Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, one of the House impeachment managers, argued Thursday that Democrats’ hiring of a former British spy to collect dirt from Russian sources about the Trump campaign does not constitute foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The New York congressman’s argument was based on the puzzling logic that Democrats paid for the information from the retired spy, Christopher Steele, rather than simply obtaining it.
“The analogy is not applicable to the present situation because first, to the extent that opposition research was obtained, it was opposition research that was purchased,” Jeffries said in response to a question from Sen. Richard Burr and a group of Republican senators.
The Republicans had asked: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired a retired foreign spy to work with Russian contacts to build a dossier of opposition research against her political opponent, Donald Trump. Under the House managers’ standard would the dossier be considered as foreign interference in a U.S. election, a violation of the law, and/or an impeachable offense?”