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Trump tweets copy of letter from lawyer John Dowd to Jim Mattis

President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE on Thursday tweeted a copy of a letter from John Dowd, one of the lead lawyers who represented him during the Russia investigation, addressed to former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The letter penned by Dowd denounced Mattis for criticizing the president’s approach to protesters in front of the White House. 

“The phony protesters near Lafayette park were not peaceful and are not real. They are terrorists using idle hate filled students to burn and destroy,” Dowd wrote, referring to the peaceful protesters at Lafayette Square who were forcefully dispersed.

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After the protesters fled from the square, Trump walked through the area for a photo opportunity at St. John's Episcopal Church.

Dowd did not back up his claims that the protesters “are not real” and are “terrorists” with evidence.

Mattis, who served as Trump’s secretary of Defense in 2017 and 2018, on Wednesday ripped the president as a divisive leader who threatens to erode the U.S. military’s tradition of staying out of politics.

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“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a 650-word statement published in The Atlantic.

The statement was his most direct criticism aimed at Trump since he left the administration.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Republicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination MORE (R-Alaska) issued a direct rebuke of the president Thursday, saying that Mattis's comments were "honest and necessary and overdue." She also said that she is "struggling" with her decision on whether to vote for Trump's reelection.

In the letter, Dowd noted that former President George H.W. Bush used active duty military during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. He said that the protests that have popped up across the country warrant military intervention because of the lack of action from Democratic mayors and governors. 

“President Trump has countless cities and some snowflake governors and mayors wetting themselves in the use of force to protect innocent lives and property,” Dowd wrote. 

On Monday, Trump said that if state leaders do not call on their National Guards to "dominate the streets" that he would deploy the United States military to quell protests that have become violent. 

Trump has since said that he does not believe that this kind of force needs to be used. 

Dowd took a jab at Mattis’s time as Defense secretary, saying that he did not take out Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in January. Days after the strike, Iran launched a retaliatory missile strike on Iraqi bases housing U.S military personnel, escalating tensions in the region.

“Why did it take President Trump to have the instincts and balls to take him out (of course over the objection the geniuses in the Pentagon)?” Dowd said.

On Wednesday night, Trump denounced Mattis in a pair of tweets in which he said that he had the "honor" of firing the "world’s most overrated general." 

Former White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE disputed Trump’s claims, noting Mattis did in fact resign from his post in 2018.