President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats outraged over White House lawyer’s claim that some foreign involvement in elections is acceptable Senators take reins of impeachment trial in marathon question session White House announces task force to monitor coronavirus MORE used a campaign rally in Iowa Thursday night to air grievances against House Democrats over his impeachment while describing a “happy period” for the Republican Party despite what he lambasted as a partisan “hoax.”
“We’re having probably the best years that we’ve ever had in our country, and I just got impeached! Can you believe these people? I got impeached. They impeached Trump,” Trump told the crowd in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday evening.
“They want to nullify your ballots, poison our democracy, and overthrow the entire system of government,” Trump said of House Democrats. “That’s not happening — I can tell you that.”
Trump insisted he wasn’t worried about his impeachment – perhaps a reflection of his expected acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate. The president told the crowd that the Republicans would “treat us very fairly,” in what seemed to be a passing reference to the upper chamber’s handling of his impeachment trial over the last several days.
“Why am I not worried? I should be worried,” Trump said, before talking about the impeachments of former Presidents Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonLive coverage: Senators query impeachment managers, Trump defense Trump’s impeachment trial could use a secret ballot Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE, Richard Nixon and Andrew Johnson as “dark periods.”
“This is a happy period for us,” Trump said. “It’s a happy period because we call it ‘impeachment light.’”
Trump also lashed out at specific House Democrats by name, mocking Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSenators take reins of impeachment trial in marathon question session How low will the president go? Live coverage: Senators query impeachment managers, Trump defense MORE (D-Calif.) — the lead House impeachment manager — as a “sick puppy,” and accusing House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump criticizes House Democrats over war powers bill after telling lawmakers to vote their heart Overnight Defense: Bolton, GOP senators see close ties challenged | Republicans fume over Dem maneuver on Iran bills |Trump criticizes Democrats over war powers vote Lawmakers wager chocolate, barbecue on Super Bowl outcome MORE (D-Calif.) of ignoring problems in her home district to focus on impeachment.
“They don’t love our country. I swear they don’t,” Trump claimed of House Democrats. “We have to take back the House of Representatives. We have to.”
The rally took place as Trump’s impeachment trial continued in Washington, with senators asking questions of Trump’s defense attorneys and House impeachment managers.
The Democrat-controlled House voted in December to impeach Trump for abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine for investigations into his political opponents and obstructing the congressional inquiry into his dealings with Kyiv.
Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and the White House has accused Democrats of a political exercise to damage him ahead of 2020.
Closing arguments in the impeachment trial are slated to take place on Friday, after which the Senate will move to a question of whether to call additional witnesses in the trial.
Most Republicans have remained opposed to calling witnesses in the Senate, though a handful have been open to the possibility and the outcome of the vote is no a certainly. Democrats would need four Republicans to vote with them in order to call more witnesses.
Democrats have insisted the trial would not be a fair one if the upper chamber does not call witnesses, such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonSenators take reins of impeachment trial in marathon question session Democratic senator to force vote requiring Roberts to weigh in on witnesses Overnight Defense: Bolton, GOP senators see close ties challenged | Republicans fume over Dem maneuver on Iran bills |Trump criticizes Democrats over war powers vote MORE, who has reportedly written about his firsthand knowledge of the Ukraine affair in an unpublished draft of his forthcoming book.
Trump’s attorneys and the White House, meanwhile, have urged a quick acquittal of the president by the GOP-controlled Senate.
If Republicans defeat an effort to call witnesses in the trial, a vote on conviction or acquittal could come as soon as Friday.