Administration

Trump: Trade deal with Democrats 'the silver lining to impeachment'

President Trump on Tuesday called the deal he's made with House Democrats to bring his signature trade agreement up for a vote "the silver lining to impeachment."

The president gave his assessment of the mixed day to reporters as he departed the White House for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, claiming Democrats announced the deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) an hour after unveiling impeachment articles in an effort to save face.

"They couldn't find very much because they put up two articles that, frankly, are very weak," Trump said of the impeachment articles accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"Also they approved today of all days - we've been waiting a year, and they approved today - the USMCA. And I call that the silver lining to impeachment," Trump continued.

"Because without the impeachment they would have never approved it, in my opinion. The impeachment is the reason they approved it ... and the reason is they want to muffle down the impeachment because they're embarrassed by it and they couldn't get the votes."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and several Democratic committee leaders announced at a 9 a.m. press conference articles of impeachment against Trump, setting the stage for a full House vote next week.

An hour later, Pelosi and several more Democratic lawmakers announced a deal on USMCA. The agreement will likely pass with bipartisan support, giving Trump a key legislative victory.

Some Democrats panned Pelosi's decision to advance a key agenda item for Trump even as the House moves to potentially remove him from office. But the Speaker defended the move, arguing the caucus could simultaneously investigate the president and approve legislation to benefit the country.

But Trump suggested later Tuesday that Pelosi had given the green light to USMCA to give cover to the rest of her caucus, and he cast doubt on Democratic support for articles of impeachment, insisting he did nothing wrong in his contacts with Ukraine.

"I think the Democrats, I can't imagine they'd vote for it because we did nothing wrong," Trump said.

At the center of the impeachment proceedings are allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Democrats say the president made a White House meeting and security aid for Ukraine conditional on the country announcing investigations into the former Vice President Joe Biden and unfounded claims that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

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