President Donald Trump on Tuesday savaged House Democrats’ impeachment proceedings in a six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that read like a collection of his most vitriolic tweets.
The fiery missive, frequently punctuated with exclamation points, came loaded with hyperbolic assertions — including the president’s claim that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials” and his accusation that Pelosi and House Democrats “view democracy as your enemy!”
Trump charged that the current impeachment drive “represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” by Democratic lawmakers that he argued has been “unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history.”
Story Continued Below
“By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American democracy,” he wrote.
The heated correspondence comes a day before the House is expected to vote on articles of impeachment charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, likely making Trump the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
But the broader intent of the letter to the speaker — which appeared to represent little more than a messaging document, rehashing the same grievances Trump has frequently aired mixed with legal defense — was not immediately clear.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone issued a similarly confrontational letter in October to Pelosi and the three committee chairs leading the impeachment probe, writing that their inquiry lacked “any legitimate constitutional foundation” and stating that the administration would not comply with Democratic lawmakers’ requests.
Trump’s letter Tuesday, however, represented his first formal, written rebuke to House Democrats since they launched the process to remove him from office.
In one portion of the letter, Trump falsely accused Democrats of denying him due process throughout the inquiry. The White House has twice been offered the chance to have lawyers present in different phases of public hearings for the inquiry and declined both opportunities. Instead, Trump’s legal team has begun to coordinate with members of the Republican-led Senate for an upcoming trial.
The president also tried multiple times to turn Democrats’ accusations back on them, even as he mocked the two articles of impeachment he’d been charged with: abuse of office and obstruction of Congress. He argued that former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival whom Trump sought a Ukrainian investigation into, was the one who was truly guilty of abusing his office. And he asserted that Democrats were “turning a policy disagreement between two branches of government into an impeachable offense” while establishing a deeply damaging precedent for presidents to come.
He blasted the charges against him as “completely disingenuous, meritless and a baseless invention of your imagination” and “preposterous and dangerous,” dismissing Democrats’ allegations as “fantasy” despite having hours of testimony to back them up.
Trump also dinged the speaker for what he labeled “your false display of solemnity,” calling Pelosi’s consistent somber demeanor when discussing the inquiry “perhaps most insulting of all.”
Top Democrats began to lay out their final case against Trump in a meeting of the House Rules Committee — the final step for the articles before reaching the House floor.Read the articles of impeachmentWho supports Trump’s conviction in the Senate?The most powerful people in the impeachment inquiry
He accused lawmakers of harboring “Impeachment Fever,” calling out several key players in the investigation by name, and said that members who vote to impeach are showing “how deeply they revile the voters and how truly they detest America’s Constitutional order.”