President Donald Trump has lashed out over his impending impeachment in a letter to top Democrat Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of declaring “open war on American democracy”.
The president wrote that he had committed “no offences whatsoever”.
He is accused of pressuring Ukraine for personal gain and obstructing the impeachment process.
The Democratic-controlled House will hold an impeachment vote on Wednesday, which is expected to pass.
A vote in favour would lead to a trial of the president in the Senate. In theory, this could see him removed from office – although this is unlikely, as it would need a two-thirds majority vote in the Republican-controlled chamber.
Mr Trump has resisted the impeachment process by preventing key aides from testifying before the House of Representatives and by declining to appear himself, despite a public invitation to do so.
And with little hope of changing the outcome of Wednesday’s vote in the House, Mr Trump used his six-page letter to rail against the process and denounce Ms Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House.
Mr Trump wrote in his letter he had been “deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process from the beginning of this impeachment scam” and “denied the most fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution, including the right to present evidence”.
“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” he wrote, arguing that the House had “cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!”
The president was in fact publicly invited by the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee to give evidence in the impeachment process, which would also have allowed his legal team to question witnesses, but he declined.
The Mayor of Salem, Kim Driscoll, tweeted that the president should “Learn some history”, saying the witch trial convictions in the 17th Century were made in the absence of evidence, whereas the case against the president involved “ample evidence”.
Ms Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol that she had not read the letter in full but had seen “the essence” of it and thought it was “really sick”.
In a statement announcing Wednesday’s vote on impeachment, she said the House would “exercise one of the most solemn powers granted to us by the constitution”.
“During this very prayerful moment in our nation’s history, we must honour our oath to support and defend our constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” she added.
On Tuesday evening, protests in support of impeachment were held in cities across the US, including New York, Boston and Los Angeles.
Demonstrators carried placards bearing the words “Dump Trump” and “Protect our Democracy”.
The hashtags #notabovethelaw and #impeachmenteve trended on Twitter.