Donald Trump holds up a newspaper that displays a headline 'Aquitted' as he arrives to speak at the 68th annual National Prayer in Washington on Thursday. AFP
President Donald Trump unleashed his fury against those who tried to remove him from office at a prayer breakfast Thursday, a day after his acquittal by the Senate in his impeachment trial.
Speaking from a stage where he was joined by congressional leaders, including Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who led the impeachment charge against him, Trump shattered the usual veneer of bipartisanship at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
"As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people," Trump said at the annual event.
His airing of grievances came hours before he was to deliver a formal response to the impeachment vote at the White House.
"They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt our nation,” said Trump, who triumphantly held up copies of two newspapers with banner "ACQUITTED" headlines as he took the stage.
Trump tweeted after the Senate vote that he would mark his acquittal with a statement at noon Thursday to "discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” The president's supporters were being invited to join him in the East Room.
With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators sworn to do "impartial justice” stood and stated their votes for the roll call - "guilty” or "not guilty” - in a swift tally almost exclusively along party lines. Trump, the chief justice then declared, shall "be, and is hereby, acquitted of the charges.”
On the first article of Impeachment, abuse of power, the vote was 52-48 favouring acquittal. The second, obstruction of Congress, also produced a not guilty verdict, 53-47.
The president and his allies sent giddy tweets needling his accusers and Democrats.
In his first message once the trial closed, Trump posted an animated video using a Time magazine cover to suggest he would remain in office "4EVA." Democrats handed some more good news to Trump. The Iowa caucuses, the nation's first presidential nominating contest, was thrown into disarray by a tabulating mishap. That deprived any candidate of a clear victory and allowed Trump to paint the Democrats as incompetent and corrupt.
Senators voted 56-44 in favour of the constitutionality of the historic trial, rejecting a bid by Trump’s lawyers to throw it out on grounds that a former president cannot be tried by lawmakers.
As the third presidential impeachment trial in US history began in earnest, Trump's chief legal defender argued the Democratic case was a baseless effort to overturn the 2016 election but a top Democratic lawmaker said there was "overwhelming" evidence of wrongdoing.
A complaint filed by a US intelligence official stems from Trump's communications with a foreign leader and a "promise" allegedly made by the president.
Trump continued to attack McConnell, accusing the Senate GOP leader of failing to stand up for Republicans after McConnell blasted Trump for inciting the Jan.6 US Capitol riot despite voting to acquit the former president at his second impeachment trial.
A court sentenced two maintenance workers to three months in jail and fined them Dhs165,000 for stealing Dhs815,000 that had been hidden by an Arab woman inside a small waste container on the roof of her villa.
Heartrending scenes of a newborn plucked alive from the rubble and a broken father clutching his dead daughter's hand have laid bare the human cost of violent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey that by Wednesday had claimed 11,000 lives.
The Fire broke out over an area of about 100 square metres and was extinguished around an hour later, Interfax news agency reported, adding that the small refinery belonged to a company called Resource LLC.