President Trump on Wednesday refused to commit to calling the FBI if a foreign power approached him offering damaging dirt on a 2020 opponent.
Trump made the startling remarks during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and came just months after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller detailed numerous efforts by Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.
“I think maybe you do both,” Trump said when asked whether he would call the FBI or listen if Russia, China or another adversary reached out to help him get reelected.
“I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening,” he continued. “It’s not an interference, they have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong I’d go maybe to the FBI. If I thought there was something wrong.”
Stephanopoulos noted that FBI Director Christopher Wray has said campaigns should reach out to the bureau if they are contacted by a foreign entity.
“The FBI director is wrong,” Trump 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
Mueller’s report detailed a Trump Tower meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information on the president’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The president defended his son in Wednesday’s interview, and scoffed when asked whether Trump Jr. should have alerted the FBI about the Russian advances.
“This is somebody that said ‘we have information on your opponent,'” Trump said. “Oh, let me call the FBI. Give me a break. Life doesn’t work that way.”