Donald Trump would accept dirt on rivals from foreign governments
US president says he ‘would want to hear’ negative information on 2020 opponents
US President Donald Trump has said that if a foreign power offered dirt on his 2020 opponents, he would be open to accepting it.
Asked by ABC News whether he would listen to the information or call the FBI in such a scenario, he responded: “I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called, from a country – Norway – we have information on your opponent. Oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
CNN says the remarks mean that Trump “just put a ‘for sale’ sign on his forehead”, while The Guardian notes that the comments come “just a month after he pledged not to use information stolen by foreign adversaries in his 2020 re-election campaign”.
Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand, who hope to run against Trump for the 2020 election, have repeated their calls to begin impeachment hearings in the wake of his latest comments.
Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee, took to Twitter to say: “It is shocking to hear the President say outright that he is willing to put himself in debt to a foreign power... not to mention the foreign interference in an American election part.”
Adam Schiff, Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN he found Trump's remarks “stunning on the one hand and not at all surprising on the other”. He added that “Trump has made it clear that he will engage in any action, no matter how unethical or unpatriotic”.
It comes two months after an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller found that Trump did not collude with Russia during the 2016 election, but Mueller has since said his report did not exonerate the president.
Last month, during a Q&A session with reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said he “would certainly agree” not to use such dirt on opponents in 2020. “I don’t need it,” he said as he met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “All I need is the opponents that I’m looking at.”