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professional opinion
December 10, 2018

As President Trump looks for a new chief of staff candidate after being turned down by his top choice, a former officeholder is offering some advice.

Rahm Emanuel, who was chief of staff for former President Barack Obama, wrote in The Atlantic that no matter who Trump picks to replace outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly, he or she won't be able to function the way a typical chief of staff does as long as Trump continues to "outsource significant authority to Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and other staffers." In fact, Emanuel suggests that whoever is hired "won't really be the chief of staff" because Trump is "unwilling to give anyone the authority needed to perform that job."

And what does Emanuel see as being needed? Well, he notes that Trump appears to be selecting Kelly's successor based on who can help him win re-election in 2020, which Emanuel sees as the wrong move. After all, there will be "other battles to fight" long before then, namely investigations from House Democrats and the impending report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election. What Trump really needs, Emanuel argues, is a "true wartime consigliere" who can help him manage "what is likely to be an incredibly damaging set of allegations." In other words, he needs a "steady hand." Whoever it is, Emanuel hopes this person will be "unusually good at protecting the rest of us from the president's penchant for self-destruction."

It's unclear who the president might end up selecting, but it doesn't sound like he's going to heed Emanuel's advice — CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports that Trump "wants his next chief of staff to be all politics, politics, politics." Brendan Morrow

November 21, 2018

One former federal prosecutor thinks President Trump's reported desire to order the Department of Justice to prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey is evidence enough to indict him.

Former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi told MSNBC Tuesday night that he could draft an indictment against Trump "right now." This, he said, would be on two counts, the first being "his relationship with Michael Cohen on the election fraud." He also said there's enough evidence to bring an obstruction of justice charge, which he pointed out Special Counsel Robert Mueller has the authority to do.

This came during a segment discussing the recent report from The New York Times that Trump wanted to order the Department of Justice to prosecute his political enemies, but former White House counsel Don McGahn had to warn him it could be an impeachable offense. Although Trump never officially made this request, Rossi suggested he could still be indicted for this, as it's an "attempt to obstruct justice" and is part of a "pattern." Rossi also said that what the Times report alleges is that Trump "essentially" asked McGahn to "commit a crime by obstructing justice."

Trump has submitted written answers to some of Mueller's questions but is still refusing to answer questions about obstruction of justice. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani insists Mueller has no case there, telling Axios, "I think their obstruction case, as a legal matter, doesn't exist." Watch Rossi's comments on MSNBC below. Brendan Morrow

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