Although he has repeatedly denied allegations of ties between Russia and his campaign in 2016, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that if he were offered damaging information on an opponent by a foreign government in the 2020 race, he’d probably accept it.
“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it.”
In an interview that aired Wednesday night, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether his campaign, if approached by a foreign government, would accept information on opponents or alert the FBI.
“I think maybe you do both,” Trump said. “I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
Trump denied that such an act would be considered interference in the election process, saying it was basically no different than opposition research.
“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “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 congressmen, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life,” Trump said. “I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do. Oh, give me a break — life doesn’t work that way.”
Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said during testimony on Capitol Hill that campaigns should report any contact from foreign entities.
“The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn’t happen like that in life,” Trump told Stephanopoulos.