President Donald Trump of the United States has raised the spectre of divisions akin to a civil war in the event that he is impeached, in a series of incendiary posts on Twitter.
Trump appeared to approvingly quote Robert Jeffress, a pastor in a stream of late-night tweets.
“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,” Mr Jeffress said, in words then quoted by Mr Trump.
The president tweeted and reposted several defences of his behaviour on Sunday night and lashed out at the Democratic Party.
He also demanded to meet the whistleblower at the heart of a scandal that has triggered a formal impeachment inquiry in Congress, and warned of “big consequences” for those involved.
The president said he wanted to question Adam Schiff, the chair of the intelligence committee, on charges of fraud and treason.
“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” the 73-year-old said.
“Then Schiff made up what I actually said by lying to Congress.
“His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber.”
The president claimed: “He wrote down and read terrible things, then said it was from the mouth of the President of the United States. I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.
“In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the “Whistleblower.”
“Was this person SPYING on the US President? Big Consequences!”
The White House was thrown into chaos after the whistleblower’s complaint was made last month.
The complaint was triggered by a 25 July phone call between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodyyr Zelensky, in which the Trump appeared to urge the Ukranian leader to investigate Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic frontrunner.
Trump’s remarks reportedly caused alarm and the whistleblower, who is believed to be a member of the intelligence community, submitted the official complaint on 12 August.
In the wake of the scandal Democrats have announced an official impeachment inquiry. Many accused the president of pressuring a vulnerable ally for personal political gain.
The inquiry is being led by the intelligence committee, helmed by Adam Schiff.
Schiff chaired a hearing on 26 September during which he questioned Joseph Maguire, Trump’s acting director of national intelligence.
During the hearing the spy chief declined to discuss whether he spoke to the president about the complaint in question, saying his conversations with Trump are “executive privilege”.
In his opening remarks, the acting spy chief said he welcomed congress’ oversight duties, adding: “I am not partisan and I am not political”.
He also said he did not know the identity of the whistleblower, but when asked whether he believed the anonymous individual was a “partisan hack” as the president has said, Maguire responded: “I think the whistleblower did the right thing.”
Maguire described foreign election interference as “unwarranted,” adding: “It is unwelcome. It is bad for the nation.”
Adam Schiff has said he expects the whistleblower to come before his committee in the near future.
The president has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.