Republican senator: Trump's Schiff tweet not a 'death threat'

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle The Hill's Morning Report - Trump defense rests, GOP struggles to bar witnesses GOP confident of win on witnesses MORE (R-Okla.) said Sunday that a tweet from President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE saying Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief Sanders says he was briefed on Russian effort to help campaign Trump: Democrats 'trying to start a rumor' about 2020 Russian interference MORE (D-Calif.) "has not paid the price" for "what he has done" to the U.S. was not "a death threat."

The senator defended the president on CNN’s "State of the Union" when host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperDemocrats ramp up attacks on opponents in final pitch before New Hampshire George Conway: 'Verdict of history' will be on Romney's side Buttigieg says Democrats must 'galvanize,' not 'polarize' voters MORE asked him about Trump’s tweet earlier Sunday morning targeting Schiff. 

"I don’t think it’s a death threat. I don’t think he’s encouraging a death threat," Lankford said.

Lankford also called Trump’s tweet “political,” saying it was “no different than” when Schiff and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight Pelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief MORE (D-Calif.) say “folks will be paying a price at the ballot box” or in the future. 

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When Tapper asked if he was “offended” by the president’s tweet, Lankford responded that he is “offended only because Adam Schiff believes that the only reason that we act the way that we do is because the president's going to put our head on a pike.”

“He's saying, you're going to ignore all the facts, and you're only doing this because we're afraid of the president rather than we will actually be fair in the process and actually look at the facts,” he added. 

The president in his tweet called Schiff a “CORRUPT POLITICIAN” and said he has “not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

Schiff, who is the lead House manager presenting the Democrats' impeachment case against Trump in the Senate trial, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the president's tweet was “intended to be” a threat. 

The impeachment trial in the Senate began last week with the opening statements from both sides and will continue Monday.