In an ABC News interview aired Wednesday with President Donald Trump and correspondent George Stephanopoulos, the President stated he would accept information and interference from a foreign government in the 2020 presidential election. But after considerable backlash for his remarks, the President took to Twitter to try to provide justification.
When asked by Stephanopoulos if he would accept another meeting with representatives of a foreign government for help in the 2020 election or call the FBI, Trump stated:
"I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening."
The President added:
"If somebody called from a country, Norway, ‘We have information on your opponent'—oh, I think I'd want to hear it."
Trump explained a call to the FBI was only warranted if he thought something was wrong.
"It’s not an interference. They have information—I think I’d take it."
When Stephanopoulos reminded the President that his own FBI director stated a call to the FBI was mandated, the President replied:
"The F.B.I. director is wrong."
Going on the defensive, Trump scoffed at the notion of calling the FBI.
"I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the F.B.I. In my whole life. You don’t call the F.B.I. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do. Give me a break—life doesn’t work that way."
Watch the interview excerpt here.
But after the interview aired, Trump found few who supported his version of what is legally required and ethically sound.
On Twitter the President backtracked, portraying normal foreign relations as what he referred to rather than the type of clandestine meeting his son and son-in-law attended with a Russian operative in Trump Tower in 2016.
This despite Stephanopoulos making it clear the meeting both Don Jr. and the President lied about was the type of meeting they were discussing when he asked his questions.
"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. We talked about 'Everything'!"
"Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again. With that being said, my full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media. They purposely leave out the part that matters."
I meet and talk to “foreign governments” every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Wale… https://t.co/Lv1Sq9IFED— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1560432227.0
....call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again. With that being sa… https://t.co/28KJTK4zmq— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1560432227.0
People thought the two instances were not similar.
@realDonaldTrump You're aware the Royal Family aren't a "foreign government", right?— Phil (@Phil)1560432377.0
@realDonaldTrump Did the Queen offer you "dirt" on your political opponents the way Russia offered Don Jr "dirt"?!— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@(((DeanObeidallah))))1560432794.0
@realDonaldTrump "I meet and talk to “foreign governments” every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.)”… https://t.co/gDQXEUpIPh— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560432281.0
Ryan Hill of Get Out the Vote (GOTV) called out the President's tweet as intending to serve another purpose.
@realDonaldTrump In case anyone was wondering what this tweet is an example of… 👇 https://t.co/oI9cJ2XGBe— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560432266.0
Hill also disputed Trump's claim he was taken out of context...
@realDonaldTrump No one took you out of context! 👇 "They have information, I think I’d take it. If I thought ther… https://t.co/ejHNkLxOrK— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560432306.0
...and discovered a discrepancy in Trump's claim he had never called the FBI in his entire life...
@realDonaldTrump @FBI Trump: "I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don… https://t.co/OfbUpk7Tdh— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560432343.0
...and the excuse that a lack of manpower at the FBI meant he should not report an attempt by a foreign government to interfere in the US 2020 presidential election...
@realDonaldTrump @FBI “The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it” — Counterintelligence is among the F… https://t.co/XB2q9UDQPv— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560432376.0
...and Trump's claim there was no harm in listening.
@realDonaldTrump Trump: “There’s nothing wrong with listening” to a Foreign Power who has dirt on your opponent… H… https://t.co/exRhMNNW5a— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560432446.0
Hill finished his assessment with a bit of his own commentary on the situation, drawing some interesting parallels.
@realDonaldTrump The sad thing about this is that there is absolutely nothing shocking about this. In fact, it wou… https://t.co/DPnTQulbq2— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560433091.0
@realDonaldTrump Trump: "I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected." Also Trump: “They have infor… https://t.co/tUm8FYrLfE— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1560433798.0
As usual, the President did not respond to the criticism on his tweets. Instead Trump went on to point fingers at Virginia Senator Mark Warner and Representative Adam Schiff of California—both Democrats—in another rant on Twitter, calling them out for not calling the FBI after talking to an entertainer? The Twitter thread baffled many.
When Senator @MarkWarnerVA spoke at length, and in great detail, about extremely negative information on me, with a… https://t.co/g3ijqwIUnZ— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1560433067.0
....which he is a member. When @RepAdamSchiff took calls from another person, also very successfully purporting to… https://t.co/QX6qDQ9B22— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1560433068.0
....and other really bad people, SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN! They even had an “insurance policy” just in case Crooked Hil… https://t.co/Tn8G6tDSWO— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1560433069.0
Democratic Congressman Schiff responded that he did in fact call the FBI both before and after taking the phone call the President alluded to.
Sorry, Mr. President, wrong again. You eagerly took foreign help in the 2016 election and want it again. When a… https://t.co/y8c8S77P3n— Adam Schiff (@Adam Schiff)1560437716.0
As of 11:40 AM Thursday, Senator Warner has yet to respond.