Feb 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's mid-impeachment State of the Union

Trump at last year's State of the Union address. Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump will address the nation Tuesday night in the same room Democrats voted to impeach him less than two months ago, and a day before he is expected to be acquitted in the Senate.

Flashback: 21 years ago, former President Bill Clinton found himself in the same situation, addressing a country in the midst of a bitter impeachment battle. Clinton avoided using the I-word in his 78-minute speech, sticking with his commitment to focus on doing the work of a president, despite members' attempts to remove him from office.

What we're watching: The big question is whether Trump follows Clinton’s lead, and not only focuses on his forthcoming agenda and recent accomplishments — like passing USMCA and signing "phase one" of the U.S.-China trade deal — but also fights the urge to take a premature victory lap on surviving impeachment.

What they're saying: Not one Republican senator Axios spoke with on Monday said they think Trump should bring up impeachment.

  • Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana: "I think we've been talking about it for so long, and I think he needs to stick with the agenda. And he'll do quite well. ... I'd say health care is number one."
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana: "I think that our country is dying for bipartisanship. And so, if he can stress those things that we can all agree upon: How do we lower the cost of health care? How do we do an infrastructure package? ... I think those are all things that he'd be wise to speak to."
  • Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida: "I wouldn’t [bring up impeachment]. ... We haven't taken the vote yet and I think he has a lot of positive things to talk about. ... I just think there's no way you talk about impeachment and that not be the takeaway."

Our thought bubble: Trump has a lot of fodder to boast about tonight — from taking out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Iranian general Qassem Soleimani to rolling out his Middle East peace deal.

  • But some Hill Republicans and administration officials tell Axios they don’t think Trump can help himself, and will resort to attacking Democrats on impeachment, like he has on the campaign trail and on Twitter.

What to watch: Administration officials say Trump will spend a decent portion of his address spotlighting his special guests in the audience.

  • Last year, he invited famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin, brain cancer patient Grace Eline, and Alice Johnson, a woman to whom he had recently granted clemency, among others.

Go deeper: Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée to attend State of the Union

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,931,112 — Total deaths: 357,929 — Total recoveries — 2,388,172Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,711,313 — Total deaths: 101,129 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

Go deeper: Twitter vs. Trump... vs. Twitter

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy