In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, President Donald Trump said he didn’t feel that he would have to contact the FBI if a foreign government offered him campaign dirt on whomever he faces in 2020, and overruled his own FBI director who said that Donald Trump Jr. should have contacted the FBI when he was contacted by the Russians with an offer of campaign dirt.
“There’s nothing wrong with listening. If someone called from a country — Norway — ‘We have information on your opponent.’ Oh, I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said, according to Politico.
The Republican Party was split on the issue. GOP Rep. Chris Stewart from the House Intelligence Committee approved taking such information, provided it came from an ally. It wasn’t specified who Stewart considers an ally. But as you’ll soon see, it’s wrong anyway.
Some pivoted to Hillary Clinton, claiming she did the exact same thing. GPS Fusion hiring a British agent to look into Trump’s dealings with Russians was exactly what the Trump campaign did in hiring Cambridge Analytica out of the U.K. to mine Facebook. But if Vladimir Putin comes knocking with some KGB stuff, that’s where the real trouble is.
The Federal Election Commissioner provided a “Statement Regarding Illegal Contributions From Foreign Governments.” This foreign interference is something our Founding Fathers expressly forbade, and condemned.
Thankfully, there were some brave Republicans who echoed the FEC chair to state exactly why such behavior is not what an American president should ever do, according to the Politico story.
“The law is pretty clear. You can’t take anything of value from a foreign government,” Graham said he told Trump.
“You don’t ever want to take foreign money, that’s illegal. And the next route to money is information,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.. “So if you take information from somebody that’s foreign and it’s involved in your campaign, you’re inviting the risk of inviting foreign money into your campaign.”
Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Susan Collins, R-Maine. also were quoted in the Politico story as condemning receiving foreign opposition research. “I would not do it and I would encourage everyone else not to do it,” agreed Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., lent public criticism to the move, too.
There are those who seek to penetrate our democratic elections to control our people’s choices, and there are politicians who allow it. An attempt to protect U.S. elections from foreign interference by unanimous consent was defeated by Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with his own questionable family foreign ties, is trying to block efforts to secure American elections.
I am sure each enator who publicly takes a stand against these forces will pay a heavy price politically for his or her courage. The least I can do is write a column to praise these brave Republicans who put America before their political careers.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science atin LaGrange, Georgia. He can be reached at . His Twitter account is JohnTures2.