George Stephanopoulos, the chief political correspondent for ABC News, talks with US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, June 12, 2019. ( Photo by ABC News)
US President Donald Trump says he would be willing to accept damaging information from a foreign government on his opponent in the 2020 presidential election, after years of denying allegations that Russia helped him get elected in 2016.
“I think you might want to listen… there’s nothing wrong with listening,” Trump said Wednesday when asked by ABC News what he would do if a country such as Russia or China offered him such information.
He denied the suggestion that such information would amount to foreign interference in a US election.
Trump compared damaging information on an opponent provided by a foreign country to negative campaigning conducted by political parties during elections.
“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong.”
Former US Vice President and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden said that Trump was “welcoming” foreign meddling in US elections.
“This isn’t about politics. It is a threat to our national security. An American President should not seek their aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy,” Biden said on Twitter.
The comments by the Republican president came on the same day that his son Donald Jr was questioned by a US Senate committee about his contacts with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York.
The Russian lawyer had reportedly offered incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the 2016 presidential election.
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.