Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press on June 13 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Democratic lawmakers in the US Congress have accused President Donald Trump of permitting Russia to interfere in the 2020 US presidential election, after the Republican president said he would accept political dirt from foreign governments.
Trump told ABC News on Wednesday he would be willing to listen to damaging information about political opponents as he seeks re-election next year, prompting uproar among Democrats.
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said in the interview.
“It’s not an 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.”
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, strongly condemned Trump’s remarks on Thursday.
“What the president said last night shows clearly, once again, over and over again, that he does not know the difference between right and wrong,” Pelosi said.
Trump’s remarks came less than three months after US Special Counsel Robert Mueller released a report that found Russia sought to influence the 2016 US election to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
“The President has given Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 election,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, wrote on Twitter.
Legal experts say knowingly accepting financial contributions or soliciting information from a foreign entity violates US campaign finance laws.
Democrats in Congress continue to seek testimony and information as they press Trump with multiple investigations, mostly related to Russia meddling in the 2016 election and obstruction of justice.
Democratic lawmakers are also debating among themselves whether there is enough evidence and public support to pursue impeachment against Trump.
Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow and claims he was fully exonerated by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recently released report on the alleged Russian interference.