Under fire in Washington, Trump back in campaign mode in Iowa

By Steve Holland

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, under siege in Washington, defended his record at a raucous political rally in Iowa on Wednesday, rejecting a Russia investigation as a witch hunt and saying he was succeeding against all odds, despite no major legislative achievements.

“All we do is win, win, win,” he told a cheering crowd.

A feisty Trump spoke for more than an hour at a rally in Cedar Rapids that was similar to those he held during last year’s presidential campaign. It included protesters escorted out by police, Trump attacking the news media and supporters waving signs saying “Drain the Swamp” in Washington.

Trump’s first trip to Iowa since taking office on Jan. 20 came against a backdrop of problems in Washington. His legislative agenda is struggling to gain traction, a federal investigation of alleged Russian meddling into the election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign continues and his approval rating is below 40 percent in most polls.

But Trump touted jobs gains and an improving stock market as evidence that his economic policies are working. He vowed he would eventually get funding for a border wall with Mexico – possibly with solar panels attached – despite congressional refusal thus far.

“We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall,” he said. “Pretty good imagination, right? It’s my ideas.”

Solar panels along the wall are among proposals that have been submitted by companies to the Department of Homeland Security, according to media reports.

Buoyed by Republican victories in special congressional elections in Georgia and South Carolina on Tuesday, Trump blasted his opponents as “unbelievably nasty” and said cable news anchors appeared stunned by the Democratic losses.

Unable to get Democrats to join Republicans in major legislative efforts, Trump said the wounding by a gunman last week of Republican Representative Steve Scalise in Alexandria, Virginia, had fostered a spirit of unity. But he did…

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