Always, though, Trump has possessed a strange power to survive moments of self-inflicted crisis, to convert torrents of negative publicity—what almost anybody else would experience as disgrace or shame—into a new strain of propellant. It’s part of what’s made it so hard over the years for so many people to pin on him anything resembling his just deserts. And it’s part of what has made him feel so durably invulnerable. The question, then, looking ahead to a Senate trial and more broadly the coming weeks, months and years: Is this, finally, the endgame for this sort of sorcery from Trump? Or is it possible that he could do, again, even in the face of all of this, what he’s done over and over: evade the most serious consequences and emerge darkly emboldened?
“He’s got this evil genius for self-promotion and sort of this catch-me-if-you-can attitude that he’s going to keep crossing the line and ‘fuck you, try to stop me.’ And more often than not, he doesn’t get stopped,” Trump biographer Harry Hurt told me this week. “He is fueled by grievance. This is his fuel. They just gave him high octane,” former Trump publicist Alan Marcus said. “If it were possible to find a form of overreach that could restore him on some level,” a swing-state GOP consultant said of another round of impeachment, “it’s this.”