US President Donald Trump will be acquitted of two charges of impeachment when the Senate ends its nearly three-week trial on Wednesday (local time).
“My advice would be that in the State of the Union he should move on,” said Republican Senator Lamar Alexander. “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.”
Senator Joni Ernst, a member of GOP leadership, advised Trump to avoid the trial.
“We’ve got a great strong economy, our military is finally being rebuilt under this administration,” he said. “There are a lot of really great things he should talk about — and stay away from maybe what the proceedings are. We’re not voting until Wednesday.”
Republican Senator James Lankford also felt Trump should not mention impeachment.
“We’re not done tomorrow and I don’t think it’s appropriate for him to bring it up,” Lankford said. “He is his own person, obviously he can bring up things as he chooses to … but I’m not coming into that speech to be able to hear more about impeachment.”
Trump took office on a pledge to expand gross domestic product (GDP) at least 3% per year. He was close to achieving that in 2018 through tax cuts and higher government spending, but growth slowed to 2.3% last year, according to US Commerce Department data.
Trump will counter the data by stating correctly that the US is outpacing Asian and European allies who are teetering on the brink of recession.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement that “the economy under President Trump’s policies is still strong and growing.”
“Unemployment is at a 50-year low nationally and wages are rising faster for workers on the lower end of the earning scale than they are for the upper end,” Murtaugh said.
It is true that the US economy has added 6 million jobs since Trump became president and the unemployment rate has dropped to the lowest level in nearly 50 years.
However, the federal debt is now more than US$2.4 trillion. The annual deficit hit nearly US$1 trillion in fiscal year 2019 – the highest since 2012.
The State of the Union address will be Trump’s last before the November presidential election, where he will face off with whomever Democratic voters chose as their party’s nominee.
His previous State of the Union addresses have made appeals to national unity and bipartisanship. But he’s also angered Democrats with his rhetoric. Last year’s speech left Democrats fuming after he asked for their help to build a border wall and called for a late-term abortion ban. He also urged House of Representatives’ Democrats who had just secured the majority to skip “ridiculous partisan investigations.”
Trump was impeached by the opposition party, the Democrats, last December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, and withholding almost US$400 million in aid to the country.
Alexander said Trump acted improperly and crossed a line in the Ukraine scandal but said the President’s actions are “a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“I think he shouldn’t have done it. I think it was wrong. Inappropriate was the way I’d say – improper, crossing the line. And then the only question left is who decides what to do about that,” Alexander told NBC‘s Meet the Press.
Alexander then said it is “the people” who will decide, meaning the Presidential election in November.
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 several US media outlets, meaning that Trump will be acquitted.
Democrats took our country on a wild goose chase, starting with the Mueller Report, and persisting with a partisan impeachment.
It’s time we get back to work for the American people.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) February 3, 2020
My full statement on my vote to move the impeachment trial to the next stage: pic.twitter.com/7aJcyduDlf
— Senator John Boozman (@JohnBoozman) January 31, 2020