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)
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?