Donald Trump told the world Wednesday evening that the U.S. presidency is up for sale to the highest bidder. When asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if he would accept help from a foreign government to win reelection in 2020, Trump said he would.
“If somebody called from a country—Norway—we have information on your opponent—oh. I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said.
“You want that kind of interference in our elections?” Stephanopoulos queried.
“It’s not an interference, they have information—I think I’d take it,” Trump responded without missing a beat.
Trump added that “maybe” he would notify the FBI. When Stephanopoulos reminded Trump that FBI director Christopher Wray told Americans they should definitely notify the FBI in such an instance, Trump shut it down. “The FBI director is wrong,” he said unequivocally.
It is time for Congress to act. Whatever Trump has or hasn’t done in the past, whatever the Mueller report did or did not prove, Trump is now letting every one of America’s foreign adversaries know that he would accept their help—the exact opposite of the oath he took to “ preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Security experts have warned about how dangerous this is. It puts a price tag on the presidency—whoever helps Trump get reelected will then be able to call in favors. It is Trump’s “Russia, are you listening?” on steroids, an invitation amplified around the world. And given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s success in bending Trump to his will, why wouldn’t others get in the game? China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, who knows? The options for foreign influence are endless. And yes, our most committed foreign adversaries could actually get into a bidding war over which government and their hackers could help Trump the most. In other words, Trump put a fricking target on our 2020 elections, and Mitch McConnell is now conveniently blocking an election security bill designed to help protect our elections from being breached by outside actors.
At the same time, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to Putin. Putin’s No. 1 goal in 2016 wasn’t necessarily getting Trump elected, it was undermining U.S. democracy. The most effective ways to do that were by stoking division among American citizens and sowing doubts about the integrity of U.S. elections—the beating heart of our democracy. Trump stokes division in America tweet by tweet, hour by hour, day by day, and speech by speech. It’s a given now. Mission accomplished there.
But by telling the world he would accept foreign influence, interference, meddling, hacking, cyberattacks—call it what you will—he is already sowing voters’ doubts about the integrity of the 2020 results. What a gem for Putin.
Whether Trump is actually a Russia asset or not is now beside the point. He may very well be compromised by Russia. But bottom line: He will happily be compromised by anyone so long as they help him get reelected next year. Could be hacking, could be dark money, or frankly, it could be worse.
That is now out there in the ether. Whatever he says going forward is meaningless—that genie cannot be put back in the bottle. And it is time for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against a man who is publicly and overtly shredding his oath to “faithfully execute” his duties as president.
Watch Trump put the presidency up for sale below.
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump tells @GStephanopoulos he wouldn't necessarily alert the FBI if approached by foreign figures with information on his 2020 opponent: "It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it." https://t.co/7gvoAViw9r pic.twitter.com/k5Yqd9YxdC
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) June 12, 2019