Despite the fact that Donald Trump often shows shockingly little situational awareness, he does possess an almost feral survival instinct that is rooted in knowing exactly when he faces real trouble and then lashing out with perfectly timed victimized rage. The House Select Committee doesn’t care about Trump’s primal screams, and Trump himself seems to sense that “this time is different.” This is real trouble, and lashing out won’t do any real good. Consider his “truth” put out Saturday:

The Unselect Committee of political thugs & scoundrels is trying to use disinformation and outright lies to RAILROAD people into the arms of the Justice Department. They are doing everything within their power to criminalize politics, an absolute no no! I watched this lowlife Raskin yesterday making things and statements up, from out of nowhere. Pure fiction!

The Dems play very dirty, but Republican leadership should never have allowed this Kangaroo Court to happen. A USA embarrassment!”

Forget the normal self-obsessed Dems play dirty “bullsh*t” (as Bill Barr calls it), forget about the fact that Republicans would’ve had to burn the Capitol to the ground to stop this Committee, and focus on the all-caps RAILROAD “into the arms of the Justice Department” and criminalizing politics. Because while everything else is a “normal Trump scream,” the reference to DOJ and crime is where he gives himself away. This is real trouble. This isn’t about ratings. This isn’t about polls. It isn’t even about raising money, at least not yet. It is about possible prosecution, which changes everything, and Trump knows it.

Indeed Trump actually is self-aware when it comes to media attention directed toward him. He always watched all the morning shows, not just the fawning ones. Remember Scarborough’s plight? So Trump certainly knows everything that’s been pinballing around the media. He has heard the damning testimony come from the mouths of people he entrusted to work for him. He has seen the Committee’s witnesses break down the “who, what, where, and when.” He has heard an increasing number of references to possible serious criminal charges, some from people he once considered on “his side.” He likely knows that DOJ is already fighting with the Committee over transcripts, with an official letter stating that these transcripts were needed lest they hamper grand jury proceedings already underway. This is different, and he knows it.

As hard as it is to believe, it’s unlikely that Trump ever considered it remotely possible that he’d be prosecuted. Trump is fundamentally a coward. If he thought that there was a reasonable chance that he would face prison over January 6th, it would never have happened. Trump’s only principle is the wealth and comfort of Donald Trump and he isn’t willing to risk any of it for any cause, even his own presidency. He was willing to give it a go if it meant Mike Pence and others had to die, or if others had to go to prison. Of course. But if he faced prison? No way.

And that’s why it’s different. That’s why the “truth” above is so true to Trump’s panic. He never meant to risk himself. He is no Che Guevara. And he damn sure doesn’t think he should face consequences over something that didn’t even work. That wouldn’t be fair.  Seen from his perspective, this indeed is worth panicking about.

 



This story originally appeared on politicususa.com