Miller declined to flatly say that Trump wouldn't. And how could he? There are already numerous demonstrated or reported examples of Trump seeking such assistance by leveraging his position as chief executive. Which is perhaps why Miller's answers diverged into non-denials and accusations focused on Hillary Clinton's campaign four years ago.
“Can you state flatly that neither the Trump administration nor the Trump campaign has received any information from foreign groups, foreign nationals, about either Joe Biden or his family,” Wallace asked, “and can you state flatly that neither the administration nor the campaign will accept foreign assistance?"
“Chris, that's a silly question,” Miller replied. “I mean the folks who have actually taken foreign assistance with the Clinton campaign four years ago. I mean that entire shady dossier they put together was from a British spy."
This is a well-worn allegation that is also wildly off-point. The dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, was put together as part of his work for Fusion GPS. That firm had been hired by a law firm working for Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party to research Trump's connections to Russia. Hiring a foreign party to conduct research is very different, including in legal terms, than being given information by foreign actors seeking to influence the election.
What's more, Trump's campaign did accept foreign assistance in 2016, as the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III determined. WikiLeaks's dumps of information damaging to Clinton's campaign was demonstrated to have been the result of hacking by Russian actors before the material was actually made public. Yet, as the Mueller report states, the “presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump ... showed interest in WikiLeaks's releases of documents and welcomed their potential to damage candidate Clinton.” A lawyer linked to the Kremlin met with senior campaign staffers after being connected to the campaign by a prominent Russian businessman who alleged that she had dirt on Clinton; Trump's team lamented solely that they weren't given anything useful.
Given Miller’s reply, it is also worth noting that Hillary Clinton is not currently on the ballot.
“No, we’re going to go and beat Joe Biden fair and square here, absolutely,” Miller continued. “But I think you should have asked the same question to his perspective running mates in Senator Duckworth and Karen Bass because, just as we saw four years ago, it was the Democrats who took foreign assistance.”
Both Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) voted in support of Trump’s impeachment, Bass on the initial articles in December and Duckworth during the conviction phase. Again, that impeachment centered on Trump — by his own admission — having asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden, given Biden’s son’s work in the country. Had Wallace asked them about the use of foreign assistance in a presidential campaign, that might have come up.
Again, the Zelensky request wasn't the only one Trump reportedly made. Former national security adviser John Bolton's book about his time in the Trump administration includes an allegation that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to directly assist in Trump's reelection.
“Trump said approvingly that there was great hostility to China among the Democrats,” Bolton wrote. “Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome."
As questions about his interactions with Ukraine mounted last year, Trump specifically suggested to reporters that China should investigate Biden, yielding the sort of information at the heart of Wallace's question.
The effort to leverage foreign assistance may not be limited to Trump, either. The U.S. ambassador to Brazil is reported to have asked officials in that country to reduce tariffs on ethanol specifically to aid Trump’s reelection.
On Sunday, Wallace pressed Miller on the question.
“But can you flatly state that the Trump campaign and the administration will not accept foreign assistance this time?” he asked.
“Chris, I said that’s an absolutely silly question,” Miller replied. “We’re going to go and win this race fair and square and it’s the Democrats who are going to — ”
“I'm just asking for an — I'm asking for an answer,” Wallace interjected. “It's a — it's a yes or no question, Jason."
“Chris, there is no foreign assistance that's happening in this campaign,” Miller said. “But I would ask you to make sure that the Democrats aren't going to do what they tried to pull four years ago because that's exactly — they're going to try to find every possible way to cheat and steal this election, 100 percent."
Miller is again apparently referring to the dossier compiled by Steele, a document that has never been shown to have informed the Clinton campaign’s approach and that was not made public until shortly before Trump was inaugurated. And, again, Miller declined — understandably, given his position — to acknowledge the rationale for Wallace’s inquiry.
Trump himself was asked a similar question during an interview with George Stephanopoulos over a year ago.
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it."
That answer seems more likely to be accurate than Miller’s.