President Trump sent out a barrage of tweets over the weekend defending his “perfect” phone call with the president of Ukraine and trying to shut down the House impeachment inquiry before it gets underway — including passing along a warning that removing him from office would lead to “a Civil War like fracture,” a threat that a Republican congressman called “beyond repugnant.”
“If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,” Trump tweeted, adding his own parenthetical to a quote from Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor and ardent Trump supporter who appeared on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”
The invocation of a civil war was met with outrage from Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” Kinzinger tweeted, tagging Trump’s Twitter handle. “I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”
Trump, though, did not seem interested in toning down the rhetoric.
Shortly before quoting Jeffress, Trump fired off a series of tweets attacking House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who during a congressional hearing last week paraphrased the White House memo summarizing Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The memo was part of a whistleblower’s complaint against the president, which led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.
“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” Trump tweeted. “Then Schiff made up what I actually said by lying to Congress.
“His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber,” the president continued. “He wrote down and read terrible things, then said it was from the mouth of the President of the United States. I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.”
In his opening remarks at a committee hearing Thursday, Schiff paraphrased Trump’s message to Zelensky on the July 25 phone call in which Trump asked for help in finding dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. Schiff didn’t claim to be quoting Trump directly and later described the remarks as part parody.
On Monday morning, Trump’s suggestion that Schiff be “questioned” for treason was escalated to the suggestion he be arrested.
“Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,” Trump tweeted. “It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”
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