Trump will deliver his speech Tuesday, one day before the Senate ends its nearly three-week impeachment trial with a likely vote to acquit him. While the president is all but assured to take a victory lap Wednesday, Senate Republicans don’t want the State of the Union to turn into the type of speech he’d deliver at a campaign rally.
“My advice would be that in the State of the Union he should move on,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “The president’s got a good record when you look at the economy and lower taxes and fewer regulations and higher incomes and I think he’d be well advised to focus on that and let the impeachment trial speak for itself.” Read the full story. — Marianne LeVine
‘Midnight in Washington’
The closing arguments have finished in Trump’s trial. And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) left Republican senators with a warning that a deluge of new evidence is poised to emerge in the Ukraine saga, even if they follow through with their plans to acquit Trump.
“It is midnight in Washington,” Schiff said, a refrain he repeatedly returned to as he argued that the Senate ignored new evidence at its own peril. “How did we get here?”
Schiff argued that a Senate acquittal — a decision to leave the matter to the 2020 election — would risk endangering that election to a president who has solicited foreign interference in 2016 and 2020. Read the full story. — Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio
Trump has the votes for Senate acquittal
A Senate vote to convict President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial is now a mathematical impossibility.
More than 34 senators have indicated they intend to acquit the president, or have declared the House’s two impeachment charges against him to be insufficient to merit a conviction, according to a POLITICO analysis of public comments and official statements from Republican senators, as well as confirmation from Senate aides about their boss’ intentions.
Those declarations confirm what was already expected: that supporters of Trump’s conviction will fall short of the two-thirds majority required to remove the president from office. Read the full story. — Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio, John Bresnahan
Dr. Jill Biden: Lindsey Graham’s Trump-era transformation ‘a little hurtful’
Dr. Jill Biden on Friday called Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Trump-era transformation “a little bit hurtful,” lamenting the South Carolina senator’s shift from a onetime friend to one of President Donald Trump’s top attack dogs accusing the former second family’s son of wrongdoing in Ukraine.
The former second lady said the Bidens and Graham used to be “great friends,” traveling together with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when former Vice President Joe Biden was a long-serving senator from Delaware. But she said the South Carolina senator, a staunch Trump ally, has changed. Read the full story. — Myah Ward
Closing arguments launch as Trump’s trial winds down
House Democrats and President Donald Trump’s legal team will make their final pitches on Monday to a Republican-controlled Senate that has all but decided the president will be acquitted later this week.
Monday’s closing arguments in the nearly three-week impeachment trial are little more than a formality, given the Senate’s party-line decision Friday to shut down the pursuit of new witnesses or evidence to bolster the House’s case that Trump abused his power and obstructed the impeachment inquiry. Read the full story. — Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio
Impeachment is almost over. Ukraine isn’t.
Yes, the impeachment process ends this week; but the Ukraine scandal is likely far from over.
Case in point: it remains possible that former national security adviser John Bolton tells his story before the release of his book in March. House Democrats have swatted away questions about whether they will move to subpoena Bolton. As long as it was still possible that the Senate could subpoena him as part of the trial, the House was staying out of it.
But the evidentiary record for the trial is closed, and there are no more opportunities for Democrats to force votes on witnesses for the remainder of the trial. It’s not a matter of if we hear from Bolton; it’s just a matter of when. Read today’s Huddle newsletter. — Andrew Desiderio