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On brink of impeachment, Trump’s ready for a brawl

This article is more than 12 months old

Though struggling in polls, US President will rely on a booming economy to help his cause

WASHINGTON : For a man on the brink of becoming impeached, US President Donald Trump sure sounds confident.

"You are so lucky I became your president," he boomed to cheering supporters late on Tuesday in Pennsylvania.

"A regular president would have been under the table, thumb in mouth, saying, 'Take me home, mummy, this is too tough for me.'"

Hours earlier in Washington, Democratic leaders unveiled two impeachment charges against Mr Trump that the full House of Representatives, dominated by Democrats, will likely confirm in the near future.

Russia collusion, Ukraine quid pro quo, foreign emoluments clause, deep state coup - the terminology alone illustrates the rising political mess engulfing Mr Trump.

And less than a year from the 2020 presidential election, he is also struggling in the polls.

But Mr Trump is protected by two things. The first is he presides over a booming economy, historically a surefire way to re-election. The second: He loves to brawl, and with impeachment he has found a brawl that matches his formidable energy.

Almost daily he brands impeachment a "hoax", or as he said in Pennsylvania - a "big, fat, disgusting fraud".

He has flat-out refused to allow government employees to testify in his case or to release documents to investigators.

That strategy led to one of the two impeachment charges being levied against him: obstruction of Congress. The other charge is for allegedly trying to force Ukraine to open a corruption probe into his main Democratic rival Joe Biden.

If the Democrats do vote for impeachment as expected, the case will then go to the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr Trump sees a chance for revenge. According to CNN, Mr Trump is pushing Republican leaders in the Senate to make the trial a media extravaganza, giving his take on the Ukraine affair - including a series of unproven conspiracy theories - a dramatic hearing.

The latest national numbers on polling analysis website FiveThirtyEight look bad for Mr Trump.

He is shown losing to nearly every one of the Democrats scrambling to take him on. But those polls are taken on a nationwide basis, while presidential elections are won state by state.

So it is no surprise Mr Trump is happy with a new survey from Republican pollster Firehouse that shows him ahead against all comers in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

"As the impeachment process heats up in Washington, Donald Trump is seeing a boost in support in crucial swing states," it said.

The famous maxim from former president Bill Clinton's victorious 1992 campaign - "it's the economy, stupid" - could yet help Mr Trump win the day.

A Quinnipiac poll on Tuesday found that 57 per cent of voters say they are better off financially today than in 2016.

"We are finally rebuilding our nation," Mr Trump said during the Pennsylvania speech.

Americans will hear that phrase many more times in the months to come. - AFP