MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Trump moves: 'A national nightmare is upon us'

Hours after reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE called on China to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE, MSNBC host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Dr. Tom Inglesby Gottlieb calls for CDC to have 'elevated' role in coronavirus fight Navarro: CDC 'really let the country down with the testing' MORE on Thursday said “a national nightmare is upon us.”

“I don’t say this lightly, but let’s be frank: a national nightmare is upon us,” Todd said during “Meet the Press.” “The basic rules of our democracy are under attack from the president.”

He continued: “This moment should arguably be a national emergency. The Founding Fathers would’ve considered it a national emergency if the president publicly lobbied multiple foreign governments to interfere in the next election,” adding that the precedent Trump’s actions could set would cause “lasting damage” to the U.S. democracy. 

Earlier Thursday, Trump publicly encouraged both China and Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son amid growing concerns over the president’s use of the Oval Office to pressure foreign governments to look into his political rivals. A whistleblower’s complaint about Trump urging Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden is at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against him.

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“I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend they start an investigation into the Bidens. Because nobody doubts they weren't crooked,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn, adding: “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

Todd said Trump’s public admissions “all but ensures” his impeachment by illustrating that “the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, is using the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election while doing it relying on a debunked conspiracy theory or two.”

“This is not hearsay. This is not a leak. This is not a whistleblower complaint. It’s not a memorandum of a phone conversation,” Todd said. “You heard the president himself do it on the White House lawn.”

Trump’s comments are likely to further fuel calls for impeachment from House Democrats, who have zeroed in on Trump soliciting a foreign leader to look into a domestic political rival as the basis for allegations that he abused his office.