President Donald Trump on Friday said the House should expunge its impeachment vote on him in the wake of his acquittal by the Senate.
‘They should because it was a hoax. It was a total political hoax,’ he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before he left for a trip to North Carolina.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy originally suggested the House should expunge its December vote on the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
McCarthy, a close Trump ally, said the original impeachment vote shouldn’t stay on the books since the president had been found ‘not guilty’ in his Senate trial.
‘This is the fastest, weakest, most political impeachment in history,’ McCarthy told The New York Post. ‘I don’t think it should stay on the books.’
On December 18, the House approved the two articles against the president.
The vote on Article One, abuse of power, was 230–197, with one vote of present. All Republicans voted against the article, joined by two Democrats.
The vote on Article Two, obstruction of Congress, was 229–198, with one vote of present. All Republicans voted against the article, joined by three Democrats.
If Republicans win back the House chamber in the November election, they could erase those votes.
Republicans need to flip 18 House seats in order to retake control of the House.
There is precedent for such an action.
In 1837, the Senate voted to expunge its earlier censure of President Andrew Jackson.
If the House expunged its vote on Trump, such a move would be largely symbolic although it would be something the president would see as a huge vindication.
After a three-month investigation, House Democrats alleged Trump with held nearly $400 million in U.S. aid from Ukraine in exchange for that county to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, his political rivals.
The president denied the charges and the Senate cleared him of both articles on Wednesday after a contentious trial.
Trump held a victory celebration for his acquittal at the White House on Thursday.
‘This is a day of celebration because we went through hell,’ he told a packed room of about 200 supporters in the East Room of the White House.
The president spoke – without the use of a teleprompter – for a little more than hour that veered back and forth between thanking his allies and blasting his enemies.
He began his remarks with his favorite hit term on the investigations into him and his presidency: ‘witch hunt.’
‘We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was a leakers and lawyers. This should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it,’ he said.
And he ended with an apology to his family, including young son Barron.
‘I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people,’ he said. ‘And Ivanka is here, my sons, my whole family. And that includes Barron. He’s up there, he’s a young boy.’
Ivanka left her seat in the audience to come up to the podium and hug her father after his apology. First lady Melania Trump did the same.
‘I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal,’ the president said.
Trump also name-dropped those he blamed for impeaching him, re-upping his litany of attacks against the same people he has blamed since the first investigation of his presidency started.
Former FBI Director James Comey was the first opponent who came up.
‘Had I not fired James Comey – who was a disaster, by the way – it’s possible I may not have even been standing here right now,’ Trump said. ‘When I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out,’ he later added.
He blamed the top FBI officials for his problems. ‘It was the top scum, and the FBI people don’t like the top scum,’ he said.
The president also had choice words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, Sen. Mitt Romney, Hunter Biden, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe – and the FBI lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Comey’s May 2017 firing led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who took over the Russian interference probe.
The president referred to the Russia probe as ‘all bulls***’ to the East Room crowd.That investigation wasn’t directly related to why Trump was impeached – over a scheme to hold up around $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the president to announce investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden.
The East Room was filled with the president’s Republican Congressional and political allies. Lawmakers like Doug Collins, Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik and Matt Gaetz, who all vocally defended the president during the House impeachment investigation. GOP senators who voted to acquit him were there too, including Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.