Trump Denies Responsibility for Capitol Riot, Says Impeachment Push Causing ‘Tremendous Anger’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One to depart Washington on travel to Texas, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, January 12, 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

President Trump said Tuesday that Democrats’ second attempt to impeach him over his role in last week’s violence at the Capitol is causing “tremendous anger” before defending the contents of the speech he delivered ahead of the riot, in which he urged his supporters to congregate at the Capitol in a show of “strength.”

“It’s really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics. It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he was leaving for a visit to the southern border.

“This impeachment is causing tremendous anger,” Trump said, adding, “It’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing.”

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On Monday, House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” over the riot by fervent Trump supporters at the Capitol last week that resulted in five dead. The House is set to vote on the impeachment article on Wednesday. A resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office was blocked by House Republicans.

On Wednesday, a large group of Trump supporters overpowered Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. Pence and the assembled lawmakers evacuated the Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results.

The violence followed a rally outside the White House earlier in the day where President Trump addressed the “Save America March” and repeated his claims that November’s election was rife with voter fraud that threatened to deprive him of his rightful second term.

“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” the president said, but he also warned, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

“They’ve analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence. And everybody to the tee thought it was totally appropriate,” the president told reporters later on Tuesday about his rhetoric before and during the riot that prompted bipartisan condemnation.

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