Will Consider Accepting Dirt On Opponents From Foreign Governments

President Trump and then-communications director Hope Hicks at the White House in March 2018

President Trump and then-communications director Hope Hicks at the White House in March 2018

"You might want to listen, there's nothing wrong with listening", he told the U.S. broadcaster.

Democrats are expressing alarm after U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed concerns about accepting information about electoral opponents from foreign powers and said such activity would not amount to interference in the U.S. political system.

Graham was responding to Trump's interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Wednesday in which the president said there "isn't anything wrong with listening" to a foreign government such as China or Russian Federation if they have negative information about a 2020 Democratic rival. This isn't a stolen-this is somebody that said, 'We have information on your opponent.' Oh, let me call the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The remarks come after the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee for around three hours, also Wednesday, as part of the committee's two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"I think you might want to listen", Trump said. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, concluded that Russian Federation made a concerted effort to help Trump get elected and that Trump's campaign benefited from it, but he established no illegal conspiracy between the two.

His son, Donald Trump Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-campaign head Paul Manafort met the Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in NY in June 2016, two weeks after Mr Trump had secured the Republican nomination.

The president didn't specify, but it's possible he is referring to reports that Warner had extensive contact in 2017 with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch who was offering Warner access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele. Thursday morning Trump said on Twitter that all his contact with foreign leaders could not be likened to interference.

Pelosi, under pressure from more progressive members of her caucus to launch a formal impeachment inquiry, said Trump's statement was "appalling" and "totally unethical", but that House Democrats would methodically pursue their various investigations.

Democrats jumped on Trump's remarks Wednesday and called for the passage of legislation to explicitly require candidates to disclose a foreign government's help like it would campaign contributions. "Ms Hicks understands that the Committee will be free to pose questions as it sees fit, including about her time on the Trump Campaign and her time in the White House", Nadler said.

In an interview with broadcaster ABC News, the president denied this would count as meddling in an election.

Trump's son Donald Trump Jr was questioned by a US Senate committee on Wednesday in a closed session about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in NY. "How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again", he tweeted. He added, "Give me a break - life doesn't work that way".

"A foreign entity that engaged in such research and provided resulting information to a campaign could exert a greater effect on an election, and a greater tendency to ingratiate the donor to the candidate, than a gift of money or tangible things of value", Mueller wrote.

Republicans have accused Clinton's campaign of also accepting foreign assistance. "I don't want to send a signal to encourage this".

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