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H.R. McMaster says soliciting foreign interference isn’t ok

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  • Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made it unequivocally clear that a sitting US president soliciting foreign help in America’s political process was “absolutely not” appropriate.
  • McMaster, a retired three-star US Army general who was Donald Trump’s national security adviser for over a year, encouraged Congress to determine whether or not the president committed a violation when he publicly called on Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
  • “Of course it’s not appropriate,” McMaster said, chucking. “Does anybody think it is appropriate?”
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Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made it unequivocally clear that a sitting US president soliciting foreign help in America’s political process was “absolutely not” appropriate.

“Of course, no,” McMaster said to a panel discussion at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington D.C. on Thursday morning. “It’s absolutely not.”

McMaster, a retired three-star US Army general who was Donald Trump’s national security adviser for a year, encouraged Congress to determine whether or not the president had committed a violation when he publicly called on Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

“What has to happen here is seeing our democracy play out, the separation of powers, play out,” McMaster said. “And for the American people, through their representatives in Congress, to make a judgement as to whether or not that happened.”

“Of course it’s not appropriate,” McMaster said, chucking. “Does anybody think it is appropriate?”

Read more: The general who led the fight against ISIS says Trump’s new policy ‘breaks that trust’ after years of hard fighting

McMaster was dismissed in March 2018 and replaced with former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Bolton was also dismissed in September this year, after working for 17 months.

Trump is faced with an impeachment inquiry focusing on his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son. Trump reportedly ordered his administration to withhold a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine days before the conversation with Zelensky on July 25 — prompting allegations that he used the aid package to coerce Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

During a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, Trump also reportedly mentioned the political aspirations of Biden and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 US presidential election. Speaking to reporters last week at the White House lawn, Trump said “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

Trump denies there was a “quid pro quo” arrangement during his discussions with the world leaders. Trump’s allies objected to the description and said his remarks about Biden were a matter of national interest.

“The president of the United States has every right to ask countries to help us in a criminal investigation that should be undertaken,” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, said during a Fox News interview on Sunday. “I mean, suppose the political opponent committed murder, what are we going to do? He’s a political opponent, so you don’t investigate him.”

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