Defiant Trump rallies supporters as House impeaches him
US President rallies supporters in key election battleground state Michigan as House of Representatives impeaches him on two counts
BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN: Defiant in the face of a historic rebuke, President Donald Trump labelled his impeachment by the House of Representatives on Wednesday "a suicide march" for the Democratic Party as he delivered a rambling two-hour rally speech that overlapped the vote.
"Crazy Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats have branded themselves with an eternal mark of shame," Mr Trump told the crowd in battleground Michigan, where he took the stage just minutes before becoming only the third president in US history to be impeached.
It was a dramatic and discordant split-screen moment, with Mr Trump emerging from a mock fireplace like Santa Claus at the Christmas-themed rally.
It was also Mr Trump's longest rally ever, according to the tracking site Factbase, clocking in at two hours and one minute.
As Mr Trump spoke - seemingly unaware for a stretch that the votes had been tallied - the House moved to impeach him on two counts.
The first charges him with abuse of power for allegedly pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals while crucial US security aid was being withheld. The second charges him with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling investigative efforts.
Yet there is little chance Mr Trump will be convicted by the Republican-controlled Senate and removed from office - a fact that Mr Trump and his allies have pointed to as they have tried to minimise the votes' significance.
Still, Mr Trump clearly was stung by the stain that an "ugly" impeachment will attach to his legacy.
Throughout the rally, he unleashed his anger at the Democrats, slammed their effort as "illegal" and accused the party of demonstrating "deep hatred and disdain" for voters.
"After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams, tonight the House Democrats are trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans," Mr Trump said, claiming that it was the Democrats who were "interfering in America's elections" and "subverting American democracy".
Mid-rally, an aide held up a sign notifying Mr Trump of the impeachment vote count and the president announced to the crowd that "every single Republican voted for us. Whoa. Wow, wow... And three Democrats voted for us".
During the rally, Mr Trump went after several legislators by name, including Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, whose husband, former congressman John Dingell, died earlier this year.
He said Ms Debbie Dingell had thanked him for "A-plus treatment" after her husband's death, telling Mr Trump that if her husband were looking down he would be thrilled.
"I said, 'That's OK. Don't worry about it,'" Mr Trump told the crowd. "Maybe he's looking up. I don't know."
Some in the crowd gasped.
Ms Dingell responded by tweet, saying Mr Trump's "hurtful words just made my healing much harder". - AP