Jun 12, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump says he’d accept foreign intel on political opponents

ABC's George Stephanopoulos first interviewing President Donald Trump in 2015

Photo: Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television

President Trump said "there isn't anything wrong with listening" to intelligence on political opponents gathered by foreign nations revealed Wednesday during an exclusive interview with ABC News's George Stephanopoulos.

"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 to ABC's George Stephanopoulos

What he's saying: Trump also called FBI director Christopher Wray "wrong" for instructing politicians to contact law enforcement agency, "because frankly, it doesn't happen like that in life." Trump also said he has "seen a lot of things..." but "you don't call the FBI."

Context: Trump's comments come despite ongoing investigations surrounding his 2016 campaign's dealings with Russian operatives.

Between the lines: The interview with ABC deviates from Trump's typical behavior, demonizing the "fake news," and primarily praising Fox News, per Politico, adding this is his first network interview in more than 4 months. ABC reportedly requested the interview some time ago. Trump accepted nearly 1 week before he formally launches his re-election bid in Florida.

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