President Trump has told confidants that a government shutdown could be good for him politically and is focusing on his hard-line immigration stance as a way to win back supporters unhappy with his outreach to Democrats this fall, according to people who have spoken with him recently.
Over the past 10 days, the president has also told advisers that it is important that he is seen as tough on immigration and getting money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two people who have spoken with him. He has asked friends about how a shutdown would affect him politically and has told several people he would put the blame on Democrats.
Trump’s mixed messages on a partial government shutdown could hamper the ability of congressional Republicans to negotiate with Democrats, whose support they need to pass spending legislation in coming weeks. Many Republicans said this week that a shutdown is a possibility they hope to avoid. Even inside the White House, aides fret about the possibility, saying it would not poll well…
THIS IS FINE, Repubs reply.
President Donald Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half-dozen lawmakers and aides. Trump’s requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the intelligence committee chairman, said in an interview this week that Trump told him that he was eager to see an investigation that has overshadowed much of the first year of his presidency come to an end.
“It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,’” Burr said. He said he replied to Trump that “when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish.”
In addition, according to lawmakers and aides, Trump told Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of the intelligence committee, to end the investigation swiftly…
Trump’s requests of lawmakers to end the Senate investigation came during a period in the summer when the president was particularly consumed with Russia and openly raging at his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from any inquiries into Russian meddling in the election. Trump often vented to his own aides and even declared his innocence to virtual strangers he came across on his New Jersey golf course.
In this same period, the president complained frequently to McConnell about not doing enough to bring the investigation to an end, a Republican official close to the leader said.
Republicans downplayed Trump’s appeals, describing them as the actions of a political newcomer unfamiliar with what is appropriate presidential conduct…
During this time, Trump made several calls to senators without senior staff present, according to one West Wing official. According to senators and other Republicans familiar with the conversations, Trump would begin the talks on a different topic but eventually drift toward the Russia investigation.
In conversations with McConnell and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Trump voiced sharp anger that congressional Republicans were not helping lift the cloud of suspicion over Russia, the senators told political allies. The Times reported in August that the president had complained to McConnell that he was failing to shield Trump from an ongoing Senate inquiry…