President Donald Trump is already itching to broadcast the series finale of his impeachment.
In recent days, he and top White House aides have been considering how he should celebrate his presumed acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate and whether he should deliver a rare Oval Office address to mark the occasion, according to three senior administration officials.
Trump has not settled on a specific plan yet, but the internal machinations show the extent to which the president remains focused on the details and optics of his ongoing impeachment trial — from the TV slot in which his lawyers argued his case to the performance of his legal team to the look and feel of a speech or ceremony marking the end of the months-long saga.
“The president is giving a lot of thought to where he goes when he is acquitted and vindicated,” a senior administration official said. “This isn’t a one-and-done moment. This will be a sustained exit from a long dreary impeachment process and a great reset to 2020 — not just the 2020 reelection but the 2020 domestic and international arena.”
The Trump team began its opening arguments in the Senate trial on Saturday, as Trump’s lawyers tried to sow doubt about the Democrats’ evidence that Trump asked Ukrainian leaders to investigative his political rival. The trial could conclude this week, depending on the mindset and demands of a handful of moderate Republican senators with whom the president’s immediate fate now rests. If they vote with Democrats to call witnesses, then the trial could easily last an additional week and would buttress both the president’s State of the Union address as well as the Iowa caucuses.
Undercutting the White House’s strategy is new reporting that Trump told former national security adviser John Bolton to continue to withhold military aide to Ukraine until the country agreed to investigate his political opponents. The allegations, revealed by the New York Times, come from an excerpt of Bolton’s upcoming book. Already it has renewed the Democrats’ push to call witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial.