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State of the Union - live: Women wear white in powerful message as Trump vows to ban late-term abortion

Follow the latest updates as Mr Trump prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address to a divided Congress

Clark Mindock
New York
,Chris Riotta,Joe Sommerlad
Wednesday 06 February 2019 06:12
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State of the Union: Trump asks Congress to end late term abortion

Donald Trump is delivering the second State of the Union address of his presidency, where he has the opportunity to lay out his vision for the last two years of his first term in office and beyond.

With a damaging and politically contentious 35-day government shutdown having just ended in Washington, the president stands before a joint session in the House chamber — where is expected to make sweeping calls for unity in a time of dramatic division and to promote lofty efforts like the eradication of HIV by 2030.

But, Mr Trump’s audience in the House chamber will be noticeably different from his address last year. Flanked behind him and to his left will sit Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who proved to be a formidable political foil to Mr Trump during those shutdown negotiations last month after her party took control of the lower chamber during the 2018 midterm elections.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's coverage of the build-up to President Trump's second State of the Union address.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 11:28
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 As the president prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address following the curtailing of the longest US government shutdown in history, trouble is afoot.

Federal prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office in New York have issued a subpoena demanding "all documents" from Mr Trump's inauguration committee be turned over to its investigation into alleged funding irregularities.

The criminal inquiry is examining whether some of the committee’s donors, particularly foreign nationals, gave money in exchange for policy concessions, influencing administration positions or access to the incoming administration, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Inaugural committee spokeswoman Kristin Celauro confirmed it had received the order and was still reviewing it. ”It is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry,” she said. 

Here's Tom Embury-Dennis with the full story.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 11:36
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President Trump is meanwhile finally clear to give his speech on the state of the nation to the House of Representatives.

The traditional address was originally scheduled for 29 January but had to be delayed due to the shutdown, an impasse caused by the president's demands for federal funding for his proposed border wall "from sea to shining sea" with Mexico. 

The Democrats, led by House speaker Nancy Pelosi, stood firm, refusing to hand over a single red cent as Ms Pelosi suggested the president submit his State of the Union by letter or from an alternative venue.

He declined, but was not above denying the speaker the use of a military plane to fly a congressional committee on a fact-finding mission to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan by way of revenge.

Here's Clark Mindock with a reminder of that spectacularly petty episode.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 11:45
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Once the president has given his address - taking place before a packed House at 9pm EST tonight - the Democrats have the chance to nominate a candidate to issue their rebuttal, a custom in place since 1966.

Last year, Massachusetts Democrat Joe Kennedy III, grandson of Bobby Kennedy and grandnephew of John F Kennedy, was the chosen man and was widely praised for his performance.

This time around, the duty falls to Georgia's Stacey Abrams, a former romance novelist who narrowly lost out on her state's governorship after running against Republican Brian Kemp in November's midterms, a race marred by a voter suppression scandal.

Here's Sarah Harvard with an introduction to Ms Abrams.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 11:52
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Here's a guide to the history of the State of the Union address, why it was introduced and how presidents have distinguished themselves at the podium.

Some searing honesty from Gerald Ford here.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 12:15
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And here's Chris Riotta with five things to look out for, from news of the border wall to Nancy Pelosi's real-time reactions.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 12:30
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Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 12:55
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One of the more eccentric aspects of the State of the Union is that members of the public can be invited to attend by the president and senior members of the House. 

Such guests are known as “Lenny Skutniks” after the man Ronald Reagan paid tribute to in 1982 for his courage during the Air Florida Flight 90 crash, the bystander rescuing a passenger from Washington’s Potomac River when the plane struck the capital’s 14th Street Bridge just two miles from the White House.

This year's Skutniks include: an 11-year-old Delaware schoolboy named Joshua Trump, bullied because of his surname; Judah Samet, a survivor of the Holocaust and a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue; and the family of an elderly Nevada couple killed allegedly by an illegal immigrant. 

Alice Johnson will also be there - an Alabama grandmother given life imprisonment for a non-violent drug offence who was granted clemency when Kim Kardashian West brought her case to the president.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 13:30
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In other Trump news, preparations are underway for the president's next summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Here's Andrew Buncombe with more.

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 13:55
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The president is awake - and now pushing a "human wall". He does appear to mean that literally doesn't he?

Joe Sommerlad5 February 2019 14:14

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