President Donald Trump said in an interview excerpt aired Wednesday that he might take help from a foreign government offering information on an opponent.
Trump made the comment to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos while discussing why his son, Donald Trump Jr., didn’t go to the FBI after he spoke with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump Jr. spoke to Congress for three hours Wednesday to discuss answers he gave in an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017, including those regarding emails leading up to the meeting that promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent.
ONE-ON-ONE: @GStephanopoulos has an exclusive @ABC interview with President Trump, discussing everything from why Trump is unhappy about the latest 2020 polling to ongoing questions about the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.
The president told Stephanopoulos that “life doesn’t work that way” when asked why his son didn’t go to the FBI. Trump also said he would want to hear if another country had information on another candidate and called it “oppo research.”
“It’s not an interference, they have information,” Trump said. “I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI.”
Stephanopoulos then pointed out that FBI Director Christopher Wray said his agency should know about contacts from foreign governments.
“The FBI director is wrong,” Trump said.
Trump was at the center of a two-year probe into Russian election meddling and possible obstruction conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. The 448-page report, released in April, avoided making a decision on obstruction, but Mueller did conclude that there was Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American,” Mueller said at a press conference in May.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Thursday in response to Trump’s comments that the president “has either learned nothing from the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson.”
“The message that he seems to be sending now is, as long as a foreign power wants to help his campaign, they can count on him having the good discretion not to alert his own FBI about it,” Schiff said. “And that’s just dangerous, appalling, unethical, unpatriotic, you name it.”