Trump: Nothing wrong with accepting dirt from foreign governments on opponents
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a joint news conference with Poland's President Andrzej Dudain (not shown) in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would see nothing wrong in accepting damaging information on a U.S. political opponent if it were offered to his re-election campaign by a foreign government.
Asked in an interview with ABC News if he would accept the information or alert the FBI, Trump said: "I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen, there's nothing wrong with listening."
"If somebody called from a country, Norway, 'we have information on your opponent' - oh, I think I'd want to hear it," Trump said.
Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. was questioned by a U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday in a closed session about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York in which a Russian lawyer had offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, the elder Trump's Democratic opponent in the 2016 presidential election.
The younger Trump, on learning the topic of the meeting, had written in an email: "I love it." But people who attended the meeting said later it focused on other matters.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated the meeting as part of his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He documented extensive contacts between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia, but did not establish that members of the campaign conspired with Moscow.
Speaking to ABC News on Wednesday, Trump said he disagreed with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who told Congress last month that political campaigns should contact the agency about any suspicious communications from a foreign government.
"The FBI director is wrong," 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. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do,” Trump said. “Oh, give me a break – life doesn't work that way.”
Trump compared damaging information on an opponent supplied by a foreign government to opposition research conducted by all political campaigns.
"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."
(Reporting by Eric Beech and David Alexander; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Kenya classroom collapse kills seven children, injures 64 NAIROBI (Reuters) - Seven children were killed and 64 injured when a classroom collapsed as students were starting their morning lessons at a school in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Monday, officials said. Television stations showed images of...READ MORE...
UK PM Johnson says: don't expect Brexit breakthrough in New YorkBy Kylie MacLellan FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Downing Street in London, Britain September 20, 2019 Frank Augstein/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo NEW YORK...READ MORE...
Bomb disposal officers respond to suspect package at UK's Manchester Airport Police officers are seen as a suspect package was found at Manchester Airport, in Manchester, Britain September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble LONDON (Reuters) - Bomb disposal officers carried out a controlled explosion on...READ MORE...
British Labour leader Corbyn faces showdown with party members over BrexitBy Elizabeth Piper and William James Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Britain, September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files BRIGHTON,...READ MORE...