Kasowitz and White House advisers, including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Counsel Donald F. McGahn, argued to Trump that they had a rapid-response operation in place Thursday to defend him as vociferously as he would defend himself, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Trump agreed Wednesday not to directly engage on Comey, and by the time the ousted FBI director took the witness stand, tweeting “was not something he was considering,” one senior White House official said.
“Kasowitz was able to persuade the president that he would not give a Washington-style, tepid defense,” said a top Republican figure who is close to the White House. “Trump’s big charge with his staff is that they don’t defend him aggressively. And Kasowitz convinced him that not only will I defend you, but I will attack Comey where there’s room to.”