After acquittal, Trump unleashes fury at impeachment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Donald Trump is exulting in his impeachment acquittal, taking a scorched earth victory lap.

First, at the National Prayer Breakfast, he shattered the usual veneer of bipartisanship, unleashing his fury against those who tried to remove him from office.

Then at the White House, he spoke of vindication and looked ahead to his reelection campaign. At both events, he held up newspapers with huge headlines saying ‘ACQUITTED.’

He said his impeachment by the House was “evil, it was corrupt.”

He portrayed himself as a victim, not a president accused of corruption, and said it must never happen to another president.

His comments Thursday came as he relished his acquittal by the Senate a day earlier.

Trump was joined onstage at the Prayer Breakfast by congressional leaders, including Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who led the impeachment charge against him.

Following a keynote speaker who spoke of loving one’s enemies, he would have none of it. He declared that he, his family and the country had been “put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people.”

Now that the trial has ended, Trump is barreling into his reelection fight with a united Republican Party behind him. And he’s emboldened by reassuring poll numbers and chaos on the Democratic side in the race to replace him.

The impeachment of Trump is over, but it’s far from case closed on Ukraine. A full accounting of his dealings with Ukraine, stemming in large part from the foreign policy entanglements pursued by personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, remains unfinished.

It’s only a matter of time before fresh details, documents and eyewitnesses emerge, including revelations in a new book from John Bolton, the former national security adviser.

The result could be the start of a prolonged investigation with no clear endpoint, keeping questions about the president’s conduct alive through the election in November.

Trump’s acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial leaves his political fate in the hands of voters and his place in history to be judged in the passage of time.

The episode made Americans witnesses to history in a way that few generations have been.

Acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday came more than four months after a whistleblower’s complaint set in motion a process that imperiled Trump’s presidency and ultimately left him emboldened.

The Senate acquitted Trump of impeachment charges on Wednesday, ending the third presidential trial in American history with votes that split the country and tested civic norms.

Long before Donald Trump’s impeachment landed in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had one piece of advice for the president: Focus on the House.

Stir the partisan passions and make sure Republicans are united. It was the best strategy GOP leader had to produce as partisan an impeachment as possible to secure Trump’s acquittal in the Senate.

In the aftermath, McConnell’s power over the Senate is now without doubt, a leader whose approach reflects the times of the Trump era, but also is shaping them.

The proceedings are feeding the tumultuous 2020 run for the White House.

A majority of senators expressed unease with Trump’s pressure on Ukraine that resulted in the two articles of impeachment. But there was nowhere near the two-thirds vote necessary in the Republican-held Senate to remove Trump from office.

Because Trump was found not guilty of both articles of impeachment, he wants to use the tally as vindication, a political anthem in his reelection bid.

Trump says he’ll speak about impeachment Thursday from the White House.

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