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Trump Letter may give GOP Pause

President accuses speaker of ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’

News Analysis

By STEVEN A. COHEN

President Trump continues to provide ammunition in support of his removal from office in a Senate impeachment trial.

A six-page letter that he sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a handy compendium of mistatements and outright lies that the president has uttered and tweeted in recent months. Most paragraphs either misrepresent issues or are ill-tempered attacks on Pelosi.

“By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American democracy,” Trump says. “You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme — yet your spiteful actions display unfettered contempt for America’s founding and your egregious conduct threatens to destroy that which our Founders pledged their very lives to build.”

Considering Trump’s record, in office and before, it’s doubtful that the founders would be upset by his impeachment. They more likely would accuse Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky of playing fast and loose with the Constitution by announcing his intention to work with the White House in building Trump’s defense. The Senate is controlled by Republicans. All senators take an oath before the trial, swearing that they will be impartial jurors. McConnell is joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in announcing their intent to see the president acquitted. It’s unclear how they will square that with an oath to be impartial jurors. They should recuse themselves.

In his letter to Pelosi, Trump insists there was “No Pressure” put on Ukraine’s president to announce the investigations that became the basis of the abuse of power impeachment article. He calls the second article, obstruction of Congress, “preposterous and dangerous,” despite ordering his administration not to turn over subpoenaed documents to House impeachment investigators and to defy subpoenas for witnesses.

McConnell wants the trial held in early January, without witnesses or additional documents. Chief Justice John Roberts will preside, although any ruling he issues can be overridden by a simple majority. Conviction requires an unlikely two-thirds vote — although an intemperate president surely is making it more difficult for Republicans to give him their unqualified support.

Trump told Pelosi, “Your chosen candidate lost the election in 2016, in an Electoral College landslide (306–227), and you and your party have never recovered from this defeat. You have developed what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome and sadly, you will never get over it! You are unwilling and unable to accept the verdict at the ballot box during the great Election of 2016. So you have spent three straight years attempting to overturn the will of the American people and nullify their votes. You view democracy as your enemy!”

In fact, it’s the Electoral College that thwarted democracy. Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than 3 million. He collected just about 70,000 more votes than Clinton in key midwestern districts, which put his slates over the top in the college. That’s how American presidential elections are decided, and it’s the strategy Trump is pursuing as he runs for reelection. It’s an anti-democratic system that should be abolished. The college gave us George W. Bush in 2000 — who incorrectly figured Iraqis would be throwing roses at American soldiers once he overthrew Saddam Hussein. A second Trump term would be “preposterous and dangerous,” to quote from his letter to Pelosi. The College has caused enough damage.

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