Trump grows defiant as the White House becomes a ghost town

Trump grows defiant as the White House becomes a ghost town

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is set to be impeached, again, on Wednesday, but this time, he will lack the megaphone of Twitter to respond and b

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is set to be impeached, again, on Wednesday, but this time, he will lack the megaphone of Twitter to respond and be without a robust and aggressive defense from his White House and allies.

Stripped of the ability to fire off real-time responses, Trump must rely on a White House staff that has largely been replaced with moving boxes as aides head for the exits and allies fail to offer a defense of him in public.

But the silence from the president shouldn’t be interpreted as submission, those close to him say. Instead, Trump continues to cling to his false assertion that he won the election and is refusing pleas that he leave office days before his term expires because of his role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Jan. 13, 202103:02

Trump, who would be the first president to be impeached twice, remains both defiant and sullen, said one former White House official who is familiar with his current discussions.

Trump has refused to resign in the face of calls for him to leave office, including from a growing number of Republicans, according to people close to the president.

“He is not the resigning type,” said one person familiar with Trump’s thinking. Instead, the person said “I think he’d rather go out fighting.”

The staff in White Houses normally thins in the final days of an administration as people secure new jobs, but Trump’s West Wing has become a ghost town after resignations following last week’s riot and some aides opting to just avoid the building, which has been a Covid-19 hot spot for months.

Meanwhile, outside allies say they have grown deeply concerned that there are so few people left at the White House to do the critical jobs in the final days when White House staff would typically be focused on handing off operations to the incoming administration.

Trump has remained focused on issuing a wave of pardons in the coming days, including to family members, according to sources familiar with his plans. He has continued this week to discuss a pardon for himself, even though he has been advised against it, according to people familiar with the conversations.

Trump aides continue to discuss him delivering one or two final speeches in a final attempt to promote what he sees as his key accomplishments and criticize social media companies for banning his accounts, according to sources. The speech team has started working on draft sections but no final decisions have been made.

Unlike his previous impeachment, Trump has few public defenders and the White House hasn’t been making efforts to marshal them. There have been no White House talking points distributed to surrogates to respond to the Capitol riot.

Trump has also not assembled a defense team for a possible impeachment trial. The team would likely feature Rudy Giuliani, Alan Dershowitz, and possibly others, said a person familiar with the matter. Dershowitz said he hasn’t yet been contacted by anyone in the Trump administration.

With less than a week left in the White House, it is still unclear where Trump will be on Inauguration Day. Trump said he will not attend Biden’s swearing-in ceremony and some advisers have said they expect him to leave the White House before Inauguration Day.

There is a growing sense among advisers that Trump has accepted the fact that he will be leaving the White House, said a person familiar with the president’s thinking.

“I think everyone thinks he’s becoming a lot more accepting of that,” the person said.

Carol E. Lee, Monica Alba and Kelly O’Donnell contributed.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com

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