• Trump sends scathing letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi as House Rules Committee debates impeachment vote rules
  • Floor vote is expected Wednesday
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell again rejects calls for witnesses during Senate trial

As the House Rules Committee debated guidelines for a vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump, the president Tuesday sent a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denouncing the impeachment process.

The committee spent hours debating whether Democrats are legally bringing the articles of impeachment to the floor. The articles, approved by the Judiciary Committee last week, accuse Trump of abuse of power and obstructing Congress from investigating his actions.

A floor vote was expected Wednesday, only the third in U.S. history. Once Trump is impeached, the process moves to the Senate for trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena new witnesses for the Senate trial.

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

Trump called the impeachment “invalid” and accused Democrats of “breaking your allegiance to the Constitution.” He also accused them of “declaring open war on American Democracy.”

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and a debunked conspiracy theory promoted by Moscow that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for 2016 U.S. presidential election interference in exchange for $391 million in military aid.

“Your first claim, ‘abuse of power,’ is a completely disingenuous, meritless, and baseless invention of your imagination. You know that I had a totally innocent conversation with the president of Ukraine,” the letter reads.

It continues: “The second claim, so-called ‘obstruction of Congress,’ is preposterous and dangerous. House Democrats are trying to impeach the duly elected president of the United States for asserting constitutionally based privileges that have been asserted on a bipartisan basis by administrations of both political parties throughout our nation's history.”

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office he takes “zero” responsibility for his impeachment.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said lawmakers are fulfilling their constitutional duties “not to defend a political party, but to uphold the Constitution of the United States. History is testing us.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said lawmakers need to act because a crime is in progress, citing Trump’s invitation, issued on the White House lawn, to not only Ukraine but China to investigate Biden. Other Democrats on the panel noted the Founding Fathers were wary of the idea of allowing foreign governments to interfere in the U.S. election process.

He said Trump represents a “clear and present danger” to democracy.

Republicans on the panel complained about the investigation itself, saying not enough fact witnesses had testified, ignoring the fact that Trump told key administration officials and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to ignore congressional subpoenas.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who sat on the Judiciary panel last week, rehashed many of the same arguments but in a less histrionic tone. He said numerous House rules were violated during the process.