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President Donald Trump compares impeachment inquiry to 'lynching'

President Donald Trump made the comments while under pressure over impeachment and his Syria policy, among other issues. Picture by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Darlene Superville, Associated Press

Donald Trump has injected racial overtones into the congressional impeachment inquiry by comparing the Democratic-led investigation into his handling of US policy on Ukraine to a "lynching".

Under pressure over impeachment, his Syria policy and other issues, the president tweeted: "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.

"All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!"

Lynchings were historically mostly used by white people against black men in the South beginning in the late 19th century amid rising racial tensions in the US.

By comparing the impeachment process to a lynching, Mr Trump is also likening Democrats to a lynch mob.

The highest-ranking African-American in Congress warned the president about the comparison.

House majority whip Jim Clyburn said: "That is one word no president ought to apply to himself. That is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using."

Mr Trump has a habit of trying to portray himself as the victim.

His tweet came a day after he lashed at critics of his decision – since rescinded – to schedule a major international economic summit next year at one of his Florida golf resorts.

He complained on Monday about "you people with this phoney emoluments clause".

The emoluments clause in the constitution bans presidents from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments.

A whistleblower's complaint that Mr Trump was attempting to use his office for personal political gain during a July 25 phone conversation with Ukraine's president led House speaker Nancy Pelosi to open the impeachment inquiry.

The president insists he did nothing wrong, characterising the conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskiy as "perfect" and arguing that Democrats are still trying to overturn the 2016 election that put him in the White House.

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