New Zealand markets open in 5 hours 33 minutes

Trump blasts Democrats at raucous Dallas rally

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday (October 17) lashed out at Democratic opponents for pushing an impeachment inquiry.

"Crazy Nancy. That crazy Nancy. She is crazy," he said at a packed campaign rally in downtown Dallas, referring to speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi accused Trump of having a "meltdown" after walking out of a White House meeting on Wednesday during which Trump called her a "third-rate politician."

She and other Democratic leaders had complained about his decision to pull U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and allow Turkey to attack America's Kurdish allies in the area.

Trump has faced a backlash from his own Republican allies in Congress for the Syria pullout but he said on Thursday a ceasefire negotiated by Vice President Mike Pence with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had helped ease the crisis.

He told the Dallas crowd his approach was "unconventional" but he believed it worked.

The death toll from Turkey's week-long incursion into northeastern Syria was unclear.

"Without spilling a drop of American blood, not one drop of American blood, we've all agreed on a pause, or a ceasefire, in the border region of Syria," Trump said. "Sometimes you have to let 'em fight a little while. Then people find out how tough the fighting is."

The president also laid into political rival Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.

"Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy while his son with absolutely no energy experience, just got thrown out of the Navy like a dog was paid massive sums of money by a Ukrainian energy company," he told the rally. "You know what that's called? It's called a pay-off, folks."

The House impeachement probe is focused on a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate unsubstantiated allegations against Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Democrats accuse Trump of pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on a domestic rival after withholding $391 million in U.S. security aid to help combat Russian-backed separatists.

Zelenskiy agreed to investigate. Trump eventually allowed the aid.