More than a box 2020 Democratic presidential candidates rebuked President Trump on Wednesday night after he said he would consider taking information on his political challengers from a foreign government. Many renewed calls for impeachment, further raising the profile of a highly charged and divisive cause, while also voicing new concerns about the security of American elections.
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Trump said he would not only consider "listening" to what he described as "research" from foreign sources, but added that he might not alert the FBI.
"I think you might want to list; there isn't anything wrong with listening, ”Trump said.“ If somebody is called from a country, Norway, we have information on your opponent, oh, I think I'd like to hear it. ”
Trump also argued that these types of interactions shouldn't be characterized as "interference." "It's not an interference, they have information ̵
By early Thursday, the president's comments had drawn fierce backlash from at least 15 candidates running for the Democratic nomination. Robert S. Mueller III, many said that Trump's statements to ABC News reaffirmed their beliefs that they are unfit to hold office.
In the interview's aftermath, Sens . Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) And Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), And former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke were among those arguing that Trump's words were more reason to begin impeachment proceedings. Warren was the first Democratic presidential candidate to voice support for impeachment back in April, and Gillibrand, Sanders and O'Rourke have since espoused similar sentiments.
Citing the Mueller report, Warren tweeted “A foreign Government attacked our 2016 Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation. "(In his report, Mueller declined to make a decision about whether Trump obstructed justice.)
" Now, he said he'd do it all over again, ”she wrote. "It's time to impeach Donald Trump."
In an appearance on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Sanders said he was "not exactly shocked" by Trump's interview. He maintained that “the American people need to understand what this president has done, his contempt for the law.”
“We have president that neither understands the constitution of the United States or the constitution,” Sanders said, describing Trump as “somebody who does not believe in the separation of powers and somebody who thinks he's above the law.”
On Twitter, O'Rourke wrote that Trump's view on foreign help in elections "threatens the very core of our democracy. ”
" If we are secure justice and ensure this never happens again, we must impeach him, "he tweeted .
Other Democratic candidates accused Trump of undermining the integrity of The election system and threatening national security
Forms Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (DN.J.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) And Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) Denounced Trump for, if Biden puts it, "once again welcoming foreign interference in our elections. ”
"The 2020 elections are not secure," Klobuchar tweeted . "Disgraceful."
In an interview on MSNBC, Harris called Trump's statements "outrageous."
"It just tells me that the guy doesn't understand the job and can't do it very much, ”she said, adding that Trump was again“ putting his self-interest in front of the interests of our democracy and the integrity of our democracy and the American people's confidence in the security and integrity of our election system. ”
Ripped with CNN's Chris Cuomo, Bennet ripped Trump as “weak and pathetic. "
" He's a cheater, "Bennet said." He doesn't care how long he does win and I think more important than that, he doesn't care what's happening in the average lives of Americans or what's happening to America's place in the world, which is a real tragedy. ”
Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) Took issue with Trump saying that all congressmen have always taken part in “research.”
“This is sad and cynical,” Ryan tweeted . "I think it will be clear for @realDonaldTrump I will never take dirt from a foreign adversary – EVEN if it means beating someone as corrupt as you. * But Trump said every Congressman would take the help. So, every @HouseGOP member has to answer this: is Trump right?
– Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) June 13, 2019