reports, and "the aides most involved in the language of the video" were White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, deputy counsel Pat Philbin, and Stephen Miller, Trump's main speechwriter.
Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, aide Dan Scavino, and Vice President Mike Pence "persuaded Trump to film the video, telling him it could boost support among weak Republicans," The Washington Post reports. "Even after it was recorded and posted," the Times adds, "Trump still had to be reassured."
Unlike Trump's last impeachment, the White House mounted no discernible effort to defend Trump on Wednesday, and it has no apparent strategy for his Senate trial. Rudy Giuliani is "still expected to play a role in Trump's impeachment defense but has been left out of most conversations thus far," CNN reports, adding that "aides were not clear" if Trump is serious about not paying Giuliani for his work trying to overturn the election, "given he's lashing out at nearly everyone after the day's events."
But "Cipollone, who was central to the president's defense in his first impeachment a year ago, told other staffers to make sure word got out that he was not involved in defending Trump this time," the Post reports, citing one aide. Trump's isolation "is the logical conclusion of someone who will only accept people in his inner orbit if they are willing to completely set themselves on fire on his behalf, and you've just reached a point to where everyone is burned out," a senior administration official told the Post.. "Everyone is thinking, 'I'll set myself on fire for the president of the United States for this, for this, and for this — but I'm not doing it for that.'"