NEW YORK — President Donald J. Trump stepped on a landmine this week. He told ABC’s George Stephanopolous that if a foreign government offered him troubling news about a political rival, he would hear the information and possibly call the FBI.
“I think maybe you do both,” Trump said. “There’s nothing wrong with listening. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong I’d go maybe to the FBI.”
Some Republicans disagreed.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said, “If a public official is approached by a foreign government offering anything of value, the answer is no — whether it be money, opposition research.”
“I wouldn’t do it,” said Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). “I wouldn’t accept material like that.”
Trumpophobic Democrats, of course, reacted as if the president’s answer to this hypothetical question were equivalent to e-mailing the Kremlin his nuclear launch codes.
“Donald Trump committed yet another act of treasonous betrayal of the USA. #TraiterTrump,” Democratic Coalition’s Jon Cooper said via Twitter.
The Daily Kos hissed: “It is impossible to understate the profoundly evil nature of what Donald Trump told George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday.”
Here is another strictly hypothetical situation:
Imagine that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phones the Oval Office in September 2020.
“Mr. President,” Netanyahu says, “Mossad’s routine wiretaps of Hamas reveal that your Democratic opponent for the White House, Senator Kamala Harris of California, has phoned Hamas leaders repeatedly since she clinched the nomination. If elected, she plans to force Israel to accept Hamas members in the Knesset as a condition for keeping U.S. diplomatic recognition. We are deeply concerned about this, Mr. President, and thought you should know.”
Should Trump tell Bibi to shut up? Or should the president at least listen to this intelligence and then decide what to do?
And what about this entirely hypothetical scenario?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaches Trump aboard Air Force One in October 2020, as he jets between rallies in Pennsylvania and Florida.
“Mr. President,” Johnson says, “we have spent three months interrogating a former KGB colonel who left Russia and moved to London. He offered us a lovely gift: a box full of photos, audio tapes, and videos of his former comrades in Moscow meeting secretly with your challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. These encounters occurred in various locales, every six months, during the Cold War. They stretched from the 1970s, past Sanders’ June 1988 honeymoon in the Soviet Union, right through December 1991, when the USSR went kaput. The Democratic presidential nominee has been a covert KGB asset since the days of Leonid Brezhnev.”
Should President Trump listen to such a report? Should he hang up the second he hears the word “Bernie?”
What if Trump refused such information, lost to Sanders, and a KGB mole became America’s commander-in-chief? What should Trump tell the American people? “Well, folks, Boris called me with urgent information about Sanders. I didn’t listen. Sorry, America. Maybe I should have let Breezy Boris talk. Oh, well. Good luck with your new, pro-Moscow president. Bye!”
These examples are entirely fictional. There is no evidence that Senator Harris is in cahoots with Hamas. Similarly, as with President Trump, there is no evidence that Senator Sanders ever has colluded with Russia.
Not fictional, however, are numerous examples of Democratic presidential contenders who have capitalized on foreign contacts and information.
If the willingness to receive information from foreign countries, not least America’s allies, epitomizes evil, when will the Trump haters denounce Hillary Clinton for underwriting the notorious “dirty dossier” of sleazy, unverified rumors and lies about Trump? This was written by former British spy Christopher Steele, evidently based on Russian disinformation. Team Clinton used Steele’s “report” to smear Trump. Trump’s foes in the FBI, meanwhile, deployed the Clinton/Democratic National Committee-sponsored Steele dossier to launch their highly biased Russiagate probe against Team Trump.
Trump enemies are hammering him today for theoretically, potentially doing something that Hillary Clinton already has done.
According to Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern, a DNC consultant, Clinton White House alumna, and “veteran Democratic operative named Alexandra Chalupa” colluded with the Ukrainian embassy in Washington to seek dirt on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business deals with Kiev. This information was weaponized against Trump’s one-time top political operative.
As McClatchy’s William Douglas and Anita Kumar wrote in June 2016, “More than 40 percent of the top donors to the Clinton family foundation are based in foreign countries, raising potential conflict-of-interest questions for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.”
Hillary Clinton has been accused of giving donors to her family’s foundation special access to the government when she led the State Department — charges that echo a similar scandal from nearly 20 years ago, when President Bill Clinton was accused of ignoring U.S. national security to please a Democratic donor,” the Washington Examiner’s Pete Kasperowicz wrote in September 2016. “In 1996, a U.S. company gave China vital technical information that boosted its missile program, an incident that Clinton’s own national security team said was a major mistake.”
Then-presidential candidate Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) said in March 2004: “I’ve met foreign leaders who can’t go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, ‘You’ve got to win this, you’ve got to beat this guy,’” G.W. Bush. Kerry, who served as Obama’s Secretary of State, has met with Iran’s militant-Islamic leaders on numerous occasions, in hopes of resurrecting the calamitous Iran-nuclear deal. This high-level campaign to torpedo current U.S. foreign policy screams for a multi-count federal indictment for eviscerating the Logan Act.
The Left’s viciously hypocritical response to Trump’s comments confirms one thing: As Club for Growth President David McIntosh observes, “Democrats can do whatever they want while President Trump will be held to a double standard.” McIntosh, whose organization I have addressed, is far too generous. Democrats are fueled by double, triple, and quadruple standards. Put another way, the Trump-hating Left has no standards at all.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.