US President Donald Trump sought to push back against talk of impeaching him that has intensified since Democrats took back control of the House, arguing that his adversaries want to remove him for office because of his popularity and success.
"They only want to impeach me because they know they can't win in 2020, too much success!" Trump wrote in one of two tweets Friday morning that addressed the subject.
House Democratic leaders have sought to tamp down immediate talk of impeachment, counselling that they should wait for special counsel Robert Mueller III to file a report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
But as the new Congress convened on Thursday, several rank-and-file members were vocal about the prospect of removing Trump from office. One announced he was filing articles of impeachment while another made headlines overnight by calling for Trump's removal in profane terms at a gathering hosted by a liberal group.
"How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Under the Constitution, presidents can be impeached and removed from office for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
In a television interview that aired Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat California, said that the House's actions regarding impeachment should be guided by an anticipated report from Mueller, who is probing whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia and whether Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation.
Nancy Pelosi says she knows working with Republicans won't be easy as she ushers in new Democratic majority in the House.
"We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report," Pelosi said in on NBC's Today show. "We shouldn't be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we'll just have to see how it comes."
Under the Constitution, presidents can be removed from office for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors".
Brad Sherman, Democrat-California, meanwhile, announced that he was introducing articles of impeachment against Trump, whom he accused of obstructing justice by firing former FBI director James Comey in 2017, among other alleged misdeeds.
And overnight, a video clip went viral Rashida Tlaib, Democrat-Michigan, saying Democrats should "impeach the motherf....." at an event hosted by the advocacy group MoveOn.org at a bar near the Capitol.
Asked about those comments during an appearance Friday morning on Fox News' Fox & Friends, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders echoed some of the sentiments in Trump's tweets.
"Look, you're not going to impeach this president when he's had two of the most successful years that any president has had in modern history," Sanders said. "The only reason they want to come after this president is because they know they can't beat him. ... They have no solutions for America."
She added: "I hope some of these new faces that campaigned on being different and being a change will actually come here to work with the president, work for solutions and actually look to help the American people, not to help their own political careers."
Though Trump has remained popular among Republicans, his overall job approval stood at 39 per cent in the most recent Gallup tracking poll.
It was unclear Friday how much restraint Democrats would show in talking about impeachment.
Asked about Tlaib's comments during an appearance on CNN, Cheri Bustos, Democrat-Illinois, said: "Well, passions are running high. Let's just leave it at that, OK?"
She then repeated Pelosi's line about need to let the Mueller investigation play out. "Then we'll take it from there," she said.
Republicans, meanwhile, sought to turn the tables on Democrats, claiming they aren't interested in getting things done.
"Look at the brand new elected congresswoman and her language," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican-California, said on Fox News, referring to Tlaib. "Their whole focus here is to try and attack this president when we're trying to move America forward."
In his tweets Friday morning, Trump also sought to play down the recent volatility of the financial markets.
"As I have stated many times, if the Democrats take over the House or Senate, there will be disruption to the Financial Markets," he said. "We won the Senate, they won the House. Things will settle down."