Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, January 20, 2020

Steve Benen - Should an American president solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections? It's a question that's near the center of Donald Trump's Ukraine scheme. It's a question that's been around for months. And it's a question Republicans still don't know how to answer.

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On ABC News' This Week, George Stephanopoulos posed the question to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who said, "I don't know that has been actually proven. You know, that's all in dispute."

It's really not. We know this for certain in part because the White House released an official call summary of Trump's July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the American president pressed his counterpart in Kyiv to "look into" Joe Biden. A week after that call summary was released to the public, Trump stood on the South Lawn of the White House and told reporters on camera, "China should start an investigation into the Bidens." The Republican added soon after, "I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens."

(M)any GOP lawmakers " most notably Iowa's Joni Ernst and Colorado's Cory Gardner " struggled mightily with the question, refusing to say much of anything.

In the months that followed, others in the party have tried to deny the existence of factual details altogether. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), for example, was asked whether she believes it's all right for an American president to ask a foreign power to investigate a political rival. "He didn't," the congresswoman replied, reality be damned. "He didn't do that ... . He did not do that."

Trump did exactly that. It's not one of the debatable aspects of the scandal. (above link)

"Should an American president solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections?"
What did the founders say about the dangers of foreign involvement in American elections or a president who might solicit such corrupt involvement?

George Washington, in his farewell address at the end of his presidency, argued that one of the greatest dangers to the United States involved the "insidious wiles" of foreign powers and their multiple avenues to improperly influence our political system. Washington urged Americans "to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government."

Thomas Jefferson also sounded the alarm about "entanglements" between the United States and foreign governments, which he and other founders viewed with "perfect horror" due to the corruption that could result. Jefferson knew that a republic could not function if its chief executive would abuse his office"and the public trust"by soliciting personal political assistance from a foreign government.

John Adams had similar beliefs, writing to Jefferson in 1787 that he understood Jefferson's apprehension about "foreign Interference, Intrigue Influence." Adams, too, was concerned about corruption in the political system, leading him to assert that America should not conduct elections too often. "As often as Elections happen," Adams wrote, "the danger of foreign Influence recurs."

Alexander Hamilton warned specifically about a foreign power's ability to cultivate a president or another top official. In Federalist Paper Number 68, published in 1788, Hamilton wrote:

These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistry of the Union?

www.americanprogress.org

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-01-20 08:28 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

In before the

"Liek TEH tW0MuCh teh.copi Teh PaSTeS!1!1!eleventyone!!!"

#2 | Posted by MrSilenceDogood at 2020-01-20 09:29 AM | Reply

Shelby also suggested that we can't hold Trump responsible for anything that he says since whatever he says is considered 'political speech' and therefore has no weight when it comes to being legally enforceable. His argument appears to be that since what Trump says has no value, it can't be used against him. Basically, 'zero in = zero out'.

OCU

#3 | Posted by OCUser at 2020-01-20 11:21 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

@#3 ... Shelby also suggested ...

When the talking points get that absurd, you know the Republicans are grasping at straws.

#4 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-01-20 11:55 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

#1 | Posted by tonyroma

Great post - story as well. My mind is boggled.

I listened to an NPR Dershowitz interview Friday. Never was a fan but damn he's a good lawyer I'd be exultant to have on my team. My mind is simply blown that they are going to try and say abuse of power is not impeachable. That argument essentially says the President is above the law in this regard. ANYONE else guilty of Abuse of Power in a government position is certainly impeachable if not a criminal trial...

#5 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2020-01-20 01:47 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Hypothetically, if a candidate for mayor of Miami solicited election help from the Cuban government trying to get dirt on the family of the current Cuban-American republican mayor conservative would (rightly) freak out over it. Yet they are just fine with what Trump is doing.

#6 | Posted by qcp at 2020-01-20 02:30 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

This is what happens when you try to defend Trump.

You end up looking foolish. Grab a seat at the very large table, please.

#7 | Posted by brass30 at 2020-01-20 03:39 PM | Reply

Come on, Trumpers of the DR! Defend your king!

#8 | Posted by e1g1 at 2020-01-20 06:37 PM | Reply

That argument essentially says the President is above the law in this regard. ANYONE else guilty of Abuse of Power in a government position is certainly impeachable if not a criminal trial...

Catch 45 - If there isn't a statutory law broken, there are no grounds for impeachment, but while in office the President cannot be held accountable through the justice system for anything illegal before or during his presidency - including legislative disputes with Congress up to and including impeachment inquiries. Which equals no oversight, no accountability, and absolutely no restraint that the White House doesn't want to adhere to.

Not just above the law, they are the law. They can create their own reality and force the rest of us to live in its authoritarian dystopia.

#9 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-01-20 06:47 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

Catch 45...

#9 | POSTED BY TONYROMA

I was about to correct you with "Catch 22" but then I figured out what you were doing. Nicely done.

#10 | Posted by JeffJ at 2020-01-20 07:16 PM | Reply

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__________
#5 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2020-01-20 01:47 PM
I listened to an NPR Dershowitz interview Friday. Never was a fan but damn he's a good lawyer I'd be exultant to have on my team. My mind is simply blown that they are going to try and say abuse of power is not impeachable. That argument essentially says the President is above the law....

---

#8 | Posted by e1g1 at 2020-01-20 06:37 PM
Defend your king!

---

#9 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-01-20 06:47 PM
Catch 45 - If there isn't a statutory law broken, there are no grounds for impeachment, but while in office the President cannot be held accountable through the justice system for anything illegal before or during his presidency - including legislative disputes with Congress up to and including impeachment inquiries. Which equals no oversight, no accountability, and absolutely no restraint that the White House doesn't want to adhere to.

Not just above the law, they are the law. They can create their own reality and force the rest of us to live in its authoritarian dystopia.
-----

Ah, but here's the rebuttal from none other than Dershowitz:

"Of course the president's not the king. The president's far more powerful than the king. The president has the power that kings have never had." - Alan Dershowitz

"In America, a sociopath will beat a socialist seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Nobody should underestimate Donald Trump's ability to demagogue an opponent." " GOP strategist Steve Schmidt
__________

#11 | Posted by CutiePie at 2020-01-20 09:45 PM | Reply

Well, given it is what Obama did as well as Hillary in 2016, I guess I am missing the outrage here. The only claim for 'interference' would be if the investigation into Hunter was not justified by the underlying facts - which the Dems don't want to discuss because the optics for them are terrible. However, given the investigation into Burisma was shut down by Biden acting in his capacity of VP, it is only right that Trump would ask them to restart it now. As far as Trump's requests to look into 2016 interference, that is 100% justified now that the Russia Hoax has been exposed.

#12 | Posted by iragoldberg at 2020-01-20 10:32 PM | Reply

...given it is what Obama did as well as Hillary...
#12 | POSTED BY IRAGOLDBERG

Yet for some reason the incompetent Pub congress couldn't do anything about. Why do you support these losers again?

#13 | Posted by TFDNihilist at 2020-01-20 10:48 PM | Reply

"Yet for some reason the incompetent Pub congress couldn't do anything about.
#13 | POSTED BY TFDNIHILIST"

Because they rightfully did not see it as a "high crime" - which makes their actions now 100% consistent. It is the Dems that want to change the rules now and ignore their previous positions.

#14 | Posted by iragoldberg at 2020-01-20 10:51 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1


But while in office the President cannot be held accountable through the justice system for anything illegal before or during his presidency -

BS .. Clinton is a perfect example.

Which equals no oversight, no accountability, and absolutely no restraint that the White House doesn't want to adhere to.

More BS, Trump administration is going through the courts. Seems perfectly reasonable if there is a dispute between two branches the third branch would decide. In fact that is a very stable situation.

This threads question presupposes the "interference" is without warrant.

IF Biden was committing crimes while in the Ukraine its perfectly reasonable to request information pertaining to that crime, and if it interferes with the election then so be it, the people should know.

ITs no different than the Mueller investigation (without all the illegalities of Obama administration regarding the FISA warrant) they requested information from other countries. Its hilarious now that the tables get turned the snowflakes melt.

#15 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2020-01-20 11:27 PM | Reply

They thought Abuse of Power was impeachable when they charged Bill Clinton with it. Also in the Nixon articles and several Federal Judges who have been impeached and removed for Abuse of Power. The Impeachment Clause doesn't differentiate between impeaching the President and any other "Federal Officer". The process and the standards are the same for all.

#16 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2020-01-20 11:34 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#15 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS

Biden can't provide any testimony regarding what Trump did or didn't do, which is the only thing relevant to the trial. Nothing Biden could have done in Ukraine justifies extorting a foreign government to provide dirt on a political opponent. By the way, Hunter was appointed to the Burisma board after the company was cleared by the Ukrainian government. Biden didn't break any Ukrainian laws. There is no evidence that Joe Biden delivered any "quo" regarding Ukraine. His agitating for the removal of the corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor was, at the time, the official policy of the United States Government (including some Republican Senators), not a "favor" to benefit Hunter.

#17 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2020-01-20 11:41 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

"Biden can't provide any testimony regarding what Trump did or didn't do, which is the only thing relevant to the trial.
#17 | POSTED BY WHODAMAN "

Ridiculous. Your argument is a akin to a woman killing her rapist while in the act and then the prosecutor stating that the actions of the rapist are immaterial - all that matters is that she killed him.

"Nothing Biden could have done in Ukraine justifies extorting a foreign government to provide dirt on a political opponent."

Where does this 'political dirt' phrase come from? It would presume that the information is not 100% truthful and material to the public. In the case of the corruption by both Bidens, it is was not dirt - it was a legit and substantiated investigation by Joe Biden's own words.

"There is no evidence that Joe Biden delivered any "quo" regarding Ukraine.
#17 | POSTED BY WHODAMAN"

We have a current Ukrainian MP with bank records that says you are wrong. It needs to be investigated and now that this is closer to a reality, you are schifting your pants. You know that any testimony about Biden sinks him as a candidate and you have nothing available for a viable candidate. I told you morons when this first broke that it would be the end of Biden so the Dems either needed to force him out before starting impeachment or build up a viable alternative - in true Dem fashion - your choice was to do nothing - and yes, you are now schifting your pants as the reality of that inaction sinks in.

#18 | Posted by iragoldberg at 2020-01-21 01:05 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

Trump is the rapist, not Biden.

Trump is a non-indicted co-conspirator, not Biden.

Trump broke laws, not Biden.

Trump is a sleazy mobster owned by Putin.

#19 | Posted by bored at 2020-01-21 02:41 AM | Reply

"And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to"convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn't.

So they said they had"they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I'm not going to"or, we're not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You're not the president. The president said"I said, call him.

I said, I'm telling you, you're not getting the billion dollars. I said, you're not getting the billion. I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."

- Der Sniffengroper

#20 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2020-01-21 03:23 AM | Reply

#20 Under New Jersey law at the time, it wasn't rape when Trump forcibly penetrated Ivanka without her consent.
Get it?

#21 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-01-21 03:28 AM | Reply

Today marks 3 years of winning ...MAGA

#22 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2020-01-21 03:48 AM | Reply

What have you won?

#23 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-01-21 04:22 AM | Reply

#23 3 years without Hillary..for starters..

#24 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2020-01-21 04:42 AM | Reply

"What have you won?
#23 | POSTED BY SNOOFY"

Dow Jones on election night: 18,332....currently 29,279 - a 60% increase. Obama averaged 8.3% returns over his 8 year reign of ineptitude...Trump is averaging 16.9%....yep, he is 101% of the president that clown Obama was.

Of course, a poor person looking to blame someone for your constant economic shortcoming, you will somehow claim Trump did not make America better. But, like all arguments, that will be filled with emotions and be short on facts as the numbers are undeniable.

And before you go play the debt card, Trump is growing the debt at 5.2% annually, Obama grew it at 8%. So, Trump is kicking the crap out of your Kenyan-Messiah by every economic metric.

#25 | Posted by iragoldberg at 2020-01-21 05:10 AM | Reply

So all that matters to you is money. Jesus would be proud.
You know what else has increased under Trump?
Racial Violence
Poverty level
Maternal Death rate
Uninsured People
Etc.

#26 | Posted by TFDNihilist at 2020-01-21 07:38 AM | Reply

The Republican party has made it clear. They only care about two things: Money and Power. They are "Christians" who think Jesus was a wimp. "Turn the other cheek", "love thy enemy", "feed the hungry". Bah! Humbug!

#27 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2020-01-21 07:53 AM | Reply

"IF Biden was committing crimes while in the Ukraine its perfectly reasonable to request information pertaining to that crime, and if it interferes with the election then so be it, the people should know."

Then I guess you're fine with us subpoenaing the translator who translated the meeting between Putin and Trump, if Trump was committing a crime (a given) we have a right to know about it.

#28 | Posted by danni at 2020-01-21 08:11 AM | Reply

Should an American president solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections? The answer is ...NO. Hell NO. Neither should any elected official, Congress person, political party or political candidate .. like that done by the DNC with their Christopher Steele Dossier.

THEE perfect phone call between Pres Trump and Pres Zelenski that allegedly started the Impeachment proceedings DID NOT solicit interference by Zelenski in the 2020 election. It never once mentioned Pres Trump or the 2020 elections. The phone call was all about all the the well documented corruption that has prevailed in Ukraine and was even used against Pres Trump's campaign in the 2016 election. And, oh by the way, was Joe Biden's son, Hunter, himself involved in corruption in the Ukraine, as well, while employed by Burisma? Hunter made $50K a month when the investigation against Burisma was quickly ended by Joe Biden under suspicious 'extortionist circumstances.

It's long past time for the Dems to stop hating this President and start doing their jobs. LEGISLATE! Let's knock off the B S !!!

#29 | Posted by SJHamilton at 2020-01-21 08:29 AM | Reply

DID NOT solicit interference by Zelenski in the 2020 election. It never once mentioned Pres Trump or the 2020 elections. The phone call was all about all the the well documented corruption that has prevailed in Ukraine

Trump never once used the word "corruption" either, so by your own standard the call wasn't about that.

#30 | Posted by JOE at 2020-01-21 08:33 AM | Reply

"You know what else has increased under Trump?
Racial Violence
Poverty level
#26 | POSTED BY TFDNIHILIST "

Only in those racist and elitists blue states like CA - homeless and poverty run amok. In the heartland - not so much. Everyone that wants a job has one and pay increase is outstripping inflation finally. Thank God for Trump!

#31 | Posted by iragoldberg at 2020-01-21 09:36 AM | Reply

ITs no different than the Mueller investigation (without all the illegalities of Obama administration regarding the FISA warrant) they requested information from other countries. Its hilarious now that the tables get turned the snowflakes melt.

#15 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS

You're right. It is important to get proper warrants for these investigations. Though, I am pretty sure that Durham said that there was no evidence of politically influenced improprieties in obtaining the warrants.

But, lets compare them. Can you please provide a link to the warrant that authorized the investigation into the Bidens? Or any evidence that there WAS an actual US investigation into the Bidens at the time of all this controversy?

You keep claiming that the Bidens committed crimes in Ukraine. If that is the case, then the Trump administration would have opened a US investigation into those crimes, right?

#32 | Posted by gtbritishskull at 2020-01-21 11:41 AM | Reply

Only in those racist and elitists blue states like CA - homeless and poverty run amok.

I guess all those people sleeping on the sidewalks in Texas were sculptures when I was there in November.

#33 | Posted by Nixon at 2020-01-21 11:52 AM | Reply

We have a current Ukrainian MP with bank records that says you are wrong. It needs to be investigated and now that this is closer to a reality, you are schifting your pants. You know that any testimony about Biden sinks him as a candidate and you have nothing available for a viable candidate. I told you morons when this first broke that it would be the end of Biden so the Dems either needed to force him out before starting impeachment or build up a viable alternative - in true Dem fashion - your choice was to do nothing - and yes, you are now schifting your pants as the reality of that inaction sinks in.

#18 | POSTED BY IRAGOLDBERG

If that's true...

Why hasn't the DOJ done an investigation and asked for Ukraine's help under the extradition and criminal investigation support treaty we have with them?

And the answer is simple: The DOJ hasn't done an investigation or really launched one. This isn't about actually digging up dirt on Biden because there isn't any. It's about making Biden look bad so Trump can win an election against him.

#34 | Posted by Sycophant at 2020-01-21 12:21 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

ITs no different than the Mueller investigation (without all the illegalities of Obama administration regarding the FISA warrant) they requested information from other countries. Its hilarious now that the tables get turned the snowflakes melt.
#15 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS

Trump DOJ appoints someone to investigate the investigation.

DOJ investigator finds some issues but no illegalities or any reason why the warrant shouldn't have been granted.

Mackris ignores it and lies her ass off as usual.

Just another day in Mackris land.

#35 | Posted by Sycophant at 2020-01-21 12:23 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

23 3 years without Hillary..for starters..

#24 | POSTED BY GREATAMERICAN

I hadn't noticed. Being as how Hillary lives in your heads for free forever and comes out of your deplorables mouths in a hateful way pretty much every day.

But, but, what about Hillary?

In fact, with the amount of vitriol that comes from deplorables you would have thought she is currently in public office. Hint. She is not.

And... She was also completely exonerated from any criminal behavior while in office!

Unlike Humpy. Who is impeached. Now and forever.

#36 | Posted by donnerboy at 2020-01-21 05:22 PM | Reply

There are 330,000 companies in the Ukraine.

Ask yourself, "why, if Trump & Co's concern was corruption, was Burisma the only one they focused on, requesting that Zelensky make a public announcement an investigation was being undertaken."

Any honest person can answer that question easily:

Trump was seeking the mention of an investigation to harm a likely opponent in this year's election. He and the others involved had zero interest in rooting out corruption.

Speaking of which: U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovich was doing just that. For that she was fired by Trump.

#37 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2020-01-21 10:22 PM | Reply

And it's a question Republicans still don't know how to answer.

Republicans know the answer and know NOT to answer it truthfully. By not answering truthfully, they reserve for themselves the right to condemn/impeach a democratic president for doing the EXACT same thing. The real question is whether or not voters will hold senators accountable for not taking a clear stand on an issue that citizens of voting age know to be wrong.

Republicans don't care about democracy. They only care about money and the power necessary to make and keep money. Democracy just happens to be the framework in which they have to work to achieve their financial goals.

#38 | Posted by FedUpWithPols at 2020-01-22 06:16 AM | Reply

Only in those racist and elitists blue states like CA - homeless and poverty run amok. In the heartland - not so much. Everyone that wants a job has one and pay increase is outstripping inflation finally. Thank God for Trump!
#31 | POSTED BY IRAGOLDBERG AT 2020-01-21 09:36 AM

Gee in the heartland (sic) of Texas, that isn't the case. Wages are not keeping up with inflation...just likein every other state. Guess what is goin gupo, though? household credit card debt.

"Guadalupe County isn't alone. Underneath its noisy surface prosperity, Texas is experiencing a quiet debt crisis. The number of debt claims " lawsuits filed by collectors or lenders in the state's justice of the peace courts " has soared 140 percent since 2014, according to the Texas Office of Court Administration. Judges say the vast majority are for unpaid credit card bills."
Link to entire article:
www.houstonchronicle.com

Happy to prove you are a liar.

#39 | Posted by e1g1 at 2020-01-22 04:51 PM | Reply

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