Jul 8, 2018

Midterm payback: How Democrats will torment Trump

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

At the end of last week, one of Washington’s most battle-hardened and sought-after lawyers forecast an ominous future for the Trump administration. We thought the lawyer's analysis was worth reproducing in full as it echoes what we're hearing from other attorneys in close touch with Trump's White House.

The big picture: "The Pruitt situation should be a warning sign to the administration about what will happen if the Democrats take the House."

Between the lines: "Pruitt’s ultimate downfall came from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee agreeing on a bipartisan basis to summon his staffers in for transcribed interviews. The Pruitt 'team' fell apart when he could no longer protect them and they had to hire their own lawyers, turn over documents and answer questions under penalty of perjury."

  • "Self-preservation kicked in and they spilled the beans. That is what happened on a bipartisan basis where Democrats were constrained."

What's next: "Imagine a world where the constraints are gone and every agency is fair game. That is what may be coming and it will completely immobilize the Administration’s immigration agenda and deregulatory agenda. And the smart aides will leave quickly rather than subject themselves to potentially ruinous legal bills."

  • Yes, it's probably true that Pruitt is a bad example. Or at least not a model case of what's to come. He brought this on himself, flagrantly abused his office, and gave investigators from both parties a ton of material to work with. Even some of his closest allies ended up turning against him and telling us that his narcissism and petty corruption got way out of control.

But the principle remains: Another top Washington lawyer pointed out that this cycle is entirely predictable, and repeats itself over and over when one chamber is taken over by the opposition party.  

  • "It will be even worse than in prior presidencies because the intensity of the mutual animosity is so great that the House will do everything in its power to destroy the Trump administration with investigations and attacks," the source predicted.  

The bottom line: This second lawyer, who is familiar with the inner workings of the Trump White House, told us there is "no way" that this "disorganized and dysfunctional bunch" is adequately prepared for the inevitable legal and investigatory onslaught should Democrats win the House in November.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 6,889,889 — Total deaths: 399,642 — Total recoveries — 3,085,326Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,920,061 — Total deaths: 109,802 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct. A memorial service was held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor him until sunset.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.