President Donald Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would accept information on his 2020 opponent if it was offered by foreign operatives.
In an interview aired Wednesday, Trump presented a hypothetical situation in which “somebody comes up and says, ‘Hey, I have information on your opponent.’ Do you call the FBI?” The president went on to say, “I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI” and, “Give me a break. Life doesn’t work that way.”
When Stephanopoulos challenged Trump, saying that the FBI director believes a person presented with potentially stolen information should call the agency, the president responded, “The FBI director is wrong.”
In a clip circulated on Twitter, Stephanopoulos pushed back on Trump’s insistence to take the information over calling federal authorities, but Trump held firm, saying a person could “do both.”
“There’s nothing wrong with listening,” Trump said in a video from inside the Oval Office.
When Stephanopoulos suggested a transaction of that kind could constitute election interference, the president disagreed.
“It’s not interference. They have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI,” Trump said.
The taped comments come on the same day the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door hearing. Members were expected to grill him on his meeting with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 2016. That lawyer claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump tells @GStephanopoulos he wouldn't necessarily alert the FBI if approached by foreign figures with information on his 2020 opponent: "It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it." https://t.co/yWRxMOaFqW pic.twitter.com/qwLw53s5yc
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2019