During an explosive segment Thursday, Rep. John Ratcliffe argued that the Obama admin had asked for foreign help against then candidate Trump in 2016 and there is nothing wrong with it.
Ratcliffe said “the president can and should ask for assistance from foreign governments in ongoing criminal investigations” and that it was Trump’s “constitutional duty.”
Democrat Hank Johnson had asked if any Republicans were ready to defend a president asking a foreign government to investigate a political opponent.
I want to recognize my colleague from Georgia, Mr. Johnson’s question, that he asked before. Is it ever okay to invite a foreign government to become involved in an election involving a political opponent? The answer is yes! It better be.
We do it all the time. Have you that quickly forgotten how the Trump/Russia investigation proceeded? The Obama administration asked Great Britain and Italy and Australia and other countries to assist in its investigation of a person who was a political opponent from the opposite party.
I keep hearing over and over again, “You can’t investigate political opponents.” We have a member of this committee [Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)] who was — as a member of this committee and the intelligence committee, investigating his political opponent, Donald Trump, at the very moment he was running to replace him as president.
My colleague on the intel committee, Mr. [Joaquin] Castro, was investigating President Trump at the same time his brother [Julián] was running to replace President Trump. President Trump is the only one with the really legitimate reason to be doing it. He is the chief executive.
We are in the judiciary committee, right? We do understand the Constitution, we do understand that the president as the unitary executive is the executive branch, and all power of the executive branch derives from the president.
And the president can and should ask for assistance from foreign governments in ongoing criminal investigations. There was an ongoing criminal investigation into what happened in 2016. The Attorney General, [William] Barr, at the time of the July 25th call [with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky] had, long before that appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate exactly that issue.
It wasn’t just appropriate, it was absolutely the president’s constitutional duty.