Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI'

Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI'
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE responded to remarks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE regarding offers of foreign intelligence, saying that in that case, the president should "call the FBI."

The South Bend, Ind. mayor told CBS's "Face the Nation" that it is not acceptable to receive information from a foreign government about a political opponent. 

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"Just call the FBI. It's not hard. It's not complicated," he said. "If you think there's a foreign effort to tamper with an American election and you're an American who cares about America, you call the FBI."

Buttigieg also said that this issue "isn't hypothetical," referring to Russian interference attempts in in past elections. 

"We were attacked by a hostile foreign power that decided that they could damage America, destabilize America, by intervening in the election to help him win. And they did and he did, and now America's destabilized," he said, apparently talking about Trump. "So this is not some academic exercise. This is something that has happened and will probably happen again."

The presidential hopeful also questioned how a president who cares about the U.S. could allow a "potentially hostile foreign power" to interfere in its elections. 

"You have to draw a very clear line," he said. "If you care about this country, if you believe in putting this country first, how could you ever talk about allowing a foreign- potentially hostile foreign power to interfere in the most sacred thing that we have in our civic tradition in America, which is our elections?" 

Buttigieg's remarks come after President Trump said Wednesday that he would consider accepting information political opponents from foreign entities. 

“I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening,” Trump told ABC News. “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.”

In the interview, ABC News host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosWhile Klobuchar surges, Warren flounders The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders, Buttigieg do battle in New Hampshire Democrats ramp up attacks on opponents in final pitch before New Hampshire MORE noted that Trump's FBI director, Christopher Wray, has said campaigns should report such contact from foreign entities to the bureau.

"The FBI director is wrong," Trump responded.

 The president's remarks received criticism from several lawmakers.