On Wednesday evening, just shy of 8:30 p.m. ET, President Trump was inaugurated into one of the most exclusive boys’ clubs in the world: He became just the third president in all of American history to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives.
And just as lawmakers on Capitol Hill were clearing the voting threshold to impeach him, Trump was on stage at a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, talking about how he’s met U.S. fighter pilots who are right “out of central casting” and who are even hotter and more “handsome” than Tom Cruise.
Shortly after that, the president moved on to bragging, to raucous cheers and applause from his fans, about how he defeated 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the “Blue Wall” state of Michigan. He then cracked a joke about whether Bill Clinton calls her “Crooked Hillary” behind closed doors.
It was a quintessentially Trumpian political rally, full of jabs and mean-spirited quips at his Democratic enemies, flamboyant braggadocio, casual recommendation that police and security personnel be more violent with anti-Trump protesters, and wrong, bizarre claims of bringing “Merry Christmas” back in vogue. The difference on Wednesday night was that it would be the only rally of his lifetime during which he’d take the stage as a president who could honestly say he’d never been impeached, only to leave the stage an impeached leader.
As he basked in the glow of the Republican voters and his devoted followers, he appeared determined to put on a happy face and serve up another buoyant, smirking performance. “I’m having a good time,” the president insisted. “I’m not worried, I’m not worried.”
In private, Trump has bitterly fixated on the effect of impeachment on his legacy and his “résumé.” And he craves vengeance.
This month, the president has been calling around regularly to old friends and informal advisers, some of whom tell The Daily Beast that they hadn’t heard from Trump for a long time, soliciting their views and advice on impeachment. In recent weeks, Trump has told confidants and administration officials that he wants Democratic leaders to somehow pay for what they’ve done to him, and he has revived his talk about wanting to sue liberal lawmakers such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, after the impeachment process in the House has concluded, according to two sources who’ve heard Trump discuss this over the past three weeks.
It’s unclear, as typically is the case with Trump, if he’ll end up following through on this legal threat. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani—a central figure in the president’s scandalous, impeachment-triggering crusade to recruit the Ukrainian government into investigating the Bidens—told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that there has, indeed, been recent “movement” on a Schiff-related lawsuit, though he wouldn’t elaborate when asked what he meant by that. For many years, Trump has been known for frivolous lawsuits and hurling wild legal threats, and said in October that he told his lawyers they should sue Schiff even if their legal defeat is certain or the case gets thrown out.
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Source: The Daily Beast