This morning, the Colluder in Chief called in to The Best Little Whorehouse in AM for one of those therapeutic "massages" he likes so much. For a little extra, they even let him do a Reverse Stephanopoulos, where he gets to dress up as a guy who didn't go on national television and solicit election help from any foreign government willing to offer it. Hannity's gonna be so jelly!

Meanwhile the "adults" in the room at Fox "News" (Shepard Smith and Judge Andrew Napolitano; there are no others) were busy pointing out that taking information on your political opponent from a hostile foreign power is IRL a crime, and it's probably a bad idea for the president to go on television and say Russia, or China, or Ukraine, if you're listening ... Because, in case we hadn't all worked that one out, he's talking about Giuliani's Ukrainium One nonsense about Joe Biden. They're still flogging that bullshit, although it's been roundly debunked, so he's making noise about moving on to China now, and Trump doesn't want to get nailed for taking whatever lies Rudy can drum up about Joe Biden and running with them.

But back to Shep 'n' Nap!

Shepard Smith & Judge Andrew Napolitano Discuss Some Points of Law

SHEPARD SMITH: Is there any way to argue that dirt from a foreign entity on a political opponent would be something that you can receive legally? Any wiggle room at all?

"JUDGE" ANDREW NAPOLITANO: There is not wiggle room with respect to dirt, with respect to opposition research. Because the Federal Election Commission decided in other cases that that is, quote, a thing of value.

As Evan splained us yesterday, paying a foreign national for opposition research into your opponent is LEGAL. But taking an in-kind donation of opposition research, forged documents, or stolen emails from a foreigner is ILLEGAL. Particularly when that foreigner is a representative of a hostile foreign power who is simultaneously lobbying for a change of American foreign policy to relieve economic sanctions on murderous Russian oligarchs. Which is why Judge Nap agreed that if Trump does accept information as he told Stephanopoulos he absolutely would do -- "There's nothing wrong with listening!" -- then "he would be committing a felony, and the person giving it to him, if that person was ever here and subject to our jurisdiction, would be committing a felony as well."

So, did we mishear, or is the president making an open solicitation to foreigners to interfere in the 2020 election? Tell us, Fox News dudes!

SMITH: If you're sitting in Riyadh, or in Moscow watching the telly and you hear the president say, "I would accept it," what sort of message does that send to you, who want to curry favor with the leader of the free world?

NAPOLITANO: To give him what you think will help him, either in his work as president, or in his candidacy for reelection.

And in case that message wasn't clear, here's the Chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), freaking the fuck out on Twitter last night.

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. Electoral intervention from foreign government has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about "foreign Interference, Injury, and Influence." They knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America's. Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation. Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

And Mitch McConnell said ... MEH. He's already blocked any bill that would require hardening our electoral system against Russian interference, and yesterday his good buddy Marsha Blackburn put the kibosh on Mark Warner's F.I.R.E. Act, which would have required campaigns to report any "offer or provision of information or services to or from, or persistent and repeated contact with a government of a foreign country or an agent thereof" to the FBI. Senator Blackburn knows that, "if you were to ever be contacted by a foreign entity, your first call is the FBI," which would be news to the president. But she can't have this bill because blahblahblah phone bank volunteers without green cards.

It would apply to phone bankers, down to any person who shares their views with a candidate ... Any person who shares their views with a candidate would be reportable. With this law, it would be prudent for every campaign contact to start with these words: Before you tell me anything, are you a foreign national?

In fact, the plain text of the statute specifically says otherwise. But, please, LIE SOME MORE.

Campaigns could have to report social media responses or interactions. Report every non-U.S. citizen or even every Dreamer. We hear a lot about the Dreamers, so think about this. You would report every non-U.S. citizen or Dreamer who volunteers for their campaign or knocks on doors or even knocks on the door of a foreign national.

You heard it here first, kids. We can't protect our elections from foreign interference because we need to protect immigrants. Because the GOP cares so deeply about immigrants.


[DB / C-SPAN / HuffPo]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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