WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is warning that the Democrat-driven impeachment proceedings and any move to oust him from office amount to “treason” and would spark a civil war, prompting outrage from a Republican congressman.
Trump tweeted a conservative pastor’s comment that removing him would provoke a “civil war-like fracture” in America.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a former Air Force pilot who represents an Illinois district Trump won in 2016, tweeted on Sunday, “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. … I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”
Trump on Monday was thundering through a new round of counter-punches against his opponents by hammering home the suggestion that they should be arrested and charged with treason and could launch a civil war — or a combination of those. His top foes were the whistleblower whose complaint launched the House’s impeachment investigation and the congressman leading it, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
“Arrest for Treason?” Trump tweeted of Schiff on Monday in one of many presidential suggestions that his opponents should be investigated for operating under their constitutional duties and within the law.
Fact check: Treason is extremely narrowly defined, both in the nation’s founding document and in federal law.
The Constitution states: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
Note the word “only.” Treason occurs when a U.S. citizen, or a non-citizen on U.S. territory, wages war against the country or provides material support, not just sympathy, to a declared enemy of the United States.
That came after Trump tweeted a comment from the Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the Southern Baptist megachurch First Baptist Dallas.
“If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, it will cause a civil war-like fracture in this nation from which our country will never heal,” Jeffress said on Sunday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends Weekend,” which Trump posted a few hours later.