In the run-up to the election, Rudy Giuliani was made to shut up. But now, with Trump making excuses for possibly losing the House, officials are bracing for a legal assault.
On Friday night, current and former staffers of Donald Trump’s West Wing gathered at Dina Powell’s Manhattan apartment to celebrate Hope Hicks’s 30th birthday. The party also served as a send off for Hicks, who’s moving to Los Angeles to run communications for Fox News’s parent company, “New Fox.” Over cupcakes and wine, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Anthony Scaramucci reminisced about old times with Hicks’s mom, Caye, and her older sister. One person not present was Hicks’s ex-boyfriend, Rob Porter, much to the relief of Hicks’s parents, a Hicks friend said.
The party provided a brief respite from the news cycle on the eve of the midterms in which Republicans are projected to lose the House of Representatives, and perhaps governorships in red states Georgia and Florida. “Everyone is resigned to the outcome,” a former West Wing official said. Sources said Trump has been privately working to absolve himself of any blame if indeed a blue wave washes over Washington. “He’s happy with his crowds and the turnout and the excitement. He’ll be able to say it would have been worse without him,” the former official said.
The bigger threat for Trump than losing control of Congress is Robert Mueller’s looming report. Sources say Trump advisers are girding themselves for Mueller to deliver the results of his investigation to the Justice Department as early as Wednesday, although it’s more likely he’ll wait till later this month. Sources say besides the president, the ones with the most exposure are Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr. “I’m very worried about Don Jr.,” said another former West Wing official who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The possible exposure would be that Mueller would demonstrate that Don Jr. perjured himself to investigators when he said he didn’t tell his father beforehand about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting to gather “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. (Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, declined to comment.)
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One potential sign of how seriously Trumpworld is treating the Mueller threat has been the near total silence of Rudy Giuliani. A constant presence on cable news over the summer, Giuliani hasn’t been on television in weeks. “What the hell happened to Rudy?” a former White House official said when I asked about Giuliani’s whereabouts. According to three sources briefed on Trump’s legal team, Giuliani has been in Europe visiting consulting clients as well as preparing a report with Trump lawyers Marty and Jane Raskin that is designed to provide a counter-narrative to Mueller’s document. “They don’t know what Mueller has but they have a good idea and they’re going to rebut it,” one Republican close to Giuliani said. But another source said Trump instructed Giuliani to stay off television to avoid hurting Trump’s midterm message. “Trump’s thinking is, ‘I gave you a lot of rope and now you got a lot of rope marks around your neck,’” the source said. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.)