Law & the Courts

House Dems to Introduce Legislation in Response to Trump’s Willingness to Accept ‘Dirt’ from Foreign Countries

(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

House Democrats are preparing to introduce a legislative package that would, among other things, require political candidates to inform the authorities if they are offered damaging information on their opponent by a foreign power.

The legislative effort began in earnest following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, but is now receiving renewed attention following President Trump’s admission that he would accept opposition research from a hostile power.

“I think you might want to listen; there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Wednesday night when asked about the propriety of accepting help from a foreign power. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, ‘We have information on your opponent,’ oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

“If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong,” he added.

The legislative package being considered will be billed as a means to “end crime, corruption, and coverups” within campaigns, according to the Washington Post, and would bar operatives from sharing proprietary information — such as the polling data that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort gave to a Kremlin-linked associate — with foreign countries.

Under one piece of new legislation, introduced by Representative Tom Malinowski (D., N.J.) on Wednesday, campaigns would be required to file a “suspicious activity report” with federal authorities in the event that a foreign government offered assistance.

The bill, known as the Anti-Collusion Act, is designed specifically to prevent incidents such as the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting, in which Donald Trump Jr. and a number of other campaign officials met with a Kremlin-linked Russian attorney who had offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, but whose true intention was to lobby for the lifting of Russian sanctions.

“The Trump Tower meeting was a blatant offer of help from a foreign government,” Malinowski told the Post. “In that situation, it doesn’t appear that there was anything illegal in accepting the meeting. But under this legislation they would have been obliged to report the offer because it is illegal for foreign governments to interfere in our election.”

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