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'Laughably Unlawful, But Do Not Simply Laugh This Off': Trump Suggests Rep. Schiff Should Be Arrested for Treason

"What stage of authoritarianism is 'leader publicly calls for imprisonment of his political opponents'?"

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on September 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday continued to lash out at his political opponents in response to House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, suggesting Rep. Adam Schiff should be arrested for "treason."

"Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE and terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people," Trump tweeted, referring to Schiff's summary of the president's call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky during a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week.

Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said at the hearing that the White House memo on Trump's conversation with Zelensky "reads like a classic organized crime shakedown" and quoted the president's request for a "favor" from Zelensky.

Trump claimed Schiff's portrayal "bore NO relationship to what I said on the call."

"Arrest for Treason?" Trump asked.

Observers expressed alarm at Trump's remarks, which came just hours after the president tweeted comments from a right-wing pastor who warned of "a Civil War-like fracture" if Trump is impeached and removed from office.

"This is laughably unlawful, but do not simply laugh this off," tweeted political scientist David Burbach. "President of the U.S., in an official statement, calling for an elected member of Congress to be arrested on a crime whose punishment includes execution."

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Others echoed Burbach:

Trump's tweet Monday was the second time in less than 24 hours the president has accused Schiff of treason.

"I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud and Treason," Trump said Sunday night.

In the same series of tweets, as Common Dreams reported, Trump warned of "big consequences" for those who gave information to the whistleblower who filed a complaint about Trump's call with Zelensky.

"Threats against a whistleblower are not only illegal," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, "but also indicative of a cover-up."

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