Trump, with Van Drew: Democrats 'forced' members to vote for impeachment

The president said Democrats had "put the arm on" lawmakers like Drew who "didn't want to vote that way."

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By Shannon Pettypiece

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, with Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., by his side at the White House, said Thursday that Democrats had "put the arm on" lawmakers like Drew and "forced" them to vote for his impeachment.

"They happen to have a small majority, and they took that small majority and they forced people," the president told reporters at an Oval Office sitdown with Drew, who is switching to the Republican Party.

"Many of those people were like Jeff, where they didn't want to vote that way," Trump added. "But it doesn't feel — to me, it doesn't feel like impeachment."

Van Drew, who was one of only two Democrats to vote against impeachment Wednesday, confirmed the widely reported news that he plans to leave the party and caucus with Republicans. "This is just a better fit for me," he said.

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Trump said he is turning his focus to the Senate, where he expects to have a more favorable result, with White House counsel Pat Cipollone helming his defense team at trial. "I think you'll see some very interesting things happen over the coming few days and weeks," he said.