Updated Feb 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump cuts loose at acquittal celebration

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump let loose Thursday at a White House event to mark his impeachment acquittal, saying it was not a speech or a news conference but "a celebration."

The big picture: The 62-minute event was pure unchained Trump — a midday TV drama featuring his closest allies from the White House and Capitol Hill — that saw the president go scorched earth in a setting more akin to one of his campaign rallies than a traditional East Room gathering.

  • Like a rally, the focus didn't just stay on impeachment. The president relitigated the entire Russia investigation and a number of unfounded conspiracy theories surrounding it, claiming that former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page "were going to try and overthrow the government of the United States" and calling former FBI Director James Comey "a sleaze bag."
"There's nothing from a legal standpoint. This is a political thing. And every time I'd say, 'This is unfair, let's go to court,' they'd say, 'You can't go to court. Sir, this is politics.' We were treated unbelievably unfairly. You have to understand, we first went through Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all bullshit."

The state of play: The president used the event to thank his allies and settle scores, despite already taking a shot at impeachment foils Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) earlier Thursday.

  • He referred to both Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as "horrible" people and said that Pelosi "doesn't pray."
  • He singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his "fantastic job" in leading the Senate's Republican caucus through the impeachment process and trial.
  • His extended victory lap featured a long list of members of Congress — from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) — to single out for praise.

Between the lines: Trump repeatedly refused to admit that he had done anything wrong regarding the Ukraine affair, brushing it aside as a political witch hunt, despite the fact that a number of Senate Republicans have stated that his actions were wrong but not impeachable.

Flashback to the New York Times headline for former President Bill Clinton's first public statement after his impeachment acquittal in 1999: "The President Says He Feels Humbled and Is 'Profoundly Sorry.'"

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,929,312 — Total deaths: 357,781 — Total recoveries — 2,385,926Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,709,996 — Total deaths: 101,002 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Business: Louisiana senator says young people are key to reopening the economy —U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

Go deeper: Twitter vs. Trump... vs. Twitter

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