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Former Washington Journalist
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Donald Trump’s bombshell admission that he would openly accept foreign help to influence next year’s presidential election prompted an outcry of shock and deep concern.
In an interview with ABC News Wednesday from the Oval Office, Trump said that he would look at political dirt on his opponents from foreign sources–and would do so without necessarily contacting the FBI.
“The Russians are doing — they’re going to repeat what they did in 2016. They’re going to repeat it in 2020 and now what President Trump has done is encouraging them to do so,” said James Clapper, who served as director of national intelligence for President Barack Obama. “Again, it’s just — it’s — it’s stunning.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s admission “an insult to our democracy.”
What Trump is saying on this matter sets a poor example for young people, said progressive activist and CNN commentator Van Jones.
“The power of the example of the president to tell the whole world, to tell children and students who are listening right now, ‘Hey, listen, yeah, I might tell the FBI, but first I want to get the dirt. That’s just how the world works,'” Jones said. “He’s making the world worse by saying that. He’s driving down the standards by saying that.”
Trump has been hinting at this for some time, as his defense over cooperation with the Russians in the 2016 campaign has shifted over time, said Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst.
“That’s the businessman Donald Trump which you can ask yourself, ‘Why did he never call the FBI if he saw something illegal showing that he has never morphed into the commander in chief and the person the Constitution expects to protect the United States democratic system. So I’m kind of over shock at this stage,” she said. “In other words, this has been — this has been hinted at for a long time by the Trump people. First defying the meetings then the meetings were about adoptions. Then they said the meetings didn’t matter and then they said well, they mattered but not that much. And now they’re the meetings are totally fine. Let’s have future meetings.
“They’ve been laying this out, quickly to think about it both in terms of offense and defense,” Kayyem added. “Offense is this is a welcome mat. It’s a come, hid, they’re not just for the Russians but for the Chinese and not just for Donald Trump but for every Republican running that he wants to win in the House or Senate.”