I’d kill to know how this letter was written, as it’s an unusual blend of familiar Republican anti-impeachment arguments and distinctly Trumpy phrasing. Did Trump dictate the whole thing and then some aide had to clean it up by adding legal substance? Or did White House counsel Pat Cipollone draft a letter to Pelosi which Trump then read and said, “No good, doesn’t sound enough like me”?
Was it a collaborative effort, paragraph by paragraph? Was it all Stephen Miller, writing in a voice which he imagines as “If Trump Had Gone to Law School”?
Do they have some sort of app that converts plain English to Trumpese?
This paragraph mutates from lawyer-speak into Trump-speak like Jeff Goldblum turning into Brundlefly:
These paragraphs also capture the duality. The first is pure Cipollone, the second is pure Trump:
Much of it is familiar and repetitive — it’s so unfair, no due process, you’re guilty of everything you accuse me of (a tried and true Trump rhetorical move), but he’s going for completeness. He says at one point that he wanted to write this for the historical record, to collect his complaints on the eve of impeachment. You would think that would have called for more of a Cipollone tone than the “Donnie from Queens, you’re on line one” rant that he ended up with, but oh well. Either way, the letter has its moments. This point should have been explored further, as he’s right that FBI FISA abuse certainly won’t get the attention it deserves from a Democratic House ostensibly so concerned about official corruption…
…and this point, about the Democrats’ fake reluctance to impeach, is undeniably true. Pelosi may or may not pray for Trump privately but the tone of impeachment, and of lefty views of Trump generally, is not “prayerful”:
The takeaway: The president is not eager to be impeached tomorrow despite his many claims this year (not necessarily incorrect) that he’ll benefit from it politically. Can’t fault him for that, particularly since it’s not clear if he really will benefit. We’ve never had an impeached president run for reelection so we’re in uncharted territory, as usual with Trump. My guess is that it’ll hurt him in November slightly but maybe meaningfully among voters who are fatigued by the whole Trump circus and will now have one more thing in mind when they go in the booth to justify their suspicions that he’s not fit for office. But it won’t hurt him as much as it’ll hurt the red-district Dems in the House who end up walking the plank on this vote tomorrow. I don’t think Pelosi will lose her majority next year, as the House almost never flips twice in the span of two elections, but I bet it’ll be smaller in 2021.
Exit question: Did Trump write this letter to memorialize his grievances because he’s resigned to the fact that he’s not going to be able to call witnesses at his trial? Hmmm.
NEW: Trump says McConnell can decide whether to allow for witness testimony in a Senate impeachment trial.
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) December 17, 2019