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5 things to watch at State of the Union

Immigration plan, economic issues to loom large for Trump

WASHINGTON – It's a big night for politics as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address amid all the recent turmoil in Washington. Here are five things to watch for in tonight's big speech:

How will he handle immigration?

A big question will be: Which Trump will be on stage? Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, has often bemoaned Trump's vacillating views on immigration policy, dubbing him Tuesday Trump and Thursday Trump. In one week, Trump swung between strong support for DACA recipients (Tuesday) to more harsher views on immigrants (Thursday).

The president released his latest immigration plan a week before the speech. Most analysts expect him to stick to that outline, which both immigration activists and hard-liners have issues with.

The president's guest list doesn't hint at a dovish approach to immigration. While some members of Congress -- including South Florida Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Debbie Wassermann Schulz -- plan to bring Dreamers, Trump will host four people whose family members were killed by the MS-13 gang, which the president has linked to illegal immigration. But then again, he will be speaking on a Tuesday.

It's all about the economy, stupid

A year into his term, Trump's strongest selling point has been the robust economy. Unemployment is low, the stock market is high and consumers are confident. Expect Trump to spend plenty of time pointing these things out while also touting his recent tax cut.

Since the tax bill became law, dozens of companies have announced plans to increase hiring and dole out bonuses to employees. If you haven't heard already, Trump is going to tell you all about that tonight.

A kumbayah moment?

The famously feisty president has never been a big proponent of bipartisanship. But with Congress still very much at odds over the fate of some 700,000 Dreamers and another government shutdown possible, he has said that unity will be one of the themes of tonight's speech. 

Although he makes headlines for his tweetstorms, the president has been known to play nice. Just last week, Trump impressed global elites with a strong speech promoting America's business interests at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

The Russia investigation 

If Trump stays on script, it's unlikely that he'll address the biggest elephant in the room - the Russia investigation. But that said, Trump rarely stays on script.

Furthermore, there have been a large amount of Russia-related revelations in the past few weeks, signaling that special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation may be coming to a close. The president's allies have been particularly aggressive in recent days, charging that the investigation is biased against Trump.

The investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election has been a cloud over Trump's presidency, and with an audience of millions, he might see this as the perfect opportunity to clear the air.

The Democrats 

Rep. Joe Kennedy III, of Massachusetts, will deliver the official Democratic Party response to Trump's address. Kennedy, the grand-nephew of JFK, faces tough odds to deliver a standout performance. While some, including former President Bill Clinton, have used the response speech to rise to stardom, the gig is mostly known for being a thankless job.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response in 2013, but the speech is remembered for the way Rubio sipped his water. Other previous speakers, such as Dick Gephardt and Bobby Jindal, have also struggled. 

The task is harder this year as other progressives also plan to chime in. Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, and Rep. Maxine Waters, of California, will deliver their own responses after Trump's speech.