Nov 6, 2019

Pam Bondi and Tony Sayegh to join White House to assist impeachment strategy

Tony Sayegh. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images; Pam Bondi. Photo: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Treasury spokesperson Tony Sayegh are expected to join the White House communications team to help with President Trump's impeachment strategy, according to a senior administration official.

The big picture: Both of the officials' roles are temporary, and they will be designated as special government employees. Bondi is a longtime Trump backer, having endorsed him the day before the 2016 primary despite Florida Sen. Marco Rubio still being in the race. Sayegh helped craft a communications plan for Trump's tax overhaul in his previous role in the administration.

Between the lines: It's noteworthy that six weeks into the impeachment inquiry, the White House is now bringing on people to specifically deal with impeachment messaging. It comes as some Republicans on the Hill have called for stronger messaging from the White House, where internally different factions have struggled to form a unified response. 

Behind the scenes: Axios' Jonathan Swan reports that one reason it took so long to bring on extra people to help with impeachment was Trump’s own reservations. Trump privately told advisers he thought it could make the White House look weak and defensive if they formed an impeachment “war room” or added staff specifically for impeachment defense, per sources with direct knowledge.

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The cracks in Trump’s GOP shield

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump’s mockery of coronavirus masks, his false claims about the dangers of voting by mail and his insinuations that a cable TV nemesis was involved in a murder are testing more high-profile Republicans' willingness to look the other way.

The big picture: Republicans learned a long time ago how dangerous it is to alienate Trump’s base — which is why any hint of disagreement, even a whisper, is so remarkable when it happens.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. cities crack down on protesters

The scene near the 5th police precinct during a demonstration calling for justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis on Saturday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of demonstrators gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: What you need to know

Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Clashes erupted between law enforcement and protesters in several major U.S. cities Saturday night as demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black men spread across the country.

The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.