President Trump said there was no reason to alert the FBI after he received opposition research from foreign entities and that he would be willing to receive similar information in the upcoming elections, according to a Wednesday interview with ABC correspondent George Stephanopoulos.
“I’ve seen a lot of things over my life, and I don’t think I’ve ever called the FBI. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of the office…” the president said, according to a transcript released by CBS News' Sara Cook on Twitter.
“This is somebody that said, we have information on your opponent. Oh, let me call the FBI. Give me a break, life doesn’t work that way,” added Trump, who differentiated his situation from that of Al Gore, who contacted the FBI after receiving a stolen briefing book.
Trump also said the FBI director was wrong to suggest he should have reported the 2016 incident.
The president added that he would be willing to listen to foreign information on his opponents during the 2020 election. “I think I’d want to hear it.”
In the wake of the interview, Fox News’ Hogan Gidley said on Thursday that “the president ‘was clear’ that if he received info on an opponent from a foreign government he'd take it to the FBI,” according to Cook.
Trump also distanced himself from the statements, saying they had been misleadingly depicted by media. The president added on Twitter that his actions were similar to communicating with other heads of state, something every president does.