In a column for the Daily Beast, conservative Matt Lewis expressed disgust and dismay with Donald Trump's legal advisor, Rudy Giuliani, for his stunning admission that he saw nothing wrong with working with agents from a foreign country to get a candidate elected.
During Sunday appearances on the cable TV shows, the former New York mayor blew off fears of foreign influence, bluntly stating, "There's nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”
As Lewis, put it: "Talk about defining deviancy down."
"Of course, Rudy’s interpretation is open to debate. My read of the Mueller report suggests that opposition research may constitute a 'thing of value,' which is tantamount to a contribution," Lewis wrote. "The question, though, is whether anyone on Trump’s team 'knowingly and willfully' violated the law. Intent is hard to prove."
Nonetheless, Lewis suggested that Giuliani just opened the door for desperate candidates to reach out to enemies of the U.S. for help in getting elected.
"But let’s assume that Rudy is correct about the legality (he’s a lawyer—I’m not). As the president’s personal attorney, his words have weight. And taking Rudy at his word, why wouldn’t a 2020 campaign be willing to avail itself of information from Russia, Turkey, or China? And why wouldn’t Russia, Turkey, or China oblige?" he wrote.
Lewis then pointed out a stunning refusal from the Trump camp to forswear accepting foreign help -- again.
"Back in February, The Daily Beast asked every presidential campaign running or exploring a run 'whether they would commit to not knowingly using or referencing hacked material that appears online on grounds that it may have been obtained illegally,' Lewis admitted. "The only campaign that refused to make such a commitment was Donald Trump’s."
That, Lewis asserts, is a problem.
"I’m not suggesting Trump should have been indicted, or that he should be impeached. What I am suggesting is that a lack of consequences creates the impression that you can take information from a foreign national with impunity," he wrote, before adding that the 2020 election already looks like it will be a mess because of what happened in 2016.
"Even if campaigns vow to steer clear of hacked material—and Team Trump hasn’t done that—there’s still a serious danger that information will be disseminated via the media and/or social media. What complicates matters is that disinformation could be just as dangerous as hacked information," he claimed. "We are entering an era where we can expect our campaigns to play dirty and our adversaries to interfere in our elections. And technology is outpacing our ability to filter out propaganda."
"In a serious world, every campaign would have to vow not to use hacked data or information," he insisted. "The 2020 election is right around the corner. Few people appreciate how destabilizing things could be if we don’t get serious about keeping the trains from careening off the rails."
You can read more here.