Thursday, 13 June 2019

President Donald Trump told ABC's Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that if any foreign government had information about his opponents, he would 'take it'

President Donald Trump has said that if foreign governments offered his campaign damaging information against his 2020 rivals during the upcoming presidential race, he would 'take it in' before going to federal authorities. 

When asked by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office on Wednesday whether his campaign would accept such information from foreigners such as China or Russia or hand it over the FBI, Trump said, 'I think maybe you do both.'

He continued: 'I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] "we have information on your opponent," I think I’d want to hear it.'

What Trump is describing is illegal under campaign finance law, as this kind of information would be considered highly valuable, and thus impermissible for a foreign actor to provide to a candidate for public office.

Trump made the statement despite the deluge of investigations stemming from his campaign’s interactions with Russians during the 2016 campaign, while criticizing the attention paid to his son, Donald Trump, Jr. for his meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016.

Trump made the remark during an exclusive interview with ABC News over the course of two days, wherein Stephanopoulos joined the president on a visit to Iowa and back to Washington for a day inside the White House, according to a press release provided by ABC News' 'World News Tonight with David Muir.'

Rolling Stone senior writer Jamil Smith pointed out Trump's use of a Scandinavian country in his hypothetical example of accepting information from foreign agents, and equated the president's comments to an admission of past acts, in a tweet on Wednesday.

'Traitorous. Call it out for what it is. He accepted foreign help the first time. Didn’t do anything to stop it since. Now he is telling us he’ll do it again,' Smith wrote.  'I love that he cites Norway, like it’s okay to take information from the white countries.'

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