WASHINGTON — Despite all evidence to the contrary, President Donald Trump insists the White House is operating like a fine piece of American machinery.
“No WH chaos!” he posted to Twitter Monday morning.
“A great day at the White House!” he wrote in the evening.
Actually, it was another day consumed with turmoil, dysfunction and, of course, revelations — as has become the norm since Trump moved into the White House.
The Washington Post reported late Monday that Trump intervened in his team’s planned response to the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. had met in 2016 with a lawyer linked to the Russian government, dictating that his son claim the meeting primarily focused on a Russian adoption program.
Advisers told the Post they worry that by directing his son’s response, Trump may have put himself at legal risk.
“This was . . . unnecessary,” one of Trump’s advisers reportedly told the Post. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”
Initially, Trump’s team had planned to give a truthful account of the June 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Post reported. But while en route back to the U.S. from the Group of 20 summit in Germany on July 8, Trump — fresh off a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin — stepped in.
The statement Trump Jr. put out that day read:
“It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.
“I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”
The next day, after The New York Times revealed the meeting was to discuss dirt on Clinton, Trump Jr. changed his explanation, saying he took the meeting because he was made to believe that the individual “might have information helpful to the campaign.”
The Washington Post’s latest scoop adds to what was already another astonishing day for the Trump administration — one that saw White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci forced out of his position after just 10 days on the job.
And Monday comes on the heels of what was arguably the White House’s most head-spinning week to date. Along with Trump attacking his own attorney general, endorsing police brutality and giving a bizarre, highly politicized speech to tens of thousands of Boy Scouts, last week included the fall of former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Scaramucci’s vulgar tirade to The New Yorker, and Republican senators defeating a “skinny” repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
It’s early, but the White House’s “American Dream” week ― the third in a series of Trump administration theme weeks to promote U.S. products and people ― is off to a rocky start.
This article has been updated to include other events in Monday’s White House turmoil.