Trump's comments on foreign interference of elections 'appalling', says Pelosi

Clay Curtis
June 15, 2019

"I think you might want to listen, there's nothing wrong with listening".

Democrats are expressing alarm after U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed concerns about accepting information about electoral opponents from foreign powers and said such activity would not amount to interference in the U.S. political system.

The president said those believing his aides and family members who were approached with offers of damaging information about Clinton should have contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation were naïve, and said lawmakers regularly collected "opposition research" on their opponents.

Asked in an interview with USA television network ABC News if he would accept information from Russian Federation or China or alert the FBI, Mr Trump said: "I think maybe you do both".

Joe Biden, now the frontrunner in the race to become the Democratic nominee in the next United States election, accused Mr Trump of "welcoming" foreign interference with his latest comments. "They have information - I think I'd take it".

"The FBI director is wrong", he said.

Special counsel Robert Mueller painstakingly documented Russian efforts to boost Trump's campaign and undermine that of his Democratic rival. Trump Jr, who helms the Trump Organization collection of businesses that his real estate billionaire father ran for decades, earlier told reporters there was "nothing to correct" from his previous comments to the committee.

"I think maybe you do both".

Still, Trump said he wouldn't automatically report a foreign government's actions to U.S. law enforcement - something he says he's never considered doing in his lifetime.

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Pelosi, under pressure from more progressive members of her caucus to launch a formal impeachment inquiry, said Trump's statement was "appalling" and "totally unethical", but that House Democrats would methodically pursue their various investigations.

His comments were widely rebuked by Democrats, including those in the crowded field of 2020 White House hopefuls, as well as congressional leaders.

"If a foreign government offers to help us win an election, we should report that offer, not exploit it", Malinowski said. "So far as I know, we never received any information from any foreign government".

In an interview with broadcaster ABC News, the president denied this would count as meddling in an election.

"I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI In my whole life", Mr. Trump added, saying, "Give me a break - life doesn't work that way".

ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Trump in an interview Wednesday what he would do if someone from a foreign government came to him with information on an opponent, which a Russian lawyer reportedly did with his son and some of his campaign officials in 2016.

A month ago, Trump had said he would not use information obtained by foreign governments in his 2020 reelection campaign.

And she mentioned legislation that will mandate campaigns to report foreign offers of assistance.

"I'll tell you what, I've seen a lot of things over my life". Oh, I think I'd want to hear it.

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