President Donald Trump says that he would not necessarily inform the FBI if his campaign team was approached by foreign figures with information on his opponents in 2020’s presidential elections.
Asked by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during an interview in the Oval Office Wednesday whether or not his campaign would accept an offer of information on an opponent from foreigners, such as Russia or China, Trump said “I think maybe you do both.”
“I think you might want to listen,” Trump said. “There’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country [such as] Norway, [saying] we have information on your opponent. Oh, I think I’d want to hear it. It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.”
The remarks come after the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee for around three hours, also Wednesday, as part of the committee’s two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Neither Trump Jr. or senior panel members commented on the session, but senators wanted Trump Jr. to clarify answers from a 2017 interview with the panel’s staff, as well as speak to him about a 2016 campaign meeting in Trump Tower in New York with a Russian lawyer that was preceded by an email exchange offering information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. While that particular meeting was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller and examined in his 448-page report released in April, insufficient evidence was found to charge anyone with a crime.
“Not only was he not charged,” Trump said to Stephanopoulos. “With all of the horrible fake news, I was reading that my son was going to go to jail.”
When Stephanopoulos suggested that the FBI should have been called on that occasion, Trump replied “I’ve seen a lot of things in my whole life, I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. You don’t call the FBI. Life doesn’t work that way.”
“No member of Congress with any integrity and who wants to uphold our oath of office would ever take that information,” Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark said in response to Trump’s interview, referring to any potential offer of foreign information.
“What we saw was a president yesterday standing in the Oval Office, saying he would do this all over again,” Clark continued. “That he will continue to put the rule of law, to put the constitution, to put the American people behind anything that might give him some personal advantage.”