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Trump calls for halt to impeachment in scathing letter to Pelosi on eve of vote

President Trump sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday urging her to halt impeachment proceedings one day before the House is set to vote to impeach him, accusing Democrats of an “unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power.” 

Trump, in a scathing six-page letter to Pelosi, complained about the impeachment process, defended his conduct toward Ukraine and accused Democrats of “interfering in America’s elections.”

“It is time for you and the highly partisan Democrats in Congress to immediately cease this impeachment fantasy and get back to work for the American People. While I have no expectation that you will do so, I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record,” Trump wrote. 

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The lengthy missive contained many of the same arguments and featured the same heated rhetoric Trump has deployed over the last two months via Twitter and public appearances. He complains about former special counsel Robert Mueller, lists off his own achievements, bashes “ranting and raving” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and denies any wrongdoing.

“This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth. You are not just after me, as President, you are after the entire Republican Party,” Trump wrote in the letter, which marked his first personal correspondence with Pelosi on impeachment. “History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade.”

The president, who said in the Oval Office moments after the letter was publicized that he takes “zero” responsibility for facing impeachment, instead accused Democrats of committing the same actions they have alleged Trump is guilty of.

“You are the ones interfering in America’s election. You are the ones subverting America’s Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice,” Trump wrote. “You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.”

“I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election. They will not soon forgive your perversion of justice and abuse of power,” he added. 

The letter came on the eve of the House vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Democratic-controlled lower chamber is widely expected to approve the articles of impeachment with no Republican support. 

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The White House has refused to cooperate in the inquiry, accusing House Democrats of a partisan and illegitimate effort to overturn the results of the 2016 election and criticizing the process as unfair. 

“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” Trump wrote Tuesday.

House Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to pursue investigations that could benefit his reelection campaign.

At the heart of the inquiry is a July 25 call during which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a debunked theory about Kyiv’s involvement in the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s dealings with a Ukrainian gas firm. 

House Democrats have accused Trump of using a White House meeting and security assistance to Ukraine as a cudgel to push for the investigations.

Trump vigorously defended his call with Zelensky in Tuesday’s letter, claiming it had been “fraudulently misrepresented” and reiterating claims about Biden pushing for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor to his son’s benefit without providing specific evidence.

Trump claimed that a rough transcript of the call released by the White House, which showed him raising Biden’s name three times, vindicated him and emphasized Ukraine’s president said he felt no pressure on the call. 

“You are turning a policy disagreement between two branches of government into an impeachable offense — it is no more legitimate than the Executive Branch charging members of Congress with crimes for the lawful exercise of legislative power,” the president wrote. 

Trump also claimed he was asserting “Constitutionally based privileges” by blocking witnesses from testifying and refusing congressional subpoenas, which Democrats have cited in accusing Trump of obstructing their inquiry. 

The White House has argued that a number of witnesses are immune from compelled congressional testimony because of their positions as close advisers to the president, a concept invoked by previous administrations but on which there is little case law. 

Trump’s letter quotes Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar and Republican witness from one of the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings, saying that Democrats would be abusing their power by impeaching Trump for obstruction of Congress when a court should decide whether his argument holds up. Turley is also an opinion contributor for The Hill.

In a personal jab at Pelosi, Trump also blasted the Speaker over what he called a “false display of solemnity.”

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“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,” Trump wrote. “No intelligent person believes what you are saying.”

In brief remarks before unveiling articles of impeachment last week, Pelosi called it a “solemn day” and recalled that “the first order of business for Members of Congress is the solemn act to take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

In a contentious exchange with a reporter earlier this month, Pelosi said she does not hate the president, but that she prays for him.

Trump has repeatedly singled out Pelosi and other top Democrats since the impeachment proceedings began in late September, jabbing at the Speaker in personal terms for ignoring problems in her home district of California and claiming over the weekend that her teeth “were falling out of her mouth.” 

The House Rules Committee met to debate the articles of impeachment on Tuesday, and the full House is poised to vote on them Wednesday. Thereafter, the articles would move to a trial in the GOP-controlled Senate where Trump is widely expected to be acquitted. 

—Updated at 3:49 p.m.

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