With hysterical impeachment letter, Trump gives away the game

As midnight approached on the eve of his likely impeachment, Donald Trump wrapped up his day with a few more strange tweets, one of which assured the public, “I’m not worried!”

Hours earlier, the president issued a hysterical letter making clear that he’s very worried, indeed.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday excoriated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her effort to have him impeached, calling it a partisan “crusade,” an “unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” and a “spiteful” “election-nullification scheme.”

In a rambling six-page letter, Trump accused Pelosi of having “cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment” and said she was “declaring open war on American Democracy” by pursuing his impeachment.

I’ve seen a variety of adjectives journalists have used to describe the letter: “fiery,” “scathing.” “angry.” And while those words are fair, they don’t fully capture the unhinged, crazypants hysterics of the presidential missive.

On the show last night, Rachel described Trump’s letter to Pelosi as “cuckoo for cocoa puffs,” and “basically six pages of performative explanation points from the president.”

The entire letter has been posted to the White House website, and if you haven’t seen the whole document, it’s worth checking out, if only to see what it looks like when the leader of the free world inches closer to the breaking point, tying together self-pity, conspiracy theories, ridiculous and transparent falsehoods, idiosyncratic grammar, and a primal scream in one deranged piece of correspondence.

It was as if people close to Trump saw him on the verge of a breakdown, encouraged him to “let it all out,” and he did, in writing – at which point he thought it’d be a good idea to send his stream-of-consciousness tantrum to the Speaker of the House.

It wasn’t an accident when officials in the White House counsel’s office quietly let reporters know yesterday afternoon that they had nothing to do with the letter’s creation. The eagerness to distance themselves from the cringe-worthy nonsense is understandable.

Jon Chait added, “If a juror in Trump’s coming impeachment trial had no other evidence except this letter, it would provide ample grounds for impeachment. Trump openly denies the Congress’s constitutional prerogative, and makes plain his mental unfitness for the job.” Around the same time, Rick Wilson, a longtime Republican strategist, appeared on MSNBC and described Trump’s letter as “pure crazy, weapons-grade nuts.”

But it was those three tweeted words last night that served as a helpful coda to the developments: “I’m not worried!”

Over the last several weeks, the Republican president has largely tried to maintain a brave face. He’ll say his impeachment is a political winner for him and his party. He’ll boast that the process is boosting his approval rating. He’ll insist that he’s unfazed by the proceedings.

But yesterday, the masked slipped a bit, and Americans were confronted with something unsettling: the world’s most powerful man overcome by a toxic combination of panic and rage.

Hugh Hewitt, a prominent conservative pundit and MSNBC contributor, alerted his radio listeners this morning that he intends to read the entire text of Trump’s letter on the air, because the host sees it as “a historic document and will be cited by [presidential] scholars for generations as the defining example of Article II blasting Article I.”

I find it very easy to believe presidential scholars will point to Trump’s letter for generations, but as an example of a leader caught in a tailspin of his own making.

Or as Kevin M. Kruse, an actual historian, put it, in response to Hewitt, “It is a historic document and it will be cited by scholars, but only with a lengthy preface that assures readers it was not, in fact, a crayon-scribbled manifesto discovered in the shack of a lunatic.”