Kellyanne Conway spoke with CNN’s Brian Stelter yesterday, and while they covered a fair amount of ground, I was struck by this exchange on speculation that Donald Trump may look for ways to get rid of Special Counsel Bob Mueller:
STELTER: [M]any people are afraid if this president fires Robert Mueller, we will be in a constitutional crisis. Why doesn’t the president just want Mueller to prove that Trump is right, that Russia was a hoax? Why doesn’t he want Mueller to go ahead and confirm that for him?
CONWAY: Well, isn’t Mr. Mueller and his band of Democratic donors doing that? Are they trying to do that?
In context, it wasn’t altogether clear what point Conway was trying to make. It sounded as if Conway was looking for a way to use the phrase “Mr. Mueller and his band of Democratic donors” and so she just forced the phrase into the conversation.
Regardless, there have been multiple reports of late about Trump World looking for ways to undermine and discredit Mueller’s ongoing investigation, and Conway was effectively sharing what she’d come up with: some people on the special counsel’s team have contributed to Democratic candidates for public office.
It is, by any fair measure, a tough sell. This investigation is, after all, being led by Mueller, a lifelong Republican. Unless Conway and her colleagues are prepared to argue that Trump can only be investigated by an entire team made up exclusively of other Republicans, Mueller working with some attorneys who’ve supported Democratic candidates isn’t exactly scandalous.
But even putting that aside, if Democratic donations are inherent grounds for suspicion according to Team Trump, Conway has reason to be paranoid while walking through the West Wing.
After all, Jared Kushner has contributed to Democratic candidates. So has new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. The lead attorney on Trump’s outside legal team has given money to, among others, Barack Obama and Al Franken.
A guy by the name of Donald J. Trump Sr. – who happens to be a Republican president – has contributed generously to a variety of Democrats, including Chuck Schumer.
If Kellyanne Conway doubts Mueller’s legal team because it features a “band of Democratic donors,” I shudder to think how uncomfortable she must be in the Trump White House.