Trump set to confront his impeachment foes

After sitting impatiently on the sidelines for months, President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE on Tuesday night will finally get a chance to address — face to face — the House Democrats who impeached him and the senators who will soon vote on whether to end his presidency.

It could prove to be an awkward State of the Union address.

Sitting just behind Trump, and elevated on the House dais during his speech, will be Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake New York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration GOP Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene referred to Parkland school shooting as 'false flag' event on Facebook MORE (D-Calif.), who initially resisted impeachment efforts before eventually signing off on them. Trump and Pelosi haven’t spoken since a contentious White House meeting in October when the two traded insults.


Among those seated in front of the president will be House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBiden urged to reverse Pompeo-Trump move on Houthis Angus King warns of 'grave danger' of Trump revealing classified information Schiff says 'massive intelligence and security failure' led to Capitol breach MORE (D-Calif.) and his fellow impeachment managers, as well as Senate Democrats who will vote unsuccessfully to remove Trump from office less than 24 hours after his speech.

Trump and his team were hoping for acquittal over the weekend, before he delivered his third State of the Union address. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump has talked to associates about forming new political party: report McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag McConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment MORE (R-Ky.), however, was forced to punt the final vote until Wednesday afternoon.

But some senators are nonetheless predicting Trump will take an early victory lap during Tuesday’s speech.

“I expect that he’s going to be over the top. I would be surprised if he wasn’t bombastic and self-congratulatory. I would be surprised if he didn’t take potshots at the press and Democrats and impeachment managers,” Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act GOP senator questions constitutionality of an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office Overnight Health Care: Testing capacity strained as localities struggle with vaccine staffing | Health workers refusing vaccine is growing problem | Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February MORE (D-Conn.) told reporters Monday during a break from the impeachment trial. “My expectations are so low these days that I’m expecting the worst.”

When Trump addresses the joint session of Congress, he’ll be standing in front of Republicans like Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Memo: Biden prepares for sea of challenges Biden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party MORE (Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMcConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment Senators vet Mayorkas to take lead at DHS Romney calls for Senate to pass sanctions on Putin over Navalny poisoning MORE (Utah), who both crossed the aisle in Democrats’ failed push to subpoena witnesses in the impeachment trial. Other Senate Republicans, including Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (Tenn.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioJustice Dept. closes insider trading case against Burr without charges Author Ryan Girdusky: Ivanka Trump to face challenges in potential Senate run against Rubio Former Trump intel chief Coats introduces Biden nominee Haines at hearing MORE (Fla.), have voiced concerns with Trump’s dealings with Ukraine but said voters — not the Senate — should decide whether to oust him from office.


One thing most Republican lawmakers agree on: Trump should steer clear of any talk of impeachment during his prime-time address.

“It’s the State of the Union. I just think there’s no way you talk about [impeachment] and that not be the takeaway,” said Rubio, one of Trump’s presidential primary rivals during the 2016 campaign. “Talk about trade. Talk about the issues in the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, the agenda for the rest of this year … And if I were him, I’d also look back at the economic performance for the last couple of years.”

Some of the lawmakers who are vying for the chance to challenge Trump in November, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake Cori Bush dismisses concerns of being 'co-opted' by establishment The Memo: Biden prepares for sea of challenges MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing Senate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Senate Democrats make democracy reform first bill of new majority Google completes Fitbit acquisition MORE (D-Minn.), are expected to skip the address and instead hit the campaign trail in New Hampshire ahead of that state’s Feb. 11 primary.

But many Democrats who have dropped out of the 2020 race are expected to be on hand, namely Sens. Cory BookerCory BookerOfficials brace for second Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration Booker: It would be 'constitutionally dangerous' not to conduct full Trump impeachment trial MORE (N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisScalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag Howard University's marching band to escort Harris at inauguration MORE (Calif.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: 12 removed from National Guard inauguration security | Austin backs lifting transgender ban Biden Pentagon pick supports lifting transgender military ban Democrats looking to speed through Senate impeachment trial MORE (N.Y.) and Reps. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonLawmakers want Pentagon, DOJ to punish current, former military members who participated in riot House chairman endorses Michele Flournoy for Biden's Pentagon chief Trump critic: I am not afraid of Trump MORE (Mass.), Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanCapitol officer claims MAGA hat was part of ruse to rescue colleagues: report Tim Ryan, Rosa DeLauro giving free coffee and donuts to National Guard stationed at Capitol Agency IGs to probe breakdown in response to Capitol riots MORE (Ohio) and Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell compares Trump to bin Laden: They 'inspired and radicalized' Pelosi names 9 impeachment managers House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump MORE (Calif.).

On Monday, Swalwell blasted Trump on Twitter as a “self-centered man-child” after a video showed the president gesturing to guests and pretending to conduct a band as the national anthem played at his Super Bowl party.


Nearly all of the seven Democratic impeachment managers — Schiff and Reps. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesUS Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots Lawmakers mount pressure on Trump to leave office Sunday shows - Capitol siege, Trump future dominate MORE (N.Y.), Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenLawmakers briefed on 'horrifying,' 'chilling' security threats ahead of inauguration Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress Capitol Police chief announces resignation after pro-Trump riots MORE (Calif.), Jason CrowJason CrowThe GOP is in a fix: Gordian knot or existential crisis? Thousands of troops dig in for inauguration Sixth House Republican backs Trump impeachment MORE (Colo.), Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsSeven Senate races to watch in 2022 Demings on Florida: 'We're excited about what we're seeing' but 'taking absolutely nothing for granted' Why it's time for a majority female Cabinet MORE (Fla.) and Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaHouse Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump Lawmakers share New Year's messages: 'Cheers to brighter days ahead' Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra changes names MORE (Texas) — have confirmed they will attend the Tuesday night address. But it’s unclear whether Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi names 9 impeachment managers Republicans gauge support for Trump impeachment Clyburn blasts DeVos and Chao for 'running away' from 25th Amendment fight MORE (D-N.Y.) will be there; he is spending time with his wife, who is battling pancreatic cancer.

Trump’s address to Congress will come a day after the impeachment managers made their closing arguments in his Senate trial.

“When the president tries to coerce an ally to help him cheat in our elections and then covers it up, we must say enough. Enough,” Schiff said during his impassioned closing arguments to senators Monday. “He has betrayed our national security and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. What is right matters even less, and decency matters not at all.”

“It matters to you. Truth matters to you. Right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are,” Schiff added.

A handful of Democratic lawmakers will be trying to send a message by not being in the room at all. At least three House Democrats — Reps. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenDem lawmaker says GOP Rep. Boebert gave 'large' group tour days ahead of Capitol attack Inauguration parties lose the glitz and glamour in 2021 House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump MORE (Tenn.), Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonAn attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation Capitol Police report warned that Congress could be targeted three days before riot Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help MORE (Fla.) and Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerInauguration parties lose the glitz and glamour in 2021 Four things Democrats should do in Biden's first 100 days House Republican wants restrictions on masks with messages MORE (Ore.) — said they will boycott Trump’s speech, as they have since 2018.

“I will not be a witness to puffery and prevarication flowing while our Constitution and our laws are disrespectfully and dangerously flouted,” Cohen said.

Tuesday won’t be the first time lawmakers have boycotted a State of the Union address given by a president under the cloud of impeachment.

In 1999, several GOP lawmakers skipped President Clinton’s State of the Union address that occurred amid his impeachment trial. Notably, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee at the time was not in attendance due to health issues.

Clinton conspicuously made no mention of impeachment during his State of the Union address, instead choosing to focus on Social Security reform and his domestic policy agenda.

Democrats won’t have much recourse during the speech for responding to whatever Trump says, aside from their body language. But they’re hoping to send messages with their choice of guests in the public gallery overlooking the chamber and with their attire.


Female Democratic lawmakers plan to wear white to show solidarity with women ahead of the 2020 election.

But at least a handful of lawmakers will be trying to make a gesture of bipartisanship. Members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus said they will be wearing purple ties and sitting together.

Democrats will largely emphasize their guests in the gallery, who include constituents affected by prescription drug costs or gun violence.

Some plan to highlight other issues.

Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyTrump's assault on the federal government isn't over LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to impeach Trump after Capitol insurrection Trump era bows out with scorched-earth drama in divided GOP MORE (D-Va.) announced Monday that he has invited Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post writer who was murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018.


“Hatice’s courage to sit in the House Chamber Tuesday night should serve as a clarion call to the President that no matter how high it goes, Saudi Arabia must be held accountable for the murder of this loving father and fiancée, respected journalist, U.S. resident, my constituent, and reformer,” Connolly said in a statement.

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierGlobal Gag Rule is just the tip of the iceberg: Why Repealing the Helms Amendment matters Democrats press to bar lawmakers from carrying guns in the Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress moves to avert shutdown as virus talks stall again MORE (D-Calif.), meanwhile, is bringing Courtney Wild, a victim of the late financier and serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Speier has introduced a bill named after Wild aimed at preventing the type of light plea deal granted to Epstein.

“We are standing up for what is right and to ensure that those who continue to subvert the rule of law and those who fail to hold perpetrators responsible for their malign deeds will not succeed,” Speier said in a statement.

Olivia Beavers and Jordain Carney contributed.