Trump set to confront his impeachment foes

After sitting impatiently on the sidelines for months, President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven 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 PelosiOn The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Hoyer lays out ambitious Democratic agenda for 2021, with health care at top CNN won't run pro-Trump ad warning Biden will raise taxes on middle class 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 SchiffIn our 'Bizarro World' of 2020 politics, the left takes a wrong turn Greenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump 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 McConnellBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Trump blasts Obama speech for Biden as 'fake' after Obama hits Trump's tax payments White House hoping for COVID-19 relief deal 'within weeks': spokeswoman 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 MurphyBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Democrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Democrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle 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 Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day House Judiciary Republicans mockingly tweet 'Happy Birthday' to Hillary Clinton after Barrett confirmation MORE (Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Memo: Five reasons why Trump could upset the odds Will anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? Ratings drop to 55M for final Trump-Biden debate MORE (Utah), who both crossed the aisle in Democrats’ failed push to subpoena witnesses in the impeachment trial. Other Senate Republicans, including Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Senate Health Committee chair asks Cuomo, Newsom to 'stop second guessing' FDA on vaccine efficacy The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base MORE (Tenn.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning Trump's new interest in water resources — why now? 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 SandersIntercept bureau chief says congressional progressives looking to become stronger force in 2021 Obama book excerpt: 'Hard to deny my overconfidence' during early health care discussions Americans have a choice: Socialized medicine or health care freedom MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls Senate Democrats want hearing on Pentagon vaccine effort MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStart focusing on veterans' health before they enlist Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein 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 Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden pushes into Trump territory The Hill's Campaign Report: One week from Election Day | Biden looks to expand map | Trump trails narrowly in Florida, Arizona The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands MORE (Calif.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandInternal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter's handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns | FCC to move forward with considering order targeting tech's liability shield | YouTube expands polices to tackle QAnon Democrats question Amazon over reported interference of workers' rights to organize MORE (N.Y.) and Reps. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonTrump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Overnight Defense: Congress recommends nuclear arms treaty be extended | Dems warn Turkey | Military's eighth COVID death identified Bipartisan congressional task force recommends extending nuclear treaty with Russia MORE (Mass.), Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Now's the time to make 'Social Emotional Learning' a national priority Mourners gather outside Supreme Court after passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE (Ohio) and Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGraham says SC people of color can go anywhere in the state but 'need to be conservative, not liberal' President Trump, Melania Trump test positive for COVID-19 House in near-unanimous vote affirms peaceful transfer of power 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 JeffriesA tearful lesson of 2016: Polls don't matter if people don't vote Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was 'taken out of context' by Trump Top House Democrat: Parties 'much closer' to a COVID deal 'than we've ever been' MORE (N.Y.), Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenWhy prevailing wage reform matters for H-1B visas Fears grow of voter suppression in Texas Business groups start gaming out a Biden administration MORE (Calif.), Jason CrowJason CrowGiffords launches national Gun Owners for Safety group to combat the NRA House approves .2T COVID-19 relief bill as White House talks stall Lawmakers grill Pentagon over Trump's Germany drawdown MORE (Colo.), Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsDisney to lay off 28,000 employees Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE (Fla.) and Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaTexas social workers drop nondiscrimination rules for LGBTQ, disabilities Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Texas Democrat proposes legislation requiring masks in federal facilities MORE (Texas) — have confirmed they will attend the Tuesday night address. But it’s unclear whether Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMarijuana stocks see boost after Harris debate comments Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court 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 CohenTwo ethics groups call on House to begin impeachment inquiry against Barr Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen wins Democratic primary MORE (Tenn.), Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonLobbying world Harris calls it 'outrageous' Trump downplayed coronavirus House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys MORE (Fla.) and Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerRestaurants brace for long COVID-19 winter Ahead of a coronavirus vaccine, Mexico's drug pricing to have far-reaching impacts on Americans Trump threatens to double down on Portland in other major cities 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 ConnollyIRS closes in on final phase of challenging tax season Virginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register Judge issues nationwide injunction against Postal Service changes 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 SpeierPentagon puts on show of force as questions circle on COVID-19 outbreak Candymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety COVID-19 sparks national security concerns with top brass in quarantine 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.