The White House publicly denied on May 16 the accuracy of a memo written by FBI Director James Comey on Feb. 14, but Trump administration officials are reportedly very worried that the memo may cause serious problems.
The memo asserts that President Donald Trump asked Comey to drop an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, which, if true, could be considered obstruction of justice by the president.
"The obstruction of justice articles of impeachment counts are stacking up, it seems," an unidentified FBI agent told The Daily Beast. The agent said that firing Comey was a "big gamble. You’ve got to kill him, metaphorically. You can’t just wound him."
"I feel like running down the hallway with a fire extinguisher," a senior Trump administration official told the news site.
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"Every time I feel like we’re getting a handle on the last Russia fiasco, a new one pops," a White House staffer said on May 15. The staffer revised his statement on May 16 after the Comey memo news broke: "I guess I was wrong about the timing. We can’t even wrap up one Russia fiasco before we’re on to the next one."
A senior official in the Trump administration was more blunt about the fallout: "I don’t see how Trump isn’t completely f******."
There were similar feelings echoed by Republicans outside the White House.
Republican pollster David Winston gave his take to the Washington Examiner:
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You have this White House that is lurching from crisis to crisis, the image is of disarray -- they can't get their hands around the basic day-to-day agenda, and define the progress they have made. One of the things that the president has is the bully pulpit; the bully pulpit lets you drive the agenda and these crises haven't let the White House effectively get there.
Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania added: "This is concerning and alarming. We're going to have to confront these issues as a Congress."
An unidentified GOP consultant told the newspaper: "The last couple weeks have left a mark. The risks of going down the present path include diminished enthusiasm in the base, low fundraising and candidate recruitment problems in down-ballot races."
An adviser to a Republican being recruited to a 2018 congressional race bluntly stated: "I'd be a fool if I said it wasn't causing us at least a little heartburn. I mean, seriously, when is this s*** going to stop?"