- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2019

President Trump responded Friday to backlash after he said in an interview that he would take information from foreign governments about a political opponent, saying that “you have to look at it” to “know if it’s bad.”

In an interview with ABC that aired Wednesday, Mr. Trump said taking information from foreigners is not collusion or interference in the U.S. elections.

“It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it,” he said. “I think you might want to listen. There isn’t anything 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.”

Mr. Trump clarified his point Friday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” show.

“First of all, I don’t think anyone would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country,” Mr. Trump said. “Number two, if I was, and of course you have to look at it because if you don’t look at it, you’re not going to know if it’s bad. How are you going to know it is bad?

“But of course you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that, but of course you do that. You couldn’t have that happen with our country and everybody understands that, and I thought it was made clear. In fact, I actually said at the beginning that I’d do both,” the president said.

“They say, ‘Oh, he would accept it.’ Well, if I don’t listen, I’m not going to know. Now if I thought anything was incorrect or badly stated, I’d report it to the attorney general, the FBI. I’d report it to law enforcement, absolutely,” he said.

Mr. Trump said in the ABC interview that the origin of opposition research would not overly concern him and that he may or may not go to the FBI if such an offer came from abroad.

“Someone comes up and says, ‘Hey, I have information on your opponent.’ You call the FBI? Give me a break. Life doesn’t work like that,” Mr. Trump said, saying that the “FBI director is wrong” for saying any foreign information should be given to authorities.

Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub issued a warning Thursday evening saying anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance in an election is breaking the law.

“It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,” said the FEC head, who was a Democratic appointee.

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