Trump: I Would Accept Dirt On Political Opponents If Offered By Foreign Governments [Updated]

In controversial interview, President Donald Trump told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office that he would accept dirt on political opponents from foreign governments and would not necessarily alert his own FBI. He further said that FBI Director Christoper Wray was “wrong” in saying that such contacts should be reported. There is nothing illegal in receiving such information for either politicians or journalists. However, it puts Trump at odds with the view not only of his own agencies but most of the public on the need to alert the FBI. In the aftermath of the interview, various Fox hosts criticized not Trump but ABC for what they portrayed as an ambush. It was not an ambush. It was a standard interview with a highly relevant (and predictable) question by Stephanopoulos. At the same time, the CNN’s Chris Cuomo is also wrong to portray this as endorsing possible criminal conduct. There is nothing illegal in accepting information from foreign intelligence figures, which was done by the Clinton campaign in the Steele Dossier. Trump has downplayed the comments.

Stephanopoulos asked whether his campaign would accept damaging information from countries like China or Russia — or hand it over the FBI. Turmp “I think maybe you do both.” Trump continued “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.”

That alone might not have caused as much of a stir. However, Trump then added that he might not inform the FBI:

“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. 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.

. . . “Somebody comes up and says, ‘hey, I have information on your opponent,’ do you call the FBI? . . . 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 . . . ” Oh, give me a break – life doesn’t work that way.”

Stephanopoulos then asked the obvious follow up about the fact that Wray said that the FBI should have been informed about such efforts related to the Trump Tower meeting. Trump then directed contradicted his own FBI: “The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn’t happen like that in life. Now maybe it will start happening, maybe today you’d think differently.”

Again, there is no law requiring notice to the FBI. However, this is a government offering dirt on a presidential candidate. It should be concerning for any official. There is nothing unlawful in receiving the information but there is ample reason to inform the FBI of a foreign power interfering with our election, particularly a hostile foreign power. Some have argued that information can be a “thing of value” under federal election laws. If so, receiving information from a foreign government could violate the ban on such contributions. However, I have always viewed such arguments as too sweeping. Obviously, there is a great deal of information that passes from government sources, including information acquired by the Clinton campaign from foreign intelligence figures in the Steele Dossier. The loose interpretation given to any “information” as a “thing of value”
would raise serious first amendment concerns that I have discussed in earlier columns.

The interview added yet another damaging soundbite to use against Trump in the general election. He gained nothing from the comments. He could have acknowledged that he would listen to evidence of possible criminal acts, but that he would simply notify the FBI as a matter of course. Instead, as correctly noted by Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade, opened himself up to an avalanche of bipartisan criticism.

Given the detailed findings of the Mueller report on Russian efforts to influence our election, the President’s statement could not come at a worse time. It also throws into doubt the position of our government after the report and could a course for a major collision between the Wray and Trump on the issue.

331 thoughts on “Trump: I Would Accept Dirt On Political Opponents If Offered By Foreign Governments [Updated]”

  1. Don’t media types receive all types of information from foreign sources all the time? Isn’t it ok for them to do so and report on it, whether it is negative or not, so long as it is factual?

  2. What did Christopher Wray know and when did Christopher Wray know it?

    It is not plausible that the entire 7th Floor was decimated for operating politically and corruptly as Christopher Wray was totally unaware.

    If Christopher Wray DID NOT know of the corruption at the FBI, Christopher Wray is grossly incompetent.

    If Christopher Wray DID know of the corruption at the FBI, Christopher Wray is grossly complicit.

  3. Just as I thought when I heard this news, JT’s core readers who protect and defend anything Trump does or said have just stuck their foot down their throats. They say, oh it’s OK, nothing to see here, AGAIN……… Or maybe they think Kim Jong-un would be a better President this time, instead of Putin.

        1. You think Putin is the POTUS you said; which would be a neat trick if he was

          And then you go on to say he’s a moron?

          If he was governing America, he would be the cleverest chap in Russian history and no moron!

          I just cant figure you out FIshhead. Too smart for me!

  4. Freedom of Speech, Thought, Belief, Religion, Publication, Press, Socialization, Assembly and every other conceivable natural and God-given right and freedom per the 9th Amendment, and President Trump does not have the Right to Listen and Freedom of Listening?

    Elton John’s a foreigner. J.K. Rowling’s a foreigner. Jho Low’s a foreigner.

    Americans listened to them.
    _________________________________________

    Rap Artist Indicted for Obama 2012 Campaign Donations

    Former Fugees rapper Pras Michel was indicted on charges of funneling millions of dollars in foreign money to then President Obama’s 2012 re-election effort, amid widening fallout of the multibillion-dollar fraud scandal at a Malaysian government fund. The scandal has toppled Malaysia’s prime minister, threatened Goldman Sachs Group Inc. with criminal charges,… An indictment charging Mr. Michel with four counts including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and making foreign campaign contributions was unsealed Friday. The founding member of the Fugees hip-hop group was accused of taking money from a Malaysian businessman, who is the alleged mastermind of the fraud at Malaysia’s 1MDB fund, and using around $2 million to support Mr. Obama’s campaign. The businessman, Jho Low, who was indicted last year on conspiracy charges, faces additional charges alongside Mr. Michel for his alleged role in the contributions. Mr. Low has denied those allegations and remains at large.

    Both men tried “to gain access to and potential influence with” a candidate identifiable as Mr. Obama,…

    – Wall Street Journal

  5. Ask those who protect Trump at all costs how many bullets can they take on 5th Ave before they bleed out.

    1. Fishhead, you will never get how men feel. Loyalty is a concept some people can never understand.

      Nobody has to take a bullet for Trump. But if it came to that he would have a thousand volunteers in a heartbeat.

      And the guy who was supposed to hand out sentences to get people to roll, apparently failed in his primary task, and has gone home in retirement, or didn’t you hear?

      1. “he would have a thousand volunteers” but not you. You are the typical MAGAt, old, white, and scared.

  6. If it’s not illegal for Trump not to tell the FBI that he has received “dirt”, then it’s not clear why Trump saying that he would not necessarily tell the FBI about such dirt, if he did receive it, is a problem. It seems that it is perceived to be a problem only in the context of the Mueller report’s failure to successfully lay the predicate for Trump’s immediate removal from office, and unsavory attempts after the report’s publication to retroactively validate, in a roundabout way, unproven assertions of past collusion, and then to lay a predicate for future collusion charges, by hyping new, just-as-unproven threats to upcoming elections in the same way that the old charges were hyped by interested parties without evidence – and then showing that Trump is indifferent to these threats. This is just as intellectually dishonest as it was the first time around, and will, contrary to what Professor Turley believes, help Trump against his political enemies, both because Trump is a cult leader and because there is a kernel of real injustice in the fraudulent attempts by the anti-Trump faction of the political class to unseat him at any price, at any cost to reality, though without challenging him on his real tyrannies and imbecilities, which are everywhere. The liberal political class has a lot to answer for here.

    It is contemptible to declare so sanctimoniously that information about a political opponent, simply because it comes from a foreign government, and regardless of whether it is true (absent a legal requirement to the contrary), should automatically be shared with law enforcement (to say nothing of whether the law enforcement is an interested party, that’s for another day). If Trump, for example, had received and then disclosed the true, newsworthy information about Hilary Clinton which WIkileaks published, and which the public was entitled to know about Clinton, then why would that have necessarily been an occasion for Trump, as a presidential candidate, to tell the FBI that he got the information from the Russian government (assuming it came from the Russian government and he knew it), instead of one where Trump as the recipient has a responsibility to consider the information’s source, and use or not use it responsibly? In other words, has it come to the point where we are expected (where even the nation’s technically chief law enforcement officer is expected) to turn over our political judgment to law enforcement and intelligence? It looks that way.

  7. The question of getting oppo-research from foreigners is manifold more complex than George Stephanopoulos’s oversimplistic question. This is because there are many ways to transfer the information in order to skirt the law. The simplest way is to use an American intermediary not connected to the campaign as a conduit, and to conceal the source.

    The Hillary Clinton campaign was able to pay foreigners with spy-tradecraft training to get oppo-research. It may have gone beyond just seeking information into covert ops — US Atty Durham is looking into the way CIA, Dept. of State used “friendly” foreign intelligence services and contacts to entrap the Trump campaign in wrongdoing. In any event, she used 3-4 layers of insulation…Marc Elias over at Perkins-Coie, who insulated himself via Glenn Simpson at Fusion GPS, who insulated himself from the Russians via Christopher Steele, ex-MI6 agent.

    I just don’t see how the “foreign oppo-research” ban can possibly be devised to prevent clever gaming to get around it.

    It is just naive, as voiced by Stephanopoulos, to focus on prototypical, amateurish come-ons like the June meeting at Trump Tower with Natalia Veselnitskaya and Don Jr. No skilled campaign professional, or foreign operative, is going to repeat such an obvious come-on.

    In reality, does anyone think a determined infowarrior with tradecraft training acquired at CIA, GRU, FSB, Quantico would not be able to orchestrate a foreign-assisted oppo-research handoff in a hard-to-detect manner?

    And, what about journalists who are duped into publishing foreign oppo-research, or activist journalists who knowingly receive oppo-research from foreign sources? Are they not protected by 1st Amendment freedom?

    I think the President is just being realistic in his response to the question.

    1. Yes he’s right. As usual the media and our thought-controllers are overheated about nothing.

      What they should focus on is the Hillary campaign hiring a foreign spy to ply other foreign sources for dirt, then exagerrating it in order to get her ally Obama to ask for FISA court warrants to spy on a domestic political campaign

      STILL WORSE THAN WATERGATE AND NO JUSTICE IN SIGHT!

  8. Additional statements by Trump:

    “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.”

      1. He does what he says, and tells it like it is. No Swampy double speak. I can’t believe he has overcome so many that despise him, to do do so much good. Absolutely thrilled.

  9. OT:

    “Democrats in Congress have failed to address the humanitarian and security crisis at the border. Even the New York Times acknowledged the crisis, yet liberals in Washington refuse to do their job.

    Yesterday, Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX), along with the House Freedom Caucus, stood up to the Democrat leadership and demanded they act to address our border catastrophe.

    Roy forced multiple roll call votes on amendments to the pending spending bills to prolong the debate and to pressure Democrats to consider President Trump’s emergency request for border funding.

    Congressman Roy’s actions were bold and necessary, but he and the House Freedom Caucus can’t do it alone!

    Congressman Roy and House conservatives believe Congress should take the following actions:

    Approve President Trump’s $4.5 billion border request;
    End the “Catch & Release” policy;
    Ensure that parents and their children are kept together in custody while their cases are pending;
    Close the loopholes in our broken asylum refugee system; and
    Ensure unaccompanied alien minors are quickly and safely returned home to their guardians.”

  10. Once again, Trump’s enemies want to make one interpretation of his words as the only one. But he doesn’t think like an official. He thinks like a citizen. Strangers contact public figures constantly with “news” that could help them. But when are these “strangers” a foreign government? Somebody who gives his name as “Bob Ross” can be an agent for Putin or another country. What are the triggers that make a citizen obligated to call the FBI? This is an obvious question, but the Trump haters pounce as if he’s permitting treason.

    1. The FBI is well acquainted with how Russia works when it wants to get close to powerful Americans & use them to influence and infiltrate the US. MLK was surveilled for years because Hoover thought Russia was providing assistance to the civil rights movement. And it’s not like Russia hasn’t had great success in infiltrating our govt & other western govts. Robert Hanssen was an FBI agent who spied for Russia for over 20 years! Aldrich Ames was a CIA officer who worked for the KGB. Kim Philby was a British intel officer spying for Russia. Russia’s brilliant at what they do as any govt will tell you. And based on what I’ve read in the Mueller Report, they were all over Trump’s campaign. Given the number of contacts and relationships the Russians had created with Trump & his people, I’d be shocked if the FBI wasn’t investigating based on Russia’s history of successful infiltration of our govt.

      The Trump Tower meeting was bold. It showed the Russians that Trump’s ppl were rubes–who else would host a bunch of Russian intelligence in their campaign headquarters?–and receptive, willing to “listen.” It also showed they were willing to lie about it, even to defend them as Trump demonstrated in Helsinki when he told the world that he believed Putin over his own govt! Ad to think that Manafort knew who those people were and what they were after; he said nothing.

      Deciding whether Trump’s willingness to listen & use intel against his opponents isn’t the main point. My question is why would any American president encourage foreign govts to share their intelligence on our candidates? Why would any American go along with this? What happened to patriotism?

  11. Trump’s right. There was no particular reason to alert the FBI in re the Trump Tower meeting. No clue why you fancy Trump must defer to ‘his own’ FBI director.

    Was it wrong for Hellary’s campaign to accept oppo research from a British national supposedly shaking the bushes of his Russian contacts, and to try to peddle the oppo? Inquiring minds want to know.

    You might ask yourself why there is so much oppo floating around in our political campaigns. It says something about (1) the quality of people who run for office and (2) their sense of honor. Lousy time in which we live.

    1. I don’t know that Obama’s people did anything. What did Obama do exactly? Regardless, why does Trump decide how to act based on the behavior of people he has criticized? If he believes Hillary & Obama have committed crimes that should be investigated, why is he justifying his actions based on what they did? Trump declared he would drain the swamp, set a new bar, uphold patriotism. Yet you say what he did was ok because Obama did it, in which case he isn’t draining the swamp at all, he’s swimming alongside those he says infests it.

      1. Keep it up Democrat leadership, we can drain the swamp by any means necessary

        Narrowing the means just means it gets easier in the end

      2. Except Hillary did not collude with a foreign government for oppo information as JT incorrectly stated. That claim is ignorant and fitting for most here.

  12. I read Turley’s blog and got the wrong idea until I got to what Trump actually said: “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI

    In other words it makes a difference what the information is. Trump knows all too well how the FBI can manipulate information repeat it and make it sound true when the information was known to be false. I think the Professor is magnifying the question so only a small part comes into view and thereby draws the wrong conclusions.

    1. I think I should add Trump also said “I think maybe you do both.” . The question presented was vague with many satisfactory answers based on how one is looking at the question. Such questions are intentional formed to create ambiguity so that afterwards any answer provided can be made to look bad.

      If a Chinese diplomat said he saw your opposing candidate take a leak behind a tree is that something one need report to the FBI? I don’t think so if the tree were outdoors where no bathrooms were available, but it might be reportable if the tree was inside the WH which might indicate something very wrong.

      I don’t know why Professor Turley made a big deal of this over a vague question that generally indicates a trap

      1. Trump’s a normal human being who isn’t conditioned to constant doubletalk.

        That’s why people like him.

        His lack of subtlety and accuracy is what has earned him such derision from the chattering nabobs of negativity.

        “They lie. They lie, and we have to be merciful, for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. I do hate them.”

        Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

        1. Kurtz, people don’t like him. Never have and still don’t. They can see and smell walking bulls..t when it passes by.

  13. Trump is such an embarrassment as well as a corrupt liar. I just don’t see how he can continue to be tolerated

        1. “Actually NO, Obama was not ignorant nor a liar; thanks for asking.”
          ****************************
          “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.”

  14. “President Xi, one way we could solve the troubles between us is if you would please give us the details on China’s investment in Hunter Biden’s hedge fund, you know, Joe Cut-and-Paste’s son….”

  15. There is some blog on the internet which says that an American congresswoman with last name Cortez was visiting the middle east a few years back and had sex with a male waiter at her hotel. The KGB says they saw this and later had some journalist tell an American journalist from CNN. The CNN network never reported it. Who is bad here? The waiter, the Congresswoman, the KGB guy, the journalist or CNN network? Of course it all could be a lie. Russians: you cannot talk to them.

  16. JT should at least have his facts right.

    Unlike the stolen DNC emails and promises from the Kremlin lawyer that met with all the big campaign players and Trump relatives – a meeting for which Trump personally constructed a cover lie – the Steele Dossier did not come from a foreign government.

    1. “Steele Dossier did not come from a foreign government.” Choked on my coffee when I read this. Paid for by DNC and used foreign nationals Steele (UK) and his Russian “intelligence” sources. “Kremlin” lawyer met with Fushion GPS right after Trump Tower meeting. “Things that make you go hmmm?”

      1. Little Bill apparently isn’t clear on what a foreign government is. We know the Ruussian government helped Trump and that wasn’t unknown to hi and his campaign. The Russian government did not produce the Steele Dossier. It was produced by the former head of MI6’s Russian Desk, who’s allegiance was to the Brits and us, who he had worked with numerous times.

        1. Anon1 “you ignorant zlut”. Trump responded to a hypothetical question while cash actually changed hands with DNC, Fusion GPS, Steele (UK) & his Russian cohorts. Seems to me that what actually hasppened ($teele Do$$ier) vs hypothetical question/answer deserves much more scrutiny. Point goes to Little Bill, still pitching perpetual shut-out against Anon1.

          1. Little Bill, the “passing of cash” is a good thing since it removes the possible criminal charge of receiving aid to a campaign, either unreported or from a foreign government.

            Steele did not act in his capacity as a British MI6 agent – he retired – and never was an agent of the Russian government.

            1. Steele is a foreign national as well as his Russian cohorts. You are fixated with “foreign government” which ties to the hypothetical Q&A with Trump. If you are OK with DNC funneling money to GPS which engaged foreign nationals to smear a candidate and choose to get your panties in a bunch over a hypothetical Q&A then there is nothing more to talk about.

              1. JT incorrectly stated that Hillary had received information from a foreign government. I agree that is an important distinction. Too bad JT got it wrong.

                Paid opp research is done all the time, is not illegal, and the citizenship of those producing it is not an issue. Receiving it free from a foreign government potentially violates campaign finance law and is also potentially treasonous.

                1. Now you open up another can of worms: how Steele Dossier used/mis-used by FBI/Fisa Court. That is for Durham to investigate as Muler was fixated only on Trump. There is no way that Steele Dossier defense would fly if it were Trump/RNC hired Fushion/GPS to dig up/make up dirt on Hilary. Your outrage remains related to hypothetical Q&A vs. what actually transpired.

                2. Anon1, JT did not get it wrong, he wrote it for his rubes that will believe anything that can protect the dear leader.

                3. Anon – Mueller report made it clear that the Dems and HRC were searching, paid for and recieved information from foreign sources. THey then shared that with the cabal at CIA/DOS and Obama lackeys who then started leaking it as well as using it as substantiation for spying on a variety of political opponents. Paid oppo is not illegal – ACTIVELY SEARCHING FOR IT AND PAYING FOR IT IS ILLEGAL. Democrats/HRC actively searched for and paid for it … they then shared it with fellow Dems then they illegally provided it to media .. and they used it to target and smear Americans. Dems are slimy. But you know that.

              2. Fusion GPS is run by a former employee/contractor to the WSJ and has done work for conservatives, including the group which first hired them for the Trump dirt.

                1. What a dummy. Fusion GPS is a contractor open for hire by anyone with the money. They existed before the Hillary scandals and they will exist afterward whether she is in an old age home or in jail.

                  The job involving Steele was one done for Hillary and / or HRC Campaign. It was a different job even though stupid people don’t recognize contractors such as fusion take money from both sides. The Steele job was pure Clinton related and the money came from Clinton related sources.

  17. Trump said he would do both: look and what they had to offer AND call FBI (who wouldn’t take a peak). Another non-story by liberal press. The Dummycrats and lefty loon media going to empty their barrels before July 4th holiday and then come second half of 2019 Fat Jerry Nadler, Pencilneck Shiff, Eric Swallows, Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, Hyperventilating Mika, Morning BJ, et al will have been marginalized by the American public. Bunch of dumb-asses.

  18. You’re right, JT. His response shouldn’t have been he might accept information from a country like Norway. His response should have been, “You mean like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did?”

  19. Dumb, Don. What you do is hire a law firm; have them pay a pseudo-British spy (whom everybody knows i/was a spy) to gin up the info; leak it Buzzfeed; have the FBI pick up on it and rush to the FISA court to get a warrant to spy on your political opponent. Will Trump never learn the ways of the swamp?

    1. No hyperventilating on MSNBC or CNN about actual cash changing hands between DNC, Steele, Fushion GPS but hair on fire when Trump responds to a hypothetical question.

      1. Unlike tRump, most people pay for services rendered. No one denies oppo research but keep having your hissy fit. Enjoy your parade.

    2. How did tRump miss you for AG? That’s right only the best for the orange one, must suck not to make that team

      1. YNOT’s juvenile response to Mespo is a non-response indicating Mespo hit the nail on the head.

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