Sen. Kamala Harris said on Thursday that President Donald Trump is a “clear and present threat to democracy” after Trump said he would accept dirt on political rivals from foreign governments.
The Democratic presidential hopeful posted on Twitter, “He has engaged in a cover up. He’s obstructed justice. He openly welcomes foreign collusion. When I’m President, I won’t fear an independent Department of Justice, I’ll restore one. This president is a clear and present threat to democracy.”
Harris, a former prosecutor, has previously said if she or any of her fellow Democratic candidates unseat Trump in 2020, she expects the Justice Department to prosecute him.
In a recent interview with ABC News, Trump said, “Oh give me a break, she’s running for President, she’s doing horribly. She’s way down in the polls.”
“I heard she made that statement,” Trump said. “And you know what, who wouldn’t? Probably if I were running in her position, I’d make the same statement.”
Trump told ABC he would listen if a foreign government approached him with damaging information about a political rival, and said he wouldn’t necessarily report the contact to the FBI.
“I think you might want to listen,” Trump said. “There isn’t anything wrong with listening.”
Democratic lawmakers and 2020 candidates responded incredulously to the President’s comments, and CNN reported Trump’s allies have also been privately critical of the remarks.
Trump has consistently downplayed Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and has cast doubts on US intelligence agencies’ assessments. The American intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” aimed at hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Harris, like several of her fellow Democratic candidates, has said in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that she believes Congress should take the steps towards impeaching Trump.