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

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Sunday that a tweet from President Trump saying Rep. Adam Schiff (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 Tapper 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 Pelosi (D-Calif.) say "folks will be paying a price at the ballot box" or in the future. 

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.