WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump walked slowly into the White House just after 1:30 a.m. Friday even more embattled than when he left it some 15 hours earlier. During a rally in Dallas hours before, he dropped the "I-word" (impeachment) just once as he described himself and conservatives as victims of an "overthrow" conspiracy.
Gordon Sondland, the hotelier-turned-ambassador to the European Union, told the House lawmakers leading an impeachment inquiry that he came to realize Trump's personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, likely was trying "to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president's 2020 re-election campaign."
Also during what was a remarkable Thursday, his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, acknowledged for the first time that the White House linked a $400 million military aid package to a desire for Ukraine's government look into the 2016 U.S. election -- a seeming quid pro quo Trump has denied.
After spending around 90 minutes onstage during the sometimes-raucous campaign rally in Dallas, Trump merely waved at the press pool assembled on the South Lawn. A CQ Roll Call reporter shouted over Marine One's engines whether he intends to fire Sondland over his testimony. Trump had nothing to say.
But that was certainly not the case in the Lone Star State. Here are four takeaways from The Donald's big night in Big D.
-- Indoctrination nation
The president's rallies feature a basic spiel. Some of it is scrolling in front of him on a teleprompter and it's fairly easy to detect when he's reading the words his staff has written.
It's also fairly easy to see when he is ad-libbing. Thursday night, he debuted some new, tough lines about Democrats that worked the large crowd inside the 20,000-seat American Airlines Center into a frenzy.
"The radical Democrats want to destroy America, as we know it. They want to indoctrinate our children and teach them that America is a sinful, wicked nation," a gesticulating Trump said as the crowd booed.
"They want to disarm law-abiding citizens, they want to take your guns away, and they want to win so far left judges (can) shred our Constitution," he said. "It's not happening. They want to tear down symbols of faith and drive Christians and religious believers from the public square. They want to silence your voices on social media and they want the government to censor, muzzle and shut down conservative voices. You know that if they didn't hate our country, they wouldn't be doing this to our country."