Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger on Sunday rebuked US President Donald Trump for quoting a pastor as saying that his impeachment could induce a "Civil War-like fracture" in the country.
"I have visited nations ravaged by civil war," Kinzinger tweeted. "I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant."
The criticism from a Republican member of Congress followed Donald Trump earlier tweeting a quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress on Fox News.
“If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal” Trump tweeted.
....If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
On 24 September the Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry into the US President following allegations from an anonymous whistleblower that in order to boost his 2020 re-election bid, Donald Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice-president and Democratic presidential candidate front-runner Joe Biden and his son Hunter during a phone talk that took place in July.
Both Zelensky and Trump deny that any form of coercion took place, with the White House releasing an un-redacted script of the 25 July phone conversation on Wednesday.
The transcript revealed that Trump had asked Zelensky to work with the former's personal lawyer and the US attorney general to "look into" Joe Biden, who admitted publicly in 2016 of having threatened Ukraine authorities with withholding $1 billion in US loan guarantees if Kiev did not fire the prosecutor, who had been investigating Burisma Holdings, a gas company that his son Hunter Biden was a paid board member of.
However, the transcript does not contain signs that the US president overtly threatened to withhold financial assistance to Ukraine if Zelensky was not forthcoming in the proposed investigation.
Donald Trump dismissed the accusations against him and stated that he "put no pressure on them whatsoever", declaring that Democrats are engaging in a "political witch hunt" to try to reverse the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Trump and members of his administration have alleged Biden dangled the prospect of US financial support to coerce the Ukrainian government into firing its top prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2016 as he was investigating Burisma, and allegedly Hunter.
The still-unidentified whistleblower behind the complaint against Trump's alleged abuse of power has recently agreed to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, according to its chair, Adam Schiff, who predicted this could happen “very soon”.
The Democrat-led House committees have already started making their impeachment moves by subpoenaing State Department documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as they seek to find more evidence potentially incriminating Trump.