State of the Union: What to Watch For
- Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi will sit over President Trump’s shoulder all night.
- This will be Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s first State of the Union.
- Other guests include an undocumented migrant, and trans-gender service member.
The Washington Post reports that Melania Trump has invited a child named Joshua Trump to the SOTU, because he “has been bullied in school due to his last name.”
The president who famously said that he “alone” could fix issues facing the country, will give his second State of the Union address Tuesday, addressing members of Congress who — it turns out — are necessary for getting anything done at all.
The speech is coming two weeks later than originally scheduled after a partial government shutdown and partisan stalemate that brought all previous plans to a halt.
The New York Times reports that “For Trump, the State of the Union Is a Spectacle, and He Is Ready for It”: “After spending part of the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his club in Palm Beach, Fla., working on the speech, Mr. Trump spent two hours going over it with Stephen Miller, his chief policy adviser, in the Oval Office, according to his private schedule.
“He also spent time on Monday practicing in the Map Room with a handful of senior administration officials. He was expected to do another teleprompter-and-lectern practice session there on Tuesday, with his aides giving him notes.
Meanwhile in Virginia…
*Lt. Gov. Denounces Sexual Assault Allegations
*Gov. Northam, Others Eyed in Leak of Allegations
*Gov. Northam Remains Defiant as Calls For His Resignation Grow
According to the New York Times, ”Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia Denounces Sexual Assault Allegation as a ‘Smear'”: Fairfax “emphatically denied on Monday a woman’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in 2004, suggesting at one point that Gov. Ralph Northam’s supporters were trying to block his ascent to the governorship at a moment when Mr. Northam is besieged by demands that he resign over charges of racism.
“‘Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this smear comes out?’ Mr. Fairfax told reporters surrounding him in the rotunda of the state Capitol about whether he believes Mr. Northam, a fellow Democrat, was behind the accusation’s coming to light.
“He softened his suggestion as he left the Capitol Monday night, telling reporters he had ‘no indication’ that Mr. Northam was responsible. But in the same conversation, Mr. Fairfax hinted that Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond and a potential rival to Mr. Fairfax for the 2021 Democratic nomination for governor, may have played a role — praising the acumen of a reporter who inquired whether Mr. Stoney might have been responsible.
“Asked if he had any involvement in leaking the claims of assault, which first surfaced Sunday night on a right-wing website, Mr. Stoney said, ‘The insinuation is 100 percent not true, and frankly it’s offensive.’”
Meanwhil Northam has resisted the mounting calls for his resignation amid controversy surrounding his racist yearbook page and at this point, he has “no choice” but to remain in office, argued Chris Stirewalt on Fox News.
Trump’s Inauguration Committee Under Scrutiny
According to ABC News, New York prosecutors are seeking records from the Trump inauguration committee. ABC, citing “sources,” reports that, “Prosecutors in New York’s Southern District have subpoenaed documents from President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee,” adding that, “even as the special counsel probe appears to be nearing an end, another investigation that could hamstring the president and his lawyers is widening.”
ABC News also reports that, “prosecutors are seeking documents and records related to the committee’s donors to the massive inauguration fund, according to sources familiar with the request. Prosecutors also are seeking information on attendees to the events surrounding the inauguration, including benefits to top-level donors such as photo opportunities with Trump, sources said.”
And according to the New York Times, ”only one individual was named as part of the subpoena’s demand for documents: Imaad Zuberi, a former fund-raiser for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who was seeking inroads with Mr. Trump, and whose company, Avenue Ventures, gave $900,000 to the inaugural committee. The subpoena also seeks documents related to his company.”
ISIS Fighters ‘Lying Low, Not Defeated’
The AP reports that “U.S. officials fear IS fighters are lying low, not defeated.”President Donald Trump is expected to declare near-total triumph over the Islamic State group in Syria in his State of the Union address, but U.S. defense officials are increasingly fearful that the militants are simply biding their time until the Americans leave the battlefield as planned. IS militants have lost territory since Trump’s surprise announcement in December that he was pulling U.S. forces out, but military officials warn the fighters could regroup within six months to a year after the Americans leave.
“A Defense Department watchdog report released Monday warned of just such a possibility. The Islamic State group ‘remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that “could likely resurge in Syria’ absent continued counterterrorism pressure,”‘ the report from the inspector general said.”
Former Congressman and Democratic Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke returns from five weeks away from the political spot light Tuesday. Sort of, the loser of the 2018 Texas Senate race, has been sharing a lot of personal details on social media.
Tuesday, O’Rourke will join Oprah Winfrey for a highly anticipated interview.