Reince Priebus has left the White House, and with his departure the last meaningful pocket of Republican establishment influence has been swept from the Trump administration. Trump’s ex-Chief of Staff was formerly the Chairmen of the Republican National Committee, with the deep ties to the party that come with the job.
The Trump administration is now run by fringe firebrands like white nationalist Steve Bannon and lapsed Democrats like Jared Kushner and Anthony Scaramucci. With no authentic Republicans left to anchor the presidency in conservative dogma, it appears the establishment is starting to distance itself from Donald.
Buzzfeed reports that the RNC has told its staff to preserve any documents related to the 2016 campaign.
“Given the important role that the RNC plays in national elections and the potentially expansive scope of the inquiries and investigations, it is possible that we will be contacted with requests for information. Therefore, we must preserve all documents potentially relevant to these matters until they are resolved or until we are informed by all necessary parties that preservation is no longer necessary,” reads an RNC memo recounted by Buzzfeed.
The same memo orders staff not to destroy paper or digital files. The directive comes as special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to pick up steam behind the scenes. It seems likely that Mueller’s team will need the RNC documents to fill in the full picture of how and when Russia interfered in the U.S. election. While the RNC went on to add that their primary concern is possible hacking attempts against themselves, there is little reason to believe that it’s what the evidence will actually indicate.
The memo also seems to indicate an increased willingness on the part of the Republican Party to put distance between itself and the self-destructive president. While the move to preserve the relevant documents is the correct, intelligent decision, the announcement is bad PR for Trump at a time when he can’t afford it.
If the GOP abandons Trump entirely, expect FOX News and the right-wing media to migrate as well. Once they’re gone, Trump’s support amongst his base will start to evaporate. The incentive for the Republicans to impeach Trump and install their golden boy Mike Pence grows by the day.