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President Donald Trump sent a freewheeling letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday — the eve of his likely impeachment by the House of Representatives — in which he went off and rattled off a slew of grievances against congressional Democrats.
“This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history,” the letter said. “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!”
“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” the president continued, referencing five women who were executed after being accused of witchcraft.
Trump also accused Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers of “bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain” and of “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.”
(Trump is accused of abusing the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election, which is against US law. While doing so, the president held up a vital military aid package to Ukraine, whose interference he sought, and of withholding a White House meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought.)
Trump wrote that the first article of impeachment against him, which charges him with abuse of power, “is a completely disingenuous, meritless, and baseless invention of [Democrats'] imagination,” adding, “You know that I had a totally innocent conversation with the President of Ukraine.”
“As you know very well, this impeachment drive has nothing to do with Ukraine, or the totally appropriate conversation I had with its new president,” Trump's letter repeated later on.
(A White House summary of the phone call, as well as a whistleblower complaint detailing its contents, show Trump repeatedly pressuring Zelensky to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Multiple witnesses who testified in the impeachment inquiry said they found the call inappropriate and unusual.)
“There is nothing I would rather do than stop referring to your party as the Do-Nothing Democrats,” Trump wrote. “Unfortunately, I don't know what you will ever give me the chance to do so.”
He also went on to lament about the “great damage and hurt” the impeachment process has inflicted “upon wonderful and loving members of my family.”
“Any member of Congress who votes in support of impeachment … is showing how deeply they revile and how truly they detest America's Constitutional order,” he wrote.
The president also took some time out to lob attacks at Biden, whom he and his allies have accused, without evidence, of corruption.
He went on to emphasize how Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials said they did not feel pressure when Trump asked for politically motivated investigations while holding up military aid and the White House meeting.
(It's true that Zelensky said he didn't feel pressured and that there was “no blackmail.” But context matters, especially in a geopolitical relationship like the US's and Ukraine's, where there's a clear imbalance of power. As Insider's John Haltiwanger reported last month, Ukraine is still reliant on US military assistance as it fends off Russian aggression. By acknowledging feeling pressured, Zelensky would risk angering Trump.)