Donald Trump's impeachment trial over, about to be acquitted

Donald Trump on February 4 during his State of the Union address.
Donald Trump on February 4 during his State of the Union address. OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP

This is the epilogue of the soap opera that has been going through American politics for several months. US President Donald Trump is expected to be acquitted by the Senate on Wednesday February 5 during the impeachment trial initiated in December 2019 by the House of Representatives.

The suspense is almost nil: the United States Constitution requires a two-thirds majority (67 seats out of 100) to convict him and the billionaire knows he can count on the unfailing support of at least 52 of the 53 Republican senators.

The vote will take place at 4 p.m. (10 p.m. in Paris), but the communication war has already started on the lessons to be learned from this exceptional procedure. "Donald Trump will be acquitted forever", anticipated his adviser Kellyanne Conway, in response to the Democrats, for whom the president will remain "Forever indicted".

The opposition demands the removal of the American president for trying to force Ukraine to "dirty" its possible presidential opponent Joe Biden, in particular by freezing crucial military aid for this country at war. Since the scandal broke, Trump has claimed to be the victim of a witch hunt orchestrated by his Democratic opponents, who would not have digested his surprise victory of 2016.

Read our decryption: "Basically, there was no trial of Trump’s removal. Objectively, he has something to be satisfied with ”

49% favorable opinion, a record

The strategy appears to have paid off, at least in part. Donald Trump is going through a rather favorable period: according to the latest poll from the Gallup Institute, he recorded 49% of favorable opinions, a record since he came to power. In addition, the Democrats' primaries for an opponent began Monday in Iowa with a resounding fiasco that kept him in the spotlight.

Tuesday evening, in front of the assembled congress, for the traditional speech on the state of the Union, the republican billionaire praised his results "Incredible". The tension in the hemicycle was palpable. Before the speech, Donald Trump ostensibly avoided shaking hands with the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Once the speech is finished, the latter in a spectacular gesture tore up his copy of the speech.

On February 4, the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, tore up Donald Trump’s state of the union speech.
On February 4, the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, tore up Donald Trump’s state of the union speech. Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS

"Unlike so many before me, I keep my promises"launched Donald Trump, constantly cut by ovations and "USA, USA" Republicans.

In this same House of Representatives which indicted him on December 18, he shuffled all the themes of the campaign to come for the November 3 poll: the fight against illegal immigration or abortion, "The great economic success" of the United States or its foreign policy.

However, at no time was impeachment mentioned. Many Republicans urged Donald Trump to quickly turn the page on this lawsuit, and the president kept a low profile on this point like his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, in his annual speech in 1999.

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A lawsuit that divides the United States

In this context of extreme polarization, the few moderate senators who are still trying to build bridges between the two parties are the only issues of the verdict. Donald Trump would like to be able to say that no member of his majority has defected, as he trumpeted after the impeachment vote in the House.

Three moderate Republican senators denounced the president’s behavior but said it did not deserve to be removed from office. The only one who should step out of the line is Mitt Romney, one of the few Republican politicians to openly criticize the tenant of the White House. "The president is guilty of a horrible abuse of the public trust"said the former unsuccessful 2012 presidential candidate in the Senate Chamber, announcing his intention to vote in favor of the impeachment.

Some Democrats, like Kyrsten Sinema or Joe Manchin, could offer the president a gift by finding him not guilty. The first stood out during the State of the Union address vigorously applauding the billionaire when his side sulked him.

Beyond Washington, the trial divides both Americans and their elected representatives: 85% of Democratic voters support the removal of the president, less than 10% of Republicans are for it, and the average is slightly below 50%.

Its impact on the elections is therefore difficult to predict, but Donald Trump says he is convinced that voters will penalize "Democrats who-do-nothing". They believe that they demonstrated during the trial that he was placing "His interests above those of the country".


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