Today’s faux scandal is President Trump’s statement, in an interview with former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, in which he was asked about receiving negative information about a political opponent from a foreign country. The Washington Post’s account is typical:
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that if a foreign power offered dirt on his 2020 opponent, he’d be open to accepting it and that he’d have no obligation to call in the FBI.
“I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said in an interview with ABC News, adding, “There’s nothing wrong with listening.”
Trump is right on both points, although whether it makes sense to call the FBI depends on what the information is. Suppose, for example, that Israeli intelligence discovered Bernie Sanders is cooperating with a Communist country. No doubt Trump should report that to the Bureau.
One of Trump’s challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden, tweeted: “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.”
Conveying information is not “foreign interference in our elections.” More on that later.
Trump’s comments came just a month after he pledged not to use information stolen by foreign adversaries in his 2020 reelection campaign, even as he wrongly insisted he hadn’t used such information to his benefit in 2016.
Trump was not asked about “information stolen by foreign adversaries” in yesterday’s interview, so the alleged contradiction doesn’t exist. And how did Trump “use such information to his benefit in 2016,” a claim the Post repeats twice? Evidently they are talking about Trump’s occasional references to the shenanigans that the DNC pulled in order to guarantee Hillary Clinton the nomination, as revealed in DNC emails that were published by Wikileaks. Does the Post seriously think that Trump should have gone through the campaign without mentioning facts that everyone knew, on the theory that the Russians might have been the ones who originally phished the DNC’s email account? If so, the claim is ridiculous.
A doddering Nancy Pelosi gave a press conference this morning, which she began by talking about Trump’s ABC interview:
Everybody in the country should be totally appalled by what the president said last night. But he has a habit of making appalling statements. This one borders on so totally unethical that he doesn’t even realize it.
As Trump told Stephanopoulos, there is nothing wrong with listening to information that anyone, foreign or domestic, might have that is relevant to a presidential candidate. But what is blindingly obvious, yet absent from every Democratic Party news account feigning horror at the ABC interview, is that the Hillary Clinton campaign didn’t just receive “foreign dirt” on the Trump campaign. It paid for foreign sources to fabricate lies about Trump, which it then disseminated to the press. Listen to “foreign dirt”? The Clinton campaign paid for it!
This is just one more example of why no sensible person takes “news” sources like the Washington Post seriously.