The head of the Federal Elections Commission warned Thursday that candidates for public office are prohibited by law from receiving help from a foreign government. The warning was a clear rebuke to Donald Trump after the president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos this week that he might accept “dirt” on political rivals from foreign actors in the 2020 election.
George Stephanopoulos: “Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it, or should they call the FBI?”
President Donald Trump: “I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. I don’t—there’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country—Norway—’We have information on your opponent.’ Oh. I think I’d want to hear it.”
George Stephanopoulos: “You want that kind of interference in our elections?”
President Donald Trump: “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.”
In a statement posted online one day after Trump’s remarks aired on ABC, FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub said, “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office. It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept.”