Republican John Ratcliffe: Obama sought foreign help investigating Trump

Throughout their efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, House Democrats have asserted that it is an abuse of power for a sitting president to solicit the assistance of foreign governments in investigations that may target a potential political opponent.

But during the House Judiciary Committee debate on Thursday, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) pointed out that if such a thing is truly an impeachable offense, then former President Barack Obama is just as guilty — if not more so — than the current president, Breitbart reported.

“We do it all the time”

Ratcliffe’s comments came in response to remarks from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), who reiterated the Democrat narrative that Trump abused his power and chided his Republican colleagues for daring to defend a president who allegedly asked a foreign government to help investigate a political rival.

“I want to recognize my colleague from Georgia, Mr. Johnson’s question, that he asked before,” Ratcliffe began. “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.”

The congressman pointed to the Trump–Russia investigation as proof positive.

“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,” Ratcliffe said, according to Breitbart.

He went on: “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.”

Ratcliffe also cited his “colleague on the Intel Committee, Mr. [Joaquin] Castro [D-TX],” who “was investigating President Trump at the same time his brother [Julián] was running to replace President Trump.”

“He is the chief executive”

Meanwhile, “President Trump is the only one with the really legitimate reason to be” pursuing such probes, according to Ratcliffe. “He is the chief executive,” Ratcliffe said.

He continued: “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 in the executive branch derives from the president. And the president can and should ask for assistance from foreign governments in ongoing criminal investigations.”

Ratcliffe went on to run through the litany of reasons why it is perfectly reasonable, and perhaps even necessary, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for their questionable dealings and activities in Ukraine.

His main point, however, was 100% correct. If it was OK for Obama to seek the help of allies like Australia, Italy, and the U.K. in 2016 against a political rival like Trump, then the same standard must be applied to the 45th president. Otherwise, Democrats are proving that they’re the ones abusing their power.

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