President Trump spoke for just over an hour today, and we saw a new side of him. He employed a new tone. Casually angry, confidently cutting, offended but exultant.
It was, he said, a celebration of hard work. And it was. There were many moments of laughter, anticipation of the future, and even jubilation. But beneath the surface was fury. It flashed in Trump's eyes for only a few moments, quickly stowed away and followed by a joke, but always lurking. Fury at three years of nonstop attacks, fury that his family was dragged through the muck and mire, fury at being pilloried by a complicit press, and fury at impeachment itself.
"That's a very ugly word to me. It's a very dark word, very ugly," he said.
Working off of handwritten notes, speaking to his supporters (and members of the press), the president was relaxed. He called out many individuals by their first names, but only after speaking about them at length, keeping the audience engaged in guesswork, a very Trumpian tactic.
To those he loves, Trump loved them loudly, to the point of embarrassing a few in his good-natured way, a bit like a father embarrasses his children by showing affection in front of their peers. To those he hates--or more accurately, to those who hate him--Trump threw knives as sharp as they were accurate. And he did it casually, eviscerating opponents with a yawn, as if to say, This is just a warning shot.
"We went through Russia, Russia, Russia, and it was all bullshit."
"If I had not fired James Comey, who was a disaster, by the way...When I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out, they were ratting on each other, running for the hills...these are the crookedest, most dishonest, dirtiest people."
"The FISA courts should be ashamed of themselves."
On Bob Mueller:
"...then Bob Mueller testified, that didn't work out so well for the other side.
"He had the look, but he didn't have a lot of other things. He's always had the look: Mister G-Man. I love the FBI and the FBI loves me--99% [of them]--but it was the top scum, and the FBI people don't like the top scum."
On Democrats generally:
"They wanted to inflict political pain on [me]."
"Because instead of wanting to heal our country and fix our country, all they want to do, in my opinion, it's almost like they want to destroy our country."
On Romney and Pelosi:
"They used religion as a crutch."
On Pelosi and Schiff:
"I say Democrats are lousy politicians because they have lousy policies...but they do two things: they are vicious and mean, vicious. These people are vicious. Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person...when she said, 'I pray for the president,'...she doesn't pray. Well, she may pray, but she prays for the opposite. But I doubt that she prays at all. These are vicious people, but they stick together like glue."
On Lisa Page and Peter Strzok:
"Lisa and Peter, the lovers, the FBI lovers...This is Peter, to Lisa--he's probably trying to impress her, for obvious reasons: 'There's no way he gets elected...but I'm afraid we can't take the risk.' Now think of this: if I get elected, they can't--they--two lowlifes, they can't take the risk!"
On Jerry Nadler:
"I've beat him all my life, and I'll beat him again if I have to."
On the loss of bipartisanship:
"Think of what we could have done. And I'm now talking both sides [of the aisle]: think of what we could have done, if we had the same genius, because it's genius. I will say, it's genius on the other side, maybe even more so, because they took nothing, and brought me to a final vote of impeachment. That's a very ugly word to me. It's a very dark word, very ugly. They took nothing, they took a phone call that was a totally appropriate call...and they brought me to the final stages of impeachment."
On Chuck Grassley:
"The man who got James Comey to choke...he's got this voice that scares people...[imitating Grassley grilling Comey]: 'You tell me, what'd you say!'"
"I said, 'Mike, we're giving them money...tell me, why isn't Germany paying money? Why isn't France? Why isn't the U.K.?...why is the United States always the sucker?'"
Trump referred vaguely to the Durham report several times during his speech, but never directly. He mentioned Attorney General Bill Barr, he said that "hopefully" the crimes committed against him would be dealt with, but he never said, The Durham report is coming and there will be hell to pay.
Of course not. It isn't Trump's style to threaten when he's got a handful of aces to play. His wariness, his ability to joke with his friends and jab at his enemies--those are the only tells that he's confident about the final outcome.
Expect the report to be released at the most advantageous moment leading up to the election, and not a moment sooner.
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