Several 2020 Democratic presidential contenders ― including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Vice President Joe Biden ― slammed President Donald Trump on Wednesday, for saying that he would accept information from a foreign government on his political rivals.
Harris, who is one of two dozen Democratic nominees vying for the presidency, called Trump a “national security threat” in a tweet late Wednesday.
Biden said that Trump was “once again welcoming foreign interference in our elections.”
Booker took a shot at Trump’s comments, saying: “It’s not ‘oppo research’ ― it’s foreign interference in US elections.”
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, an excerpt of which aired Wednesday, Trump said he would listen to information from a foreign government on his opponents in the 2020 presidential election. The president also suggested that he wouldn’t need to alert the FBI.
When asked whether he would accept information from a foreign entity like China or Russia on a political rival or instead call the FBI, Trump replied, “I think maybe you do both.” He then added he would call the FBI only if he “thought there was something wrong.”
“I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said. “It’s not an interference.”
Late on Wednesday, Harris spoke about Trump’s comments at length in an interview with Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC, saying she was “very concerned” about the president’s remarks.
“I am concerned, and the American public should be concerned,” Harris said, noting that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and FBI Director Christopher Wray has said foreign interference in America’s political system is an ongoing threat.
“It’s sending a signal to our adversaries around the world ― North Korea, Russia, fill in the blank ― saying, ‘Hey, come on in for 2020,’” Harris added.
Last month, Wray said at a congressional hearing that “if any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation-state… about influencing or interfering with our election, that’s something that the FBI would want to know about.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report, released in April, detailed how the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election “in a sweeping and systematic fashion.” The report also described at least 10 instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice by using his authority to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation in the Russian actions.