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Trump Facing New Trouble for Saying He'd Take Election Dirt from Foreign Sources

06-13-2019
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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Democrats are pouncing on President Trump for saying he'd consider receiving opposition research on his Democratic rivals from a foreign power – and he says he wouldn't necessarily tell the FBI.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) called the comments "shocking."

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, "This president is still open for business if the Russians have some negative information about an opponent? That to me is outrageous, I don't know what planet he's living on."

The president made the comments Wednesday in an Oval Office interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

Stephanopoulos asked Trump, "Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?"

Trump replied, "I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. 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," he said.

"You'd want that kind of interference in our elections?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"It's not 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," Trump said.

The fact that he wouldn't go straight to the FBI with the information contradicts his own FBI Director Christopher Wray who has said Trump campaign officials should have notified the bureau after a Russian attorney offered them information on Hillary Clinton.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) came to Trump's defense saying, "The president has gone through this and acted properly all along the way while you have another entity, another presidential campaign on the Democrat side that did the complete opposite."

And while Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Trump was wrong to say he would accept foreign information, he also pointed out that it was the Democrats who actually did what Trump was being accused of in the Russia investigation. "I'm hoping that some of my Democratic colleagues will take more seriously that Christopher Steele was a foreign agent paid for by the Democrat Party to gather dirt on Trump," Graham said.

Trump's comments are adding new fuel to Democrat efforts to impeach him since foreign meddling in the US 2016 election was the reason the Russia investigation was launched in the first place.  

Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller specifically because he met with a Russian lawyer who was offering negative information on Hillary Clinton.

Democratic 2020 presidential contenders like Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand have all renewed their calls to impeach Trump in the wake of his latest remarks.

But Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said, "I'm a little astonished at the outrage I've heard because I didn't hear equal outrage when Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid a foreign spy to gather information from Russia."

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