White House looks at Sayegh, Bondi to handle impeachment messaging: source


FILE PHOTO: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi listens to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he speaks to the National Association of Attorneys General 2018 Winter Meeting in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is considering former Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to handle its communications for the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the deliberations said on Friday.

The two were top contenders for the job of coordinating the White House response and messaging on the Democratic-led impeachment effort in the U.S. House of Representatives, the person told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Trump has pressured Republicans to adopt a more robust defense in recent days after two of the president’s recent decisions – the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and the now-reversed move to hold a G7 summit at one of his Florida resorts – drew criticism from members of his party.

White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was leading the search. There was no timetable for an expected announcement.

The impeachment probe focuses on Trump’s request in a July 25 telephone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a domestic political rival, Joe Biden, the former vice president who is a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election.

U.S. election law prohibits candidates from accepting foreign help in an election.

Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Thursday that the White House is working on getting a team together to handle impeachment communications.

“I talked to chief of staff Mulvaney. I think they’re working on getting a messaging team together,” Graham said at a news briefing, referring to White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Paul Simao

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