Associated Press/Evan Vucci
- President Donald Trump’s willingness to accept damaging information against his political opponents from foreign powers rankled Democrats running in the 2020 US presidential election.
- Here’s what Trump’s Democratic opponents said of his comments.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump’s willingness to accept damaging information against his political opponents from foreign adversaries rankled Democrats running in the 2020 US presidential election.
In an ABC News interview, Trump said he would consider not going to the FBI if he obtained information against a political opponent from countries like Russia. Trump said the act should not be categorized as election interference and claimed members of Congress "all do it."
"Oh, I think I’d want to hear it," Trump said. "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."
"I’ve seen a lot of things over my life," Trump added. "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."
Trump’s statement contradicts the advice given by FBI director Christopher Wray during a congressional hearing in May. Wray advised that lawmakers should contact the FBI if they were contacted by a country that intended to influence US elections.
"My view is that if any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state or anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that’s something the FBI would want to know about," Wray said at the time.
After ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos informed Trump of Wray’s views, Trump said tersely, "The FBI director is wrong."
Here’s what Trump’s Democratic opponents said of his comments:
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Sanders, one of the frontrunners in the Democratic primaries, said he was "not shocked" by Trump’s comments and believed House lawmakers "should begin impeachment inquiries" against the president.
"To tell you the truth, I am not exactly shocked," Sanders said during a CNN interview. "I think we have a president who neither understands the Constitution of the United States [nor] respects the Constitution — somebody who does not believe in the separation of powers, and somebody who thinks he’s above the law."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
"The [special counsel’s report] made it clear: A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation," Warren said, referring to the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the US presidential election.
"Now, he said he’d do it all over again," she added in a tweet. "It’s time to impeach Donald Trump."
Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Harris suggested Trump’s comments could affect how adversarial nations treat the US.
"China is listening. Russia is listening. North Korea is listening," the Senator tweeted. "Let’s speak the truth: this president is a national security threat."
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