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Trump calls impeachment trial a long-running 'hoax' at summit for world elite

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Image: President Donald Trump delivers the opening remarks at the World Eco
President Donald Trump delivers the opening remarks at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday.   -  
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Evan Vucci AP
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DAVOS, Switzerland — President Donald Trump called the impeachment trial set to start in Washington later on Tuesday a long-running "hoax" after landing in Davos.

"It's been going on for years," the president said at Swiss mountain summit of the world's elite hours before senators in Washington kick-off proceedings.

"Look forward to being here, meeting with biggest companies in the world, for the benefit of the United States," he added in a speech to some of the world's richest and most influential people.

Trump is using the moment on the world stage to divert attention from the drama playing out back home and give the appearance of a president hard at work. It's a strategy used by former President Bill Clinton, who scheduled events across the country during his impeachment though didn't travel abroad.

"It's an opportunity to speak about the recent trade deals he's made, as well as our booming economy," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said earlier. The conference is "also a good chance to speak with world leaders on a variety of other topics. He's the president of the United States, his work doesn't stop because of the silliness going on in D.C."

Trump spoke to a crowd of mostly business elites, many of whom have benefited from the surge in the stock market under his term as well as his corporate tax cuts. Despite Trump's populist, anti-globalist rhetoric that helped get him elected, Trump has sought to bolster his relationship with Wall Street and the business community, often inviting executives to the White House and touting how his administration has enriched them.

Trump has meetings throughout the day with business executives, the prime minister of Pakistan, president of the European Commission, and president of the Swiss Confederation. He is expected to travel back to Washington on Wednesday. Those meetings could also give Trump the opportunity to take questions from reporters during photo ops.

The Senate will resume their impeachment trialTuesday afternoon where a number of procedural items are expected to be raised. Arguments by Democrats will begin Wednesday at 1 p.m. when Trump is scheduled to be traveling back from Davos.

Trump signed the first phaseof a hard-hard-fought trade deal last week with China, capping a bitter 18-month battle between the world's two largest economies that has roiled markets and slowed economic growth worldwide.

The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 3.5 percent in December, but the months payroll and wage growth missed expectation.

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