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Donald Trump to Nancy Pelosi: Impeachment charges 'meritless'

President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office

President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. Credit: Bloomberg/Ron Sachs

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sent a blistering six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of an expected impeachment vote, accusing House Democrats of “declaring open war on American Democracy.”

“I write to express my strongest and most powerful protest against the partisan impeachment crusade being pursued by the Democrats in the House of Representatives,” Trump said in the letter released Tuesday by the White House.

In the letter, Trump laid out his defense against the two articles of impeachment he is facing, arguing that he long has been targeted by Democrats, "who have never recovered" from his 2016 victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"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!" Trump wrote.

He also repeated familiar talking points from his campaign rallies and Twitter feed. He denounced the special counsel probe into Russian election interference as "the Russian Witch Hunt," while touting signature pieces of his agenda.

“There are not many people who could have taken the punishment inflicted during this period of time, and yet done so much for the success of America and its citizens,” Trump wrote.

The president pushed back against the two articles of impeachment that are expected to come before the full U.S. House for a vote Wednesday, calling the abuse of power charge “meritless” and the obstruction of Congress charge “preposterous.”

Trump called for an end to the proceedings, even as he noted he had "no expectation" such a suspension would occur.

The Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee, in a party-line vote last Friday, approved the two articles of impeachment.

The panel said Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into his Democratic rivals as he withheld U.S. foreign aid and dangled the prospect of a much sought-after White House meeting.

The panel also said Trump obstructed the House investigation into his dealings with Ukraine by ordering the blanket defiance of all Democrat-issued subpoenas for documents and witness testimony.

In his letter to Pelosi, Trump reasserted that his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was “totally innocent.”

In the call, Trump called on Zelensky for a “favor” — to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory asserting Ukraine, not Russia, was behind the 2016 hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. The president then suggested on the call that Ukraine investigate his leading rival in the 2020 race, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump, who refused to cooperate with the House investigation into his Ukraine dealings, continued to criticize the overall impeachment process, saying in his letter: “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”

The president also warned that voters would hold Democrats "fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election." 

Responding to questions from reporters on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said she hadn't read the letter in its entirety, but called it "ridiculous."

"I haven't fully read it," Pelosi said. "We've been working. I've seen the essence of it. It's really sick."

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