Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, has created his own team of government allies and private industry representatives to work alongside the administration’s official coronavirus task force, adding another layer of confusion and conflicting signals within the White House’s disjointed response to the crisis.
During the campaign, when President Trump’s advisers wanted him to stop talking about a certain issue — such as when he attacked a Gold Star military family — they sometimes presented him with polls demonstrating how the controversy was harming his candidacy. During the transition, when aides needed Trump to decide on a looming issue or appointment, they often limited him to a shortlist of two or three options and urged him to choose one.
The vice president’s office said Pence’s decision to retain Cullen underscores his desire to fully cooperate with any inquiries related to the Russia probe and is in line with what Trump has done in hiring Kasowitz. Kasowitz has told some White House personnel that they do not need to hire their own lawyers, according to one person familiar with some of the legal discussions that have occurred inside the White House. But Pence’s move to hire an outside attorney could set off a scramble among other West Wing aides — many of whom are already bracing for subpoenas — to do the same, even if only as a protective measure.