After a lawyer who joined Sanford at the governor's Thursday press conference in Columbia gave a four-minute legal briefing about the ethics investigation process and the powers of the South Carolina General Assembly, Sanford took aim at his political foes in the state legislature.
"We have a real problem if members of the General Assembly are going and trying to influence and truncate an ethics committee process so that they can get the intended result that they want and then use that for impeachment," he said. Sanford did not mention that several of his allies in the legislature signed onto a Wednesday letter asking him to resign.
Sanford told reporters that apparent efforts by some South Carolina lawmakers to obtain and use a preliminary report by a state ethics panel as the basis for impeachment would create a "kangaroo court."
If the preliminary report was used against him by some state lawmakers, Sanford told reporters he'd "use every tool in the tool box."
"In other words, we will bring legal action, if necessary, to say we have to have a full ethics committee report," he said.
In a statement issued after Sanford's press conference, the South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell, a Republican, said that the ethics commission's executive director intends to give the report to the General Assembly at the same time it is delivered to the state's attorney general, who requested the investigation.
"Every day that we have to deal with these issues surrounding Governor Sanford," Harrell said in the statement, "is another day where it is incredibly difficult to focus on the issues that South Carolinians care about the most."
Saying his administration's conduct with regard to travel expenses is no different from that of past South Carolina governors in the past 30 years, Thursday Sanford also called the ethics panel investigation "fundamentally flawed."
"This is not an investigation," Sanford told reporters. "This is more of - something else."
Sanford's comments Thursday represented a slight change in tone from a radio interview he gave earlier this week. "I'm not looking for a fight," Sanford said during a the Tuesday interview, when asked if he's ready to hire lawyers to combat possible impeachment charges.
Asked during the radio interview if he believed he committed any sort of impeachable offense during his time in office, Sanford said only: "Well, that's for the General Assembly to decide."
–CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report.