Aides had to persuade President Donald Trump not to go to the House floor to defend himself during Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings after White House officials refused to defend his role in last week’s Capitol riot, The New York Times reports.
Trump “had to be dissuaded” from heading over to the House to argue his case, as he wanted to do in his first impeachment as well.
The House voted to impeach Trump for a second time on Wednesday, with 10 Republicans joining every House Democrat to initiate a trial in the Senate.
Trump has also floated the idea of pardoning himself, though White House counsel Pat Cipollone and others have warned against such a move.
Trump “has never been more isolated,” the Times reported, noting that many aides have already left their jobs and those remaining have tried to avoid the Oval Office.
White House counsel won’t defend:
Cipollone is not preparing to defend Trump in the Senate trial, according to the report. Trump has been unusually silent on the proceedings since he was banned from every mainstream social media network, issuing only several statements urging against violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration at the urging of attorneys.
Trump’s aides have warned him of potential legal exposure for last week’s riot.
“As I have said, the incursion of the U.S. Capitol struck at the very heart of our republic,” Trump said in a video on Wednesday. “It angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum.”
“I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week,” he added. “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country. And no place in our movement. Making America great again has always been about defending the rule of law.”
“If you do any of these things you are not supporting our movement. You are attacking it and you are attacking our country,” Trump said. “We cannot tolerate it.”
Trump furious at GOP:
Trump fumed at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while watching impeachment coverage after The New York Times reported that he supports the impeachment and may vote to convict the president.
Trump has even “deeper anger” at House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy for condemning his role in fomenting the violence.
Trump has increasingly groused about attorney Rudy Giuliani, who led a failed effort to stoke conspiracy theories about the election results and has told aides not to pay him. White House officials have started blocking Giuliani’s calls to the president.