It’s always so sad when aides and others involved in supporting Trump get busted or fired or left on the curb with a million in legal fees to fend for themselves for the loyalty, they showed Trump. Too bad it isn’t a two-way street in Trump world. Of course, with Boris, the Russian asset, I am not sad at all. He went into Trump full bore and deserves everything coming to him for it.
But less than 24 hours later, after The New York Times suggested there was a strong possibility that senior Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn could be co-conspirator No. 6, Trump advisers who had been castigating the indictment were suddenly delighting in Epshteyn’s predicament.
“So sad!” one Trump adviser told The Daily Beast, summoning a Trump catchphrase while sending a meme of a cat crying with a Kleenex.
“He’s the king of the court jesters,” the source continued. “All he cares about is being close to Trump, and he’ll do or say whatever it takes to accomplish that. Mostly that means sticking his nose in everyone else’s business so he can run back to the boss and take credit or lay blame.”
In response to the Times report, that sense of frustration over Trump’s legal woes, mixed with schadenfreude over Epshteyn becoming collateral damage, was quietly shared across Trump’s inner circle.
“He is so deeply, viscerally hated right now,” another Trump confidant told The Daily Beast.
Even Trumpworld’s most loyal and steadfast MAGA-aligned operatives—who usually make sport out of spinning MAGA shortcomings into strengths—admitted that Epshteyn has the ability to irk coworkers.
“Boris has sharp elbows and a big personality, which can rub some people the wrong way,” one Trumpworld operative said. “But ultimately he’s a good guy who has always been loyal to President Trump.”
A Trump spokesperson declined to comment on this story.
Another source close to Trump claimed that the joy from Trump sources over Epshteyn possibly being placed in the crosshairs was just the result of professional envy.
“There may be some people who are jealous because Boris is brave enough to throw himself in front of a bus to protect Trump,” this source said. “Boris has been a true warrior and has defended Trump through some of the worst times.”
While there were clearly aides taking pleasure in the possible fall of Epshteyn, it’s unlikely the Trump aide will lose his post anytime soon, as the president continues to see him as a critical ally.
The Times stopped short of explicitly calling Epshteyn co-conspirator 6, though facts that it uncovered—namely, that Epshteyn authored a Dec. 7, 2020, email titled “Attorneys for Electors Memo,” that was sent to Rudy Giuliani and his son, White House aide Andrew Giuliani—would certainly point to him being a likely candidate for the dubious honor. (The indictment notes that co-conspirator 6 sent co-conspirator 1—who has been identified as Giuliani—”an email identifying attorneys” in the contested states on Dec. 7.)
Regardless of whether Epshteyn turns out to be the one unknown co-conspirator, the dark elation that some Trump aides were taking in Epshteyn’s potential legal problems is indicative of the pit-of-vipers-attitude that still pervades Trumpworld. For years, aides have viewed themselves as in constant competition with each other. Loyalty to Trump is highly valued, but staying out of trouble is also a sought-after skill.
Epshteyn, who is a Georgetown law school graduate, has survived as an off-and-on top adviser in Trumpworld for years, partly by making himself a go-between for lawyers, political staff, and the former president himself.
That sort of role has long put a target on his back.
In May, The Daily Beast reported that Trump’s lawyers had grown frustrated with Epshteyn.
“Boris pissed off all the Florida lawyers,” a source said at the time. “People are dropping like flies. Everybody hates him. He’s a toxic loser. He’s a complete psycho.”
And yet, no one disputed his importance in Trumpworld.
If Epshteyn were ultimately derailed by legal problems—separate indictments are expected for the co-conspirators—it could be another blow to Trump’s political operation, which has somehow maintained a massive lead over the rest of the GOP field despite three criminal indictments against the former president.
Trump will head to D.C. federal court on Thursday, where he will be arraigned for the third time in almost exactly four months. And while legal experts have suggested these are the most serious charges Trump faces—and the first trial he’s likely to face—Trump is still the clear frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.