President Donald Trump speaks to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. (YouTube screen grab)
After President Donald Trump openly stated he would accept dirt on his 2020 opponents from a foreign power and not necessarily alert law enforcement, members of Congress and contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination said Trump’s remarks provide yet another reason for the House to immediately launch impeachment proceedings.
“The Mueller report made it clear: A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a 2020 White House hopeful, tweeted late Wednesday. “Now, he said he’d do it all over again. It’s time to impeach Donald Trump.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) echoed his 2020 rival, saying Trump’s comments—which came during an ABC News interview that aired Wednesday—demonstrated once more that “[w]e have a president who thinks he is above the law.”
“The House should immediately begin impeachment inquiries,” Sanders tweeted.
Democratic presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also called for impeachment hearings in response to Trump’s remarks.
The renewed calls for impeachment proceedings against the president came after Trump told ABC‘s George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information on his 2020 opponents from a foreign power.
“I think I’d take it,” Trump said.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI,” the president added, expressing disagreement with FBI director Christopher Wray’s insistence that the agency would want to know about attempted election interference by a foreign power.
“You don’t call the FBI,” Trump said. “Give me a break—life doesn’t work that way.”
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump tells @GStephanopoulos he wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI if approached by foreign figures with information on his 2020 opponent: “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.” https://t.co/yWRxMOaFqW pic.twitter.com/qwLw53s5yc
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2019
In response to the president’s comments, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted, “FBI Director Chris Wray is right and you are wrong.”
“Not only does life work that way, the law works that way,” said Lieu. “Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, it’s illegal to knowingly accept anything of material value from a foreign power.”
Hey @realDonaldTrump: The FBI Director Chris Wray is right and you are wrong. Not only does life work that way, the law works that way. Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, it’s ILLEGAL to knowingly accept anything of material value from a foreign power. https://t.co/UJ5p835xWS
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 12, 2019
Trump’s comments, according to commentators and numerous members of Congress, added to the seemingly ever-growing list of reasons to begin impeachment proceedings and will likely increase pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has refused to back impeachment hearings despite growing pressure from inside her caucus and the grassroots.
According to an Axios tally, 59 House Democrats and one Republican—Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.)—support launching impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“Trump just blew way past ‘no collusion,’ he’s broadcasting his willingness to receive help from a hostile foreign power in 2020,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted Wednesday. “He’s glad his son didn’t call the FBI about Russian help and says he wouldn’t call them in 2020. Yes we absolutely need an impeachment inquiry.”