Trump advisers are 'worn out' by the president's desperate efforts to subvert democracy and 'looking forward' to the end, report says
- White House staffers are "worn out" and just "looking forward" to the end of the chaotic final days of President Trump's presidency, The New York Times reported Wedneday.
- Trump is icing out White House staffers who aren't on board with his continued efforts to subvert and overturn the 2020 election results, turning instead to conspiracy theorists like lawyer Sidney Powell.
- On Tuesday night, Trump also threatened to blow up the omnibus coronavirus relief and government funding bill the House just passed.
- The Times described these final days as "bleak endeavors during which government workers are forced to spend time either executing the president's demand that election fraud be proven, or incurring his wrath."
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White House staffers are "worn out" and "looking forward" to the end of President Donald Trump's presidency in the chaotic waning days of the Trump administration, according to a new report in The New York Times.
Trump is spending the end of his presidency in denial over losing the presidential election, is pursuing a futile series of efforts to overturn the result, and, perhaps most perniciously, continuing to spread disinformation about election fraud.
On Tuesday evening, Trump also threw a stick of dynamite into the high-stakes dealings in Congress to pass an omnibus legislative package containing much-needed coronavirus relief and an appropriations bill that will fund the government for another fiscal year to avoid a costly government shutdown.
After the House passed the package, which is the first coronavirus relief from Congress since the CARES Act in the spring, Trump issued a video statement slamming the legislation. White House staff had previously said he would sign the deal.
He conflated aspects of the government funding legislation he doesn't like with the coronavirus stimulus deal, and criticized the $600 in direct-aid stimulus checks in the bill as insufficient, calling for $2,000-per-person checks instead.
Democrats, who have consistently pushed for more stimulus and higher amounts of direct aid, seized on Trump's comments to pressure their Republican colleagues to support bigger checks.
But with the clock ticking, the threat of a presidential veto now threatens to upend the entire package and put Congress into the position of having to override his veto in time to pass the relief bill and fund the government, which is set to run out of funding on December 28.
Trump has also threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a $740 billion spending package to fund the US military, because it includes provisions to rename military bases named for confederate generals and does not repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is completely unrelated to the military. Congress too could override that veto as early as next week.
The Times reported that it isn't clear whether Trump's burn-it-all-down approach to the end of his presidency is a "temper tantrum" or preparation for a "grievance-filled" 2024 presidential run.
Either way, it's left staffers walking on eggshells, with The Times characterizing these final days as "bleak endeavors during which government workers are forced to spend time either executing the president's demand that election fraud be proven, or incurring his wrath."
Outlets including The Times and Axios reported that in recent weeks Trump had turned to figures including the conspiracy-wielding conservative lawyer Sidney Powell, who has filed several failed lawsuits seeking to overturn election results, to tell him what he wants to hear.
The Times said that Trump is now icing out figures like White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr, who are pushing back on his continued efforts to either overturn the election or investigate non-existent election fraud.
Advisers including Cipollone have told Trump that Powell's idea of seizing voting machines is not legally or logistically possible, drawing Trump's frustration.
And in a Monday press conference, Barr broke with Trump in several crucial ways. He threw cold water on the idea of appointing special counsels to probe President-elect Joe Biden's son Hunter (who is already under a DOJ investigation over his tax affairs) and the 2020 election, said there is "no basis" for the federal government seizing voting machines, and backed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's conclusion that Russia was likely behind the massive cyberattack on SolarWinds,which Trump has disputed.
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