CNN just reported that President Donald J. Trump expressed a willingness to accept damaging information on his political opponents in the event that it was offered to him by a foreign government. President Trump followed up these comments by stating that he would not necessarily feel compelled to inform the FBI or other law enforcement officials that he had contact with a foreign government official about U.S. political matters. He gave the interview to an ABC News correspondent and was also particularly dismissive of the outcome of the special investigation into Russia’s role in meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
When pressed about how he could justify a foreign government hypothetically offering this influential information as something other than foreign meddling in the U.S. election process, Trump says that providing information does not necessarily amount to interference. He downplayed the suggestion from his own FBI director that it would be a wise move for administration officials to inform the FBI whenever they have meaningful contact about a U.S. election with a foreign official. He went a step further in claiming that he has never called the FBI for any reason in his entire life and doesn’t intend to start doing so now.
In what has become typical of his political posturing, Trump dispensed with the idea that he would need political dirt on an opponent in order to win his next election. Instead of saying how he would use any negative information on a rival, Trump simply stated that he would be willing to listen to the foreign official to at least find out the nature of the information before deciding whether to use it or not.
In regards to the role that information from Russian officials may have played in influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Trump claimed that he pushed back on Russian officials and declined to use information that was presented to him. He continues to deny that information spread by Russia had any meaningful impact on the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Democratic lawmakers, such as Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, were outraged at the remarks from Trump and claimed that it is further evidence of his brazen disregard for the law and willingness to allow Russia to interfere with our election process. They contend these statements support the claims that Trump illegally colluded with Russia in order to win the election.