Former top Bill and Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn met with President Trump last week to discuss the president’s strategy for handling the impeachment inquiry in which he is embroiled.
Penn met with Trump in the Oval Office for the second time this year last Monday, according to the Washington Post. He advised the president to “not respond to everything” and “stay focused on the substance” of accusations that he engaged in a quid pro quo scheme involving U.S. military aid to Ukraine and Ukraine’s public agreement to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Also attending the meeting were Vice President Pence, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and businessman Andrew Stein.
“You’ve got to govern,” Penn reportedly told Trump.
Penn worked as a top adviser to Bill Clinton during his 1996 reelection campaign and helped the former president handle his own impeachment. He also advised Hillary Clinton on her failed 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
More recently, Penn has been criticized by the Democratic party for praising Trump and calling out Democrats. He wrote a 2017 Post op-ed entitled, “How To Fix the Democratic Party,” in which he warned that Democrats should “focus on attracting moderate candidates for Congress and in the next presidential race.”
Penn, who now heads the Stagwell Group, a private-equity firm in Washington, D.C., clarified that he is not working for Trump despite the Oval Office meeting.
“As I’ve said in the past, I’ve had hundreds of meetings with presidents and I don’t relay their conversations,” Penn told The Hill. “I am not working for Donald Trump in any way and I would never do so — either paid or unpaid. I’ve been [asked] dozens of times on TV about events of the day and that was the extent of my comments. I think the country needs all our leaders to focus on governing.”