U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on Thursday on controversial comments aired on ABC News Wednesday in which the president said he would be open to damaging intelligence on political enemies from foreign countries.
“I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said in an interview Wednesday with ABC News, adding, “There’s nothing wrong with listening.”
Trump tweeted on Thursday, “I meet and talk to “foreign governments” every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales, 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.”
Trump noticeably misspelled the Prince of Wales as “Whales” and seemed to misunderstand the royal families' involvement in state matters as the Queen is not the British head of government. Trump, ironically, offered a spell check for CNN journalist Chris Cuomo earlier on Thursday morning - in a reply to Geraldo Rivera.
The role of Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., in organizing a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer offering negative information on Hillary Clinton was a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probeof Russian meddling in the last presidential campaign.
Mueller painstakingly documented Russian efforts to boost Trump’s campaign and undermine that of his Democratic rival. But while Mueller’s investigation didn’t establish a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s campaign, Trump repeatedly praised WikiLeaks in 2016 and celebrated information exposed by Russian hackers.
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One of Trump’s challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden, tweeted: “President Trump is once again welcoming foreign interference in our elections. This isn’t about politics. It is a threat to our national security. An American President should not seek their aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy.”
Several of Trump’s other Democratic opponents in the 2020 race, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, repeated their calls to begin impeachment hearings in the wake of the president’s latest remarks.
Trump’s comments came just a month after he pledged not to use information stolen by foreign adversaries in his 2020 reelection campaign, even as he wrongly insisted he hadn’t used such information to his benefit in 2016.