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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "impeachment"

John Rood, Top Defense Official, Latest to Leave After Impeachment Saga

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-rood-facebookJumbo John Rood, Top Defense Official, Latest to Leave After Impeachment Saga United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Rood, John C. impeachment Defense Department Anderson, James H

WASHINGTON — John C. Rood, the Defense Department’s top policy official, is the latest member of President Trump’s national security team involved in the Ukraine matter to leave the government.

Mr. Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, will step down at the end of February, the department’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said Wednesday.

Mr. Rood was part of the team at the Defense Department that told Congress last year that Ukraine had made the necessary reforms to justify sending the country $250 million in promised security assistance. The certification was widely viewed as undermining a key argument Mr. Trump’s defense team made during his impeachment battle: that Mr. Trump withheld the aid because he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine.

Mr. Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House but acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate. Since his acquittal, the president has moved swiftly to purge administration officials whose presentation of events did not align with his own.

Mr. Rood’s departure, reported earlier by CNN, was not entirely unexpected; he and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper were known to clash frequently early in their careers, and Mr. Esper was expected to fire him when he became Defense Secretary last year. But the dearth of respected national security policy experts willing to work for Mr. Trump has made it difficult for administration officials to fill jobs.

James H. Anderson, the acting deputy under secretary of defense for policy, will be taking over Mr. Rood’s duties until a replacement is appointed by the president, the department said.

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A Presidency Increasingly Guided by Suspicion and Distrust

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-trump-facebookJumbo A Presidency Increasingly Guided by Suspicion and Distrust United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Richard Hofstadter Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2020 paranoia impeachment D'Antonio, Michael

WASHINGTON — President Trump suggested in recent days that he had, in fact, learned a lesson from his now-famous telephone call with Ukraine’s president that ultimately led to his impeachment: Too many people are listening to his phone calls.

“When you call a foreign leader, people listen,” he observed on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show. “I may end the practice entirely. I may end it entirely.”

Mr. Trump has always been convinced that he is surrounded by people who cannot be trusted. But in the 10 days since he was acquitted by the Senate, he has grown more vocal about it and turned paranoia into policy, purging his White House of more career officials, bringing back loyalists and tightening the circle around him to a smaller and more faithful coterie of confidants.

The impeachment case against Mr. Trump, built largely on the testimony of officials who actually worked for him, reinforced his view that the government is full of leakers, plotters, whistle-blowers and traitors. Career professionals who worked in government before he arrived are viewed as “Obama holdovers” even if they were there long before President Barack Obama. Testifying under subpoena was, Mr. Trump has made clear, “insubordinate.”

The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said on Twitter after the acquittal that the investigation was useful, in its own way, because it made it easier “unearthing who all needed to be fired.” The president and his staff have increasingly equated disloyalty to him with disloyalty to the nation. All of which makes for a volatile eight months ahead as Mr. Trump fights a rear-guard battle with his own government while facing off against Democrats on the campaign trail to win a second term.

“I think he feels like the people are out to get him, going overboard. I mean just put yourself in his shoes,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a staunch ally, told reporters this past week as the president railed on Twitter against Justice Department prosecutors. “There’s just a general frustration that the system is — there’s a double standard in the media and actually in the law.”

In the last week and a half, Mr. Trump has pushed out two witnesses who testified in the House inquiry, stripped a nomination from an official he blamed for being insufficiently loyal and assailed prosecutors, a judge and even the jury forewoman in the case of his friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

His national security adviser has just finished transferring more than 50 career professionals out of the White House and back to their home agencies. The president has brought back two of his earliest and most trusted aides, Hope Hicks and Johnny McEntee, as he retreats into a cocoon of his original 2016 campaign team. And more personnel moves are likely in the days to come.

Mr. Trump’s personal loyalty test now extends not to whether someone has worked in his White House since his inauguration, but to whether someone was part of his 2016 campaign and there from the beginning, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen administration officials and advisers to the president. His decision to turn the Office of Presidential Personnel over to Mr. McEntee, a 29-year-old aide who was once ordered marched out of the White House by John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff at the time, was born out of concern about who is surrounding him, people familiar with the move said.

While some officials cited a lack of responsiveness from officials working in the personnel office, others said that Mr. Trump had taken to blaming them for appointments that he made, on the advice of other advisers. That included Gordon D. Sondland, the Republican donor he appointed ambassador to the European Union who became a key witness in the impeachment inquiry and has now been dismissed. It also included John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, who plans to publish a book next month revealing Mr. Trump’s machinations about Ukraine.

In private conversations, Mr. Trump has complained bitterly that none of his enemies have been criminally charged, citing James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and his onetime deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. Mr. Bolton in particular has been a source of his anger in several conversations, according to people familiar with what the president has said. He has accused Mr. Bolton of betraying him, and made clear his anger extends to anyone he believes helped Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he may bar government officials from listening into his phone calls with foreign leaders would reverse decades of practice in the White House. Presidents traditionally have multiple aides from the National Security Council and State Department monitor foreign leader calls to help interpret their meaning, record any agreements and inform relevant parts of government.

Mr. Trump, however, felt burned early on when transcripts of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked to The Washington Post. During subsequent conversations with foreign leaders, he sometimes kicked out aides for more private talks and in the case of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia even demanded that his own interpreter turn over notes of the discussion.

“He knows that anything even reasonably controversial out of his mouth, on the phone or off, will be reported out and construed in the most evil way possible,” Mr. Rivera, a friend of the president’s who interviewed him for his Cleveland radio show, said on Saturday. “As a result, he indicated to me that he’s dramatically scaling back” the number of people “looped into a state call.”

Going back to his days in the real estate business, Mr. Trump has long considered suspicion a key to success. “Be paranoid,” he advised in a motivational seminar in 2000. “Now that sounds terrible. But you have to realize that people, sadly, sadly, are very vicious. You think we’re so different from the lions in the jungle? I don’t know.”

Nor is presidential paranoia a new phenomenon even as Mr. Trump seems to have elevated it to a guiding philosophy of his White House. From Thomas Jefferson to Franklin D. Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, other presidents turned at times to unseemly and even ruthless methods against their enemies like illegal wiretapping. Probably no previous presidents were as paranoid as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon and in the latter case it helped bring down his presidency.

“The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent,” as Richard Hofstadter, the famed midcentury American historian, wrote in his landmark 1964 essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” In Mr. Trump’s case, it connects with supporters suspicious of the elite.

John A. Farrell, a Nixon biographer, said most other presidents managed to contain or disguise their paranoid elements, but it drove Johnson and Nixon to extremes that were ultimately self-destructive. Mr. Trump, he said, sees no need to hide it.

“He has responded to criticism, opposition and other curbs on his power with a vulgar energy and the vile Nixonian strategy that making Americans hate each other is a potent way to seize and secure power,” Mr. Farrell said. “It is no accident that a president acting this way comes from a chain of influences that includes Roy Cohn and Roger Stone.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers and defenders turn to the old nostrum — just because he may be paranoid does not mean people are not out to get him. The relentless investigations against him, the Trump-bashing text messages by F.B.I. officials, the excesses of the surveillance warrant on a former campaign adviser, the longtime lawyer-fixer who turned against him, the whistle-blower who took his concerns to House Democrats, all of it, they said, has contributed to an understandable defensiveness.

“Trump came to office with an almost pathological distrust of others and an irresistible impulse to attack any perceived threat,” said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who testified against impeachment last year before the House Judiciary Committee. “The well-documented bias in the F.B.I. and Justice Department against Trump fuels his suspicions and tendency to counterpunch. Both his perceptions and his responses became more exaggerated.

“However,” Mr. Turley added, “his suspicions were validated to some degree in these investigations — something that many refuse to acknowledge. He came to Washington with an agenda that was highly antagonistic and threatening to the status quo. It was immediately clear that he faced deep opposition to his agenda.”

As with so many aspects of his personality, the seeds of Mr. Trump’s reaction may lie in his biography. Michael D’Antonio, the author of “The Truth About Trump,” recalled that the future president was raised by a father who taught him that all of life is a battle for power and that he should be a “killer.” Mr. Trump, Mr. D’Antonio said, came to see others as useful for his own purposes or obstacles to be crushed.

“In this way, he’s forcing us all to live in the world that once existed only in Trump’s mind and in his close circle,” Mr. D’Antonio said. “Here, in Trump’s America, we’re to believe that all institutions are corrupt. No one is to be trusted. Those who would speak against him hesitate. Words of protest and revelations that might be made by whistle-blowers are stifled by fear. This is the world Trump has always inhabited and he wants us to live there too.”

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

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As a Post-Impeachment Trump Pushes the Limits, Republicans Say Little

WASHINGTON — On a day when President Trump congratulated the attorney general for overruling career prosecutors in favor of the lighter prison sentence he sought for a longtime friend, Senate Republicans agreed on one thing: Reining in a president emboldened by the impeachment acquittal they orchestrated is not on their to-do list.

“Kind of immaterial,” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said on Wednesday, waving off the question of whether the president or his allies at the Justice Department may have interfered with the sentencing of Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longtime associate.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the Judiciary Committee chairman, said he was not “losing any sleep” over the departure of the four prosecutors who had handled the case and withdrew in protest on Tuesday, having assured himself the president did nothing wrong.

Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, refused to broach the topic: “I’m not going to have this conversation right now,” he said, ducking into the Senate subway on his way to the Capitol.

In the week since the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Mr. Trump of two impeachment charges, lawmakers in his party have watched as he has purged key players in the case against him, including the ambassador to the European Union and two White House National Security Council aides, and put in motion plans to banish others he considers insufficiently loyal. They have listened as he has called for one of those officials, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, to be investigated by the Pentagon.

They have read his tweets and heard his comments heaping scorching criticism on the Justice Department for “a horrible and very unfair” attempt to put Mr. Stone in prison for seven to nine years based on a conviction for lying to Congress and trying to block witness testimony. Mr. Trump cheered on William P. Barr, the attorney general, for intervening, while castigating the federal judge overseeing the case.

And they have been forced to reckon with the fact that, far from obscuring his actions or offering innocent explanations, Mr. Trump has been open and unapologetic about his efforts to take revenge on his perceived enemies and assist those he considers loyal.

The warning sirens may be blaring from Democrats and Justice Department veterans. But having expressed confidence just last week that the impeachment trial might chasten him going forward, Republican senators now appear unwilling to grapple with the president who emerged: an emboldened Mr. Trump determined to tighten his grip on the levers of power.

Video

transcript

Trump Calls Prosecution of Roger Stone a ‘Disgrace’

President Trump denied that his tweet praising the attorney general for intervening in the sentencing of Roger J. Stone Jr. was political interference.

Reporter: “On Roger Stone, isn’t your tweet political interference?” “No, not at all. He was treated very badly — nine years recommended. If you look at what happened — I want to thank the Justice Department for seeing this horrible thing. And I didn’t speak to him, by the way, just so you understand. They saw the horribleness of a nine-year sentence for doing nothing. You have murderers and drug addicts, they don’t get nine years — nine years for doing something that nobody even can define what he did. Somebody said he put out a tweet, and the tweet, you based it on that. We have killers, we have murderers all over the place, nothing happens. And then they put a man in jail and destroy his life, his family, his wife, his children — nine years in jail. It’s a disgrace. In the meantime, Comey walks around making book deals. The people that launched this scam investigation, and what they did is a disgrace.”

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-trump-videoSixteenByNine3000 As a Post-Impeachment Trump Pushes the Limits, Republicans Say Little Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Stone, Roger J Jr Senate Republican Party impeachment Cornyn, John Collins, Susan M

President Trump denied that his tweet praising the attorney general for intervening in the sentencing of Roger J. Stone Jr. was political interference.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Asked if Mr. Trump appeared to have learned any positive lessons from the impeachment saga that threatened his presidency and prompted her and some others Republicans to criticize his conduct, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska paused on Wednesday to choose her words carefully.

“There haven’t been strong indicators this week that he has,” she said.

In the Oval Office on Wednesday, Mr. Trump insisted he had in fact grown wiser based on the impeachment experience — but not in ways that many in his party were hoping for. “That the Democrats are crooked,” he told reporters when asked about the lessons he took from the episode. “They got a lot of crooked things going. That they’re vicious. That they shouldn’t have brought impeachment.”

On Capitol Hill, Republicans offered up general platitudes about the principle that presidents should stay out of pending legal matters. But none asked for an explanation of Mr. Trump’s handling of Mr. Stone’s case, or suggested his actions warranted further scrutiny.

Instead, after three years of provocations, attacks on political opponents and allies alike, and abrupt policy reversals, Republican lawmakers fell back on a set of neutral responses they have found crucial to navigating the choppy waters of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Privately, many in the party say it is just often not worth it to challenge him in the open. Better to try lobby the White House quietly, like a handful of Republican senators did last week when they tried to intervene to stop Mr. Trump from firing Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, who testified in the House impeachment hearings. But their entreaties did not work.

Matters of foreign policy have often prompted more public disagreements, like a planned vote on Thursday to curtail Mr. Trump’s war powers, but they are few and far between.

The handful of moderate Republicans who have broken with the president on matters of consequence — including in recent weeks to criticize his pressure campaign on Ukraine undergirding the House’s impeachment case — are reluctant to to do so again and again.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, seemed to grow frustrated on Wednesday when reporters pressed her to reconcile Mr. Trump’s recent actions with her assertion last week that he would be “much more cautious in the future” after having been impeached.

“My vote to acquit the president was not based on predicting his future behavior,” Ms. Collins said. She added, “I think the president would be better served by never commenting on pending federal investigations.”

Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican who chastised Mr. Trump for his pressure on Ukraine, declined to pass any direct judgment on the president’s actions since.

“The sentencing is in the hands of the courts, which should make an appropriate decision,” he said. “And politics should never play a part in law enforcement. So that’s what I have to say about that.”

Even Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the sole Republican who voted to convict Mr. Trump last week, said he did not have time to get into the particulars of the case, saying he trusted the judge in Mr. Stone’s case to “do what is right.”

“I can’t begin to spend time discussing the president’s tweets,” he said. “That would be a full-time job.”

Democrats have watched with increasing desperation. The House still holds subpoena power, and can use its control of the federal spending process to try to curb some unwanted excesses by the administration. But the chamber just used the Constitution’s most powerful tool for executive accountability, impeachment, and failed to win a conviction.

In the Senate, where Republicans are in control, some Democrats have taken to outright pleading with colleagues to speak up. Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, interrupted a Banking Committee meeting Wednesday morning to implore his colleagues to stop what he called Mr. Trump’s “retribution tour.”

“We cannot give him a permanent license to turn the presidency and the executive branch into his own personal vengeance operation,” Mr. Brown said. “If we say nothing — and I include everyone in this committee, including myself — it will get worse. His behavior will get worse.”

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to convene emergency hearings on the Justice Department matter.

But Mr. Graham ruled it out, saying he had sought an explanation from Mr. Barr’s office about the decision to change the sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone, and found it satisfactory.

“Should the president stay out of cases? Yeah, absolutely. He should not be commenting on cases in the system,” Mr. Graham said. “If I thought he’d done something that changed the outcome inappropriately, I’d be the first to say.”

“I’m comfortable the system is working,” he added.

Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, chalked the Stone imbroglio up to the president’s social media habits.

“This is a situation where the tweet was very problematic,” he said, hastening to add that tweeting was the president’s right and that all signs he had seen pointed to the situation having been handled properly at the Justice Department.

Other elected Republicans professed a loose command of the facts or sidestepped questions by accusing reporters of distorting them.

Asked whether Mr. Trump had been emboldened since his acquittal, Mr. Cornyn dismissed the idea as a “narrative,” declining to elaborate as he disappeared into a committee room.

Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, said he was “still unfamiliar” with “all the particulars” of the situation around Mr. Stone’s sentencing, but added: “There’s no legal issue here. It’s just a question of propriety.”

Some Republicans did not even bother trying to explain away the president’s actions.

“I do not have an opinion on that,” declared Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

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Trump Hails Acquittal and Lashes Out at His ‘Evil’ and ‘Corrupt’ Opponents

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-trumpspeechpromo-facebookJumbo-v7 Trump Hails Acquittal and Lashes Out at His ‘Evil’ and ‘Corrupt’ Opponents Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment

WASHINGTON — President Trump and his Republican allies focused on exacting payback against his political opponents on Thursday after his acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial, signaling that the conflict that has consumed Washington for months may only escalate rather than recede.

Choosing retaliation over reconciliation, Mr. Trump lashed out at Democrats and the one Republican senator who voted for conviction. He turned a prayer breakfast into a launching pad for political attacks and then staged a long, rambling venting session at the White House where he denounced “evil” and “crooked” lawmakers and the “top scum” at the F.B.I. for trying to take him down.

Mr. Trump’s team indicated that his desire to turn the tables on his foes may go beyond just tough language. The White House press secretary declared that Democrats “should pay for” impeaching the president, and the Trump administration worked to facilitate a Senate Republican investigation of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the goal of Mr. Trump that was at the heart of his impeachment.

“It was evil,” Mr. Trump said of the investigations that led to his Senate trial in an hourlong stream-of-consciousness address to supporters in the East Room of the White House, tossing aside the more calibrated text prepared by his staff. “It was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars, and this should never ever happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it.”

Democrats showed little sign of backing down either. House Democrats have already said they are likely to resume their investigation into Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to incriminate the Bidens, while a Senate Democrat on Thursday called for an inquiry into whether the administration covered up related information by improperly classifying it.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who sat just feet from Mr. Trump as he questioned her faith during the annual National Prayer Breakfast, later pushed back against his implication that she was disingenuous for saying she prayed for him. Some of his remarks, she said, were “particularly without class” and “so inappropriate at a prayer breakfast.”

She also suggested that Mr. Trump appeared to be on medication during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. “He looked to me like he was a little sedated,” she told reporters. “Looked that way last year, too.”

Mr. Trump’s vituperative performance on Thursday was the diametrical opposite of how President Bill Clinton responded to his own acquittal after a Senate impeachment trial in 1999. On the day he was cleared of charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, Mr. Clinton appeared alone in the Rose Garden, said he was “profoundly sorry” and called for “reconciliation and renewal.”

His Republican opponents at the time were just as eager to move on, feeling burned after losing seats in midterm elections and watching not one but two of their House speakers step down. One important difference is that Mr. Clinton was in his second term, while Mr. Trump is seeking re-election in a campaign framed in part by the impeachment debate.

For Mr. Trump, the Senate’s rejection of the two articles of impeachment against him on Wednesday was marred by the fact that Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, was the only senator to break rank, joining every Democrat in voting to convict Mr. Trump for abuse of power.

Angry at Mr. Romney’s defection, Mr. Trump waited a day to appear in person with supporters in the East Room in a ceremony that veered between celebration and confrontation.

Mr. Trump held up a copy of The Washington Post to show its banner headline, “Trump Acquitted,” then reviewed the long litany of investigations against him over the last three years, dismissing them as partisan efforts to stop him from serving as president.

“We first went through Russia, Russia, Russia,” he said, mocking the investigations into the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election on his behalf and ties between his campaign and Moscow. “It was all bullshit,” he said, the first time he or any president has been known to use that profanity in a formal event on camera in the East Room, according to Factba.se, a research service.

The talk included a greatest-hits string of attacks on some of Mr. Trump’s top villains, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey (“that sleazebag”), his onetime deputy Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok (“two lowlifes”), the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, as well as Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

He called Ms. Pelosi “a horrible person,” Mr. Romney “a failed presidential candidate” who used “religion as a crutch” and Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead House manager, a “corrupt politician.”

The president thanked his lawyers and congressional Republicans, praising them one by one for their support. In particular, he highlighted Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader and his most important defender in the Senate. “You did a fantastic job,” Mr. Trump told him.

He called out more than a dozen other Republican defenders, including Representatives Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader; Jim Jordan of Ohio; Mark Meadows of North Carolina; and Elise Stefanik of New York. Noticeably absent, and unmentioned by the president, were Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer at the center of the Ukraine pressure campaign, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of his most outspoken allies.

“This is sort of a day of celebration, because we went through hell,” Mr. Trump said. “But I’m sure they’ll try and cook up other things,” he added of the Democrats, “because instead of wanting to heal our country and fix our country, all they want to do — in my opinion, it’s almost like they want to destroy our country. We can’t let it happen.”

In the wake of Mr. Trump’s acquittal, Republican senators pressed their inquiries into Hunter Biden’s finances, seeking to prove that the president was right to insist that Ukraine investigate him and the former vice president.

A spokeswoman for Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the Treasury Department had readily complied with a request by the Republican majority for documents related to Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, contrasted with the administration’s refusal to provide papers for the House impeachment inquiry.

For their part, Democrats were still seeking investigations, too. Senator Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut asked the Government Accountability Office to review whether the Trump administration misused classification power to hide information about the president’s Ukraine pressure campaign. And House Democrats have already said they will probably subpoena John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, to ask about Ukraine.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said Democrats should be made to answer for what she called a dishonest attack on Mr. Trump. “Maybe people should pay for that,” she said on Fox News. Asked to elaborate, she equated Mr. Trump with the United States. “People should be held accountable for anything they do to hurt this country and this president,” she said.

Mr. Trump’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast was as overtly political as any president has delivered at the annual event, traditionally a bipartisan affair marked by talk of faith and common ground. He triumphantly held up newspapers reporting his acquittal, cited rising stock markets, boasted about his approval rating and urged the audience to vote in the fall.

Mr. Trump’s speech followed a keynote address by Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and prominent conservative thinker, who called on Americans to “love your enemies.” At one point, Mr. Brooks asked the audience, “How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically?” Hands around the room shot up. “I’m going to round that off to 100 percent,” he said. But Mr. Trump did not raise his hand.

“Contempt is ripping our country apart,” Mr. Brooks continued. “We’re like a couple on the rocks in this country.” Without directly mentioning Mr. Trump, Mr. Brooks added: “Ask God to take political contempt from your heart. And sometimes when it’s too hard, ask God to help you fake it.”

Mr. Trump made no effort to fake it. “Arthur, I don’t know if I agree with you,” he said when he took the microphone. “I don’t know if Arthur is going to like what I’m going to say.”

He then launched into his grievances. “As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” he said.

Without naming them, Mr. Trump singled out Mr. Romney and Ms. Pelosi. “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Romney. Then, referring to Ms. Pelosi, he said, “Nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that’s not so.”

It was the first time the speaker and the president had appeared together since the State of the Union address, when Mr. Trump refused to shake Ms. Pelosi’s hand before his speech and she ripped up her copy of his speech after he gave it. When Ms. Pelosi gave a short talk at Thursday’s breakfast about the poor and persecuted, Mr. Trump refused to look at her, glowering with undisguised antipathy.

By the end of his own speech at the prayer breakfast, Mr. Trump recognized that his message did not fit the love-your-enemies theme. “I apologize. I’m trying to learn,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, then you’re supposed to like them? It’s not easy, folks. I do my best.”

At a news conference later at the Capitol, Ms. Pelosi dismissed Mr. Trump’s comments. “I don’t know if the president understands about prayer,” she told reporters, but said she prays “hard for him because he’s so off the track of our Constitution, our values.”

“He really needs our prayers,” she added. “He can say whatever he wants. But I do pray for him.”

Reporting was contributed by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Alan Rappeport, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman.

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Trump Hails Acquittal and Lashes Out at ‘Evil’ and ‘Corrupt’ Opponents

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-trumpspeechpromo-facebookJumbo-v7 Trump Hails Acquittal and Lashes Out at ‘Evil’ and ‘Corrupt’ Opponents Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday denounced the “evil” and “corrupt” Democrats who impeached him as he claimed vindication following his acquittal in a Senate trial and expressed deep resentment at the investigations that have marked his presidency.

At a jampacked ceremony in the East Room of the White House that veered back and forth between celebration and condemnation, the president complained about the “crooked politics” that had resulted in his impeachment and trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In addition to Democrats and other favorite targets, he singled out Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote for conviction.

“It was evil,” Mr. Trump told the roomful of supporters from Congress and his administration in a long, rambling, stream-of-consciousness talk, tossing aside the text that had been so carefully prepared for him by his staff. “It was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars and this should never ever happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it.”

He reviewed the long litany of investigations against him over the last three years, dismissing them all as nothing more than partisan efforts to take him down and suggesting that the “top scum” at the F.B.I. had plotted to stop him from serving as president.

“We went through Russia, Russia, Russia,” he said, mocking the investigations into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election on his behalf and ties between his campaign and Moscow. “It was all bullshit,” he said, a rare presidential use of profanity on camera in the East Room.

Mr. Trump held up a copy of The Washington Post to show its banner headline, “Trump Acquitted,” to applause in the audience, then picked up the theme he started earlier in the day at the National Prayer Breakfast when he lashed out at his opponents.

He assailed Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, both Democrats from California. “They’re vicious and mean,” Mr. Trump said. “Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person.”

He ridiculed Ms. Pelosi for saying that she has prayed for the president even while opposing him. “She may pray but she prays for the opposite,” Mr. Trump said. “But I doubt she prays at all.”

Mr. Trump also denounced Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2012, as “a failed presidential candidate” who used “religion as a crutch” when announcing his vote to remove the president from office.

The talk included a greatest-hits string of attacks on some of his top villains, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey (“that sleazebag”), his onetime deputy Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok (“two lowlifes”), the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele as well as Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

But he thanked his lawyers and a series of congressional Republicans, praising them one by one for their support during the impeachment battle. In particular, he thanked Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader who was the president’s most important defender in the Senate. “You did a fantastic job,” Mr. Trump told Mr. McConnell.

The president’s angry performance was the diametrical opposite of how President Bill Clinton reacted to his own acquittal after a Senate impeachment trial in 1999. On the day he was cleared of charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, Mr. Clinton appeared alone in the Rose Garden, avoided any gloating, apologized for his part in leading to the conflict and called for reconciliation.

Mr. Trump insisted again that he did nothing wrong although even some of the Republicans who voted against conviction said that his efforts to coerce Ukraine into helping him tarnish his domestic political rivals were inappropriate. Instead, he has presented himself as the victim of a partisan witch hunt and his aides and allies over the last day have expressed a desire to exact payback.

The Senate rejected both articles almost entirely along party lines, with Mr. Romney the only member of the upper chamber to break party ranks. Mr. Romney voted for conviction and removal from office on the article charging abuse of power, calling the president’s actions a blatant violation of the public trust, but voted against the obstruction of Congress article, arguing that the House should have pursued court options to obtain information blocked by the White House.

The first article thus fell 48 to 52, far short of the 67 required by the Constitution for conviction and the second article was rejected 47 to 53.

The battle is hardly over, though. House Democrats indicated they will continue their investigation and subpoena John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, while Senate Republicans moved to investigate Hunter Biden for his business dealings in Ukraine while his father, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was in office.

Michael Crowley contributed reporting.

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Trump, at National Prayer Breakfast, Lashes Out at Impeachment Foes

WASHINGTON — President Trump, a day after being acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial, used a National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday to lash out at his political opponents, accusing them of being “very dishonest and corrupt people” who are trying to destroy him and the country.

Explicitly rejecting the message of tolerance offered at the National Prayer Breakfast just moments before he took the lectern, Mr. Trump — without naming them — singled out Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was sitting just a few feet away at the head table, and Senator Mitt Romney, the Republican from Utah who voted to convict him, accusing them of hypocrisy for citing their faith while supporting his impeachment.

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” Mr. Trump said.

He then seemed to target Mr. Romney, who cited his faith in announcing his decision to vote for conviction.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Mr. Trump said. Then, in a clear reference to Ms. Pelosi, who has said she prays for Mr. Trump, the president said, “Nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that’s not so.”

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Pelosi Rebukes Trump for Prayer Breakfast Remarks

Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized President Trump for his comments at the National Prayer Breakfast and the tone of his State of the Union address.

This morning, the president said when people use faith as an excuse to do — I don’t know if he said “bad things” — but whatever he said was just so completely inappropriate, especially at a prayer breakfast. I don’t know if the president understands about prayer or people who do pray. But we do pray for the United States of America, I pray for him. I pray for President Bush still, President Obama — because it’s a heavy responsibility. And I pray hard for him because he’s so off the track of our Constitution, our values. That was not a State of the Union. That was a state — his state of mind — we wanted a state of the union. Where are we? Where are we going?

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized President Trump for his comments at the National Prayer Breakfast and the tone of his State of the Union address.CreditCredit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Hours later at the Capitol, Ms. Pelosi responded that Mr. Trump’s remarks about Mr. Romney were “particularly without class” and “so inappropriate at a prayer breakfast.”

As for his remarks about her, she said, “I don’t know if the president understands about prayer,” but that she prays “hard for him because he’s so off the track of our Constitution, our values.”

“He really needs our prayers,” she added, “He can say whatever he wants. But I do pray for him.”

The back-and-forth came two days after the president’s State of the Union address, when Mr. Trump refused to shake Ms. Pelosi’s hand and she ripped up her copy of his speech.

“That was not a State of the Union,” Ms. Pelosi said Thursday. “That was his state of mind.” She also said the president “looked to me like he was a little sedated,” at the State of the Union, adding, “he looked that way last year too.”

Mr. Trump’s speech on Thursday morning was as overtly a political talk as any president has made at the National Prayer Breakfast, traditionally a bipartisan affair where members of both parties put aside their disagreements for an hour or two to focus on their shared beliefs. When he arrived, he held up two newspapers with banner headlines that said, “Acquitted” and “Trump Acquitted.” In addition to his outburst on impeachment, Mr. Trump cited rising stock markets, boasted about his approval rating in the latest Gallup poll and urged the audience to vote in the fall.

Mr. Trump’s remarks came hours before he plans to make a statement about the outcome of the impeachment trial at the White House at noon.

While Ms. Pelosi gave a short speech at the breakfast on behalf of the poor and persecuted, Mr. Trump seemed to glower and stared straight ahead, not looking at her. When it came time for him to speak, Mr. Trump immediately followed a keynote address by Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and prominent conservative thinker, who delivered a passionate plea to Americans to put aside hatred in national life and “love your enemies.”

At one point, Mr. Brooks asked the audience, “How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically?” Hands around the room shot up. “I’m going to round that off to 100 percent,” he said. But what he did not seem to notice was that Mr. Trump was among those who did not raise his hand.

“Contempt is ripping our country apart,” Mr. Brooks went on. “We’re like a couple on the rocks in this country.” Without mentioning Mr. Trump specifically, Mr. Brooks added: “Ask God to take political contempt from your heart. And sometimes when it’s too hard, ask God to help you fake it.”

Mr. Trump made no effort to fake it. While the rest of the room gave Mr. Brooks a standing ovation, he clapped politely but remained seated until finally rising at the end. “Arthur, I don’t know if I agree with you,” Mr. Trump said when he took the microphone. “I don’t know if Arthur is going to like what I’m going to say.”

He then launched into his grievances about impeachment. By the end of his speech, which included many of the lines from his campaign events about his policies in addition to comments more specifically about religious freedom, Mr. Trump seemed to acknowledge that his message was not in keeping with the love-your-enemies theme.

“I apologize, I’m trying to learn,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, then you’re supposed to like them? It’s not easy, folks. I do my best.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

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At National Prayer Breakfast, Trump Lashes Out at Impeachment Foes

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-trump-facebookJumbo At National Prayer Breakfast, Trump Lashes Out at Impeachment Foes Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Romney, Mitt Pelosi, Nancy impeachment

WASHINGTON — President Trump, a day after being acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial, used a national prayer breakfast on Thursday to lash out at his political opponents, accusing them of being “very dishonest and corrupt people” who are trying to destroy him and the country.

Explicitly rejecting the message of tolerance offered at the National Prayer Breakfast just moments before he took the lectern, Mr. Trump — without naming them — singled out Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was sitting just a few feet away at the head table, and Senator Mitt Romney, the Republican from Utah who voted to convict him, accusing them of hypocrisy for citing their faith while supporting his impeachment.

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people they have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt our nation,” Mr. Trump told an audience of religious leaders and followers. “They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”

He praised “courageous Republican politicians and leaders” who “had the wisdom, fortitude and strength” to vote against the two articles of impeachment charging him with abuse of office and obstruction of Congress. He then seemed to target Mr. Romney, who cited his faith in announcing his decision to vote for conviction.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Mr. Trump said. Then, in a clear reference to Ms. Pelosi, who has said she prays for Mr. Trump, the president said, “Nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that’s not so.”

Mr. Trump’s speech was as overtly a political talk as any president has made at the National Prayer Breakfast, traditionally a bipartisan affair where members of both parties put aside their disagreements for an hour or two to focus on their shared beliefs. When he arrived, he held up two newspapers with banner headlines that said, “Acquitted” and “Trump Acquitted.” In addition to his outburst on impeachment, Mr. Trump cited rising stock markets, boasted about his approval rating in the latest Gallup poll and urged the audience to vote in the fall.

Mr. Trump’s remarks came hours before he plans to make a statement about the outcome of the impeachment trial at the White House at noon. The prayer breakfast was the first time that he and Ms. Pelosi were in the same room since the State of the Union address on Tuesday night when he refused to shake her hand and she ripped up her copy of his speech.

While Ms. Pelosi gave a short speech at the breakfast on behalf of the poor and persecuted, Mr. Trump seemed to glower and stared straight ahead, not looking at her. When it came time for him to speak, Mr. Trump immediately followed a keynote address by Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and prominent conservative thinker, who delivered a passionate plea to Americans to put aside hatred in national life and “love your enemies.”

At one point, Mr. Brooks asked the audience, “How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically?” Hands around the room shot up. “I’m going to round that off to 100 percent,” he said. But what he did not seem to notice was that Mr. Trump was among those who did not raise his hand.

“Contempt is ripping our country apart,” Mr. Brooks went on. “We’re like a couple on the rocks in this country.” Without mentioning Mr. Trump specifically, Mr. Brooks added: “Ask God to take political contempt from your heart. And sometimes when it’s too hard, ask God to help you fake it.”

Mr. Trump made no effort to fake it. While the rest of the room gave Mr. Brooks a standing ovation, he clapped politely but remained seated until finally rising at the end. “Arthur, I don’t know if I agree with you,” Mr. Trump said when he took the microphone. “I don’t know if Arthur is going to like what I’m going to say.”

He then launched into his grievances about impeachment. By the end of his speech, which included many of the lines from his campaign events about his policies in addition to comments more specifically about religious freedom, Mr. Trump seemed to acknowledge that his message was not in keeping with the love-your-enemies theme.

“I apologize, I’m trying to learn,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, then you’re supposed to like them? It’s not easy, folks. I do my best.”

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In Trump Country, the Resistance Meets the Steel Curtain

WASHINGTON, Pa. — In the winter of 2018, Cindy Callaghan knocked on doors. Lots and lots of doors. A new soldier in the sprawling ranks of the anti-Trump resistance, she spent her weekends in the small towns of southwestern Pennsylvania, telling strangers about Conor Lamb, the Democrat who was running for Congress in a district that President Trump carried by nearly 20 percentage points.

When Mr. Lamb won his special election in a narrow but stunning upset, it seemed that there was an opportunity, if enough people put in enough work, to change minds and thus change the country’s politics. “I felt like there was,” Ms. Callaghan said.

Now, as she watches the Republicans’ swift rebuff of impeachment charges, the meltdown of the Iowa caucuses and the infighting among the supporters of various Democratic presidential candidates, she feels that less and less. “It doesn’t matter — find any kind of totally corrupt thing that Trump did and it doesn’t matter,” she said. “Republicans are just unified. They’re a damn steel curtain.”

“I’m taking a break until this summer,” she said.

Three years ago, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in protest of Mr. Trump, the resistance seemed immense. Two years ago, when legions of canvassers and postcard writers helped flip dozens of congressional seats nationwide, it proved effective. Now with the 2020 election approaching, the Democratic Party seems as disjointed as ever, while the Trump administration appears not only undismayed but emboldened.

And veterans of the four-year-old resistance, particularly in places where they remain outnumbered, are facing up to an unwelcome truth: This is going to be even harder than it once looked.

Meetings are packed, protesters still gather on freezing sidewalks and the big picture is repeated like a mantra: The goal is building a solid political infrastructure that will pay off in the long run. But in the back of crowded community rooms, activists murmur nervously about discord among the Democrats, the unshakable enthusiasm of the Trump faithful and the nagging suspicion that the mission of winning converts and allies might have reached its limits. The long run is nice, but 2020, as even the most patient concede, is The Big One.

“It just feels like life and death,” said Pam Maroon, 65, who was spending a weeknight with a dozen other women at a canvassing training session southeast of Pittsburgh. “I’m less optimistic,” she said, still sour from watching the news earlier in the day. “It’s exhausting, emotionally and mentally. But you have to keep going.”

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Susan Witt, left, and Diane Sturnick, both from Greensburg, practiced a canvassing script during training.Credit…Raymond Thompson Jr. for The New York Times

This weary anxiety is in part a feature of geography. Democrats may be racking up wins in elections in the cities and inner suburbs, but their fortunes have been less bright farther afield.

Once a bastion of union power, rural western Pennsylvania has been veering rightward for years, a shift that went into overdrive with Mr. Trump. After the 2016 election, small Democratic groups began sprouting up all over, many started by mid- and late-career women who had done little, if any, political work before.

In Panera booths far from blue Pittsburgh, they were elated to find others who thought like them. Surely there had to be more — if not other Democrats, at least Republicans turned off by the president.

“He’s losing his vote base,” thought Christina Proctor, 42, when she joined the ranks of the newly energized in Washington County. She had been alarmed by the local fervor for Mr. Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election, but in the months that followed she thought this allegiance was flagging. She does not think that anymore. “They’re 100 percent on board,” she said.

In 2018, a strong year over all for Pennsylvania Democrats, Republicans mostly held the line in the counties outside of Pittsburgh. In last year’s local elections in some of the places that helped send Mr. Lamb to Congress — his district has since been redrawn, leaving several of those counties, including Washington County, in a more conservative congressional neighborhood — Republicans took control of one county government after another. In some places, the Republican Party is in its strongest position in nearly a century.

“I’m very pessimistic of winning anything here, anything of note,” said Jake Mihalov, a public defender in Washington, Pa., who ran for district attorney as a Democrat. He estimated that his campaign and its supporters knocked on tens of thousands of doors. He lost by more than 25 percentage points. Working toward the 2020 elections, in which he sees the only realistic goal for local Democrats as losing the presidential race a little less badly, “is going to take motivation that I don’t have right now,” he said. “It was tough when we were optimistic.”

On Wednesday evening last week, as senators in the other Washington argued about calling witnesses in the impeachment trial, the new leaders of the local Democratic committee in Washington, Pa., sat in their headquarters, debating whether they had reached the limit of people in the county who were still persuadable.

Ms. Proctor, now the party’s vice chairwoman, believed they probably had. She and the current chairman, Ben Bright, 50, had both been part of the grass-roots surge after the 2016 election, joining a group called the Washington County Democrats; Ms. Proctor would later learn this was not actually the local party. The county’s official Democratic committee was apparently not big on meeting, campaigning or advertising itself.

Ms. Proctor and Mr. Bright eventually took over the local party with plans to rebuild it from the ground up. The victory of Mr. Lamb, who lost Washington County but by a much narrower margin than Hillary Clinton, suggested all kinds of possibilities.

“The first race I was ever involved in was like the best candidate that comes around in a lifetime,” Ms. Proctor said.

But after the midterms, “things started puttering out,” she said. “People just didn’t care. They weren’t showing up at the grass roots anymore. They just weren’t. Nobody cares about municipal elections.”

“When we lost all of our county row offices I felt like somebody had died,” said Susan Bender, a retired teacher from Canonsburg.Credit…Raymond Thompson Jr. for The New York Times Gerard Weiss, left, and Max Gonana, both from Washington, Pa., signed candidacy petitions during a meeting of Washington County Democrats.Credit…Raymond Thompson Jr. for The New York Times

In the meantime, the Republicans were getting to work.

Dave Ball, the vice chairman of the Washington County Republican committee, agreed that local political sentiment had been blowing in his party’s direction, driven by the people moving in to work in the fracking boom and the dwindling of the old union faithful. But the scale of the party’s recent success, Mr. Ball said, would not have come about without aggressive organizing.

“We got a lot of people around here mobilized that had never been mobilized before,” he said, talking of a program to encourage employers concerned about Democratic policies to urge their employees to vote Republican. At the party’s booth at the county fair, he said, “we signed up 500 people to work.”

They have the victories to show for it.

Mr. Bright had a somewhat rosier take than Ms. Proctor on the prospects for local Democrats. He pointed out that the big picture in 2020 was the overall statewide vote, and here in Washington that came down to margins. If Mr. Trump were to win rural counties like this one by the same numbers that Republicans had been putting up in key state and local races, he would lose Pennsylvania.

Besides, he said, the Democratic Party in the county had been disintegrating for years; reversing that would take time. “After getting beat up for two years in a row maybe we’re not where we should be,” he said. “But we’ve built some infrastructure here. It’s not going to be short term.”

It is impossible to pinpoint the mood of something as broad and disparate as the Democratic grass roots. On the other side of the state, in the counties around Philadelphia, Democrats have been buoyed by victory after victory, even in longtime Republican strongholds. Around Pittsburgh, many suburbs have turned Democratic with surprising speed.

“I have a hard time seeing how Donald Trump can legitimately win Pennsylvania,” said John Craig Hammond, a college professor who was trounced in a Statehouse race in 2016 but has since helped flip multiple local seats to the Democrats in a Pittsburgh suburb. “People like me and the people who I knock on doors with, we recognize what we need to do.”

Still, in conservative communities, splits have opened between newly energized progressive activists and veteran local Democrats who insist that working with Republicans is the only way some things can get done. One former Democratic Statehouse candidate in a rural county north of Pittsburgh, soundly beaten in her first run for office in 2018, said she and her fellow activists now mostly gather just to drink wine and talk, exhausted by the uphill struggle.

With little pre-existing Democratic Party infrastructure in many places and, for now, without a single cohesive candidate to unify the base, upholding enthusiasm “is a really heavy burden to put on the backs of these individuals,” said Dana R. Fisher, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland who has studied the new activism. “People are just burned out and they’re worried,” she said, pointing to the Iowa Democratic caucuses, where turnout was lower than many had anticipated, as evidence.

Last Saturday morning, the day after the president’s acquittal in the impeachment trial had become all but certain and a new round had begun in the seemingly perpetual feud between supporters of Mrs. Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Washington County grass-roots group met in the basement of the local library. More than two dozen people came, a good showing. But amid the talk of petitions and candidates, the reality of the daunting task ahead and the setbacks recently behind was not far out of mind.

“When we lost all of our county row offices I felt like somebody had died,” said Susan Bender, a retired schoolteacher, 72 years old and entering her fourth year as an activist. Talk turned to the primary, and Ms. Bender worried that Democrats further to the left would not do much better here. “But,” she went on, “you can’t stop.”

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The Vote Is Over. Let the Contest Begin.

WASHINGTON — When the history books are written about this day, they will surely record it as the culmination of a monumental three-year political battle that tested American democracy and delivered victory to an enraged and enraging president over his relentless foes. But they will not record it as the end of the struggle.

President Trump’s acquittal after a fiery three-week Senate impeachment trial provided him a moment of triumph, a sense of validation, a shot of momentum — anything but the finality that he might want. The president who vowed to bring an end to endless wars overseas remains at the center of an endless war at home, one that now moves to the campaign trail and will not be resolved until November at the earliest.

Rather than reaching out to bind the wounds, as President Bill Clinton did after his own Senate impeachment trial in 1999, Mr. Trump made clear within minutes of the final roll call that he planned to go on the offensive. He opted to wait until Thursday to make a public appearance, on the advice of aides concerned about complicating the lives of Republicans who cast tough votes for him, but his Twitter feed and staff statements taunted his opponents and touted “our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!”

Nor was the other side ready to surrender.

Deflated by the nearly party-line vote, House Democrats took heart in winning over one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, and quickly signaled that they would continue their investigations into the president. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he was now “likely” to subpoena John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, whose offer to testify in the Senate was rejected by the Republican majority.

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Romney Says He Will Vote to Convict Trump

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.

In the last several weeks I’ve received numerous calls and texts. Many demanded in their words that I stand with the team. I can assure you that thought has been very much on my mind. You see, I support a great deal of what the president has done. I’ve voted with him 80 percent of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me, for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong. So the verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty. The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.

Westlake Legal Group 05-video-romney-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 The Vote Is Over. Let the Contest Begin. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Romney, Mitt Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.CreditCredit…Al Drago for The New York Times

The prospect of continuing conflict over the president’s effort to coerce Ukraine into helping him against his domestic rivals will presumably shape the national debate that is now coming into focus as the Democrats begin voting to decide who will challenge Mr. Trump in the general election this fall.

“It’s referendum on whether we remain a constitutional republic,” Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, said in an interview. “We can easily survive four years of this,” he added, but “it’s a very different landscape if he’s re-elected after this. It illuminates what’s at stake in the election.”

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Mr. Trump’s strongest Republican allies, agreed that rather than being settled by the vote on Wednesday, the battle now moved to the campaign trail. “The only way this is going to end permanently is for the president to get re-elected,” Mr. Graham said on the floor, “and he will.”

For the president, that may be perfectly fine. The self-described counterpuncher appears eager to prosecute his case against his prosecutors. Even before the Senate vote, he tweeted or retweeted a barrage of messages attacking Speaker Nancy Pelosi for ripping up her copy of his State of the Union address (without mentioning that he had refused to shake her hand). After the verdict, he quickly turned his fire to Mr. Romney, posting an attack video mocking the senator.

“The vote today will open the floodgate for Trump to go after those who have wronged him in this process,” said Jack O’Donnell, a former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., who has broken with Mr. Trump. “The so-called hate list which he carries around will be expanded, and efforts to hurt those on the list will begin. He will have no fear, not that he ever had much when going after his enemies.”

Conciliation and acknowledging mistakes are not in his nature. Gwenda Blair, a biographer of the Trump family, pointed to the president’s mentor, Roy Cohn. “Never say you’re wrong, always claim victory, get in people’s face, repeat; if they accuse you of something, throw it back at them, double down, triple down,” she said. “He’s taken Roy Cohn’s mantra of total and complete belligerence and aggression not just to the next level but several levels past that.”

While Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said this week that she thought Mr. Trump had learned from the experiences that had prompted his impeachment and would recalibrate his actions in office accordingly, some who have studied him said that would not be in keeping with the president’s history.

“I doubt he will be chastened by the impeachment or the trial,” said Shirley Anne Warshaw, a presidential scholar at Gettysburg College. “In fact, he will probably feel, unlike Susan Collins suggests, that he has open season now to do anything he wants because no one will rein him in for the next eight months.”

In decisively winning acquittal, Mr. Trump demonstrated a command of his Republican Party that would have been almost unthinkable when he came into office. While Mr. Romney generated much attention for his vote to convict, the fact that he was the only Republican to break with Mr. Trump was a powerful affirmation of the president’s success at building brand loyalty within the party.

By not backing down, not even an inch, he forced Republicans to choose between him and his critics, and they almost universally chose him.

From Mr. Trump’s point of view, the trial was simply the latest chapter in a campaign by his enemies to nullify his election that started before he even took office. He sees many of the developments of the last three years through that lens. The special counsel investigation into Russian election interference, the various congressional inquiries, the demands for his tax returns, the prosecution of so many of his former aides and associates all fit together in what he considers a scorched-earth effort to find something, anything, to take him down.

But some of his allies said the president understands that the conflict is only part of the calculation over whether he will win a second term, which is why he made no mention of impeachment during his State of the Union address this week even though it almost certainly absorbed him for most of the other 22½ hours that day. Instead, he focused the speech on promoting his economic record, his military spending, his crackdown on immigration and his appointment of conservative judges.

“Some of what the president does is theater, which he revels in,” said Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media and a friend of Mr. Trump’s. “But he knows that the voters will really judge him on results, and that’s why he’s more bottom-line focused than people think.”

For Mr. Trump and his opponents, that bottom line is coming in the form of another up-or-down vote in 272 days. At that point, it will be clear whether it will provide the ending in the history book or just another page to turn.

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Romney, Defying the Party He Once Personified, Votes to Convict Trump

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitt Romney of Utah never became president, but he earned a new distinction on Wednesday: He will be remembered as the first senator in American history to vote to remove a president of his own party from office.

Mr. Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, said he expected swift and extreme recrimination from his party for his solitary act of defiance. He was not incorrect.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, tweeted that Mr. Romney “is forever bitter” about losing the presidency and called for him to be “expelled” from the Republican Party. Ronna McDaniel, Mr. Romney’s niece and the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said that the president had done nothing wrong, the party was “more united than ever behind him” — and that this was not the first time she had disagreed with “Mitt.” And President Trump himself tweeted a video attacking Mr. Romney as a “Democrat secret asset.”

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Romney voted to convict Mr. Trump of abuse of power for his pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Attempting to corrupt an election to maintain power is about as egregious an assault on the Constitution as can be made,” Mr. Romney said in an interview in his Senate office on Wednesday morning, ahead of the vote and an afternoon floor speech in which he choked up as he explained his decision.

He declared Mr. Trump “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”

Mr. Romney did vote with his party against the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, arguing that House Democrats had failed to exhaust their legal options for securing testimony and other evidence they had sought.

Although the final result of the Senate vote had never been in question, the defection of Mr. Romney was a rare cliffhanger in the impeachment proceedings and also a kind of moral sideshow.

His vote cast into relief the rapid evolution of the Republican Party into an entity that has wholly succumbed to the vise grip of Mr. Trump. It deprives the president of the monolithic Republican support he had craved at the end of an impeachment case that he has been eager to dismiss as a partisan “hoax” perpetrated by Democrats.

On the Senate floor on Wednesday, Mr. Romney placed his decision in the context of his faith, his family and how history would remember it.

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Romney Says He Will Vote to Convict Trump

During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.

In the last several weeks I’ve received numerous calls and texts. Many demanded in their words that I stand with the team. I can assure you that thought has been very much on my mind. You see, I support a great deal of what the president has done. I’ve voted with him 80 percent of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me, for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong. So the verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty. The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.

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During a statement to his colleagues, Senator Mitt Romney said he would vote to convict President Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first Republican to break party ranks.CreditCredit…Al Drago for The New York Times

“I will only be one name among many, no more, no less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial,” Mr. Romney said. “They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the president did was wrong, grievously wrong.”

In the interview earlier, Mr. Romney, who has been critical of Mr. Trump at various points since 2016, said he was acutely aware that he would suffer serious political ramifications for his decision, particularly in light of the strict loyalty the president has come to expect from elected officials of his own party. No House Republican voted to impeach Mr. Trump in December. (Representative Justin Amash, an independent from Michigan, fled the Republican Party last year over his differences with Mr. Trump and voted in favor of both articles.)

“I recognize there is going to be enormous consequences for having reached this conclusion,” Mr. Romney said. “Unimaginable” is how he described what might be in store for him.

Mr. Romney had served as governor of Massachusetts before his unsuccessful run against President Barack Obama in 2012. He then moved to Utah and eventually ran for the Senate. He said he had come under enormous pressure in recent weeks from rank-and-file members of a party whose support for Mr. Trump has become nearly unanimous.

“I don’t want to be the skunk at the garden party, and I don’t want the disdain of Republicans across the country,” Mr. Romney said in the interview.

He already has endured a great deal of it, namely from Mr. Trump himself, who recently derided Mr. Romney as “a pompous ass.” At a grocery store in Florida last weekend, after Mr. Romney voted in favor of calling witnesses to testify in the Senate trial — another break with Republicans — he said a man called him a “traitor,” while another shouted, “Stick with the team!”

As of late Wednesday morning, Mr. Romney said he had not yet informed Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, of how he would vote. He added that he made his final decision late last week, after the final round of questions between the senators and the respective sides in the impeachment trial. The magnitude of the matter weighed heavily on him.

“There’s not been a morning that I’ve gotten up after 4 a.m., just obviously thinking about how important this is, what the consequence is,” Mr. Romney said.

Looking back over his political career, Mr. Romney recalled times in which his decisions had been influenced “in some cases by political benefit.”

“And I regret that,” he added, without specifying the particular decisions. He became increasingly reflective as the interview wore on.

“I have found, in business in particular but also in politics, that when something is in your personal best interests, the ability of the mind to rationalize that that’s the right thing is really quite extraordinary,” Mr. Romney said. “I have seen it in others, and I have seen it in myself.”

As Mr. Romney revealed on the Senate floor how he would cast his votes, Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, dabbed at his eyes.

“I had an instinct,” he said afterward, “that this might be a moment.”

“He’s been grappling with it,” added Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana, who sits next to Mr. Romney on the Senate floor. He said he respected Mr. Romney’s decision.

In his remarks, Mr. Romney called the actions in Ukraine of Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, “unsavory but also not a crime.” (Hunter Biden held a seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company at a time when his father was vice president and handling diplomacy with the country.) Mr. Romney added that Mr. Trump’s lawyers provided no evidence that a crime was committed by either of the Bidens.

“The president’s insistence that they be investigated by the Ukrainians is hard to explain other than as a political pursuit,” Mr. Romney said. “There’s no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the president would never have done what he did.”

As the vote arrived, Mr. Romney sat staring straight ahead, talking to no one, his hands clasped in his lap. When he stood up and declared “guilty,” he did so quickly and sat right back down.

Moments after the court was adjourned and senators stood up, Mr. Romney shook hands with Mr. Braun, smiled and rushed to the door just feet from his back-row desk, becoming the first senator to leave the chamber.

When asked Wednesday morning if he had any special flourishes planned for his speech, Mr. Romney just shrugged. “I’m planning on tearing it up when I’m finished,” he quipped, a reference to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s response to the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Emily Cochrane and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

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