A week after the tell-all book from James Comey exploded onto the scene, President Donald Trump is telling aides and confidants something he rarely does: He’s pleased at how Republicans and the White House led the charge to try and discredit the former FBI director.
From the Oval Office, complaints are heard far more frequently than compliments. The President has told multiple people this week at Mar-a-lago – and late last week in the West Wing – that he believes Comey’s book has had little impact on him.
The President’s allies spent weeks bracing for the release of Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” with some worrying whether Trump’s reaction would negatively influence the Russia investigation.
“So far he’s weathered Comey,” a Republican who spoke to the President at Mar-a-lago this week. “It’s Cohen that’s consuming him.”
Cohen, of course, is Michael Cohen, the President’s longtime lawyer and fixer. His legal case is causing significant turmoil inside the White House, three administrations officials told CNN, far more than Comey.
Cohen is considered “a wild card that we can do little to nothing about,” one of the officials said.
The President is asking multiple people for advice on Cohen, the officials said, including Ivanka Trump, who is close to Cohen.
The President has told several people he doesn’t think Cohen would betray him, the officials said, but that has not quieted the questions.
As for Comey, the American public will have the final say on how Comey’s book influences opinions on Trump. It’s far too soon to say whether the orchestrated Republican efforts to discredit Comey will have a lasting effect, but the release of his book has unleashed far more criticism than support, with Democrats all but silent over it.
To be sure, Comey has far more of his book tour to come – including his face-to-face interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday and a CNN town hall next week with Anderson Cooper.
Republicans intend to send a staffer dressed in a lion’s costume to tail Comey on his upcoming book tour, aides said, trying to drive home their theme “Lyin’Comey” in local press coverage.