At times, focus on press was a blessing for Trump; at other times, it was a burden
President Donald Trump takes questions from reporters at the Capitol in March, alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, and Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. Robert Mueller's report reveals a media-obsessed chief executive. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
ANALYSIS — Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation of the Trump White House reveals a presidency calibrated to drive and respond to media coverage of itself. Though unconventional, Donald Trump’s unique approach helped save his presidency.
At several critical points of his turbulent term, Mueller found that Trump — who once cold-called New York reporters claiming to be a public relations agent named “John Barron” to promote his real estate ventures — was mostly focused on responding to negative press reports or trying to generate positive ones. When the president took several questionable actions, the former FBI director concluded, it was because he was focused on a “press strategy” — and misleading or even lying to reporters is not a crime.