Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said it was “absolutely” inappropriate for a U.S. president to seek foreign interference in an election when asked about the matter by a reporter on Thursday.
“Of course no. No, it’s absolutely not,” the three-star general told a reporter while speaking at an event at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Thursday. The reporter had asked whether it was appropriate for the president to “solicit foreign interference in our political process.”
“And of course, what has to happen here is seeing our democracy play out, our separation of powers play out,” McMaster added. “And for the American people, through their representatives in Congress, to make a judgment of whether that happened.”
The former Trump official also said he never saw any instance of President Donald Trump seeking foreign assistance for political matters while he worked in the White House.
“In all the conversations, in all the meetings I was ever privy too, there was never any incident of the president soliciting any kind of assistance for anything domestic politics,” he said.
Trump is resisting an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats after details of a call between Trump and the president of Ukraine emerged, showing his efforts to pressure the country into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Two whistleblowers within the intelligence community with knowledge of the July 25 call have filed complaints against the president, alleging that Trump inappropriately pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into interfering in U.S. politics.
John Bolton replaced McMaster as the White House’s national security adviser in April 2018 after reports suggested that the chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, both of whom have since resigned from their positions, were preparing to move McMaster out of his post.
Despite reports, the White House said that Trump and McMaster “mutually agreed” on the move. McMaster also retired from the U.S. Army around the time of his resignation.
Bolton left the White House in September after Trump said his services “were no longer needed.”