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On the Trail: Shaheen calls Trump’s election opposition comments ‘tremendously dangerous’

  • Subcommittee ranking member Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., listens to FBI Director Christopher Wray as he testifies during a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Alex Brandon

  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu listens as Ivanka Trump speaks during a meeting with governors on "workforce freedom and mobility" in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci

For the Monitor
Published: 6/13/2019 4:31:33 PM

New Hampshire’s senior U.S. senator is taking aim at President Donald Trump over his controversial comments that he’d accept critical information on a 2020 election opponent provided by a foreign government.

“As the Commander in Chief, the President swore an oath to protect this country,” Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a statement on Thursday. “It is incredibly alarming and tremendously dangerous for the President to openly invite another attack on our democracy.”

And Shaheen warned that the Republican president’s “message will not fall on deaf ears as our adversaries are ramping up their efforts and looking for every opportunity to influence our elections.”

Trump’s admission that he would accept a foreign power’s assistance in the 2020 election and that he might not report it to the FBI – made in an interview with ABC News released Wednesday evening – was assailed by Democrats and even some GOP lawmakers.

“It’s not an interference, they have information – I think I’d take it,” Trump said in the interview.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent two years investigating any possible collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia to sway the election toward the GOP nominee at the expense of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In his recently released report, Mueller detailed extensive contact between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Among them was a now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower in New York City between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer with close ties to the Kremlin.

But Mueller did not conclude there was any criminal conspiracy.

Shaheen, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee who’s up for re-election next year, urged that “Republicans and Democrats need to be united in bolstering our nation’s defenses.”

And taking aim at the top Republican in the Senate, Shaheen argued that “Majority Leader McConnell must stop obstructing the many bipartisan efforts to safeguard our democratic institutions and allow votes on these critical measures. It’s imperative that we respond to this threat as one nation.”

Shaheen has long been a champion of securing U.S. elections from foreign threats and interventions. And she also has long called for Moscow to be held accountable for its tampering in the 2016 election. Earlier this week, Shaheen was among a group of lawmakers to introduce a bi-partisan bill to give the Foreign Agents Disclosure and Registration Act the power to investigate foreign lobbying campaigns in the U.S.

On Thursday, while the Trump opposition research story was firmly in the center of the media spotlight, New Hampshire’s Republican governor was at the White House.

Gov. Chris Sununu, a Trump supporter who enjoys a strong working relationship with the White House, was part of a bipartisan group of eight governors meeting with the president and some of his top officials to discuss workforce freedom and mobility.

The Monitor reached out to Sununu’s spokesperson multiple times to see if the governor had any reaction to the president’s comments, but didn’t receive a response by press time.

Yang’s take on Trump

Andrew Yang, meanwhile, called the president’s comments “simultaneously both shocking and unsurprising.”

The Democratic presidential candidate told the Monitor that “it certainly lends credence to the fact that he was both open to just that sort of thing during the 2016 election. So it’s very distressing to the American people. The goal, though, should be focusing on getting him out of the office in 2020 as fast as possible and that’s what I’m working toward.”

The New York City entrepreneur – who’s promising each adult American $1,000 a month as a part of a universal basic income he’s proposing was interviewed Thursday while campaigning in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

Inslee targets Sununu during Concord stop

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee’s taking aim at Sununu over the Republican governor’s opposition to a Democrat backed plan for paid family and medical leave.

The Democratic presidential candidate, known best for his efforts to combat climate change – his signature issue – headlined a family medical leave discussion Wednesday at UNH Law in Concord.

“There was a misconception that if you treat working families fairly and you help them build the family foundation, that it will hurt your economy,” Inslee said. “We call that the Sununu syndrome. We were able to overcome it.”

Washington State’s plan is currently being implemented and is expected to start paying benefits in January.

Touting his state’s successes, Inslee said “here’s a message to Gov. Sununu. If you want to grow your economy, look west. You’ll see the best economy in the United States. And we need to do that for New Hampshire and keep kids living here so we grow your economy.”

The roundtable, which included leaders in the fight for paid family and medical leave in New Hampshire, was hosted by Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy.

Sununu, who’s described the Democrats’ plan as a backdoor income tax, earlier this year vetoed Senate Bill 1, which was the Democrats paid family and medical leave bill.

While Inslee was taking aim at Sununu, minutes earlier the New Hampshire governor held a news conference where he promised to veto a budget coming out of the Democratic controlled legislature if it contains a paid family and medical leave plan that’s funded by a mandatory payroll tax.

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