President Donald Trump’s second public solicitation for foreign interference in an election for his benefit drew a sharp rebuke from Federal Elections Commission (FEC) chairwoman Ellen Weintraub on Thursday.
During an interview with ABC in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump openly stated that he would listen to any foreign government that offered him dirt on his political opponents and suggested he would not inform the FBI of any such contact.
This is similar to how Trump solicited help from the Russians during the 2016 Election when he asked them to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The problem is that such a solicitation is a federal crime, and even GOP strategist Rick Wilson roundly condemned him for treason for daring to seek foreign help while excoriating Republicans for enabling this kind of criminal activity.
Shocked by Trump’s behavior, FEC chair Weintraub issued a blistering reminder to him and every candidate running for public office that seeking foreign help to win an election is a felony that our Founding Fathers explicitly warned against.
“Let me make something 100 percent clear to the American public and anyone running for public office,” she began. “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 beginnings of our nation,” she continued. “Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about “foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence.”
“They knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America’s,” the FEC chief concluded. “Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation. Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Here’s the full letter via Twitter.
I would not have thought that I needed to say this. pic.twitter.com/T743CsXq79
— Ellen L Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) June 13, 2019
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