A senior US politician has told US President Donald Trump to prepare to be kicked out of office, amid claims he may bring down his own presidency.
California congresswoman Maxine Waters tweeted "get ready for impeachment" a day after it was revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was looking into whether Russia helped Trump win last year's election.
The tweet also followed the revelation that neither the FBI nor the National Security Agency had any evidence to support Trump's claim that Barack Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wire-tapped.
Waters is among Trump's fiercest critics and this is not the first time she has called for him to be booted from the White House.
Although the Trump team's links to Russia have not been proven, the Democratic representative said at the weekend that the connection would be enough to force right-wing conservatives to "move away" from the President.
"And we will see that [Trump] will be in a position where he will meet the criteria for high crimes and misdemeanours, and I maintain that's where impeachment comes in," Waters told MSNBC.
Her language was even stronger earlier this month when she said "credible investigations" were needed to interrogate the Trump team's connections to Russia.
"If the facts are there, then I think we should move very quickly to do something about it," she told C-SPAN's Newsmakers.
"And if there was collusion and any support for undermining our democracy, I think the President should be impeached."
The President has dismissed the claims as "fake news".
The issue of impeachment came up at Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham suggested Trump "might get impeached" if he tried to bring back the banned torture technique of waterboarding.
"Senator, the impeachment power belongs to this body," Gorsuch said.
When Graham asked whether Trump could be prosecuted over the interrogation method, Gorsuch said: "No man is above the law, no man."
TRUMP WILL 'GET HIMSELF OUT' OF OFFICE
Waters' incendiary tweet follows her colleague Dianne Feinstein's suggestion that Trump may bring his own presidency to an end.
The Democratic Californian senator hinted that she knows more than she can say "right now" but believed the President was going to "get himself out of office soon".
The revelation, video of which was posted on social media by LA Times political reporter Javier Panzar, was made before a group of anti-Trump protesters last Friday in Los Angeles.
During the impromptu Q-and-A, one said Trump had "obvious dealings with Russia" and was doing things "that are unconstitutional" before asking why more wasn't being done to remove him from office.
"We have a lot of people looking into this," the Democrat replied. "I think he's going to get himself out."
While mentioning conflicts of interest regarding his business empire, Feinstein stopped short of saying whether he has done anything that warranted his impeachment.
Her startling claims came ahead of the public inquiry into the Trump administration's possible links to Russian meddling in the US election, which took place on Monday.
FBI director James Comey confirmed the agency was investigating Russian interference in the US election and potential links with members of the Trump campaign.
Both the Senate and House intelligence committees are investigating Russia's hacking of Democratic groups and possible contacts between Trump associates and Russia.
Brendan Thomas-Noone, a research fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, told news.com.au yesterday the investigation so far hadn't revealed any grounds for impeachment.
But Thomas-Noone said the scandal was only starting to gather steam and the investigations could go on for years, potentially leading to other consequences.
"If evidence is found that shows there was active collusion between the campaign and a foreign power, it could lead to criminal charges," he said.
CNN's political analyst Gloria Borger concluded within hours of the House Intelligence hearings beginning that it was "the worst and most perilous day in Trump's Presidency".
American cable news and talk radio host Joe Scarborough also called it the worst day of Trump's presidency.
In another blow, the FBI discredited Trump's allegation that former president Barack Obama wire-tapped his phone.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian MP has sensationally claimed that the party of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych secretly paid former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort US$750,000 ($1,063,000) via an offshore shell company.
Sergiy Leshchenko said Yanukovych's party recorded the secret payment to Manafort in 2009 for "political consulting".
Manafort's spokesman told The New York Times that the claims were "baseless" and should be "summarily dismissed".
Manafort helped Trump secure the Republican nomination but resigned in August after his ties with Russia came under scrutiny.
He previously acted as a public relations adviser to Yanukovych who is now living in self-imposed exile in Russia and his Regions Party between 2007 and 2012.
Leshchenko claimed the alleged 2009 payment to Manafort was backed by a "fake invoice and a fake contract" according to which the American supplied computers to a Belize offshore company.
The money was paid from an account opened by a Belize offshore company in the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, he said.
Manafort's spokesman told The New York Times that Ukrainian anti-corruption officials have "questioned the validity" of the evidence against him.
However, officials have reportedly denied this.
Last year Ukraine released details of secret payments of $12.7 million earmarked for Manafort on behalf of Yanukovych or the Regions Party, although Kiev said it could not be certain that Manafort had ever actually received the money.
- with AFP