US President Donald Trump has written a withering letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, denouncing the impeachment proceedings against him as an “illegal, partisan attempted coup” against American democracy and the 2016 election.
The articles of impeachment, adopted along partisan lines by the House Judiciary Committee last week, contain “no crimes, no misdemeanors, no offenses whatsoever,” Trump wrote in the letter, made public by the White House on Tuesday.
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.
The president accused House Democrats of daring to invoke the Founding Fathers while acting in “unfettered contempt” of their words and deeds, turning a policy disagreement between two branches of government into a grounds for impeachment. He called the accusation of obstructing Congress “preposterous and dangerous,” with potential to block every executive going forward.
“You have developed a full-fledged case of what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome,” the president wrote, accusing the Democrats of spending the past three years trying to overturn the 2016 election. “You view democracy as your enemy!”
You are the ones interfering in America’s elections. You are the ones subverting America’s Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political and partisan gain.
Trump also invoked last week’s report of the Justice Department’s Inspector General to accuse the FBI leadership of being “corrupt and incompetent,” and referred to the so-called Russiagate investigation as a “witch hunt” and an ultimately debunked conspiracy theory.
Taking a moment to observe that the House gave him no chance to defend himself, Trump said that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” referring to the notorious 17th century moral panic in the Massachusetts colony.
The impeachment is “nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup,” Trump wrote, adding that any member of Congress who votes for it “is showing how deeply they revile the voters and how truly they detest America’s Constitutional order.”
At the end of the six-page document, Trump says he has “no expectation” the Democrats will actually abandon their impeachment “fantasy,” and that he wrote the letter “for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.”
The extraordinary document may even represent Trump’s official and final position in the matter, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has already said he did not intend to dignify the House accusations with a trial, but simply hold a vote to dismiss them.
The full House vote on the articles of impeachment has yet to take place; a committee is currently hashing out the rules for the floor debate, and the actual vote is expected some time on Thursday. The vote is widely expected to go along party lines, with the Democrat majority in the House voting to impeach the president – and the Senate voting to not convict, thereby allowing Trump to remain in office and run for re-election in 2020.