Sep 30, 2019

Trump goes to war without a war room

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Jay Sekulow, a private lawyer for President Trump, tells me that the White House doesn't plan a "war room"-like structure of legal and communications rapid response like President Bill Clinton deployed during the last impeachment fight.

Invoking the Mueller investigation, Sekulow said: "We have just handled a major investigation that was multifaceted and multi-jurisdictional. There was no war room. We responded as appropriate. We won that battle."

Sekulow said the impeachment inquiry "will be handled the same way."

  • "Solid teams are in place both inside the White House and outside," the lawyer said. "I am confident that we will meet any issues with Congress."
  • Trump, like during the Russia probe, will often serve as the commander, the spokesman, and the combatant.
  • You saw this last night when he decided to quote a pastor claiming America could fall into a civil war if he is ousted. 

Lanny Davis, the face of Clinton's war room during the impeachment battle of 1998-99, said Trump's team is making a mistake by not distinguishing between the Mueller investigation and impeachment.

  • Davis said the Clinton war room included about a dozen people, half of them lawyers.
  • "Without facts, good or bad," Davis told me, "you can't effectively defend against impeachment."

Go deeper: Pelosi's point of no return

Go deeper

Lanny Davis recalls Bill Clinton impeachment strategy

Lanny Davis. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Lanny Davis, the face of Bill Clinton's war room during the impeachment battle of 1998–99, looks back on the way their team handled the saga.

The big picture: Clinton's team had a "very defined," three-part strategy, Davis tells Axios.

Go deeperArrowOct 20, 2019

Scoop: The West Wing's impeachment war room

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution yesterday condemning the Trump impeachment inquiry. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Top Trump officials have quietly created a de facto impeachment war room, with a chief goal of policing and solidifying Republican Senate support for acquittal.

What's happening: Most senior officials in the White House recognized quickly that the G7 and Syria decisions harmed the president's standing with Senate Republicans, and realized that could bleed over and cause problems for their impeachment firewall.

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

Trump says Trey Gowdy can't join legal team until January

Trey Gowdy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Thursday that former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy can't join his legal team until January because of federal lobbying rules.

Why it matters: Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow confirmed on Wednesday that Gowdy had agreed to operate as Trump's outside counsel as the president faces an impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats. However, the House committees conducting the investigation are already moving full steam ahead with subpoenas and witness depositions and are likely to vote on articles of impeachment before the end of the year.

Go deeper: Trey Gowdy agrees to serve as outside counsel for Trump

Keep ReadingArrowOct 10, 2019