Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) pointed out in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning that President Barack Obama’s administration had asked foreign power to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.
Ratcliffe was responding to a challenge from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), who asked whether any Republican was prepared to defend the idea of the president to asking a foreign government to investigate a political opponent.
I want to recognize my colleague from Georgia, Mr. Johnson’s question, that he asked before. Is it ever okay to invite a foreign government to become involved in an election involving a political opponent? The answer is yes! It better be. We do it all the time. Have you that quickly forgotten how the Trump/Russia investigation proceeded? The Obama administration asked Great Britain and Italy and Australia and other countries to assist in its investigation of a person who was a political opponent from the opposite party. I keep hearing over and over again, “You can’t investigate political opponents.” We have a member of this committee [Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)] who was — as a member of this committee and the intelligence committee, investigating his political opponent, Donald Trump, at the very moment he was running to replace him as president. My colleague on the intel committee, Mr. [Joaquin] Castro, was investigating President Trump at the same time his brother [Julián] was running to replace President Trump. President Trump is the only one with the really legitimate reason to be doing it. He is the chief executive. We are in the judiciary committee, right? We do understand the Constitution, we do understand that the president as the unitary executive is the executive branch, and all power of the executive branch derives from the president. And the president can and should ask for assistance from foreign governments in ongoing criminal investigations. There was an ongoing criminal investigation into what happened in 2016. The Attorney General, [William] Barr, at the time of the July 25th call [with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky] had, long before that appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate exactly that issue. It wasn’t just appropriate, it was absolutely the president’s constitutional duty.
Ratcliffe went on to argue that there was a “prima facie” case of corruption against the Bidens.
Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, was a highly-paid board member of the corrupt Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, when Biden ordered Ukraine’s prosecutor fired. Multiple witnesses described that as a conflict of interest.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.