Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.07 13 Jun 2019


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The US President has insisted that accepting information on political opponents from foreign powers does not amount to election interference.

Donald Trump was speaking after a number of investigations into alleged collusion between his 2016 and the Kremlin.

In an interview with ABC, President Trump said he would not feel obliged to inform the FBI if he was handed dirt on one of his opponents for election.

He said if a foreign power offered him information, “I think I'd want to hear it.”

“It's not an interference,” he said. “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.

“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. That's the way it is. It's called oppo research.”

Robert Mueller Trump Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Image: James Berglie/ZUMAPRESS

Mueller investigation

The investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller documented a number of efforts by Russia to undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Among those efforts was a meeting between Trump campaign officials – including his eldest son Donald Jr – and a Russian lawyer.

The inquiry made no judgement on collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign because collusion is not a crime under US law.

“The FBI director is wrong”

Ahead of the meeting, a trusted intermediary wrote to Mr Trump Jr saying: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr Trump.”

FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that Mr Trump should have reported the offer to the authorities; however President Trump told ABC: “The FBI director is wrong.”

“I'll tell you what, I've seen a lot of things over my life,” said President Trump. “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.

“Give me a break - life doesn't work that way.”

The Mueller Inquiry cited at least ten possible instances of obstruction of justice on the part of President Trump – but noted that Justice Department policy prevents the filing of criminal charges against a sitting President.


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