Trump To Give Annual Address To Congress Amid Impeachment Drama


The top Democrat in the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, has written to President Donald Trump inviting him to give his State of the Union speech on 4 February amid the partisan impeachment battle.

The annual speech would come during or soon after his trial in the Senate, where he is likely to be acquitted.

He was formally impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

House Speaker Pelosi told Associated Press he would be “impeached forever, no matter what the Senate does”.

The impeachment vote two days ago in the Democrat-led House of Representatives split almost totally along party lines.

Democrats and Republicans have yet to agree on when the upcoming Senate trial will take place.

What did the letter say?

The letter sent by Mrs Pelosi on Friday begins with a pointed reminder to Mr Trump of the “separation of powers” enshrined in the US Constitution.

The three branches – the judicial, executive, and legislative – she said are “co-equal branches acting as checks on each other”.

“In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union Address,” she wrote, adding: “Thank you for your attention to this matter”.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said that Mr Trump had accepted the invitation to speak.

A top Republican in congress, Texas Senator John Cornyn, reacted to the invitation with the hashtag “#somanymixedsignals”.

“Guess she expects him to still be in office then,” he tweeted.

What has Mr Trump said?

The Democrats and Republicans are wrangling over how the Senate trial should be conducted, casting doubt over when it will start.

This prompted a series of tweets from the president on Thursday accusing the Democrats of not wanting to start the trial because their “case is so bad” and demanding it begin immediately.

He tweeted: “So after the Democrats gave me no Due Process in the House, no lawyers, no witnesses, no nothing, they now want to tell the Senate how to run their trial. Actually, they have zero proof of anything, they will never even show up. They want out. I want an immediate trial!”

What is the president accused of?

He is accused of having withheld $400m (£307m) of military aid to Ukraine already allocated by Congress, and a White House meeting for Ukraine’s new president, until Ukraine looked into potentially damaging material on Joe and Hunter Biden.

Hunter worked for a Ukrainian company when Joe Biden was US vice-president.

The Democrats say this amounts to an abuse of presidential power, using the office for personal political gain and to the detriment of national security.

Mr Trump is also accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to co-operate with the congressional inquiry.