foreign

In a recent statement to ABC News, President Trump issued what appeared to be an open invitation to foreign election interference.

Associated Press White House reporter Zeke Miller tweeted an exchange Trump had with ABC News, in which the president told a reporter with the network that if a foreign government had any information about any of his Democratic challengers in the 2020 presidential election, “I think I’d want to hear it.” Trump defended the statement by saying, “there’s nothing wrong with listening.”

In the comments to Miller’s tweet, some wrote that the remark sounded oddly similar to the “Russia, if you’re listening” remark Trump made in a July 2016 press conference, in which he suggested Russian hackers make efforts to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails. Russian hackers did indeed attempt to hack the Clinton email server hours later, according to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The comments came mere hours after Trump confirmed to reporters in the Oval Office that he would be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at this month’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. When a reporter asked the president if he would be meeting with Putin alone — as he’s done on multiple occasions — Trump bristled, saying, “you people are so untrusting.”

At his May press conference, Mueller stated that while he was prohibited from charging President Trump with a crime, he did uncover criminal activity relating to foreign election interference. Mueller emphasized that the main finding of his investigation was that Russians engaged in extensive cyber warfare in an effort to influence voters away from Hillary Clinton and toward Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

“[T]here were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American,” Mueller said.

While Mueller stated Department of Justice guidelines made it impossible for him to indict a sitting president, he did say “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system” in order to “formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” implying impeachment.

As Grit Post previously wrote following the release of the Mueller report, Mueller appeared to make an impeachment referral in the report, saying Congress “has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.”

“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” one part of the report read.

However, as of this writing, Trump has yet to be held accountable through the impeachment process, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has refused to take impeachment off the table.

 

Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

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