Donald Trump

Is Accepting Information About a Political Opponent From a Foreigner 'an Assault on Our Democracy'?

Nancy Pelosi's overwrought take on Donald Trump's receptiveness to "oppo research" is hard to take seriously.


One of Donald Trump's redeeming (and entertaining) qualities is that he tends to say exactly what he thinks, without regard to appearances. Yesterday, for instance, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the president what his re-election campaign should do "if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on an opponent—should they accept it, or should they call the FBI?" Trump responded candidly: "I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country—Norway—[and said], 'We have information on your opponent,' oh, I think I'd want to hear it."

That response provoked predictably over-the-top criticism from Trump's opponents. "It's a very sad thing," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters today. "That's an assault on our democracy." Yet Trump's take is a lot closer to the legal, moral, and practical reality of the situation.

While Trump allowed that "if I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI," he was generally dismissive of the notion that the mere offer of information would qualify. "You're a congressman," he said. "Somebody comes up and says, 'Hey, I have information on your opponent. Do you call the FBI?…You don't call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do….You go and talk honestly to congressmen, they all do it. They always have. And that's the way it is. It's called 'oppo research.'"

The context of this discussion, of course, is Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer claiming to have "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. The elder Trump was emphasizing that, in his view, his son did nothing illegal or wrong by agreeing to the meeting (during which no useful information materialized, according to Trump Jr.) or by failing to notify the FBI about it.

Some of the president's critics have argued that the Trump Tower meeting violated a federal law that prohibits foreign nationals from contributing "anything of value" to a political campaign. But that interpretation is controversial. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller noted in his report on Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, "No judicial decision has treated the voluntary provision of uncompensated opposition research or similar information as a thing of value that could amount to a contribution under campaign-finance law." Given that uncertainty, it would be hard to make the case that Trump Jr. knowingly violated the law, which is required for a conviction.

Furthermore, if the law were understood to cover situations like this, it would effectively criminalize constitutionally protected speech. Mueller noted that "such an interpretation could have implications beyond the foreign-source ban," such as limits on campaign contributions by Americans, and "raise First Amendment questions."

Trump, in other words, is on solid ground in arguing that such contacts are legal. Whether you also agree that "there's nothing wrong with listening" will depend on whether you share Pelosi's hysterical view that accepting or using information about a political opponent amounts to "an assault on our democracy" when the source is not a U.S. citizen.

Although Trump obviously does not share that view, he is intermittently aware that other people do. He clearly was worried that the Trump Tower meeting would make him look bad, which is why he tried to conceal the real motivation for it after The New York Times broke the story in July 2017.

From an ethical perspective, however, the relevant question is not the nationality of a source offering "oppo research" but the accuracy and relevance of the information. Another consideration is whether the information was obtained illegally—by hacking emails, for example. While the Supreme Court has said people have a First Amendment right to share illegally obtained information if they were not involved in the lawbreaking (something that news organizations frequently do), you might reasonably argue that they should also report such crimes when they become aware of them, which may be what Trump had in mind when he said he might contact the FBI "if I thought there was something wrong."

When politicians or their minions spread information about their opponents that is irrelevant, misleading, or false, Pelosi seems to think, that is just democracy in action, as long as no foreigners were involved. But when they use information from a foreign source, no matter how accurate or germane it is, our political system is in grave danger. To be fair to Pelosi, that view seems to be widely shared within Congress, the intelligence community, and the mainstream press. That doesn't mean it makes sense.

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  1. Once again Jake opts for his “move along, nothing to see here” approach to the infamous Trump Tower meeting. Here’s the pitch to which Little Donnie responded so enthusiastically:

    “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump .”

    Hey, nothing wrong with that, is there? And I’m sure that Donald Trump would NEVER use information that wasn’t true.

    1. But the Steele dossier totes cool.

      1. You can use foreign information as long as it is laundered through an Englishman.

        1. As long as you’re providing them just compensation for their services of course, and you’re able to wash your hands of attempting to verify any of the information. Then if it’s not true, it’s totally not your fault.

        2. And connected with the State Dept. Huh, who was the head of state under Obama?

          Steele and State

      2. Since it was generated by the Clinton campaign technically the Steele dossier was not a foreign source.

        1. It was paid for by the Clinton campaign. Not generated by.
          Besides, the Clinton campaign would be the messenger. Steele is the gather of various tidbit some of which came from the Russians.

          1. My remark was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But if you pay for something you own it (apologies to Barack Obama who thinks otherwise). You may have assigned the specific task (generation) to someone else but it’s yours. The Clinton campaign was more than the messenger and Steele was just an agent of the Clinton campaign.

        2. And the expenditure was laundered through a law firm to FusionGPS to avoid reporting laws. Then it was pushed by foreigners through state and the DoJ. Of course the series used by the federal employees pushing the information was also not reported.

          1. Last night some fool of a demoncrap operative made the straight-faced claim that if it is offered by the hostile enemy government, it is illegal, but if one of our politicians seeks out the information, from that same government, then it is legit.
            You just can’t make this stuff up.

        3. Ummm, no. Or, maybe, yes. So what? Trump didn’t get anything as a result of that meeting. If there had been anything, maybe it might have run afoul of campaign finance laws and maybe it wouldn’t. All he would need to do is tip them a dollar and it’s right back where HRC and the DNC are with Steele and his dossier. Or maybe validate their parking, buy them a cup of coffee. Anything of value paid is anything of value. The payee and the payor are the sole determinants of “anything of value.” in the end, if he got nothing, it doesn’t matter if he paid or not, nothing to see here.

          And the notion that the information was supposed to come from the Russian government is bonkers as well. The Steele allegations were almost all Russian Government sourced as well. HRC didn’t have a problem paying a foreign national (Russia expert) to gather (false) allegations from Russian officials. At some point, someone in her employ met with him to decide whether or not to hire him and they had to ask him if he had anything he could get. He said he could, so they paid him. Trump Jr’s meeting was a job interview, it didn’t go well. The end.

    2. Well said.


    3. Not ok: listening to a foreign country claiming to have damaging info on opponent.

      Totally ok: sitting administration using intelligence agencies to spy on party’s opponent and asking foreign governments to do same in order to circumvent constitutional prohibitions.

      1. Democrats are a threat to the Republic. We are not a fucking democracy. Ignorant Pelosi and ignorant Reason.

    4. When I ran for State Assembly I talked with many other candidates for office and learned it was NOT uncommon at all to hire someone to do what was called “opposition research.” Translation: Learn whatever dirt you can about your opponent.
      Even in the workplace when competing for the same promotion many people will remind the decision-makers that their opponent made mistakes, or acting foolishly or whatever would help to discredit the other person.

    5. The Russian lady met with fusion gps before and after the meeting.

      Do you understand that means that Russia was not actually supporting trump, but the Clinton campaign and the USG under Obama was trying to make it look like that were true so they could spy on him?

    6. “…Once again Jake opts for his “move along, nothing to see here” approach to the infamous Trump Tower meeting. Here’s the pitch to which Little Donnie responded so enthusiastically:…”

      Note the oh, so pathetic “Little Donnie” from this fucking ignoramus.
      One more case where we hope TDS is fatal.

  2. Not sure what the fuss is. Trump borrows money from German bank, Le Pen borrows from a Russian bank. If taking money from foreigners is accepted practice the world over, how is receiving foreign sourced information any worse?

    1. People are freaking out about Russian nationals running political advertisements on Facebook and claiming it’s election meddling. It’s as if this environment is unfriendly toward the free sharing of ideas and information.

      1. I was With Her, until I saw Trump and Jesus battling Bin Laden and Hillary. Saw it with my own eyes

    2. I suspect the issue is specific to elections. It is not legal for a campaign to borrow money from foreigners for the election.

      That said – I don’t see how banning information specific to elections can avoid running foul of 1st amendment issues. And Pelosi’s attempt to protect incumbents by banning crap gathering by foreigners – and Trump attempt now to protect incumbents by outsourcing crap gathering to foreigners – is all just part of the DeRp crap to kill off every thing that might challenge their cozy system of rigged elections.

      1. “Trump attempt now to protect incumbents by outsourcing crap gathering to foreigners”

        Nope, that was the Obama administration, along with the CIA and FBI under him. And, of course, the DNC

  3. I honestly don’t see the relevance of a person’s geographic location when it comes to information. If Kim Jong-Un said that 2+2=4, that’s true regardless of whether or not he’s a shitty person.

    Honestly, this just seems like a partisan excuse to go after trump.

  4. There is nothing to see here. Trump likes to taunt his opponents. And there was no Russia collusion with the present administration. Proven fact. I do not like trump very much but acknowledge the truth instead of the lies you have been fed.

  5. “Nancy Pelosi’s overwrought take on Donald Trump’s receptiveness to “oppo research” is hard to take seriously.”

    Trump trolled her, and she pulled a Hihn.


    If Pelosi hasn’t impeached Trump yet, she probably never will–and Trump is making fun of her in public for it. That’s all this is. He’d love it she impeached him at this point. It would be political suicide for the Democrats.

    One of the reasons that Amash looks like such a spaz over his comments is that Nancy Pelosi seems to be twice as smart as Amash about this. If Nancy Pelosi is too smart to impeach Trump over this and commit political suicide, what does that make Amash–dumber than Nancy Pelosi?

    1. “If Pelosi hasn’t impeached Trump yet, she probably never will”

      Why should she? Just the threat of impeachment is probably enough to distract the president (and the media) from his agenda.

      1. Assuming the President give a fuck. Which I doubt he does.

        It is enough to distract Congress from doing their job though.

        1. “It is enough to distract Congress from doing their job though.”

          Which is generally a good thing for we the people. The less congress does what the politicians think their job is, the better off we are.

          1. It is.

            I’m not complaining. I like gridlock. Not a fan when one party holds both houses of Congress and the presidency.

        2. “Assuming the President give a fuck.”

          I assume he does. He likes sports. He must understand the importance of gaining and keeping initiative. In games like chess it means that one makes moves that forces the opponent to react rather than act.

      2. Trump is not distracted over this. For Trump it is business as usual. Just look at what he has already achieved while being investigated since before he entered office.
        He is trolling the Dems. He has just got them to act outraged over accepting Opposition research from a foreign source and he knows that this is exactly what Clinton did and a whole lot worse.
        I strongly suspect that Clinton’s use of the Steele dossier is about to be reintroduced into the public eye in a pending investigation. How can the Dems cry fowl when they are now on record condemning Trump for his statement. Trump has played the Dems like a fiddle. It is amusing to sit back and watch Trump make the Dems look like the asses they are.

    2. Wait, you’re telling me that Amash has impeached Trump? When did this happen? I didn’t even know a single Congressman had that power.

      1. “One of the reasons that Amash looks like such a spaz over his comments . . . “

        —-Ken Shultz

        Now, what are you saying?

      2. Amash could draft articles of impeachment himself and present then for a house vote. But since it is harder than saying no or naming a post office he will stay on Twitter.

        1. Trump has done this before. I am not too sure about Amash. I suspect he is really on team Trump and will actually introduce articles of impeachment to the floor and put the Dems on the spot. This will finally put this issue to bed and will absolutely fail as Pelosi will never get a 2 thirds majority. This will finally give Trump a clear pathway to 2020 without all this crap distracting the American people. It will also make Pelosi and the Dems look stupit for pursuing this.
          Trump has done this before if anyone remembers the alleged tape of Trump supposedly using the ‘N’ which never appeared but kept the leftist press busy for weeks while Trump got on with the actual job. It also gave him another win while making the press look completely stupid for pushing this narrative without ever hearing the recording. Everyone with an IQ above 50 knew what was going on, but the desperate press still continued their demonization. It was really funny to watch it all play out.

      3. Amash has put himself in with such brilliant minds as Maxine Waters and Al Green – members of the House, who say they want impeachment.
        You’ll notice that most, who say so, publicly, are not members of the HoR, and in no position to actually do anything but flap their lips.
        Amash put himself into the few, who say they want to and can do something about it.

  6. I can’t help but wonder how much opposition research in the past came from foreign sources but nobody knew about it.

  7. No not at the same rules apply that do to other nations.

    The Middle East, Africa, Ukraine.

    1. Not if

  8. It might be an affront to a democracy if it’s used in a secret court.

  9. I can’t take the dems serious about foreign influence in our elections until they stand the ground keeping foreigners from voting in our elections.

  10. Again, it is reminiscent of the movie “Rear Window” starring Jimmy Stewart. He was a photographer stuck inside his apartment with a badly broken leg. Bored out of his nut, he started looking at neighbors across the courtyard using his telephoto lens. This was and, I believe, still is a misdemeanor in New York.
    Jimmy saw Aaron Burr kill his wife, and called the cops.
    If you are a functionary in the Democratic National Committee, the person who must be investigated by the police is Jimmy Stewart, for being a Peeping Tom. Burr is an innocent victim here.
    The Democrats gamed the system to ensure the nomination of Clinton and were caught doing it. Of course some Russian wanting to cause as much disruption in the US as possible a matter of standing foreign policy sent the info out. The Republicans would have been at risk as well, but very few people looking back at the 2015-6 primary season are willing to believe the nomination of Trump was a done deal. Chaos yes, a nefarious plan, not so much.
    The Democrats were made to look sneaky and must deflect any attention.

    1. Still no proof Russia did much of anything…

      1. They don’t seem to have done anything of any substance, but I’m sure they did something. And I’m sure they have in pretty much every previous election, at least from the later 20th century.
        I think it’s good to acknowledge that and say “so what”? Information is information and free speech is free speech.

        1. It’s fairly common knowledge that the USSR was secretly funneling funds to the anti-war movement in the 1960s and early 1970s. And at least some of it ended up going to the Democrats. This is the part of the Watergate story that doesn’t get told, Nixon wasn’t wrong (and neither was McCarthy a lot of the time). That doesn’t his behavior, but for the Democrats to act like this is something new is just hilarious.

          1. Of course if Nixon had a D after his name and used the FBI and the English to do the spying he would have been let off Scott free.

          2. It’s also known that Ted Kennedy directly asked for Soviet help to topple Reagan in 1984.

      2. They spent a million dollars in a billion dollar election. I still think they were simply practicing their methods.


          He won by 39,000 voters, in thee states combined.,
          Do the math.

    2. Don’t know about NY laws, but in my state, “peeping tom” laws are for only if you go onto the other person’s property, when you peer through the window.
      Doing so from your own property or from a public space is not illegal.

    3. Except, the Russians did not even publish the details of the Dems cheating Sanders. That was done by Wikileaks and had nothing to do with the Russians.

  11. Seems more like a public service, helping American voters make more informed choices.

  12. I wonder what Biden would say if the deepstate used his son’s actions in the Ukriane to get a FISA warrant so they would then have access to Biden’s electronic communication using the three hop rule for link analysis?

  13. Trump plays his adversaries like a piano.

    1. What really pisses them off is that he’s playing ragtime, and they want to hear Chopin.

  14. “Pelosi’s hysterical view that accepting or using information about a political opponent amounts to “an assault on our democracy” when the source is not a U.S. citizen.”

    Let’s be clear: This has nothing to do with the source, and everything to do with the hypothetical information being about a Democrat.

    1. And the fact that the hag lost to TRUMP, goddamit!

  15. >>>tends to say exactly what he thinks, without regard to appearances

    appearances are perspective-related what bunches your knickers is meh to many others.

    >>>To be fair to Pelosi


    1. To be fair to Pelosi


      Because it’s considered bad manners to speak ill of the dead?

  16. But when they use information from a foreign source, no matter how accurate or germane it is, our political system is in grave danger. To be fair to Pelosi, that view seems to be widely shared within Congress, the intelligence community, and the mainstream press. That doesn’t mean it makes sense.

    What? When have any of those people suggested the Steele dossier was a threat to democracy? You’re just making shit up now.

    1. Our political system translates as Democrats perception that they are owed the Presidency.

  17. It really does not matter if the information came from a foreign entity. It is a question of how the information was obtained.

    Finding dirt on your opponent, say a former classmate told you something, is not illegal. If someone hacks into their medical records and finds that they were treated for depression, that is illegal.

    When five guys broke into the watergate hotel DNC offices stole files and wiretapped phones that is “oppo research”? Hacking computer files is no different.

    So what is technically illegal or not if you use information from stolen files and your responsibility to report it I do not know. Coming from a public servant entrusted with national security at the highest level what Donald is saying here does not seem kosher.

    It doesn’t bother me because like most of us I am just used to him talking a lot of crap. He hasn’t done anything just said some more dumb stuff which his opponents are going after him for as expected.

    1. If its okay for a newspaper to receive and report on stolen goods, such as hacked tax records then its okay for anyone else to do so since you can’t have laws to protect some but not others. therefore even if info is from a hacked computer Trump could use it.

      1. It is an open question as far as I am concerned as far as what a newspaper can or should not do.

        There is a consensus although not everyone agrees that more latitude should be given to journalists.

        So if the hacked stuff were given to the Washington Post and Trump used that there is no problem.

        I think it gets murky when we are talking about people in the government getting information directly. The issue I have is that if they know it is espionage there is a duty to report it, legal or not, which Trump seems to not believe.

        Just because it is political dirt should not be an exception. If it were about troop deployments, vulnerabilities in the power grid, or something we would all be in agreement.

        1. Define journalist.

          1. Can’t that is why I think it is an open question and has been for a long time. A lot of this ends up in court.

            1. I’ll help you out. Journalists arent some sacred entity that deserves deference or enhanced rights. So everyone is a journalist once they gather and publish an opinion or information.

        2. It is not an open question. It is actually settled law. Read about the Pentagon papers. In this court case it was established that a newspaper did not break the law when it published sensitive government information because they did not have anything to do with the crime of stealing that information.
          It’s not like Trump suggested he would use opposition research to obtain a FISA warrant without confirming any of the information.
          The sheer hypocrisy of the Dems is incredible and requires a remarkable amount of cognitive dissonance to pull off

      2. Just on a more practical level. If you have the goods on some politician, say you are a foreign government and want to get it out. The way it is near always done is leak it to the press. They know how to do this and is very easy.

        If you approach a high level official directly, now we are up to president level, that is already very suspect. Wait a minute, why would you do that? There are other channels and we all know it. My first thought would be that you are trying to compromise me.

        Which is why Jr. was an idiot for taking that meeting in the first place even though nothing happened. It was all deliberate misinformation to mess with us.

        It is not a Russian invention to create disunity, discord, and confusion among your adversaries.

        I think Trump just did what he always does without thinking it through.

        1. And when the press shows unhinged biases just shrug your shoulders and move on? Why are you so determined to let journalists choose your narrative?

          1. Oh bias. This website has very biased reporting with a libertarian slant. Is that a problem for you?

            There is nothing wrong with bias. I have never seen reporting that was actually totally unbiased.

            1. This website touches less than 1% of viewers. Are you honestly saying the MSM cant amplify narrative or spin and act as gatekeepers that can influence elections? I can point you to studies if you care to read.

              Stating that journalists are allowed to oppo dump from foreign sources but nobody else is is such a naive view to take.

              1. What you are talking about is as old as the printing press, older actually.

                The printed word, and now other things, has always been used to influence people. Even art, books, movies, plays, songs, have messages, often political. Gullivers Travels was political satire. There are countless examples.

                It is part of human existence. You think this MSM meme is some new discovery?

              2. I did not say what journalists are or should be allowed to do. I really don’t know.

                I noted that there is a general consensus which exists that gives journalists latitude which is true.

                My opinion is that people in high public office should be held to a higher standard than the the general public when it comes to sensitive information. They are entrusted with matters of national security much of which is necessarily kept secret. That is a great responsibility.

                1. That assumes that they are special and separate. Our elected officials, in theory are supposed to be equals, private citizens. The problem is they,and to many Americans view them as elites.

                  1. Sure they are but every job has its own requirements and sometimes ethics which may not apply to the general public.

                    A soldier medic is expected to do things and adhere to certain principles in the course of duty which do not apply to everyone for example.

                    A lawyer has duties and responsibilities to the client that ordinary people do not have.

                    My contention is there ought to be standards for people in high public office as well. They do take oaths and all that.

                2. Perhaps this should have been told to Clinton who kept highly secret information on a private server. A server we are now learning was hacked by the Chinese. We are also informed that Clinton was warned several times of this probability.
                  It doesn’t appear to anyone that Clinton had any regard whatsoever to being held to anything but the lowest standard

        2. The reason you would approach a high level official is for a payday. However, the same financial remuneration could be obtained from a major news outlet.
          That being said, the vast majority of news outlets in America would likely buy any negative news on the Dems purely to bury that information. It is no secret that most news organisations in America have become the propaganda arm of the Democratic party

    2. So you say you’re okay with the IC under Obams using 702 and 2 hop rules on trump associates.

      Then the leaking of all those classified phone calls and such.

      Yeah. Its trump who did wrong. You’re right.

      1. I don’t see anything about right or wrong, just legality and illegality.
        And who said anything about Obama?

        1. “Coming from a public servant entrusted with national security at the highest level what Donald is saying here does not seem kosher.”

          You seemed to single out only one entity. Curious as to why.

          1. Because the article is about what he said in the interview. What bothers me is he said he would not report to the FBI it if he got such information.

            From the question asked we are talking about sensitive information that may have come from some foreign government agency with its own agenda. I would think our spooks would want to know about that.

            If nothing else they should be able to track it back and maybe learn about the methods the other spies are using.

            It really happens and we know about some of it. Cyber security and defense is a big deal. So who is Cozy Bear, all that. How did they get into a secure system.

            I am more interested in the general ideas than the politics.

            1. All libertarians should fully trust the FBI and Ukrainian owned, DNC donor Crowdstrike.

              Hook, line, sinker

        2. C’mon Zeb, you know the rules.
          If you dare to mention one thing that Trump might have done wrong, you must at the same time recite the Holy Litany of Gross Obama Crimes.

          Jesse’s rhetorical strategy is not to let any complaint about Trump go unchallenged on any level, despite the validity of the complaint, and even if the challenge is nothing more than a tu quoque or a whataboutism.

          1. Indeed, you must, because that’s known as “context”; We’re not going to go along with pretending Trump’s offenses, such as they are, are unique.

          2. And here’s Jeff to whine that Obama’s use of the police state has been mentioned

          3. chemjeff radical individualist
            June.13.2019 at 7:51 pm
            “C’mon Zeb, you know the rules….”

            We all know the rules: You and that hag lost, and you’ll never grow up and get over it.

          4. Pedo Jeffy, Child Rape Enthusiast………

            You are a fucking moron. That’s about all the response you deserve.

    3. I think it is explained in the article. If you were not a part of the crime, you can use the information.

      Which makes your Nixon analogy incorrect.

  18. Its perfectly legal for any person or politician to consult with any foreign person they want. It is neither a crime or in like kind form of payment to a campaign. And if they want to make it illegal then they also have to keep all of the foreign leaders form appearing on Tv and trying to scare Americans from voting for the evil orange man, which did happen in 2016. Any appearance on Tv does cost money and can be considered a donation to a campaign which would be illegal and could be considered interference Just like Obama did to Israel

  19. There appears to be selective amnesia regarding accepting dirt from foreign countries. It has been well documented that the DNC went to meetings at the Ukrainian embassy in WDC for the express purpose of receiving information on Trump’s one time campaign manager Paul Manafort. As is known Manafort, Tom Podesta, and David Craig (a Clinton administration attorney) were active with political leaders in Ukraine.

    Meeting on foreign soil with foreign government officials to collect dirt.

  20. Keep this in your wallet for future reference.
    1. If a Democrat, specifically a Clinton, does anything illegal, it’s legal and illegal for you to mention it.
    2. If a Republican, specifically Trump, does anything it’s illegal.
    3. If a Libertarian does anything it will be a first.

    1. Libertarians would prefer the government do nothing. So any allegedly Libertarian politician who votes for (or signs) any bill that does something other than repeal an existing law is a traitor.

      1. I do want them to fix the traffic on Rt 92.

        Darn thing jams up every day. It is the major way to get to the highway and all the stuff is there.

        On the plus side they approved the chick-fil-a which is going up now. Who does not like chicken.

    2. sadly, so very very true.

    3. You should sell wallet sized cards of that.

  21. Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters today. “That’s an assault on our democracy.”

    Yet a political campaign, Clinton’s, paying a British agent to work with Russians and create a phony dossier for the purpose of undermining democracy is okay in her book.

  22. Is Accepting Information About a Political Opponent From a Foreigner ‘an Assault on Our Democracy’?

    Only when Trump or other icky people do it.

    Hillary Clinton, for example, did it – and it was perfectly justifiable because she was getting oppo research from a foreign source so she could fight Trump.

    1. Also, I have to wonder – if getting info from a foreigner is an assault on Democracy!, then what are the information sharing agreements we have between several other countries where we share information collected by those countries on citizens of other countries with those citizen’s governments when those governments were legally prohibited from collecting that information directly?

      1. “then what are the information sharing agreements we have between several other countries where we share information collected by those countries on citizens of other countries with those citizen’s governments when those governments were legally prohibited from collecting that information directly?”

        A fair trade for them spying on our citizens which our government is technically prohibited from doing.

    2. Surely there exists at least one journalist who has the balls to ask her that question?

    3. “”so she could fight Trump.””

      In a secret court.
      Steele said the purpose of the dossier was to contest the election. I see that as far more of an issue than opposition research for campaign purposes.

  23. The Russian trolls are infesting the comments today.

    1. The ironic thing about that statement is that, as soon as Trump surprised everybody by winning, Russia changed gears, and started attacking him. Some of the bigger protests against Trump that happened after the election were actually organized by… Russian trolls!

      So, it would be perfectly consistent with what we know for the “Russian trolls” to be the ones attacking Trump in this comment thread.

  24. The problem with accepting information from a foreign government for the purposes of winning an election, is that this *may be* a form of backdoor espionage. I would expect self-described nationalists to be at least worried about the possibility that foreign governments could use political campaigns to achieve its aims in ways that it couldn’t do by trying to influence a government directly. But then again Trump isn’t much of a nationalist, he’s a narcissist using nationalism to justify his narcissism.

    1. And I am open to the idea that there shouldn’t be any rules on any communications between two parties (short of things like “true threats” etc.) But if you are going to argue that espionage, in the form of manipulating the government on behalf of a foreign power, ought to be a crime, then it’s hard to argue that “backdoor espionage” in the form of manipulating a political campaign on behalf of a foreign power, is not *at the very least* problematic.

  25. Look, you morons.

    Russia didn’t offer Trump “oppo research.” They hacked the DNC’s emails and offered to use it to help Trump win. They broke the law to get that “oppo research.” That’s why you report it to the FBI.

    If Russia’s FSB happens to be especially good at digging up examples of plagiarism by Biden – that’s one thing. But essentially saying you’ll accept the fruits of foreign government’s illegal activities to thwart your political opponents and just call it “oppo research” is exactly the sort of thing that threatens our national sovereignty.

    I almost can’t believe that Republicans are just going along with this. What Putin uses to support Trump, Putin can use to undermine him – and anyone else in the Republican party he might choose.

    1. It rather puts to bed the entire idea that Trumpism is just a type of nationalism, doesn’t it?

      There is nothing “nationalist” about approving of backdoor espionage on your own country.

    2. Good luck convincing this crowd. The GOP has become a pure cult of personality. They’re like the LaRouchies now.

    3. “They hacked the DNC’s emails and offered to use it to help Trump win.”
      They did?
      And you know that they told Trump, or Junior, that this is what they did, how?
      The, actually unproven-to-be-a-Russian, “hack” had nothing to do with the “Trump Tower meeting”. In fact there was no negative information translated, at all.
      The “hacked” e-mails weren’t released until months after the “Trump Tower meeting”.
      Why would The Russians™ wait that long, if they had them, when the Russian lawyer, who had met with Fusion GPS, the day before, and the day after the meeting, talked to Jr.? Wouldn’t they have been released soon after?
      Methinks it is the one in your mirror, that is the moron.

    4. SimonP
      June.13.2019 at 8:19 pm
      “…;Russia didn’t offer Trump “oppo research.” They hacked the DNC’s emails and offered to use it to help Trump win. They broke the law to get that “oppo research.” That’s why you report it to the FBI….”

      Look, you fucking ignoramus, we’ve heard that lie many times, and ignoramuses like you think repeating it somehow makes it true.
      It doesn’t

  26. No, of course not. Accepting information is never the problem. How you use said information may be a big problem. Accepting it is not.

    1. It’s illegal.

      1. Only if it is paid for, or qualifies as an “in-kind” contribution to the campaign.
        Since there was no information on HiLIARy provided at the “Trump Tower meeting”, it is impossible to even stretch that out into an illegality.
        Too many are letting their TDS infect their thinking.

        1. Actually, the problem is if it *isn’t* paid for. It’s not a contribution if you pay for something you get.

          But Supreme court precedent on the topic suggests that speech can’t, for 1st amendment reasons, be considered a regulable “contribution”, or else campaign regulations would be unconstitutional.

          1. ANYTHING OF VALUE, puppets

            1. Fuck off, Hihn

  27. The media keeps claiming that Trump said he would take “help” from “foreign governments,” but if you listen to the interview, he just said that he would listen to information offered by a person who is a foreigner.

    1. I listened. Describe it all

      He would KNOWINGLY tolerate Russia or China interfering in our elections ,… to help himself, again,

      He invited Russia to hack Hillary. They began on her and the DNC within 24 hours.

      Now he has invited both China and Russia to …. do it again … even worse, if they choose.

      THAT violates his path of office … cut-and-dry impeachable.
      Also impeachable, his REFUSAL to fire KellyAnne for violatinbg the Ha

      1. …..
        Another violation, also impeachable, his REFUSAL to fire KellyAnne for violating the Hatch Act …. in support of his own candidacy … as concluded by the official government watchdog,

        The FBI and Intel cannot be trusted. No he shits on the government’s own legal watchdog … believe Putin Kim Jong UN, solely on their words.

        He’s gone. The Polls are already moving, just as they did for Nixon .. when Goldwater was the chosen one, to inform Nixon that the Senate had enough votes to convict. Tick … tick …. tick …

        1. If Kellyanne is “an employee paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office of the President”, then she is exempt.
          This deep-state organization should check its facts.

          1. You’re full of shit.
            Prove it, puppet.

      2. Your TDS addled brain is working overtime, with bad information.
        Trump didn’t “invite the Russians™ to hack HiLIARy”.
        He wondered, out loud, if they had already hacked them, because, at the time, they had been “Bleach-bit” erased and unavailable to the government, that had subpoenaed them and was the rightful owner of them.
        He wasn’t talking about the Podesta, or DNC, e-mails, that probably weren’t “hacked” anyway – the “proof” that they were came from a company in the employ of the DNC, not our own intelligence agencies, who were never given the server to inspect, themselves.
        The TDS is making you look psychotic. Seek help.

  28. This is a new low in shamelessness by Reason and Sullum. 

    Jacob’s conclusion rests on his LIE on what Mueller said about “no judicial decision.” The lie was deliberate, AND covered up.  I’ve added bold to show:

    “At the same time, no judicial decision has treated the voluntary provision of uncompensated opposition research or similar information as a thing of value that could amount to a contribution under campaign-finance law …

    “At the same time .. ” is because Miller had just explained another possibility .. all the possibilities … including what Sullum does not want you to see. (Page 12 of report)

    Sullum also distorted the truth by starting his fragment with a capital letter, AND burying the evidence. The PROPER way to quote that is

    “…. no judicial decision has treated …”THERE IS NEVER A JUDICIAL DECISION WITHOUT A TRIAL OR CASE. DUH.

    What Mueller REALLY says there is that no President has committed so heinous an action as Trump.

    3) I love when Trump’s voice drips with sarcasm, because he’s teaching us something … while throwing INSANE lie.  This one about “oppo research.”  Did YOU catch it. I did, the moment he said it,. (Indented for emphasis, not a quote.)

     Its’ how Trump SNEERS that EVERY candidate does “oppo research”:
    NOW do you see it?

    That’s true … but not from a foreign government … adversary or otherwise!

    THE most likely reason for Mueller describing possible complications with a CRIMINAL charge is …. he’s advising Congress to IMPEACH. Full stop.

    1. Hihn, you should have stayed away.

  29. We can now add yet another RELIABLE source on Trump’s latest abuse of office.

    FEC chair rebukes Trump over statements on accepting election help from foreign governments

    The head of the Federal Elections Commission issued a thinly veiled rebuke of Donald Trump on Thursday over the president’s stance on accepting opposition research from foreign governments on his political adversaries.

    Ellen Weintraub, the FEC chair, expressed her disbelief that Trump believed accepting foreign assistance in a U.S. political election was permissible.

    While Weintraub emphasized that Trump’s position was indeed against U.S. law and that foreign governments seeking to influence American elections did so for their own benefit.

    Other critics noted that accepting such help also came with a price

    Even Fox News host Brian Kilmeade found Trump’s ethical formulation troubling. “You don’t want a foreign government or foreign entity giving you information because they will want something back,” Kilmeade said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning. “If anybody knows that it is the president. There is no free lunch. If someone wants information they want influence. I think the president’s got to clarify that. … He opened himself wide up to attacks.”

    Even Fox and Friends throws in the towel on this latest abuse of power.

    On the same day, Trump refused to fire Kellyanne Conway for multiple violations of the Hatch Act, abusing her position for partisan political gain, as recommended by the federal watchdog who enforce the Hatch Act.

    The Emperor has no clothes.

    1. DUDE!
      Seek help.
      The TDS is destroying your brain.

      1. (sneer)

        1. Fuck off, Hihn

          1. Loser

  30. Carter Page was a longtime CIA/FBI asset who did exactly what the Democrats said people should do – contact the FBI when approached by foreign actors. I hope Page writes a book about how government intelligence agencies turned against one of their own assets. Would make a great movie, too.

    1. Carter Page was a longtime CIA/FBI asset who did exactly what the Democrats said people should do – contact the FBI when approached by foreign actors.

      You lose either way!!! WHOEVER he told — FBI or the Australian diplomat — would justify the investigation.

      Umm, why did he plead guilty to having lied about it?

      1. People who begin sentences with “Umm” are condescending, know-nothing assholes.

        1. Ummm, REPEAT: Why did he plead guilty to having lied about it?
          Would YOU plead guilty to raping a family of gerbils, precious snowflake?

          1. Carter Page did not plead guilty to anything because Mueller never indicted him.

            Since you don’t seem to be very good with facts, ask your mom to help you research Bob Mueller’s actions in the Whitey Bugler case, where he sent innocent people to jail to protect his murdering gangster snitch. Mueller is the one who should be taking a plea.

            1. I don’t “research” Breitbart, Infowars, Stormfront and the like.

              I was indeed wrong to say he plead guilty. That was I should not have taken the easy way to ridicule your claim on what he did.

  31. Didn’t we just finish a 2 yr investigation based on laughable intel provided by a British agent who talked to Russians or some BS like that?

    1. You poor deluded soul. The investigation began several months earlier … before Mueller was even appointed to continue it.

      One of Trump’s fellow retards, George Papadopoulos, bragged to Australia’s senior diplomat in Britain that Russia had stolen emails which could be used against Hillary.

      When the emails were released, the diplomat immediately informed his fellow diplomats in the U.S.

      The Steele dossier was only part of the full report by GPS Fusions, who had hired Steele, not Hillary. GPS was originally hired by a millionaire opponent of Trump, to block his nomination. When Trump was nominated, GPS sold the same info to Trump’s new opponent, Hillary. And only parts of the Steele dossier have been discredited — plus they had absolutely nothing to do with launching the investigation. They were part of a FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page (google it)

      The diplomat, of course, reported it immediately

      Popadapoulus plead guilty to lying about his contacts with Russia, shorty after the indictments of Manafort and Carter Page were unsealed.

      So they only possible debate is that Popadapoulus was guilty, but the proof was obtained improperly.

      1. “One of Trump’s fellow retards, George Papadopoulos, bragged to Australia’s senior diplomat in Britain that Russia had stolen emails which could be used against Hillary.”

        Weird that George was found to have never spoken to any Russians. Nor did he know of emails. Mifsud denied telling George anything about emails and exactly zero evidence exists that George even mentioned emails to Downer.

        “When the emails were released, the diplomat immediately informed his fellow diplomats in the U.S.”

        George said Russia had damaging info (per British source Mifsud — not Russian, mind you), but no info on what the info was. Downer assumed the emails were it, based solely on his assumption. Downer never once said George mentioned emails to him. Mifsud mentioned damaging info on Clinton, not damaging info on the DNC.

        “Popadapoulus plead guilty to lying about his contacts with Russia, shorty after the indictments of Manafort and Carter Page were unsealed.”

        False. He had exactly zero contacts with Russia at all. Cannot lie about what never occurred. He was convicted of lying to the FBI…who then proceeded, with Mueller, to completely lie about what he said. Everybody should, as a general rule, lie to the FBI. Until they tape record depositions, it’s your lie vs their lie.


          “Popadapoulus plead guilty to lying about his contacts with Russia, shorty after the indictments of Manafort and Carter Page were unsealed.”

          False. He had exactly zero contacts with Russia at all.

          1. “Papadopoulos plead guilty to lying about his contacts with Russia,

            False. He had exactly zero contacts with Russia at all.

            Is that why he plead guilty?
            Would you plead guilty to gang raping a family of gerbils?How ’bout just one?

            Trump warned us about you, said you’d even lie to defend him from murder.

            Anything else?

            1. “Would you plead guilty to gang raping a family of gerbils?How ’bout just one?”

              I do not know what you do in your private life, nor do I care…just don’t bring it up here, please.

              1. That was ridicule! So is this!
                AGAIN: Why would he plead guilty to lying, if he did not lie?

          2. 10/20/2017

            Court documents unsealed Monday in the Papadopoulos case refer to unnamed campaign officials who were aware he was trying to set up a meeting between Trump and the Russians. Two sources familiar with the charges said one of the officials is Manafort, who authored a key email about Papadopoulos’ efforts.

            “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips,” the email said, according to the documents. “It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

            However, the court papers reveal that a Trump campaign supervisor, who was not named, encouraged Papadopoulos to make a trip to Russia for an off-the-record meeting with Russian officials “if it is feasible.”

            The documents suggest that foreign nationals with ties to the Russian government were seeking to establish a relationship with at least one campaign official, offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. And the documents outline how Papadopoulos, when questioned about those associations , lied.

            “Through his false statements and omissions, defendant … impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” Mueller’s team wrote.

            1. Hihnfaggot is unhihnged.

            2. The Mueller Report, laughable shitshow that it is, disproved that entire piece you copied and pasted with no attribution.

              He spoke to Mifsud — who was not a Russian nor a Russian asset — and Downer, an Australian diplomat who ALSO was not a Russian nor a Russian asset.

              But keep blowing prosecutors. Because that’s what good Libertarians do.

          3. He has no contacts with Russians. Sorry to break it to you. Even the FBI has said he never spoke to a single Russian.

            So, as usual Hihn, you’re wrong. It’s nothing new.


  32. Prove that information you possess wasn’t generated by a foreign source. If you can’t do it, don’t tell other people what information they can and can’t use.

    Also, as a matter of morality, if Russia exposed an intelligence agency coup in the US to sow discord, who gives a fuck that it came from Russia? We have a fucking coup on our hands.

    1. Which elected Trump. He won by a tiny 39,000 voters … after such massive interference by Russia and Wikileaks, plus Comey’s dumb testimony.

    2. Yes, there’s a coup at hand, and Drumpf is leading it by undercutting all the patriots in the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies. The latest is his expressed desire to change the law so that he could run for a third term.

  33. We live in a global world as liberals are so fond of reminding us. So why would accepting dirt from a foreign entity be any worse than taking it from a U.S. citizen? Besides, if they change to law to actually outlaw this it could be very easily gotten around. A foreigner with information gives it to a U.S. citizen who isn’t connected with the campaign. The U.S. citizen (out of patriotism no doubt) sends the info to the campaign.

    1. Open borders…but keep info under lock and key, it seems.

  34. Overwrought or not, it’s illegal for a campaign to receive assistance from foreigners. Whether or not Drumpf himself talked to the Russians, or if his son, son-in-law and campaign officials did on his behalf, it’s still against the law for the campaign. This has been against the law for a long time, and anyone with the gumption to run for President should know it and so should his key campaign officials and relatives.

  35. Somehow completely different than when the Clinton campaign used information obtained from Russians… Right?


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