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(CNN) —  

When President Donald Trump erupted in rage during two appearances Wednesday, it foreshadowed a dark and unsettled impeachment season ahead.

There was little strategy evident as Trump railed against Democrats and the media during public events with Finland’s president. And there were few new answers that might help alleviate the situation he finds himself in after asking a foreign counterpart to investigate a political rival.

“This is the greatest hoax. This is just a continuation of what’s been playing out since my election,” Trump said during an East Room press conference that became progressively more heated as Trump faced questions about his predicament. “This is a fraudulent crime on the American people.”

As one reporter, Jeff Mason of Reuters, repeatedly pressed Trump on what he wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do with regard to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, the President grew irate – without answering the query.

Mason told CNN’s Erin Burnett later Wednesday on “Erin Burnett OutFront” that “it’s a legitimate question,” saying that Trump’s frustration didn’t appear to be a strategy but rather a sign of irritation.

Trump is “just upset and frustrated by how the impeachment inquiry is now going,” Mason said. “He lashes out at journalists, he lashes out at the media in particular, when he feels under pressure, when he feels frustrated – I think that’s what he did today.”

“If he wants to say that he was not looking for the President of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, despite what it says in that transcript, then he needs to say that or he needs to explain it, and he hasn’t done that,” Mason added.

Trump made no effort to veil his unbridled disgust at the crisis engulfing his presidency during two appearances at the White House on Wednesday. And he confirmed the fears of many of his allies: that the upcoming fight will consume him as he battles to clear his name.

As Democrats sped up their impeachment inquiry over the past week, Trump remained mostly quiet, at least in public. On Wednesday, he broke his silence furiously.

Trump administration aides have been worried for days that the President hasn’t grasped the enormity of what he is facing him in the impeachment inquiry. But he has begun lashing out privately, saying Democrats are focused on “bullshit” – a complaint he took public in all-caps on his Twitter feed Wednesday.

In recent days, Trump has taken on a more combative stance, people familiar with his mood say. His appearances on Wednesday stood in sharp contrast to his last extended comments on the matter, which came during an uncharacteristically low-key news conference in New York last week.

Trump’s fury came as Democrats on Capitol Hill ramped up their efforts, warning the White House to expect a subpoena demanding documents related to Trump’s handling of Ukraine.

The House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who has become the subject of Trump’s ire, warned against potential witness intimidation or “incitement to violence.” He said obstruction of justice could be added to any articles of impeachment.

“We’re not fooling around here,” Schiff told reporters.

Trump responded in the Oval Office, declaring Schiff should be looked at for “treason” for dramatizing a version of the Ukraine call last week.

“It should be criminal. It should be treasonous. He made it up; every word of it, made up,” Trump said seated next to the visiting Finnish leader, who sat mostly expressionless.

03:28 - Source: CNN
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