A New National Security Framework for Foreign Interference
A series of recent signals from Trump administration officials, including the President, are normalizing an idea that is detrimental to our national security – that soliciting foreign interference in a U.S. election won’t be prosecuted. With foreign rivals from Beijing to Moscow and elsewhere watching closely, it will become open season on our democracy unless we quickly shift our legal framework for such behavior from a campaign-finance perspective to a national security approach.
Earlier this year, Special Counsel Robert Mueller declined to enforce campaign finance law, partly because of the difficulty proving that the value of “dirt” promised by a foreign power exceeds the monetary threshold for a criminal violation. When asked in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing whether a president should report foreign dirt to law enforcement, Attorney General Bill Barr injected more ambiguity by hesitating before answering and then seeming to say “yes,” but only if it comes from a foreign intelligence service. When asked the same question in an interview, President Donald Trump said “I think I’d take it.”