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Trump slams ‘flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous articles of impeachment’

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HERSHEY, Pa. — President Donald Trump bashed the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday just hours after House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment, calling them “flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous articles of impeachment.”

“They are now admitting that there was no collusion, no obstruction of justice, there are no crimes,” Trump told a crowd of thousands of supporters at the Giant Center. “They are impeaching me and there are no crimes, this has to be a first.”

The two articles of impeachment announced on Tuesday charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote to pass the articles before leaving for the holiday recess, which would make Trump the third president in American history to be impeached.

“People are saying ‘there’s not even a crime, what happened?'” Trump said. “This is the lightest, weakest impeachment.”

Less than an hour after Democrats unveiled the articles of impeachment Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that the party was ready to move forward with the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), an updated version of the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

For months, Trump has criticized Pelosi and Democrats, saying they had allowed their interest in impeachment to distract from important legislative issues such as passing the updated trade deal.

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“I am thrilled to report that we are on the verge of ending the NAFTA catastrophe once and for all,” Trump said here Tuesday night, arguing that the timing of Pelosi’s announcement was not a coincidence.

“It [the USMCA announcement] plays down the impeachment because they are embarrassed about impeachment. And our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment,” Trump said, calling the USMCA deal the “silver lining” of the “witch hunt.”

Trump also addressed the long-awaited report by the Justice Department Inspector General released on Monday that said the decision to launch an FBI investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election was justified, though the bureau mishandled parts of its application to monitor a Trump campaign aide as part of the probe.

The overall finding did not alter the president’s usual tone on the investigation, which he painted as as politically biased plot against him as he said the report detailed “abuses of power” by “anti-Trump” individuals, saying it included evidence that the lives of “great people” were “destroyed by scum.”

Trump also mocked former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, frequent targets of the president’s, baselessly claiming that Page filed a restraining order against Strzok.

“Did I hear they needed a restraining order after this whole thing to keep him away from Lisa?,” Trump said, adding “I don’t know if it’s true.”

Earlier Tuesday, Page announced that she was suing the Justice Department and FBI for allegedly illegally leaking her personal messages with Strzok in violation of her privacy and making her a public target of the president’s.

Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by less than 1 percentage point, or 44,292 votes. The state will be critical to his re-election in 2020, but recreating his 2016 success will not be easy. Recent Pennsylvania polls of registered voters in the state suggest Trump is trailing leading 2020 Democratic candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Trump’s campaign and his allies have insisted that impeachment will not jeopardize his re-election chances, but help solidify his base and motivate them to turn out.

Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, said that Trump’s supporters in the state agree with his take on the impeachment process, and that Trump’s job will be to get them excited to show up to vote for him again.

“Trump’s hope is to generate more enthusiasm among his core supporters. I think they will hang in with him, as they have nationally. It’s not about holding their support, but about generating excitement and enthusiasm,” Madonna said in an email to NBC News.

For some of Trump’s supporters here Tuesday night, the impeachment inquiry was doing the trick.

“The Democratic Party, in my opinion, is anti-American. I’m sorry, but it is true when all they want to do is impeach him,” said Kevin Andrews, a retired health care worker from the area.

“I think the Democrats need to do their job and leave him alone,” said Patricia Wolfe of Pennsylvania. “The way they don’t respect the president is unpatriotic.”



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Eurocrats splurge £361k on medals to celebrate European Union – and Britons help pay

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EUROCRATS want to splash out £361,000 on medals to celebrate the European Union, Express.co.uk can reveal.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer met with Biden as running mate announcement nears

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer traveled to Delaware last weekend for a private meeting with former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, two Democratic officials confirmed to NBC News.

News of the meeting was first reported earlier Friday by The Associated Press, which said that the meeting was Biden’s first known in-person session with a potential running mate.

The meeting lasted several hours, one of the two Democratic officials who confirmed the meeting said.

Biden had said he planned to make an announcement the first week in August, but aides later said that was unlikely. Whitmer declined to comment when asked about the meeting.

On Thursday, NBC News reported that Whitmer was among those still under serious consideration.

Democrats with knowledge of the process have said Whitmer did not recently re-emerge as a potential vice presidential pick but had long remained in Biden’s top tier.

Public speculation of a possible pick has also centered around Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., former national security adviser Susan Rice and Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also in the running.

Michigan is a battleground state, and President Donald Trump narrowly won it in the 2016 election by around 10,700 votes.

Whitmer has earned the respect of Biden officials for her role in responding to the coronavirus pandemic — at times in the face of protests that included demonstrations outside the state capitol building in which some protesters were armed, and a tweet by Trump that read “Liberate Michigan!” in capital letters.

She elevated her public profile earlier this year by battling with Trump over the federal response to the pandemic.

Senior Biden campaign officials have made clear again in recent days that they believe the COVID-19 pandemic combined with Trump’s management of the crisis and the resulting economic fallout is the central issue of the fall campaign.

Phil Helsel contributed.



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Japan trade deal BOOM – Tokyo wants £15bn agreement struck by END of month

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JAPAN wants to sign a trade deal with the UK by the end of the month in a £15 billion boost to British businesses.

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