Trump told ABC’s George Stepanapolus Wednesday that “the FBI director is wrong” in asking that presidential candidates inform the intelligence agency when foreign entities reach out to campaigns.
“It’s not an interference, they have information – I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI – if I thought there was something wrong.”
“An American President should not seek their aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy,” Biden tweeted Wednesday.
President 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.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 13, 2019
“China is listening. Russia is listening. North Korea is listening.” Harris warned.
China is listening.
Russia is listening.
North Korea is listening.
Let’s speak the truth: this president is a national security threat. https://t.co/wsPYTzq0u0
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 13, 2019
Other candidates called Trump’s comments “disgraceful” and “inexcusable.”
This is inexcusable. The President of the United States just effectively gave permission to foreign agents to interfere in our elections. We need my Secure Elections Act and Honest Ads Act passed immediately. The 2020 elections are not secure. Disgraceful. https://t.co/Ht8GwBA0Aj
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 13, 2019
It’s not “oppo research” — it’s foreign interference in US elections.
That you would say this is disgraceful. That you would do it from the Oval Office (yet again) proves you’re unfit for the office you hold. https://t.co/7YQn07yRbm
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) June 13, 2019
Many candidates flat-out called for impeachment proceedings to begin, implying that the interview was the final nail in the coffin needed to convince House Democrats to take action.
The #MuellerReport made it clear: A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation. Now, he said he'd do it all over again. It's time to impeach Donald Trump. https://t.co/yk25iGYpmC
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 12, 2019
When the President of the United States openly welcomes foreign help to win an election, he threatens the very core of our democracy. If we are to secure justice and ensure this never happens again, we must impeach him.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 13, 2019
It’s time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings. https://t.co/yYG6oqHfCm
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 12, 2019
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) already were in favor of impeachment before Wednesday’s revealing interview. But Trump’s answer changed the mind of at least one more 2020 candidate.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) came out in support of impeachment following Trump’s interview after months of avoiding an outright call for the House to take action.
“Impeachment is the most extraordinary remedy the Constitution affords Congress. As a former prosecutor, I do not take this lightly,” he said in a statement Thursday.
“But this President continues to put his own interests above America’s; he is lawless. His relentless attacks on our rule of law and numerous efforts to obstruct justice and Congress have reached such a point to require extraordinary action. It’s time for Congress to open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.”
Despite increased calls for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stayed firm on avoiding taking the drastic action. Instead, she called upon the Senate to pass an already House-approved bill that seeks to protect future elections from foreign influence.
The Russians attacked our elections, and @realDonaldTrump is giving them the green light to do it again. We can’t stand by and just hope for the best. The Senate must join the House in passing #HR1 to #ProtectOurDemocracy! https://t.co/l7UTcFVlDd
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) June 13, 2019
Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to defend himself. “I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day,” Trump said, referring to his recent meetings with leadership in western Europe, such as Queen Elizabeth. “Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings?”
All of Trump’s recent meetings were with U.S. allies. It is doubtful that the Queen of England offered Trump dirt on his political opponents.