Updated: June 14, 2019 08:46 PM
Democrats representing the Northland in Congress are critical of President Donald Trump's comments about accepting dirt on an opponent from a foreign power, but regional Republicans have not commented on the president's remarks.
On Wednesday, Trump told ABC News that he would "want to hear" negative information about a political opponent from a foreign power and that he would have no obligation to call the FBI. Then Friday, the president told Fox News that he might contact the FBI in such an instance, but he would "of course" look at the information.
All five Democrats in the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan criticized Trump's remarks.
"President Trump encouraged and welcomed Russia's attacks on our democracy and interference in our 2016 election. Now he has told ABC News he is open to accepting foreign interference in our elections, which is illegal," Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin said in a statement to WDIO.
"The President is inviting hostile foreign governments to interfere in our elections and that should concern every American voter," Baldwin said.
Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith mocked the president's statements in a Twitter post, writing, "Accepting campaign 'dirt' on your opponent from a foreign government should be illegal. Oh wait. It already is."
Spokespersons for both Smith and Baldwin, as well as Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), told WDIO that they would inform the FBI if they had any contact from foreign powers offering opposition research. A spokesperson for Stauber also said he would not seek opposition research from foreign powers, but did not comment on the president's remarks.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is running for president, called the president's remarks "inexcusable" on her personal Twitter page.
"The President of the United States just effectively gave permission to foreign agents to interfere in our elections. We need my Secure Elections Act and Honest Ads Act passed immediately. The 2020 elections are not secure. Disgraceful," Klobuchar wrote.
The offices of Wisconsin Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy have not responded to WDIO's request for comment on the matter as of late Friday afternoon. Neither has commented on the president's remarks on his social media pages or website.
This is inexcusable. The President of the United States just effectively gave permission to foreign agents to interfere in our elections. We need my Secure Elections Act and Honest Ads Act passed immediately. The 2020 elections are not secure. Disgraceful. https://t.co/Ht8GwBA0Aj— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 13, 2019
The President is sending out the same signals he did in 2016: he is inviting foreign powers to interfere in our elections, and that is unacceptable. https://t.co/1Jj5zpIvrS— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 14, 2019
Did any of these foreign governments offer you dirt on your opponents? Then YES, you tell the FBI. This isn't that complicated. https://t.co/Htp3owtlIg— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 13, 2019
I have to know, especially now that the President has invited foreign interference in our election again: what happened with those polling machines in North Carolina in 2016? How were they compromised? And what are we doing to stop it from happening again?https://t.co/vyn70KdxjF— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 13, 2019
Accepting campaign “dirt” on your opponent from a foreign government should be illegal. Oh wait. It already is.https://t.co/cubo1KHDBc— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) June 13, 2019
This is absolutely unacceptable.— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) June 13, 2019
The FBI MUST be notified if a foreign country tries to interfere in a U.S. election. This is essential to safeguard our democracy! We need to redouble our efforts to secure our elections, & as Ranking Member of @HSGAC I’m pushing to do just that. https://t.co/PNVHB6zdyC
Wow. This sounds more like a mob boss than the President of the United States.https://t.co/7qOvYEQlPf— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) June 13, 2019
Updated: June 14, 2019 08:46 PM
Created: June 14, 2019 09:58 AM
Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved