Politics

Trump Responds To Critics Of His Comments On Foreign Opposition Research

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Amber Athey White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump responded to critics Thursday who accused the president of treasonous behavior for saying that he would accept dirt on his political opponents from foreign actors.

The president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview, partially released Wednesday, that “there isn’t anything wrong with listening” if a foreign source offers him opposition research. (RELATED: Trump: ‘I Think I’d Take’ Oppo Dirt From Foreign Entities)

“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.”

Trump’s comments sparked a wave of criticism from the media and Democrats. He responded in a tweet thread that the idea he has to report conversations with foreign governments to the FBI is “ridiculous.”

“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Wales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland,” Trump wrote. “Should I call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again.”

Trump also pointed out that Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff were in contact with purported Russian actors. It is unclear what Trump is referring to when he says Warner “spoke at length … with a talented entertainer,” but Warner was in contact with a Russian oligarch’s lobbyist in an attempt to reach dossier author Christopher Steele.

Schiff was fooled by two Russian comedians last February who claimed they had recordings that revealed Russian president Vladimir Putin was blackmailing Trump with compromising photos. However, while Schiff had a staffer follow up about the alleged dirt, he also said during the call that he intended to contact the FBI regarding the information.

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