Advisers said that Mr. Trump had to be dissuaded from going to the House floor to try to defend himself during Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings, something he wanted to do during his first impeachment in December 2019, advisers said.
Mr. Trump has also left open the possibility of pardoning himself, despite concern from Mr. Cipollone and warnings from outside advisers that he would inflame investigators who are already pursuing him.
Mr. Trump has never been more isolated than this week. The White House is sparsely staffed, according to people who went to work there on Wednesday. Those who did go to work tried to avoid the Oval Office.
More and more staff members have quit, and the White House Counsel’s Office is not preparing to defend him in the Senate trial.
Plans to move Mr. Trump to another platform online after he was permanently suspended by Twitter have been halted. One option was the platform Gab, which has been a host for extremists and QAnon conspiracy followers. Gab was favored by Mr. Trump’s adviser Johnny McEntee, but blocked by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Part of Mr. Kushner’s rationale was the anti-Semitic commentary that often plays out on Gab, according to the people familiar with the discussions, which were reported earlier by Bloomberg News.
Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, is also facing recriminations because of his involvement in inciting the mob that assaulted the Capitol. A group of former assistant U.S. attorneys who worked with Mr. Giuliani when he served as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan sent him a letter on Wednesday expressing dismay with his behavior at the rally before the Capitol siege.