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Trump will address Congress amid impeachment drama

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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.

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.

Mr Trump faces two charges, or articles of impeachment: abusing his power by requesting that Ukraine investigate his political rival so as to gain political advantage; and obstructing Congress by refusing to co-operate with the impeachment investigation.

The second charge came after Mr Trump refused to allow White House officials to testify and withheld documents. Democrats charge that this breached constitutional protocol which requires Congress to provide oversight of the White House executive branch.

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!”

The president said the Democrats did not want Congressman Adam Schiff, who led the impeachment process, the Bidens and a CIA whistleblower who sparked the inquiry to testify.

The Democrats have argued that it is Mr Trump’s Republicans who are balking at the appearance of witnesses. The House did also invite the president to testify before its investigators but he declined to do so.

©bbc.com
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