The bombshell came Monday evening.

President Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post, disclosed secrets to the Russians in a meeting last week where American reporters were not allowed access.

General H.R. McMaster came out on Pebble Beach late Monday night saying the reports were false and said, “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were discussed.” (Note: The Washington Post article did not suggest that intelligence sources or methods were discussed—just classified information.)

That comes after weeks of questions from foreign dignitaries visiting the White House—all of them bringing reporters with them and all of them with one singular mission: To “see if it’s true.”

“Is he crazy?” is far and away the most asked question by foreign press visiting Washington D.C. (For the record, “What the hell is up with your weather?” is a close second.)

Welcome to the muddy trenches.

In addition to meeting Russian dignitaries without reporters present, the president also proposed ending the daily news briefing in the White House West Wing because he said he can’t trust his surrogates to quote him accurately.

Let both of those moves sink in for just a second. He doesn’t want independent observers in the room with one of our country’s oldest adversaries, and he can’t trust the people who’re told by him exactly what to say—so no more public interaction for them because of his actions.

Mind you, should the President cancel his daily show, then all of the alt-right media would suffer, as well. They are as prevalent in the White House Press Room as the traditional media companies which have long inhabited the White House. Gateway Pundit, Sputnik News, the guy who made up the story dubbed “Pizzagate” and others seen as marginal have gained a foothold and would have as much to lose as CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post if the briefings stopped.

And then our free press would die—if it isn’t dead already.

This all comes on the heels of last week’s scandal of the moment, which began when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because Comey alledgedly wanted more resources to investigate Trump’s apparent ties to Russia. Trump’s surrogates, including the Vice President, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders spent a better part of a day implementing a narrative that had the president sacking the FBI director due to memos sent to him by his attorney general and a trusted deputy—attesting to Comey’s incompetence—only to have the president blow that up and say he was going to fire Comey anyway.

Afterward the president, sitting on his imaginary Mexican wall, took to his favorite toy and tweeted out that maybe he’d end press briefings. If people thought Trump was upset with Spicer, Sanders (who was guest host of the daily briefing as Spicer was doing naval reserve duty) obviously didn’t impress the boss any more than the usual host of the daily comedy.

A leader cloaked in a Twitter account who never has to face the public that elected him—except on his terms—is frightening to contemplate.

To add to curious optics, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov stopped by the White House the day after Trump sacked Comey. He met the President inside the Oval Office and a Russian photographer later shared photos of the event on social media with the rest of the world. Not one American reporter or independent photographer was present. Not one.

While the President’s handlers, including Spicer and Sanders, tried to put a positive spin on the debacle, Washington Post attorney Jim McLaughlin told the board of the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association prior to their awards luncheon on May 12 that the move was frightening and he was shocked it hadn’t received larger play in the media.

Former Hearst newspaper congressional correspondent Michael Pearson can put it in perspective: “It was April 20, 1993. I was the print pool reporter representing Hearst Newspapers for that day trailing President Bill Clinton…Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel was making a state visit to the U.S. As a rookie, I was unfamiliar with some of the protocol. After I and the rest of the U.S. press finished impromptu questioning of the President and Havel on their talks sitting in front of the Oval Office fireplace, I started to walk out with my colleagues. Suddenly, I was grabbed on the shoulder by George Stephanopoulos, a Clinton aide at the time, and instructed that I had to remain in the Oval Office for the upcoming entrance of the Czech and other foreign press. I was told that foreign press could not be alone in the Oval Office without a representative of the U.S. press present,” Pearson said.

Most importantly, had we been in the Oval Office, any question about what was said would be settled.

This story is important. In a very real sense, the American media are representatives of the public to the president in those situations, in addition to being a critical domestic eye on any administration.

Most importantly, had we been in the Oval Office, any question about what was said would be settled.

As recently as a week ago, the thought of impeaching Trump, while a wishful to most Democrats, was not spoken of in the halls of Congress without eliciting scorn, laughter or that sound you make when you stifle a sneeze. With that said, late in the week the slow moving, rusty wheels of the legislative branch started to move and some congressmen seriously began to discuss impeaching the president. The query Trump made to Comey about his investigation, the violations of the emolument clause, conflict of interest, wearing too much orange makeup, you name it, picked up their pace after Comey’s firing—which many say is the tipping point.

Now Democrats from Wisconsin, Texas, California and Connecticut’s Senator Richard Blumenthal are openly talking about it, Blumenthal even mentioning it on CNN. Even some Republicans have discussed it—but not openly.

The closest any Republican has come to openly criticizing the president is Senator John McCain, who called for a special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. Today’s bombshell further eroded faith in the president, with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying the country has to protect its secrets.

With the talk of a potential presidential fall, the rumors are abound and become more bizarre. Trump’s germaphobia, restlessness and marginal behavior—even his eating habits—have become grist for the rumor mill.

“We hear all kinds of talk,” a GOP Senator who wished to remain anonymous told Playboy. “Some of it is just weird—like the First Family is constantly having the furniture moved in the residence, the president makes gardeners stop mowing the lawn when he’s around.”

The worst of it is that while the president demands absolute loyalty, he doesn’t show any to anyone.

The continuing perceived erratic private behavior, along with the very public displays of contempt for anyone who doesn’t display fealty to the president, has a growing number of GOP legislators concerned they cannot enact their agenda though they control the House and the Senate.

“The worst of it is that while the president demands absolute loyalty, he doesn’t show any to anyone,” the same senator said.

While no one wants to predict the endgame—except the President, who looks forward to a second term—many are beginning to believe the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming freight train.

With the cracks beginning to show in the GOP resolve to support Trump no matter what the cost, odds makers are beginning to make serious book on when Trump will fall. Call him Humpty Dumpty Trump.