The chair of the Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub, did not mince words while responding to the comments made by Donald Trump during a recent interview with ABC News. Trump told interviewer George Stephanopoulos that he wouldn’t mind listening to foreign governments if they had dirt on his opponents. As reported by The Inquisitr, Trump said that he would rather accept dirt on his opponents by foreign governments than informing the FBI about such overtures.
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said, warding off suggestions that such contact would amount to interference.
“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” he added.
Trump’s comments created a stir on social media, with lawmakers chiding the president for saying that he’d accept dirt from foreign governments when his campaign has already been investigated once for precisely this reason.
Donald Trump Jr. was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for the now-infamous closed-door meeting with a representative of the Russian government at Trump Tower. Weintraub tweeted her response to the comments without naming Donald Trump, but it was clear that she didn’t agree with the legality of the president’s statement, as reported by Talking Points Memo.
“I would not have thought that I needed to say this,” she began.
“Let me make something 100 percent clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginning of our nation.”
FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub: "It's actually a matter of black-letter law. It's pretty straightforward. Anyone in the U.S. is not allowed to accept anything of value from a foreign national, particularly a foreign government, in connection with an election."https://t.co/Xq7dVwFaHz— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 14, 2019
Trump’s comments have already created a furor in Washington, with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers forced to speak out on the issue. Even some of Trump’s most ardent supporters, like Lindsey Graham, have been left red-faced with his comments. Trump, whose family has faced scrutiny over his campaign’s attempts to gather “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, said that the FBI is not equipped to handle all such cases. When asked if he’d contact the FBI over such overtures in the future, Trump responded by saying that he probably would, but not before criticizing the agency.
It remains to be seen if Trump’s comments during the interview will get him into further trouble, but it is evident that the president has learned little from the debacle of the 2016 campaign and the ensuing investigation.