President Trump said he would be open to listening to information from a foreign country that could damage his opponent in the next election, despite Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that led to an investigation that has roiled his presidency.
Mr. Trump made the comments in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that aired in part Wednesday night on “ABC News World Tonight.” Stephanopoulos asked Mr. Trump whether he would take information offered from a foreign actor in the next election, or alert the FBI.
“I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening,” Mr. Trump said.
“I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI,” he said.
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
Stephanopoulos pointed out that such a foreign action would constitute election interference. Mr. Trump disagreed, saying, “It’s not an interference.”
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Mr. Trump continued. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said,] ‘We have information on your opponent’ — Oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
“If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI. If I thought there was something wrong,” he said.
Stephanopoulos has spent much of the last two days with the president, traveling with him to Iowa on Air Force One Tuesday and spending time with White House staff on Wednesday.