President Donald Trump says he might not report to the FBI any election help offered by a foreign source in the 2020 election cycle.
In an excerpt from an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos published on Wednesday, the president pushed back when asked whether a candidate should report information on an opponent if it came from a foreign agent, and denied that accepting the information counted as election interference.
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“It’s called oppo research,” Trump said.
Stephanopoulos pointed out that FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that a candidate should offer that kind of information to the agency, but Trump flatly rebuffed the notion: “The FBI director is wrong.”
“Give me a break,” Trump said, scoffing. “Life doesn’t work that way.”
Trump’s comments come as his son Donald Trump Jr. is in hot water over a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 with Russian nationals who offered “dirt” on then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The president expressed frustration with the focus on his son, saying he is a “good young man.”
Trump said that if he received information and “thought there was something wrong,” he would consider reporting it to the FBI, but said that “there’s nothing wrong with listening.” He added that members of Congress “all do it.”
Jared Kushner, Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, also said recently that he didn’t know whether he would contact the FBI in such a situation. Axios’ Jonathan Swan asked Kushner in an interview published earlier this month about an email he received in the lead-up to the Trump Tower meeting and why he did not report the email to the FBI. Kushner responded that he received hundreds of emails a day and forgot about it after showing up to the meeting and realizing that it was “a clown show.”
But when pressed if he would report a similar email to the FBI in the future, Kusher said “it’s hard to do hypotheticals.”