Donald Trump is not expected to follow Bill Clinton’s lead in apologizing to the nation after his impeachment ended in an acquittal.
After Clinton was acquitted in his U.S. Senate trial after being impeached for lying under oath, he spoke to Americans and apologized for the scandal and the hurt it caused the nation. But a new report from CNN said that Trump is expected to continue in his line of reasoning that the phone call in which he pressed the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden was “perfect” — even as an increasing number of Republicans said he was wrong in doing that.
Trump’s defense in the impeachment process shifted as new evidence came forward, with his defenders and legal team initially arguing that Trump had done nothing wrong in seeking an investigation of Biden and was simply trying to root out corruption in Ukraine. But as former National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly wrote in a transcript for an upcoming book that Trump explicitly said he was withholding military aid to Ukraine to force them to investigation Biden — not to root out corruption, as Trump claimed — defenders argued that even if Trump had done what he initially denied, it did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
Trump is still expected to be acquitted, but his defense that the call was “perfect” seems to have lost the backing of Republicans who will be voting to keep him in office. As the trial draws to a close, many admitted that Trump’s behavior was inappropriate. That included Lamar Alexander, who decided against calling for witnesses because he believed that the House prosecutors had successfully proven that Trump’s motives were to investigate Biden.
Alexander said this was inappropriate, but did not warrant removal from office.
“The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate,” Alexander said in a statement.
Despite losing the support of members of his party and polls showing that a majority of Americans believe Trump was wrong in pressing for the Biden investigation, Trump is in no mood to apologize, a source told CNN.
“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,” said a Republican source close to Trump.
The report added that Trump is expected to claim that the acquittal vindicates him, and could try to argue that it invalidates his impeachment. Trump is reportedly very concerned about what the stain of impeachment would do to his legacy, and has tried arguing that the impeachment itself does not count due to what he called a partisan nature. That argument has already floated up through his legal team, with counsel Alan Dershowitz saying on Saturday that if Trump wins, “nobody should regard him as having been impeached.”