During the interview he is asked if his campaign would take information from foreign governments such as Russia and China, that would damage his political opponent in 2020 or if he would turn that information over to the FBI, he replies in part, “I think maybe you do both.”
Pressed on whether receiving information from a foreign power is allowing that foreign government to interfere in the election process the President says it’s not interference it’s oppo research.
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 — 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 congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.President Trump ABC News
The Report notes that while both the Russian Government and the Trump campaign hoped to benefit from the relationship the investigation did not establish criminal conspiracy.
The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.Mueller Report pg. 1 PDF pg. 10.
President Trump’s comments are in direct contrast to FBI Director Chris Wray, who in May 2019 told a Senate Committee, that public officials or members of the campaign should notify the FBI if a foreign government attempts to interfere with the U.S. Election.
From 5/7/19, FBI Director Wray: "If any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state of anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that's something that the FBI would want to know about." pic.twitter.com/6YZLDiivFQ— CSPAN (@cspan) June 13, 2019
When asked about the differing takes between the FBI Director and the President, the President replied, “the FBI director is wrong.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) responded to the President’s comments on Wednesday via Twitter.
It is shocking to hear the President say outright that he is willing to put himself indebt to a foreign power… not to mention the foreign interference in an American election part. https://t.co/xlQoELsTif— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) June 12, 2019
Senate Judiciary Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday responded via Twitter.
First, I believe that it should be practice for all public officials who are contacted by a foreign government with an offer of assistance to their campaign – either directly or indirectly – to inform the FBI and reject the offer.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 13, 2019
For his full statement @ LindseyGrahamSC.
President Trump took to Twitter on Thursday morning to defend his comments.
I meet and talk to “foreign governments” every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Wales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about “Everything!” Should I immediately….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019
….call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again. With that being said, my full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media. They purposely leave out the part that matters.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019
He deleted the first tweet after it was noted via Twitter that he had called the Prince of Wales, the Prince of Whales.
"Prince of Whales" is a good one. pic.twitter.com/u7yrqpTk0r— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 13, 2019
Twitter did what Twitter does best.
White House Staff preparing to meet with the Prince of Whales. pic.twitter.com/uJfmvkHzXV— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) June 13, 2019
Trump's met with the Prince of Whales and also with the Dolphin of France. pic.twitter.com/Qft36rHrTn— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 13, 2019
First photos in from Trump's meeting with the Prince of Whales pic.twitter.com/MclQIT9G2A— Hazel Shearing (@hazelshearing) June 13, 2019
I TWEETED "PRINCE OF WHALES" ON PORPOISE! pic.twitter.com/0jXLdYFEmz— Regi Brittain (@RegiBrittain) June 13, 2019