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.'"

Go deeper

16 mins ago - Health

Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine

A volunteer in Moderna's vaccine clinical trial receives a shot. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.

Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective. The federal government also appears to own some of the patent rights associated with Moderna's vaccine.

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Political world reacts to Biden tapping Kamala Harris as running mate

Sen. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden at a campaign event in March. Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Democrats from across the party — including some of the women on Joe Biden's vice-presidential shortlist — are championing his historic appointment of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.

What they're saying: "Joe Biden nailed this decision," former President Barack Obama wrote in a lengthy statement. "By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 20,166,415 — Total deaths: 738,266 — Total recoveries: 12,388,925Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,124,050 — Total deaths: 164,329 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. States: Florida reports another daily record for deaths State testing plans fall short of demand.
  4. Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to COVID-19.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. 🏈 Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.