Trump Says He Would 'Want To Hear' Information On Political Opponents If Contacted by Foreign Power, Might Not Notify FBI

President Donald Trump said he isn't sure that he would immediately notify the FBI if a foreign power offered information on a political opponent.

Trump made the comments to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos during an exclusive interview conducted over two days this week.

"I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening. 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 said.
However, when asked if he would contact the FBI about the foreign government, Trump said he would "do both," meaning he would hear what the information was and then report the contact to the FBI.
The comments from the president come after he, his administration and his 2016 presidential campaign were involved in a two-year investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 general election. Although special counsel Robert Mueller and his team did not find evidence that Trump or his campaign actively worked with Russia to influence the outcome of the presidential election, the report - as well as other information released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence - indicated that Russia did work to undermine the election and to sway voters towards Trump.

"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report from US intelligence officials said.

Speaking to Stephanopoulos, Trump said that he didn't think a foreign power giving information on a political adversary would automatically be considered as interference in an election.
"It's not an interference, they have information — I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong," Trump said. "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."

When questioned about his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and a meeting he took with Russians where information was offered on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump shrugged off notions that the FBI should have been contacted following the meeting, saying "life doesn't work that way."
"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 said. "Oh, give me a break – life doesn't work that way."

Stephanopoulos then reminded the president that FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress last month that the FBI wants to know about any contact from a foreign government when connected to an election.
"The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn't happen like that in life," Trump replied.

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump looks on as he steps off Air Force One at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska on June 11, 2019. Getty/MANDEL NGAN