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Trump fires back at Democrats over articles of impeachment: "This is impeachment lite"

Trump denounces articles of impeachment
Trump denounces articles of impeachment as House prepares for vote 03:51

President Trump touted his trade victory at a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night, linking Democrats' approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement to the party's alleged embarrassment over the impeachment inquiry. He also attempted to minimize the articles of impeachment unveiled Tuesday as "impeachment lite." 

"The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt is it's the reason they approved USMCA," Mr. Trump told thousands of supporters in Hershey. He later claimed that Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed the deal forward because she "wanted to smother this impeachment crap."

"It's a huge deal and it plays down the whole impeachment because they're embarrassed by the impeachment," Mr. Trump said. "Our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment."

The president also attempted to downplay the two articles of impeachment announced Tuesday, in which Democrats accused him of abuse of power over his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress for his response to the subsequent investigation.

"This is impeachment lite," Mr. Trump said, "This is the lightest impeachment in the history of our country by far."

Mr. Trump is only the fourth president in U.S. history to have articles of impeachment drafted against him, and appears likely to become the third to be impeached by the House of Representatives. There could be a full House vote on impeachment before December 20.

Donald Trump rally — Hershey, Pennsylvania
President Trump arrives for a "Keep America Great" rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. Getty

The president also launched attacks against his favorite targets, including the Ukraine whistleblower, former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, and various 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

He called Schiff "a crooked bastard," former Vice President Joe Biden "Sleepy Joe," and Senator Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas." He said he "dreams" about competing against South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whom he calls "Alfred E. Neuman," but said he won't get too comfortable predicting who he will face in the 2020 election because he counted Warren out too soon.

"We destroyed her too fast, so she came back, but she's going back down again," Mr. Trump said.

At one point, a protester dressed in a black knit #MeToo hat interrupted Mr. Trump's remarks. He told law enforcement to "get her out." The protester held a pink sign and wore a black shirt that both said "Grabbing Power Back" and had an image of a hand raising its middle finger.

This is Mr. Trump's second rally in Pennsylvania this year. Two days after Biden officially launched his presidential campaign and based his headquarters in Philadelphia, Mr. Trump held a rally in Montoursville.

At that May rally, Trump told the audience, "Don't forget Biden deserted you.  He's not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here but he left you, folks. He left you for another state."

In 2016, Mr. Trump headlined at least 14 campaign rallies in Pennsylvania, which helped him edge out Hillary Clinton in the state with a margin of less than 1%. While he floundered with black and Hispanic voters, he won decisively among white men and narrowly among white women. That victory made him the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state since George H.W. Bush won it in 1988.

The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, told reporters at a breakfast in November that "Pennsylvania is going to be key," and that the committee is already contacting residents to identify swing voters.

Democrats made gains in the state in the 2019 election in November by taking over the suburban county governments of Delaware, Chester, and Bucks counties. When asked about the gains, McDaniel said that, "Democrat areas are getting more Democratic and Republican areas are getting more Republican."

Mr. Trump's next rally will be held in Michigan, another key battleground state he narrowly won in 2016.

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