MSNBC contributor Jonathan Lemire revealed that President Donald Trump had revealed his private rage during a public meeting with the Finnish president.
Lemire, the White House correspondent for the Associated Press, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the public saw a side of the president that Trump aides had seen ever since House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry last week.
"What you saw yesterday was a president alone," Lemire said. "This is someone who has no formal war room, he has very few Republicans willing to go on television and defend him. He has an invisible press secretary, and there's an extraordinary amount of pressure building on him day and day as a recognition of what a lethal threat this story is, and impeachment is."
"Basically, what we saw yesterday was how he's acted in private for the last week," Lemire continued. "Angry at his staff, angry at aides and angry at anyone he can talk to, and that rage burst into the public yesterday."
"Some of that steam, of course, he's been letting off on Twitter all along," he added, "but what we saw in those two events, first in the Oval Office and then in that surreal press conference next to the poor president of Finland, was his pure rage at the predicament he's in, because at the moment he doesn't see any way out."
Trump's thinning staff feels like this scandal is different from others the White House has weathered, and they're increasingly frustrated with the president and worried about their own legal exposure, Lemire said.
"That's true," he said. "When this story first broke there was an element of, okay, here's another bad news story, we've had a bunch of these before and we got through those, including the Mueller probe, and it's an anticipation they will again."
"But what they've seen is, this is an administration that is flailing," Lemire continued. "There are very few powerful voices left in the room, very few guardrails, including the acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney who seems not interested at all in trying to rein in the president, has basically given him free reign to do whatever he wants, and there is an anger that the president and Rudy Giuliani and a few other enablers continue to make the situation worse."
"There doesn't seem to be a way out," he added, "and there seems to be growing legal exposure for anyone in the building."