Trump ramps up attacks on 'puppet' Joe Manchin over impeachment vote

Trump ramps up attacks on 'puppet' Joe Manchin over impeachment vote
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE late Saturday ramped up his attacks on Democrat Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Overnight Health Care: Appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements | Pelosi's staff huddles with aides on surprise billing | Senate Dems pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit MORE over his vote to convict the president in the Senate impeachment trial, calling the West Virginia senator a "puppet" who is "weak and pathetic." 

"Can’t say I mind the fact that the great people of West Virginia are furious at their puppet Democrat Senator, Joe Manchin," Trump tweeted. "They will never forget his phony vote on the Impeachment Hoax. All he had to do is read the Transcripts, sadly, which he wouldn’t understand anyway."

In a subsequent tweet, Trump compared Manchin to Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio Paul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Progressives hope Nevada offers roadmap for pro-union 2020 victory MORE (R-Utah), the only Republican to break with the party and vote convict the president of abuse of power. Trump also claimed that he was responsible for a recent spending package that included funding for thousands of coal miners' pensions and healthcare, stating that "Manchin couldn’t do it."

The West Virginia senator flatly rebuked Trump's comments in a pair of tweets just hours later. 

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"Trump - no Democrat has worked harder in a bipartisan way in the hopes that you would succeed. The people of WV know exactly who has worked day & night for the last 5 years to secure their healthcare & pensions & it wasn’t you," Manchin said. 

He added that "where I come from a person accused defends themselves with witnesses and evidence," a reference to the GOP-led Senate blocking a motion for new witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial. 

Trump has attacked those who voted for his conviction in the days since the Senate acquitted him of the impeachment articles approved in the House. The lower chamber in December voted to impeach Trump following an inquiry into allegations that he leveraged nearly $400 million in military aid to get Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rival. 

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Manchin, a red-state Democrat who narrowly won reelection in 2018, was considered to be a swing vote heading into the decisive vote. He announced just before the vote began, however, that he would support both impeachment articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.  

“I was told by many that Manchin was just a puppet for Schumer & Pelosi," Trump, who won West Virginia by more than 40 points in 2016, tweeted on Friday. "That’s all he is!” 

"They are really mad at Senator Joe Munchkin in West Virginia. He couldn’t understand the Transcripts. Romney could, but didn’t want to!" Trump added in a tweet late Sunday morning.

Trump and his GOP allies repeatedly denounced the impeachment proceedings initiated in the House, often describing it as an effort to undo the results of the 2016 election. Democrats have meanwhile argued that Trump's conduct with Ukraine represented a clear abuse of power and that the president would take part in similar behavior if left unchecked. 

--This report was updated at 11:21 a.m.