President Donald Trump said he would accept information from a foreign government or foreign nationals that would help him in the 2020 presidential election and not notify the FBI in an Oval Office interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.
Trump said maybe he would do both -- take information from the foreign source and then contact the FBI.
"I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen," Trump told Stephanopoulos. "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."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Your son, Don Jr., is up before the Senate Intelligence Committee today. And again, he was not charged with anything. In retrospect though-
PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: By the way, not only wasn’t he charged, if you read it, with all of the horrible fake news- I mean, I was reading that my son was going to go too jail — this is a good young man — that he was going to go to jail. And then the report comes out, and they didn’t even say, they hardly even talked about him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Should he have gone to the FBI when he got that email?
TRUMP: OK. Let’s put yourself in a position. You’re a congressman, somebody comes up and says, “Hey, I have information on your opponent. Do you call the FBI? I don’t think-
STEPHANOPOULOS: If it’s coming from Russia, you do.
TRUMP: I’ll tell you what, 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-
STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Gore got a stolen briefing book. He called the FBI.
TRUMP: Well, that’s different, a stolen briefing book. This isn’t a stolen- This is somebody that said, “We have information on your opponent.” Oh, let me call the FBI. Give me a break. Life doesn’t work that way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The FBI director says that’s what should happen.
TRUMP: The FBI director is wrong.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?
TRUMP: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. I don’t- 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.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You want that kind of interference in our elections?
TRUMP: It’s not 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. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research. “Oh, let’s call the FBI.” The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressmen, they all do it. They always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.