President Trump says he’d be willing to accept damaging information about his 2020 opponents, should a foreign power such as Russia or China offer it — and he wouldn’t feel obligated to tell the FBI.
“I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump told ABC News on Wednesday. “There isn’t anything wrong with listening.”
Discussing the possibility further, the president said: “It’s not an interference, they have information…If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
Asked whether his son, Donald Trump Jr., was right to accept the Russians’ offer for “dirt” during his 2016 Trump Tower meeting — and not go to the FBI with it — Trump told ABC: “I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI.”
Trump added, “Life doesn’t work that way.”
ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos followed up by telling the president, “The FBI director said that is what should happen” — a reference to recent comments made by FBI Director Christopher Wray in which he told Congress that “the FBI would want to know about” any dirt being provided by foreign powers.
“The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn’t happen like that in life,” Trump said. “Now maybe it will start happening, maybe today you’d think differently.”
At one point, the president said he’d be willing to accept the damaging info and contact the FBI — saying, “maybe you do both” — but he insisted that he didn’t have to.
“Somebody comes up and says, ‘hey, I have information on your opponent,’ do you call the FBI?” Trump asked. “You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do.”
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