(NBC News) As a key witness testified in the impeachment inquiry Tuesday, President Trump stirred up outrage by describing the investigation against him as a “lynching,” a word deeply tied to America’s history of racially-motivated murders.
“Something like lynching is far beneath the office of the President of the United States,” South Carolina’s Rep. Jim Clyburn said.
California’s Rep. Karen Bass said the comment was part of a pattern.
“Everytime his back is against the wall he uses race,” Bass said. “He throws out race as a bomb to divert the attention.”
Still, some supporters defended the President.
“This is a political lynching,” said South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham, adding “It’s not the word, it’s the conduct.”
The controversy drew attention away from the highly-anticipated deposition with acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor.
“This is my most disturbing day in the Congress so far,” Michigan’s Rep. Andy Levin said after hearing Taylor’s testimony.
In a September text message, Taylor wrote “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland responded there was no quid pro quo, though he recently testified the president directed him to write that.
Democrats are hoping Ambassador Taylor’s testimony will help answer the main questions in this impeachment inquiry: Whether there was a quid pro quo in Ukraine and whether the administration tried to cover it up.
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