6 things to watch at Trump’s speech, including the elephant in the room


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The elephant in the room, or the chamber, would be the Russian investigation.

The inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion by Trump’s team has been a persistent cloud over the president. That cloud has gotten darker after a series of developments, including a plea deal with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the indictment of former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Trump has denied participating in any collusion and derided the idea that he has obstructed justice. “You fight back, oh, it’s obstruction,” he said mockingly to reporters last week. He has promised to cooperate with the inquiry, and he has insisted he is ready to be questioned under oath. But he has also questioned the basic conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that there was meddling by the Russians, and he has blamed Democrats for ginning up what he calls a phony scandal.

In 1974, when President Richard Nixon was ensnared in the Watergate investigation, he used the State of the Union address to call for an end to the investigation. “One year of Watergate is enough,” he declared, then added: “And I want you to know that I have no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the people elected me to do for the people of the United States.”

He resigned seven months later.

For Trump, Bill Clinton’s decision to ignore a brewing scandal would be a wiser course, Kall says. “It will be tempting to label the Russia investigation a witch hunt and fake news, but he should resist,” he said of Trump.

At 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, we’ll find out if he does.

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