Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

Donald Trump says he would accept dirt on a political opponent in 2020 election

The US president said he would not necessarily contact the FBI if he discovered damaging information

Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic competitor Hillary Clinton after their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, US, September 26, 2016. REUTERS
Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic competitor Hillary Clinton after their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, US, September 26, 2016. REUTERS

US President Donald Trump has said that he would willingly accept compromising information on his opponent in the 2020 election, adding that he would have no obligation to call the FBI.

Speaking on gathering dirt on his opponents during an interview with ABC News, he said: “I think I’d want to hear it. There’s nothing wrong with listening.”

The role played by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, was a key focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Asked if he thought his son should have called the FBI when he received one such email in 2016, Mr Trump said: "Give me a break, life doesn't work that way."

“Not only was he not charged, if you read it, with all of the horrible fake news. I was reading that my son was going to jail, this is a good young man – that he was going to go to jail. And the report comes out and they didn’t even say; they hardly talked about him,” he said.

Mr Trump later said he would “maybe” contact the FBI if it was offering other information and he believed something was wrong.

However, he said that “oppo research” or getting dirt on your opponents was common in US politics and the FBI “doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it”.

The 448-page Mueller report, which was completed and handed in to Attorney General William Barr in March, unearthed widespread Russian efforts to interfere with the American vote during the 2016 election. Mr Mueller stopped short of accusing Mr Trump of collusion but the report, which took 22 months to complete, did not exonerate him.

Speaking for the first time after declining to comment publicly during the report, on May 29, the special counsel said obstruction of justice charges were not brought against Mr Trump because a sitting president cannot be charged. Mr Mueller’s comments has led to new calls for impeachment proceedings.

Updated: June 13, 2019 10:44 AM

SHARE

SHARE