Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke on Thursday said President Trump’s new comments that he’d be open to hearing about dirt on his political opponents from foreign sources imply that Mr. Trump could already be benefiting from such information ahead of the 2020 election.
“Who knows? His answer may imply that he’s already receiving that kind of information from foreign powers,” Mr. O’Rourke, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But it certainly sends the greenlight to those foreign powers that this president is willing to accept it without repercussions, and with, so far, complete impunity.”
Mr. O’Rourke said the president’s comments underscore the importance of moving forward with impeachment proceedings.
“Not only does that ensure we get the facts and the truth about what happened to our democracy in 2016 and hold those who were responsible for undermining our elections accountable, but if we fail to do that, it then sets the precedent that this is OK to do,” he said.
“And I think that’s the message that the president is taking from Congress’ inaction. He said look, there were no consequences for what I did for the obstruction of justice afterwards and so I’m perfectly willing to do it again,” he said.
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Mr. Trump said he might not immediately alert the FBI if he was approached by a foreign entity with dirt on his political opponents.
“I think you might want to listen,” the president said. “There isn’t anything wrong with listening … if somebody called from a country, Norway, ‘We have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
Mr. Trump’s other potential 2020 rivals also piled on, saying the comments were unacceptable, particularly in light of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Mr. Trump is once again “welcoming foreign interference in our elections.”
“This isn’t about politics. It is a threat to our national security. An American President should not seek their aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy,” Mr. Biden said on Twitter.
“The #MuellerReport made it clear: A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter. “Now, he said he’d do it all over again. It’s time to impeach Donald Trump.”
Sen. Kamala D. Harris tweeted that Mr. Trump, himself, is a “national security threat,” and that China, Russia, and North Korea are “listening.”
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