Dec 18, 2019

Read: Pelosi's letter to Democrats on impeachment eve

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed her fellow Democrats in a letter on Tuesday evening, ahead of Wednesday's full House vote to approve the articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Driving the news: Trump wrote a blistering letter to Pelosi on Tuesday that doubled as his own formal statement on impeachment, arguing that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials."

Read highlights from Pelosi's letter:

"No Member came to Congress to impeach a President. But every one of us, as our first act as a Member of Congress, stood on the House Floor, raised our hand and took a sacred oath: 'I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.' That oath makes us Custodians of the Constitution. If we do not act, we will be derelict in our duty.
I salute the Chairs of the Committees for the great seriousness and solemnity with which they have proceeded down this path, and for conducting all hearings in a manner that was fair, transparent and deliberative, so that the American people could see the truth for themselves. Very sadly, the facts have made clear that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit and that he obstructed Congress as he demanded that he is above accountability, above the Constitution and above the American people.  In America, no one is above the law.
When the House convenes to take the impeachment vote tomorrow morning, I urge each of you to join me on the Floor. Our constituents look to us to be respectful of the Constitution and Defenders of our Democracy, and to proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Flashback: In September, Pelosi said impeachment felt unavoidable, per Axios' Margaret Talev and Alayna Treene. A source who discussed the issue with Pelosi said the speaker hated the politics of impeachment, but she had "succumbed to the inevitability."

Go deeper: Trump accuses Democrats of subverting democracy in blistering letter to Pelosi

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.