Saturday, 15 June 2019

Trump Goes On Fox To Clean Up His Foreign Interference Comments

President Donald Trump on Friday tried again to rectify the mess he made by saying he would likely accept dirt on a political opponent from a foreign entity, going on “Fox & Friends” to clean up the comments.

Trump insisted during a meandering 50-minute interview that “of course” he would alert the FBI in such a case, but only after reviewing it first, “because if you don't look at it, you won't know it's bad.”

The president has moved into damage control mode after an interview he gave with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos this week in which he scoffed at the notion of reporting revelations of damaging information from a foreign source to U.S. authorities.

“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.”

“It’s called oppo research,” he added.

Remarkably, Trump also asserted on Friday that he didn’t foresee that issue arising. “I don't think anybody would present me with anything because they know how much I love the country,” he said, despite well-documented attempts by Russian nationals to do just that during the 2016 election.

“Nobody’s gonna present me with anything bad, and No. 2, if I was — and of course, you have to look at it, because if you don't look at it, you won't know it's bad, but, of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to attorney general or somebody like that,” he argued. “But of course you do that — you couldn't have that happen with our country, and everybody understands that and I thought it was made clear.”

Even so, he contended, as a president who frequently meets with foreign leaders, he questioned whether he would need to report every negative thing uttered behind closed doors to U.S. authorities, citing his recent meetings with the leaders of the United Kingdom, Ireland and France — all U.S. allies.

His clean-up attempts received mixed responses from the three “Fox & Friends” co-hosts, who often function as cheerleaders for the president. While Ainsley Earhardt appeared to accept the president's explanation, Brian Kilmeade pushed back some on Trump’s argument.

“Mr. President, I think that’s a good point, but what if a leader leaned over and just said, listen, X candidate that you're running against he did dicey things in XYZ country, and I’ve got some proof of it — what do you do in that scenario, do you back off, do you say I don't need it, do you say show it to me?” he asked.

“Like I said Brian, the president of the United States no matter who it is whether it's me or anybody else is in a much different position because I hear things that frankly, good, bad or indifferent that other people don't hear, just a normal conversation,” Trump responded, before returning to his initial point. “But nobody is going to say bad things to me, they know that I'm a very straight player. They know one thing about me: I love the country more than anything.”

Trump’s claims that he would not be a prime recipient of foreign dirt not only contradicts his comments earlier in the week, but the actions of his 2016 campaign and himself more recently.

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