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Trump holds rally in New Jersey as Senate impeachment trial moves into new phase

Donald Trump rally — New Jersey
President Trump speaks to supporter's at an evening "Keep America Great Rally" at the Wildwood Convention Center on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, in Wildwood, New Jersey. Getty

President Trump held a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, hours after his legal team concluded its defense of him in his Senate impeachment trial in Washington. The rally came in the wake of a New York Times report that said Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, wrote in a yet-to-be-published book that the president had explicitly told Bolton of his desire to freeze Ukraine aid until Ukraine helped with investigations of the Bidens. Mr. Trump denied in a tweet that he had ever told Bolton that the aid was linked to probes of Democrats, "including the Bidens."

President Trump was not introduced before taking the stage, but wasted no time in slamming the Russia investigation as a witch hunt and called the impeachment inquiry a hoax, which prompted the crowd to erupt in cheers. 

"While we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the congressional Democrats are obsessed with demented hoaxes, crazy witch hunts and deranged partisan crusades," he said. That's all they know how to do."

Mr. Trump also called New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to the stage to hail his votes against the articles of impeachment against the president and his party switch from the Democrat to Republican after the impeachment vote in the House.

Van Drew hailed the president as "a man who kept his word to ensure that the eyes of the world are in South Jersey and all of us."

In December, the president welcomed Van Drew to the White House and said he was endorsing him. Van Drew has one opponent in the GOP primary so far. And six others are running in the Democratic primary for the Second District seat.

New Jersey native and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who was also welcomed onstage, declared, "Mr. President, I think South Jersey is Trump country," and she praised the president's accomplishments so far, pointing to the economy, trade deals, the Supreme Court and the killing of two terrorists.

Mr. Trump discussed sanctuary cities in New Jersey, saying, "Once set loose, these criminal aliens are free to continue their crime spree against innocence Americans."

Earlier Monday, Mr. Trump supporters had lined up outside the Wildwoods Convention Center, according to CBS Philadelphia, which is located in Cape May County. It's known for its wide beaches, amusement-lined boardwalk and many colorful motels, The Associated Press reports. There was a Democratic counter-rally just off the boardwalk, but were outnumbered by supporters of Mr. Trump who heckled them.

Peter Martinez contributed to this report.

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