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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump called his impeachment a "political suicide march for the Democratic Party" as the House of Representatives cast two fateful votes Wednesday night.

The big picture: Trump became America's third president to be impeached after the House voted on charges of abuse of power and obstruction. But supporters remained unfazed at a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, showing up through slushy snow wearing MAGA hats and "deplorables" gear to get a look at the president.

  • As lawmakers voted, Trump surrounded himself with thousands of supporters. "It doesn't really feel like we're being impeached," he told them confidently just before the votes.

The president's counter-programming began hours earlier. Trump sent dozens of tweets and retweets Wednesday morning laying into Democrats for what he's repeatedly called a hoax.

  • "Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!" Trump tweeted.

Trump doubled down on his impeachment defense following the vote, spending about two hours total in front of the crowd.

  • "You know, we have an election right down the road. I announced three months ago that I'm running, right? I'll give you a little clue: I announced because I figured once I announced they'd never impeach. Nobody would be so stupid," Trump said.
  • "They've been trying to impeach me from day one. They've been trying to impeach me from before I ran," he added.

Fed the vote numbers mid-speech, Trump touted the tally to the crowd, leading to sweeping cheers for Republican unity and the three Democrats who voted in the president's favor.

  • "The Republican Party has never been so affronted, but they've never been so united as they are right now," Trump said.

Between the lines: Holding on to voters in swing states like Michigan — which Trump narrowly won in 2016 — will be essential for Republicans to keep the White House in 2020.

  • Keeping the base motivated to turn out in his defense is also key to Trump's re-election strategy.

What to watch: The GOP-led Senate was poised to hold an expedited trial in January. Trump is expected to be acquitted.

  • "The President is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings. He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

School principals are not OK

Principal Alice Hom (purple jacket) of New York's Yung Wing School P.S. 124 near a vaccination van in November. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The overwhelming majority of secondary school principals experienced frequent stress last school year, according to a RAND Corporation report out Wednesday.

The big picture: The stress levels among female principals and principals of color were especially stark, with nearly 40% in these groups reporting constant job-related stress, compared to about 24% of male principals and 26% of white principals.

It's official: Stock market having worst start to year ever

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's been a decidedly ugly start to the year for the stock market, with particular pain in the tech trade.

State of play: As of the end of trading Tuesday — the 16th session of the year — 2022 is now, officially, the worst-ever start in the history of the S&P 500, according to data from Ned Davis Research, a stock market research shop.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.