President Donald Trump on Tuesday sent a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) smearing the impeachment process as “unconstitutional” and accusing the speaker of violating her oath of office just one day ahead of the historic full-floor impeachment vote.
Although the president spent much of the letter recycling the self-vindicating sentiments seen on his Twitter page over the past several months, he went even further by claiming that “most insulting of all” is the Democratic leadership’s “false display of solemnity” surrounding the impeachment proceedings.
“You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme,” Trump wrote, adding that Pelosi’s “spiteful actions display unfettered contempt for America’s founding.”
“Even worse than offending the Founding Fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by continually saying ‘I pray for the President,’ when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense,” the president continued. “It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
Peppered with insults, Trump’s letter attempts to debunk the misconduct outlined in the two articles of impeachment approved last week by the House Judiciary Committee. He dismissed the abuse of power charge against him as “completely disingenuous, meritless, and baseless,” and the obstruction of Congress charge as “preposterous and dangerous.”
House investigators’ impeachment inquiry is centered on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump has said publicly that he wanted Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, a move that could have harmed Biden’s 2020 campaign. Evidence clearly indicates Trump wished to leverage nearly $400 million in military aid and a coveted White House meeting in exchange for the announcement, however.
Trump mischaracterized his Ukraine dealings as a “policy disagreement.”
“Everyone, you included, knows what is really happening,” the president wrote. “You have developed a full-fledged case of what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome and sadly, you will never get over it!”
“You apparently have so little respect for the American People that you expect them to believe that you are approaching this impeachment somberly, reservedly, and reluctantly. No intelligent person believes what you are saying.”
Earlier this month, three out of four constitutional scholars said before a public House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month that Trump had committed impeachable offenses surrounding Ukraine. A fourth said impeachment would be premature.
While Pelosi and other Democratic leaders including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) have repeatedly made a point to stress the gravity of pursuing impeachment, Trump brushed off their concerns.
“You apparently have so little respect for the American People that you expect them to believe that you are approaching this impeachment somberly, reservedly, and reluctantly. No intelligent person believes what you are saying,” Trump wrote.
Throughout his letter, many of the president’s claims are misleading or blatantly false, such as when he claimed that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified that Trump told him, “No quid pro quo. I want nothing.” Sondland submitted revised testimony after his initial closed-door meeting with House investigators stating there was a quid pro quo, and he repeated that assertion at his public hearing.
At another point, he asserted “there was a transcript” of the July 25 phone call between himself and Zelensky that proved he did nothing wrong, referring to a partial summary provided by the White House. The summary was incomplete: Two witnesses told House investigators that the document left out all mentions of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which they said under oath Trump had discussed.
Trump later suggested that the House “devote [its] vast investigative resources to exposing the full truth concerning the FBI’s horrifying abuses of power,” referring to a right-wing theory that the agency fabricated information in order to spy on Trump’s campaign. An inspector general report released Dec. 9 ― eight days before Trump’s letter ― found no evidence that the FBI had been motivated by bias when it obtained a secret warrant to wiretap a Trump campaign official as it looked into potential Russian election interference.
“Our Founders feared the tribalization of partisan politics, and you are bringing their worst fears to life,” Trump wrote, spinning oft-repeated statements that constitutional scholars and historians have used against him.
“Worse still, I have been deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process,” Trump wrote. The constitution does not specify that impeachment must proceed in the exact manner as a criminal trial, as it is not a criminal trial.
Still, Trump whined: “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”