Under Trump, our democracy is for sale

Under Trump, our democracy is for sale
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If it wasn’t clear before, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE made it crystal during an interview with ABC News. Our democracy is for sale to the highest bidder. 

Asked by ABC News' George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosBiden was right to call Putin a 'killer' — but is he doing enough to save Alexei Navalny? Senate Republican targets infrastructure package's effect on small business job creators Energy secretary: 'We don't want to use past definitions of infrastructure' MORE if Trump would accept damning information from a foreign government about a political opponent, Trump said he would. He also said he wouldn’t call the FBI and that his own FBI Director Christopher Wray is wrong in saying that the FBI should be called in these situations.   

Moreover, Trump said he has never called the FBI and never would. Trump also said that Members is Congress do this all the time. So would he. 


It was an astonishing admission even for a president who has denied that a foreign adversary — Russia — attacked our Democratic institutions and interfered in our elections for the sole purpose of helping Trump win.  

It was an astonishing admission for a president who has bemoaned, degraded and belittled the ongoing special counsel investigation that was prompted by initial accusations that he had done exactly what he admitted to ABC he would do if a foreign power offered him dirt on his opponent. 

It was an astonishing admission that was also, unsurprisingly, full of lies.  

First off, there’s absolutely no evidence to show that any member of Congress has ever engaged in this kind of unlawful activity. 

Secondly, it is unlawful. Eerily prescient, the Founding Fathers made it illegal to accept any help from foreign entities when it comes to our democracy and our elections. 

Third, Trump has in fact called the FBI in the past. When in his casino ventures Trump came across business partners with possible ties to organized crime, he collaborated with the FBI.


Once again, why this president feels the need to lie about seemingly inconsequential things is baffling. But what is more disturbing is that he has admitted publicly that he would break the law (yet again) and accept offers from foreign governments if they could help him win an election. 

It has become so easy to dismiss the outrageous things that come out of Trump’s mouth or that he posts on Twitter as just the latest addition in a line of unending inappropriate, disconcerting, insulting, untrue utterances. 

The outrage fatigue is real, and it can dangerously give way to an apathy that leads Americans to shrug their shoulders, throw up their arms and move on. But this is different. What the president said to ABC should make all Americans cringe. 

Shocking, disgusting and corrupt as this may sound, it really should not surprise us. The Trump administration is the most unethical we have seen in a very long time, if not ever.

The Mueller report backed up what all of our intelligence agencies already knew — that Russia invaded our elections and carried out a deliberate and extensive effort to spread misinformation and disinformation that helped Donald Trump and hurt Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhy does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants How Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 MORE.

Yet Trump called it a hoax. 

Instead of responding with outrage and vowing to do everything in his power to ensure it does not happen again, the president of the United States has only cozied up more to the very enemy state that perpetrated the attack, given the benefit of the doubt to its brutal autocrat — Putin — and adopted the very views and ways that strongmen and dictators around the world use to maintain power: discrediting the media and degrading the courts and law enforcement. 

Time and again, Donald Trump has refused to fully acknowledge that Russia was responsible for this attack on our democracy. He was so upset by the investigation the FBI undertook to find out what happened and the extent to which Russia invaded our democracy, that he fired Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyShowtime developing limited series about Jan. 6 Capitol riot Wray says FBI not systemically racist John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges MORE, which led to the appointment of the special counsel. 

Subsequently, Trump did nothing but call the Russia investigation a “hoax” and say that there was “no collusion, no obstruction.” But low and behold, Trump has now declared that he would indeed welcome the kind of intrusion into our elections that led to the Russia investigation in the first place. 

Once again, we must ask, where is the Republican outrage on this? We have seen that Trump supporters are tying themselves up in knots on television trying to explain away or defend Trump’s egregious invitation to America’s enemies to compromise the presidency.

Where are the Republicans whom we know are pulling their hair out privately in disgust and frustration at the leader of their party and his candid words about how he would welcome help from a foreign adversary in an election?

Can you imagine if this had been a Democratic president who had uttered such dangerous words? I guarantee you that it would have triggered impeachment proceedings. As such, I am sure this incident is one more on the ledger of the side of those who are pushing for impeachment in the House of Representatives.

In the meantime, nothing is being done to protect our elections from the kind of meddling that took place in 2016 that helped land Trump in the White House, and we are as exposed as ever to international election thievery again in 2020. 

What is most pathetic is that our own president just told the world under no uncertain terms that he, the presidency and the greatest democracy in the world are all for sale to the highest bidder for the right information he could use against political opponents.  

There is clearly no limit to Trump’s indecency and corruption. Americans, come 2020, we must rid our country from its greatest threat — Donald Trump.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.