WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that “of course” he would go to the FBI or the attorney general if a foreign power offered him dirt about an opponent. It was an apparent walkback from his earlier comments that he might not contact law enforcement in such a situation.
Trump, in an interview Friday with “Fox & Friends,” said he would “of course” look at the information in order to determine whether or not it was “incorrect.” But he added that, “of course you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that.”
In the interview, Trump appeared to walk back his comments from earlier in the week to ABC, when he said he would consider accepting information from an outside nation and may not contact law enforcement.
His comments to ABC had outraged Democrats, who said it evoked Russia’s 2016 election interference.
Trump’s assertion that he would be open to accepting a foreign power’s help in his 2020 campaign ricocheted through Washington on Thursday, with Democrats condemning it as a call for further election interference and Republicans struggling to defend his comments.
Asked by ABC News what he would do if Russia or another country offered him dirt on his election opponent, Trump said: “I think I’d want to hear it.” He added that he’d have no obligation to call the FBI. “There’s nothing wrong with listening.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump “doesn’t know right from wrong,” and added: “Everybody in the country should be totally appalled by what the president said.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller painstakingly documented Russian efforts to boost Trump’s campaign and undermine that of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.