Trump says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on political opponent

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE on Wednesday wouldn't commit to calling the FBI if a foreign power offered damaging information on a political opponent.

The comments, in an interview with ABC's George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosActress Ali Wentworth, wife of ABC's George Stephanopoulos, tests positive for coronavirus: 'Pure misery' Sanders focuses on Biden's record, predicts Michigan victory as primary becomes two-man race Carson declines to 'preview' plan for virus-stricken ship's docking: 'We shouldn't have 16 people saying what the plan is' MORE, came after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's report, released earlier this year, detailed numerous efforts by Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

"I think maybe you do both," Trump said when asked whether he would call the FBI or listen if Russia, China or another foreign government reached out.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening," he continued. "It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI."

Stephanopoulos noted that FBI Director Christopher Wray has said campaigns should reach out to the bureau if they are contacted by a foreign entity.

"The FBI director is wrong," Trump said.

Mueller's nearly two-year investigation into interference in the 2016 election did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

However, the special counsel's final report detailed various instances of Russia attempting to interfere in the 2016 election and documented "numerous links" and conversations between Trump campaign officials and Moscow.

One particular event came under intense scrutiny. Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTwitter says coronavirus disinformation spread by Chinese officials does not violate rules Former lawyer for trophy hunting group joins Trump administration A rarely used fine could limit the spread of the coronavirus to the United States MORE accepted a meeting in the summer of 2016 at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information on the president’s Democratic opponent, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' MORE.

Trump Jr. and others in attendance have maintained that the meeting was a "waste of time" and that nothing came of it.

The president defended his son in Wednesday's interview and scoffed when asked whether Trump Jr. should have alerted the FBI about the Russian advances.

"This is somebody that said, 'We have information on your opponent,'" Trump said. "'Oh, let me call the FBI.' Give me a break. Life doesn’t work that way."

The president and some of his allies have defended the meeting, chalking it up to standard opposition research.

Trump's comments are sure to roil Democrats, some of whom have called to begin impeachment proceedings based on Mueller's findings.

The House Intelligence Committee held a hearing Wednesday to elaborate on the report's key takeaways, and the House Judiciary Committee has said it will conduct a series of hearings centered on the special counsel's findings.