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Trump sidesteps impeachment during State of the Union address

Trump sidesteps impeachment during State of the Union address

President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE did not address impeachment during his roughly 90-minute State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Trump’s remarks before a joint session of Congress came one day before the Republican-controlled Senate is widely expected to acquit him of articles of impeachment brought against him by the Democrat-controlled House.

The president's decision not to raise impeachment will come as a welcome development to his Republican allies, who had recommended Trump focus on his administration’s accomplishments during the address rather than dwell on impeachment.

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Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals and of obstructing the congressional inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine.

A handful of GOP senators have characterized Trump’s actions as inappropriate but not rising to the level of an impeachable offense.

Many of the House Democrats who voted to impeach him in December, including those who were integral in the impeachment inquiry, were present for Trump’s remarks on Tuesday, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.), who sat directly behind him during the speech. Trump appeared to decline a handshake offer from Pelosi at the start of his address.

The audience also included senators who have served as jurors in the impeachment trial that has lasted about two weeks.

A White House spokesman indicated earlier Tuesday that Trump would address his expected acquittal in some form after the Senate votes on Wednesday.

“Rest assured, if that vote happens and if he’s acquitted, I imagine you’ll hear from him at some point,” White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters. “We don’t want to get ahead of the vote.”

“When this is over, we hope the vote goes our way and then we may have an announcement or statement or two afterward,” Gidley added.

Trump on Tuesday became the second American president to deliver a State of Union address during his impeachment process. Former President Clinton gave his 1999 address amid the Senate trial.