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'Lock him up!': Trump hits out at Bidens and defends decision to withdraw from Syria

The US President is seeking to use an impeachment probe against him as a weapon on the campaign trail.

US President Donald Trump at a rally in Minneapolis last night.
US President Donald Trump at a rally in Minneapolis last night.
Image: Jim Mone/AP/Press Association Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump was defiant in the face of an impeachment probe as he sought to convert the threat to his presidency into a weapon on the campaign trail at a rally in Minneapolis.

Confronting an investigation provoked by his unprecedented calls for Ukraine and then China to investigate a political rival, Trump laid into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Trump and his allies have accused Hunter, without evidence, of illegally profiting off his father’s time in office.

“The Bidens got rich, and that is substantiated, while America got robbed,” Trump said.

Supporters at the rally chanted ‘Lock him up!” about Hunter Biden. 

While the young Biden did have business interest overseas while he father was in office, there is no evidence of misconduct.

Trump’s adult children have faced congressional scrutiny for their foreign business dealings while their father is serving as president, and Trump still maintains ownership stakes in his family’s businesses.

The rally in Minneapolis, the first since Democrats began proceedings two weeks ago to remove him from office, served as a proving ground for the president as he tries to use the impeachment inquiry to energise supporters for his 2020 campaign by casting himself — and his supporters — as victims of the Democrats.

‘A disgrace’ 

Trump spent little time defending his attempt to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens. Instead, he cast the impeachment fight in simpler basic terms — a battle between him and the “swamp”.

“They want to erase your vote like it never existed,” Trump said. “They want to erase your voice, and they want to erase your future.”

He added that the Democrats’ “brazen attempt to overthrow” the government will “produce a backlash at the ballot box the likes of which they have never ever seen before in the history of this country”.

Trump said Joe Biden “was only a good vice president because he knew how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass”. He called Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar “a disgrace” and an “America-hating socialist”, and said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “really stupid”.

Omar responded on Twitter by posting: “His hate is no match for our movement.”

During the rally, Trump also defended his decision to “bring our soldiers back home” from Syria.

He has faced widespread criticism, including from allies, for the move with many saying it amounts to abandoning the US’s Kurdish allies, who helped defeat Islamic State, to an attack by Turkey.

‘Lock him up’ 

Before Trump took to the stage, his son Eric warmed up the crowd with an attack on the Bidens.

The younger Trump asked the crowd for an assessment of how Hunter Biden is feeling and suggested that the familiar Trump rally chant of ‘Lock her up’ — directed at Hillary Clinton — become ‘Lock him up”‘ instead. The crowd then chanted, ‘Lock him up, lock him up!’ 

A large group of protesters gathered outside the venue when the rally was taking place. Some shouted ‘Lock him up, lock him up!’ — referring to Trump himself – and carried helium-filled balloons depicting Trump as a baby, similar to the famed Baby Trump balloon that flew above a nearby building.

Next week Trump is set to hold a rally in Dallas, a Republican Party stronghold in a state that has become more competitive for Democrats in recent times.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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