Donald Trump has celebrated his impeachment acquittal with a defiant speech at the White House, saying the investigation against him was “evil, corrupt, it was dirty cops”.
The US president held up a copy of the Washington Post with the headline “Trump acquitted” before taking aim at his political rivals, calling a three-year long “witch hunt” against him “a very unfair situation”.
The president was speaking in the East Room of the White House a day after he was cleared of impeachment charges in the Senate.
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Mr Trump, talking about the “witch hunt” that started in the early days of his presidency, said: “We went through Russia, Russia, Russia… it was all b******t.”
He also thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans for supporting him as he faced impeachment charges.
Mr Trump also called House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who brought impeachment charges him, a “horrible person” and doubted her claims that she prays for him.
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The president referred to Adam Schiff, the lead House prosecutor during the impeachment trial, as a “vicious, horrible person”.
He later celebrated “total acquittal” as a “gorgeous word”.
Reflecting on the period during which he faced impeachment charges, Mr Trump said: “I just want to apologise to my family for them having to go through a phoney, rotten deal, by some very evil and sick people.”
First Lady Melania Trump was in attendance for the speech, along with the president’s sons and daughter Ivanka.
Ivanka stood up and hugged her father as his speech drew to a close.
The president spoke after taking aim at those who tried to remove him from office in a separate speech earlier.
Mr Trump said at the annual 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.”
He spoke from a stage where he was joined by congressional leaders, including Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who led the impeachment charge against him.
Mr Trump, who triumphantly held up copies of two newspapers with “acquitted” headlines as he took the stage, continued: “They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt our nation.”
In an apparent reference to Mitt Romney, the only Republican senator to vote for Mr Trump’s removal, he said: “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.”
In a reference to Ms Pelosi, he said: “Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when you know that is not so.”
Mr Trump was acquitted by the Senate of obstructing Congress and abusing the power of his office.
The vote brought to an end the third presidential impeachment trial in US history that bitterly divided the country, and comes as the president is in the early days of his re-election campaign.