Trump not expected to apologize or admit any wrongdoing after anticipated acquittal
Posted February 1, 2020 5:12 p.m. EST
CNN — With the question of witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial put to bed, President Donald Trump is eagerly anticipating his acquittal in the Senate next week.
But unlike the last President to be acquitted, don't expect Trump to apologize or express any contrition for his conduct. Instead, people close to the President say they anticipate he will claim vindication and continue to proclaim his complete and total innocence.
While President Bill Clinton apologized to the nation after he was acquitted in the Senate -- saying he was "profoundly sorry" -- sources close to the President say Trump is likely to stick to his insistence that his conduct was "perfect."
"I don't see the President making a big statement one way or another that would indicate anything different than what he's been saying for many months," one Republican close to Trump said.
Trump is expected to claim vindication and continue to insist he did nothing wrong even as several Republican senators -- most notably Sen. Lamar Alexander -- have acknowledged that the President acted improperly by withholding security aid to Ukraine and pressuring the country to investigate his political rival.
Trump's decision to withhold nearly $400 million in US military assistance to Ukraine as he pressed the country to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden are at the center of the President's impeachment trial. Trump and his allies have repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the Bidens acted corruptly in Ukraine.
The Senate on Friday defeated an attempt to subpoena documents and witnesses, which could have revealed more about the actions of Trump and the officials closest to him related to Ukraine. Senate leadership on Wednesday plans to hold the final vote to acquit Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The timing means that the acquittal vote will occur after Trump goes to Capitol Hill to deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.
The Senate approved a resolution Friday evening from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laying out the final steps for the trial. The resolution includes closing arguments of two hours each for the House managers and the President's legal team starting at 11 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday's final vote -- and the ability for senators to deliver their own speeches explaining their votes in between.
Republicans defeated four Democratic amendments to McConnell's resolution on Friday evening before breaking for the weekend -- a schedule that would allow senators who are Democratic presidential candidates to travel to Iowa this weekend ahead of Monday's Iowa caucuses.
Democrats had hoped to entice more other Senate Republicans to join them to hear from witnesses -- especially in the wake of revelations from the draft book manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton -- but one by one the Senate Republicans said they were ready to end the trial.
When the final vote does occur to acquit the President, it will mark the end of a remarkable, whirlwind four-month impeachment that began when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry on September 24, leading to the President's impeachment on two articles less than three months later.