Trump sidesteps impeachment during State of the Union address

Trump sidesteps impeachment during State of the Union address

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 PelosiLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Mattis defends Pentagon IG removed by Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash 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.