WASHINGTON: Demo­crats and Republicans closed ranks on Tuesday a day ahead of the expected impeachment of US President Donald Trump, underscoring the country’s deep political divide over charges that the US leader abused his power.

Trump sang his own praises on Twitter, citing the economy’s strength and trade negotiation successes even as he faced becoming only the third president ever with the impeachment stain on his record.

While opinion polls showed the US electorate closely divided over impeachment, Trump flagged a USA Today survey saying he remained popular and could defeat any of the leading Democrats seeking to challenge him in the November 2020 elections.

“The new USA Today Poll, just out, has me leading all of the Democrat contenders... The American people are smart. They see the great economy, & everything else!” he tweeted.

Critics of the poll pointed to its unusual methodology — pitting Trump against a named Democrat and an imaginary, unnamed “third-party candidate” with no record and no political positions in each question.

Meanwhile Democrats held tight to the path that could see Trump go on trial in the Senate for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in January.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2019

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