President Trump all but assured his own impeachment Friday night, but not without kicking out two more legs of the defense of him Republicans had been making in the House.

For much of the past week, Republicans in Congress have been demanding that the House majority slow down the impeachment process.

“The issue that we have to deal with going forward is, why the rush?” Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said this week.

“You set an incredibly short period,” Republican witness Jonathan Turley scolded at a hearing this week.

“It’s the fastest impeachment in history,” echoed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).

And for the past couple of months, Republicans in Congress have been demanding that Trump have the opportunity to defend himself in the proceedings.

“I find it unconscionable that they have not allowed the president to defend himself on the House side,” said Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.).

“Will he be able to defend himself?” demanded Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

“He has no way to defend himself,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio).

But White House counsel Pat Cipollone, in his letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler ((D-N.Y.) on Friday, undermined both complaints: The letter served as a formal answer from Trump refusing the Democrats’ invitation for him to defend himself in the House proceedings, and it instructed Democrats to hurry up.

“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings,” it said, adding: "As the president has recently stated: ‘If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.’"

Thus did Trump invite the House to move forward expeditiously with impeachment, assured that he would continue to obstruct the investigation, regardless of its length. The House has no option but to accept.

The impeachment inquiry into President Trump has exposed troubling cracks in the political system. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post is now the only place you can read my columns online. Sign up for this special subscription offer to keep reading. And thank you!

Read more: