“I think I’d want to hear it… I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,”
Trump made the admission during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, adding that he would not necessarily contact the FBI if such an approach were made. Video from the interview went public Wednesday evening.
“If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do.”
When pressed on the issue by Stephanopoulos, Trump responded: “Oh, give me a break — life doesn’t work that way.”
Many Democrats reacted with outrage. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a 2020 candidate for president, tweeted in response: “It’s time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings.”
President Trump on Friday sought to clarify his controversial comments indicating he would take information on political rivals from foreign countries, saying on “Fox & Friends” that he could report such conversations to the FBI — while arguing the heat should really be on Democrats for the alleged spying on his 2016 campaign.
“If I was, and of course you have to look at it because if you don’t look at it you’re not going to know if it’s bad … of course you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that. But of course, you’d do that, you couldn’t have that happen with our country,” he said.
Here is my take on this matter. Any misstep made by the President, verbally or otherwise, his opponents are going to pounce on it. In this case, the law is on their side.
Reacting to President Trump saying he would accept foreign intelligence on a political opponent if offered, and that he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to contact the FBI, Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on Thursday said he worries the president is “prepared to commit a felony.”
Napolitano was asked by Fox News anchor Shepard Smith if there was any “gray area” or “wiggle room” when it comes to campaigns legally receiving “dirt from a foreign entity on a political opponent.”
“There’s no wiggle room with respect to dirt,” the judge responded. “With respect to opposition research. The Federal Election Commission decided in other cases that that is a thing of value.”
This prompted Smith to wonder if what the president described he was willing to do during his interview with ABC News constituted a felony.
“Correct,” Napolitano confidently declared. “Meaning he would be committing a felony and the person giving it to him, if the person was here, would be committing a felony as well.”
“If he is a candidate, then what he receives is regulated by federal laws that he took an oath to uphold,” the Fox analyst explained. “Among them are you cannot take something, accept something, receive something from a foreign national under the guise of being the head of state or because you want to use it for your campaign.”
So who is right in this case? Is the receiving of dirt or political opposition research from a foreign national illegal? According to the judge, the answer is a resounding yes. While Trump tried to walk back his comments he was also right with his off the cuff remarks when he said life doesn’t work like that. Is this an impeachable offense? Considering it was a hypothetical question and did not actually occur I would presume no. Let’s make this interesting.
Say you compare Trump’s statements to the actions of Hillary Clinton and the DNC in 2016. Clinton, through the DNC, hired a law firm that gave $13 million dollars to a British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on her political opponent Donald Trump. That information was unverified and used against her opponent. It was also the basis of four FISA warrants that authorized the surveillance of the Trump campaign and it’s associates. That surveillance then led to a special counsel investigation that lasted close to 22 months and cost over $30 million dollars in taxpayer money. The final result was some people being charged on misstatements and other issues that had nothing to do with Russian collusion by the Trump campaign. No parties were indicted or charged with Russian collusion.
If we go by the letter of the law and Judge Napolitano’s definition of it Trump would be guilty and so would Clinton. The only thing is Trump was right also. This selective moral outrage against Trump was not levied against Clinton. In fact, it was the complete opposite. Her receiving of dirt and using it against her opponent was business as usual in the swamps of D.C. For everyone who is slamming Trump for his willingness to hear dirt on his opponent, I remind them of an old proverb; “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” If you are guilty of the same action or crime in this case you should be the last person to criticize someone else for doing the same thing. Guess that’s why the phrase “do as I say and not as I do” does not apply in politics. Hypocrites!