Trump thanks House GOP 'for being tough' after lawmakers storm impeachment hearing

Trump thanks House GOP 'for being tough' after lawmakers storm impeachment hearing

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE on Thursday thanked House Republicans "for being tough" in the face of the ongoing impeachment inquiry one day after a few dozen GOP lawmakers stormed a secure hearing room in the U.S. Capitol in protest.

"Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History," Trump tweeted.

The president claimed "it has been going on since long before I even got Elected," a reference to his long-held but unsubstantiated claims that FBI agents and other intelligence community officials were biased against him during the 2016 campaign.

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Trump's tweet came a day after House Republicans caused a furor when they stormed a room being used for closed-door testimony from an administration official as part of the impeachment inquiry.

The lawmakers portrayed their actions as an effort to protest the lack of transparency from Democrats leading the investigation. Trump was reportedly informed of their plans ahead of time.

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamLive coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' Vindman clashes with GOP MORE earlier Thursday praised the display as a "very bold stand."

But Democrats and former intelligence community officials rebuked it as a stunt that impugned the process of the hearings and threatened national security, given some lawmakers broke with protocol and brought cellphones into the room.

Trump has in recent days publicly called for Republicans to get tougher in defending him against impeachment.

He has expressed particular frustration with Republicans in the Senate, where Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump FDA pick dodges questions on Trump's flavored vape ban Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping Progressive Democrats ramp up attacks on private equity MORE (R-Utah) has proven to be a thorn in the president's side. Romney has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump's foreign policy and his calls for Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE and his son. 

"[Democrats] stick together," Trump said Wednesday in Pennsylvania. "They don't have a Mitt Romney in their midst. They don't have the Mitt Romneys of the world. They stick together better than the Republicans do."