18, December 2019
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blasted President Donald Trump’s insult-laden letter urging her to halt the impeachment proceedings, describing the letter’s content as “ridiculous” and “really sick.”
Pelosi, the highest ranking Democrat in Congress, told reporters on Tuesday that she had not gotten the opportunity to read the Republican president’s whole letter, which accused Democrats of waging an “unconstitutional abuse of power” by moving forward with an impeachment vote.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “I mean, I haven’t really fully read it, we’ve been working. I’ve seen the essence of it though and it’s really sick.”
The president’s letter accused Pelosi of putting on a “false display of solemnity” throughout the inquiry and declared that “no intelligent person believes what you are saying.”
In Trump’s letter to Pelosi earlier on Tuesday, he issued a stark warning to congressional Democrats, saying that if they pursue impeachment against him, they will be “declaring war on American democracy.”
Trump also called any impeachment effort an “illegal partisan coup.” He issued the charges one day before a possible House debate on approving articles of impeachment against Trump.
Trump is this week likely to become the third US president to be impeached.
The House is likely to take up impeachment on Wednesday, setting the stage for a vote this week on whether to approve charges stemming from his effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17 on Friday along party lines to approve the two charges against Trump and to send the matter to the full chamber.
If the charges are approved in the House, the matter would be sent to the Republican-led Senate to hold a trial on whether to remove Trump from office.
Democrats, who enjoy a 36-seat majority in the House, are expected to win an impeachment vote, which requires a simple majority.
Republicans hold 53 of the 100 seats in the Senate, where they appear likely to prevail in any trial against Trump, which would require a two-thirds majority of those present to remove him from office.
No US president has been removed as a direct result of impeachment.
Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before he could be removed, while Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the House, respectively in 1868 and 1998, but not convicted by the Senate.
Democrats have accused Trump of endangering the US Constitution, jeopardizing national security and undermining the integrity of next year’s US presidential election by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July phone call to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
Republicans have defended Trump and accused Democrats of a partisan effort aimed at overturning his upset 2016 victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump has branded the entire impeachment drive a sham.