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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House October 02, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House October 02, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Trump against impeachment: let yourself go and meltdown

The U.S president's statements before the media last Wednesday seem to have been enough bread and circus for a day.

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Listening to Donald Trump lose all coherence with the media, while sharing the stage with a foreign leader, seems to be nothing short of surreal.

During a press conference with Finland's President Sauli Niinistö, Trump tried to break through questions about the controversial call with Ukraine that triggered a political impeachment against him from the House of Representatives.

The American president went from calling himself "very stable genius" and ensuring that "he watches his words very carefully," to suggest the Democratic chairman of the House's intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, was a "traitor" and that "probably helped to write" the complaint that brought to light his murky conversation with Ukraine.

With a printed copy of the New York Times in hand, Trump denounced the fact that Schiff knew of the complainant's concerns days before they were made public.

"Well, I think it's a scandal he knew before. I'd go a step further: I think he probably helped him write it. OK? That's what the word is," he said, gesturing and losing control.

In the words of David Smith, a correspondent for The Guardian in Washington, President Trump's performance on Wednesday "was dark and scary for anyone worried about the life signs of the 243-year-old republic."

Smith manages to articulate what we all witnessed: "It was also just downright strange, even avant-garde. It was Samuel Beckett. It was Marcel Duchamp. It was John Lennon and Yoko Ono's bed-in. Trump invited Niinistö to take a front-row seat in his theater of the absurd."

It was precisely that: a theater.

The president's swings between shouting at Reuters journalist Jeff Mason; asking that the president of Finland be asked questions and interrupting when he wanted to answer something, bordered the psychotic.

Perhaps a "psychotic theater" is what you need to divert attention from your greatest political threat.

Amid his rants, Trump mentioned Mike Pompeo, pointed out his ambassadors and his advisors and said everyone was aware of his conversation with Ukraine, which would put everyone at risk of sinking with this administration's ship.

The matter has been so difficult to handle for those involved, that most members of the Republican Party, once willing to defend their president, tooth and nail, are silently clinging to the edge of the seat.

All but Senator Lindsey Graham, of course, who, after having opposed Donald Trump for months, is now his biggest advocate - to the point of saying, "I have zero problems with the call."

In an interview last Sunday with Margaret Brennan of CBS News, the anchor directly asked the senator: "Do you think it was ethical for the president to bring up Joe Biden?"

Graham replied: "Yes, absolutely."

So while the president loses control in public - and surely in private - the strategies for damage control by those who are directly affected is to redefine the moral compass of American democracy, and take advantage of Trump's bread and circus while they desperately seek a way out.

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