Trump stuns with oval office interview

Like the smoking gun tape, if Nixon had confessed on national television’

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that if a foreign power offered dirt on
his 2020 opponent, he’d be open to accepting it and that he’d have no
obligation to call in the FBI. “I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said in an
interview with ABC News, adding, “There’s nothing wrong with listening.”
Trump’s comments were immediately met with shock and condemnation by members of
Congress and the media.

Atlantic’s David Frum wrote on Twitter, “Like the smoking gun tape, if
Nixon had confessed on national television to a network anchor instead of in
the secrecy of the Oval Office to his most trusted aide.” Senate Minority
Leader Chuck Schumer responded, “Disgraceful yet sadly par for the course
for this president. When the president talks like this, it’s no wonder
McConnell is blocking bipartisan efforts to secure our elections from foreign

While Pennsylvania
Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon noted, “If you’re shocked by this you
haven’t read Volume 1 of the Mueller Report.” The role of Trump’s eldest
son, Donald Trump Jr., in organizing a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer
offering negative information on Hillary Clinton was a focus of special counsel
Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the last presidential campaign.

painstakingly documented Russian efforts to boost Trump’s campaign and
undermine that of his Democratic rival. But while Mueller’s investigation
didn’t establish a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s campaign,
Trump repeatedly praised WikiLeaks in 2016 and celebrated information exposed
by Russian hackers.

One of
Trump’s challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden, tweeted: “President Trump
is once again welcoming foreign interference in our elections.

This isn’t
about politics. It is a threat to our national security. An American President
should not seek their aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy.”
Several of Trump’s other Democratic opponents in the 2020 race, including Sens.
Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand and former Rep. Beto
O’Rourke, repeated their calls to begin impeachment hearings in the wake of the
president’s latest remarks.

comments came just a month after he pledged not to use information stolen by
foreign adversaries in his 2020 reelection campaign, even as he wrongly
insisted he hadn’t used such information to his benefit. During a
question-and-answer session with reporters in the Oval Office in May, Trump
said he “would certainly agree to” that commitment.

“I don’t
need it,” he said as he met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “All I
need is the opponents that I’m looking at.” Trump also insisted erroneously
that he “never did use, as you probably know,” such information, adding:
“That’s what the Mueller report was all about. They said no collusion.” FBI
Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers that Donald Trump Jr. should have
called his agency to report the offer.

But Trump,
who nominated Wray to the role in 2017, told ABC News that he disagrees. “The
FBI director is wrong,” the president said. He added, “Life doesn’t work like
that.” Asked whether his advisers should accept information on an opponent from
Russia, China or another nation or call the FBI this time, Trump said, “I think
maybe you do both,” expressing openness to reviewing the information. “I think
you might want to listen,” he said. “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.”

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