Trump says he’s open to foreign information
by Harvest Prude
Posted 6/13/19, 11:38 am
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said Wednesday that if a foreign power offered “dirt” on his 2020 election opponent, he saw nothing wrong with accepting the information. ABC News Director George Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether he would accept information offered by Russia or China or report the offer to the FBI. “I think maybe you do both,” the president said. “I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening.” He added, “If somebody called from a country—Norway— ‘We have information on your opponent.’ Oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
Earlier in the interview, Trump compared accepting the information to opposition research political campaigns compile: “When you go and talk, honestly, to congressmen, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
The Trump campaign landed in hot water after news broke that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York in June 2016 after he was offered damaging information on his father’s eventual 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. later told Congress that the campaign received no such information, but special counsel Robert Mueller considered the meeting in his report about Russian interference with the 2016 election. Mueller did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In the ABC News interview, the president also said he disagreed with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who told Congress last month that political campaigns should contact the agency if offered any suspicious communication. “The FBI director is wrong,” Trump said.
“President Trump is once again welcoming foreign interference in our elections,” former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted after the interview aired. “This isn’t about politics. It is a threat to our national security. An American President should not seek their aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy.” Other 2020 Democratic contenders for the White House, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, re-upped their calls for Congress to begin hearings to impeach Trump.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.