Trump compares impeachment inquiry to a 'lynching'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE on Tuesday compared the ongoing impeachment inquiry to a “lynching,” immediately drawing blowback from one of the most senior black Democrats in Congress. 

Trump wrote that Republicans should recognize that they are "witnessing" a lynching in the form of impeachment. 

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"So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights," Trump tweeted. "All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!"

The comparison of the practice laid out in the Constitution to lynchings commonly used to carry out the murder of African Americans drew swift backlash, particularly given Trump's history of racially charged statements.

House Majority Whip Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnTop GOP lawmakers push back on need for special oversight committee for coronavirus aid Pelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response Pelosi: House 'not prepared' to vote remotely on coronavirus relief bill MORE (D-S.C.), one of the most influential black lawmakers in Congress, was visibly agitated when asked to react to the tweet during an appearance on CNN.

“That is one word that no president ought to apply to himself," he said.

"I’m a product of the South," he added. "I know the history of that word. That is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using.”

Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushBobby Rush wins Illinois House primary Illinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary Biden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins MORE (D-Ill.), a civil rights activist who founded a chapter of the Black Panthers in the 1960s, said Trump should delete the tweet.

"You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?" the congressman tweeted. "Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet."

Trump has in recent days ratcheted up his calls for Republicans to defend him against the impeachment inquiry taking place in the House, which he has complained is "illegitimate" and a witch hunt.

Democrats are pursuing allegations that Trump abused his office by pressuring a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival. They are specifically focused on a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump urged Zelensky to "look into" Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter over their dealings in Ukraine.

The president has lashed out against those leading the impeachment inquiry, particularly House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response 5 reasons Democrats fear Trump's coronavirus briefings Democrats introduce bill to set up commission to review coronavirus response MORE (D-Calif.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNJ governor calls for assessment of coronavirus response after crisis abates Overnight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.), and insisted he did nothing wrong.

Republicans have complained about the lack of transparency surrounding the inquiry thus far, bemoaning that witnesses have testified in closed-door settings without full transcripts being released.

Some in the GOP have suggested that Democrats must hold a vote to set parameters for their investigation. While similar votes have been held during past impeachment proceedings, there is no legal requirement to hold one.

Trump was asked Monday if he felt it was a foregone conclusion that Democrats will impeach him and seemed to suggest he thought that might be the case.

"I think they want to," he said. "Any Democrat wants to because they're not gong to beat me in the election. So of course they want to impeach."

Trump called the investigation into him "illegitimate."

"It cannot be the way our founders, our great founders, meant this to be," he said.

During an interview broadcast Monday night with Sean HannitySean Patrick Hannity74 journalism professors accuse Fox News of spreading coronavirus misinformation Overnight Defense: Aircraft carrier captain pleads for help with outbreak | Pentagon shipment of ventilators delayed | Pompeo urges countries to be more 'transparent' with virus data Well-wishes pour in across media for Chris Cuomo after coronavirus diagnosis MORE of Fox News, Trump suggested his predecessor, President Obama, also could have been impeached for various political scandals.

Updated at 9:12 a.m.