The administration of President Donald Trump is crumbling amid the raging Russia probe, as Mike Dubke has now resigned from the post of communications director. His departure gives Press Secretary Sean Spicer more responsibilities in the White House.
Trump has reportedly been considering a shakeup of the White House to shut down the growing number of scandals revolving around his administration,
In what comes as an apparent continuation of the drama in the Trump administration against the backdrop of the FBI investigation into alleged links to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, Mr. Dubke announced his resignation in a meeting with the President on May 18.
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While his resignation comes as somewhat of a surprise, the veteran GOP strategist’s resignation from one of the most prominent positions in the Trump administration could set precedent for other White House officials to leave too. As Trump’s potential impeachment offenses continue to mount, if more Republicans turn their back on Trump, it could move America closer to seeing him impeached.
The reasons for Mr. Dubke’s resignation are, however, “personal,” the former communications director said himself in an interview with POLITICO after the news of his resignation leaked online.
Impeachment of Trump after Dubke’s resignation?
Mr. Dubke revealed in the interview that Trump accepted his resignation “immediately” in their private meeting on May 18, more than a week before the FBI focused its Russia probe on Trump’s inner circle – particularly his son-in-law and one of his most vital White House advisers, Jared Kushner. Mr. Dubke also insists that he offered to stay through the President’s first foreign trip to help him develop and promote his agenda while in the Middle East and Europe.
Spicer, who serves as press secretary for the Trump administration, is likely to return to his dual responsibility of both press secretary and communications director until the President finds a new replacement for Mr. Dubke, according to POLITICO, which cites an unnamed White House official.
Mr. Dubke, who served as the communications director for a little over three months, apparently holds no grudge against Trump. He wrote in an email obtained by POLITICO on Tuesday morning that it “has been my great honor to serve President Trump and this administration.” Hence, his departure is most likely not going to be interpreted by Republicans as a green light to turn their back on the President.
Mysteries around Dubke and his resignation
There are, however, multiple mysteries surrounding Mr. Dubke and his resignation from the White House. Mr. Dubke was commonly viewed as a close ally of Spicer, who on Tuesday gave his first briefing since Trump’s return from his first foreign trip. The former communications director admitted to POLITICO following his resignation that he was “surprised” that the news of his departure took 12 days to leak out. For the Trump administration, which is no stranger to having its secrets spilled, leaks are a common occurrence, which is another issue Trump will have to address if he indeed intends to shake things up at the White House.
Mr. Dubke is a veteran Republican operative whose appointment as communications director for the Trump administration raised the eyebrows of many political experts. Many experts wondered why the President decided to appoint him instead of one of his loyalists.
Trump becoming “more frustrated” with Kushner amid Russia probe
Mr. Dubke’s resignation comes at a very turbulent time for the administration, as the FBI is in the middle of investigating Trump’s alleged links to the Russians. Just last week, the investigation focused on his son-in-law Kushner, who investigators believe attempted to set up secret communications with Russia during his father-in-law’s presidential campaign last year. Kushner is also said to have had multiple secret meetings with Russian officials, including Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
What makes Kushner a person of interest in the Russia probe is that he never disclosed his meetings with Russian officials on security clearance forms, according to The Washington Post. Trump, meanwhile, is becoming “more frustrated” with Kushner amid the probe, which has plagued his administration, according to POLITICO.
It remains unclear at this point if Trump is willing to fire Kushner from his advisory position, but Kushner’s lawyer previously insisted that his client would be open to cooperating with the FBI on the Russia probe.
Trump may have “ordered” Kushner to set up communications with Russia
A former CIA official claims that Trump may have ordered his son-in-law to hold the alleged series of secret meetings with Russia during the transition. Philip Mudd, a security analyst who worked at the CIA for 25 years, told The Independent on Tuesday that the President may have been the one who ordered Kushner to set up a secret communications link with the Russians or at least approved it. Mr. Mudd insists that it’s very unlikely that Kushner acted alone when he allegedly decided to hold a low-key meeting with Russian ambassador Kislyak in December. According to The New Yorker, which cites an unnamed White House official, it lasted “just for a few minutes.”
“He is a member of the family, he is a trusted adviser,” said Mr. Mudd. “But he’s not someone who believes he should just go and run channels, particularly at that point, particularly in the transition period.”
Is a White House shakeup underway?
As the Russia probe rages and continues to be a big headache for President Trump, POLITICO alleges that he told friends weeks prior to Mr. Dubke’s resignation that he was unhappy with how the communications director operates. The news outlet also claims that he even seemingly blamed Mr. Dubke for not getting positive press anymore. The publication alleges that the President did not have a foreign policy doctrine ahead of his first foreign trip, and that was essentially one of Mr. Dubke’s responsibilities as communications director.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway has for weeks dismissed reports that Trump could be planning a major shakeup of his administration to confront scandals revolving around the Russia probe. However, POLITICO alleges that the U.S. President has in recent days been considering bringing back those who worked for him during his 2016 election campaign.
Trump’s potential plans for a shakeup of the White House remain under wraps, and it’s yet unclear how changes in his administration might affect the Russia probe.