I remember reading that reporters on Capitol Hill had to start printing out Donald Trump’s tweets and on-the-record quotes so that they would have a hard copy to hand to Republicans in Congress, so those Republicans couldn’t say “I haven’t seen it,” when asked about whatever nonsensical, racist, misogynistic and/or treasonous statement Trump just made. I was reminded of that again as I imagined all of the Republicans working out their denials and shrugs and I-Haven’t-Seen-Its for Trump’s interview with George Stephanopoulos at ABC News. This is a trainwreck, and it shows that oh, right, Donald Trump didn’t learn one damn thing from the Mueller investigation:
President Donald Trump may not alert the FBI if foreign governments offered damaging information against his 2020 rivals during the upcoming presidential race, he said, despite the deluge of investigations stemming from his campaign’s interactions with Russians during the 2016 campaign. Asked by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office on Wednesday whether his campaign would accept such information from foreigners — such as China or Russia — or hand it over the FBI, Trump said, “I think maybe you do both.”
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump continued. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
Trump disputed the idea that if a foreign government provided information on a political opponent, it would be considered interference in our election process.
“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. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
President Trump lamented the attention on his son, Donald Trump Jr., for his role in the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016. Stephanopoulos asked whether Trump Jr. should have taken the Russians’ offer for “dirt” on then-candidate Hillary Clinton to the FBI.
“Somebody comes up and says, ‘hey, I have information on your opponent,’ do you call the FBI?” Trump responded. “I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do,” Trump continued. “Oh, give me a break – life doesn’t work that way.”
Think of how much the “debate” had changed under Trump. People are really having to go on television and sit there and make the argument of “no, really, this is not the way any of this is supposed to work.” This is one of the biggest no-brainers of politics: no foreign entanglements, no foreign “help” for political candidates, political operatives or politicians. You cannot get “opposition research” from a foreign government or a foreign agent when you’re a politician or a political candidate. It’s your duty as an American citizen and political candidate (or simply a political operative) to inform the FBI about all of your foreign contacts, and to not try to HIDE your foreign entanglements. This is very basic sh-t.
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump tells @GStephanopoulos he wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI if approached by foreign figures with information on his 2020 opponent: “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.” https://t.co/yWRxMOaFqW pic.twitter.com/qwLw53s5yc
Header photo courtesy of Avalon Red.