Donald J. Trump is preparing his endgame. Besieged in every direction—by Robert Mueller’s multi-pronged special-counsel inquiry, by the FBI and the Department of Justice, by several congressional committees, and by a steady drumbeat of leaks—the White House is building an Alamo-like fortress to protect the president. In the battles ahead, Trump is relying on his innermost core of loyalists: his two sons, his daughter, his son-in-law, his lawyers, and a select group of White House staffers and former campaign advisers who’ve passed muster by pledging ultimate fealty to the commander in chief.
Everyone else is either being thrown overboard or getting the runaround, and many who were once considered Trump’s closest allies are now seen as likely to resign. These include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under relentless attack from the president, and Reince Priebus, the out-of-favor White House chief of staff. An obsequious GOP organization man, Priebus lost a key ally last week with the ouster of Sean Spicer, a former aide and spokesman for the RNC, who served just six rocky months as White House press secretary. Following Spicer’s exit, another White House communications staffer, Michael Short, was forced out. And there will be more to come.
“I’m going to fire everybody,” said Anthony Scaramucci, the Wall Street tycoon and political neophyte whose appointment as White House communications director prompted Spicer to quit and who is now rumored to be in the running to take over as White House chief of staff, replacing Priebus. “If I’ve got to get the thing down to me and Sarah Huckabee, then the leaking will stop,” he said.
A strong indication that Trump and Scaramucci are getting ready to lower the boom on Priebus came with Scaramucci’s overt warning, issued on Wednesday. “If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that,” he said. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that Trump is engaged in detailed talks about ousting Sessions, despite vociferous objections from Sessions’s GOP allies and Breitbart News.