New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday criticized President Donald Trump’s statement that he would listen to opposition research about an opponent from a foreign country.
De Blasio, who is trying to run for president in a crowded Democratic field, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hosts that Trump’s acceptance of foreign information was “openly treasonous.”
The Associated Press reported de Blasio said Trump’s comments were “the last straw,” and that Congress should open an impeachment inquiry. He claimed Trump’s answer to a question from ABC amounted to an open invitation for foreign government “interference in our election.”
De Blasio is struggling to even register in may Democrat primary polls. He currently is tied for last in the Real Clear Politics polling average — at 0.3% — with Reps. John Delaney of Maryland, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Eric Swalwell of California, and new-age author and activist Marianne Williamson.
In an interview with former advisor to President Bill Clinton and ABC host George Stephanopoulos, Trump said he wouldn’t immediately call the FBI if a foreign government offered dirt on his opponent.
It's not an interference. They have information. I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong," Trump said.
"I think I'd want to hear it ... I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening," he added, calling the information “opposition research.”
He added: “If somebody called from a country — Norway — ‘we have information on your opponent' — oh, I think I'd want to hear it.”
Naturally, Trump’s opponents went nuts. While they had a good reason to worry about whether the president would accept foreign intelligence to use against an opponent, they completely missed that their outrage was completely partisan.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report found that the Trump campaign did not work with a foreign government to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Clinton and her campaign, however, are a different story. Not only did the Clinton campaign pay law firm Perkins Coie to hire opposition law firm Fusion GPS to pay ex-British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele to use his Russian sources to create an uncorroborated and largely debunked dossier full of dirt on Trump, they concealed their payment to avoid federal finance reporting laws.
In 2017, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) asked then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the violation.
“It seems to me that a presidential campaign using a law firm as a conduit to pay for activities with which the campaign itself doesn’t want to be associated is more than just dirty politics, it’s also quite possibly illegal,” Chabot said. “To me it seems that it’s at least a violation of campaign finance laws and a failure to accurately disclose the actual recipients of campaign disbursements. However, this type of arrangement is not illegal — if it’s not illegal under current law — I fear we’re risking opening Pandora’s Box with all sorts of underhanded activities by campaigns being laundered through law firms and being shielded by attorney-client privilege.”
Chabot then asked for Sessions’ thoughts on the matter. Sessions said he couldn’t comment without looking into the specific details of the allegation.