Even as members of his own party are wary of it, predicting there’s no chance that it could ever happen, President Donald Trump is pushing for a quick dismissal of his impending Senate impeachment trial.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted his desire for the trial to be ended before it even could begin. “Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have,” Trump wrote.
That may be part of the reason why Trump wants a dismissal of the trial altogether — but there are likely greater forces at play here. Namely, in just over two weeks’ time, that the president is set to give one of the biggest speeches of his career: the State of the Union address.
The Constitution mandates that the president of the United States submit a report to Congress updating the nation on the state of things every year. This report doesn’t necessarily have to be a speech — most presidents in American history have simply submitted it in writing — but modern presidents have made the affair a big deal, and it’s unlikely that Trump will scoff at the opportunity to speak to millions of citizens at one time during a presidential election year.
Trump isn’t one to jump around pretext, either: this speech will, without a doubt, be akin to one he gives out at his campaign rallies. In essence, this will be an hour- or two hours-long commercial for Trump.
He will, of course, touch upon a number of issues. Iran and national security will likely be mentioned quite a bit, as will updates (and future plans) for his proposed border wall. And he’ll probably take the opportunity to brag about the number of judges or justices he’s rammed through since taking office.
But one issue will take center stage, for the president and political pundits alike: his reaction to being just the third president in history to be impeached.
That’s probably why the calls for immediate dismissal are even more pressing for Trump at the moment. An impeachment trial, at its shortest, will likely take two weeks to complete. If it’s not started immediately, that means that it could last into February — beyond the 4th of that month, the date when Trump is set to give his State of the Union speech.
Republicans believe President Trump could be acquitted by the time of his Feb. 4 State of the Union address, giving him a huge platform to tout the outcome before a nationally televised audience, per multiple sources. https://t.co/zCLRRRNr3Z
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 10, 2020
Trump’s intelligence has been questioned at times, but even he’s probably aware (whether he thought of it himself or someone else suggested it to him) that the State of the Union speech — in which he’ll give his “rebuttal” to the impeachment saga’s conclusion — will mean a lot more for him politically if the Senate trial has ended by that point.
If it’s still ongoing, he will still say a few choice words, to be sure (this isn’t a president, after all, who has been reserved when it comes to either court proceedings or the issue of impeachment). But the weight of his words will be that much stronger if he’s able to say he defeated calls for his removal.
To be sure, there are probably other reasons that Trump is wanting a fast trial, or no trial at all. But having everything wrapped up in time for the State of the Union address, which he will undoubtedly use as a means to promote himself as a presidential candidate for re-election, is definitely one of them.