CNN anchor Anderson Cooper sounded off Wednesday on President Trump’s ABC News interview in which he suggested he would accept dirt on political opponents from foreign governments and not report it to the FBI.
In a preview clip, Trump dismissed the idea that foreign governments giving him opposition research is considered “interference” and that he would “want to hear” what they have. The president added that while he would “maybe” report such interactions to the FBI, he rejected the notion that everyone would do the same.
“I think I’d want to hear it … I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump told interviewer George Stephanopoulos. “I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do.”
Trump’s remarks contradict those of FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has urged anyone approached by foreign governments with political dirt to report it to the authorities.
While discussing the president’s remarks with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Cooper expressed how he was reminded of Trump’s 2016 comments suggesting that Russia should find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.
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“You know, people just kind of roll their eyes at this point and it bears repeating this is not normal behavior of a president,” Cooper said. “I’m not even sure, I don’t even know, if he understands or doesn’t care what the ramifications of this are, but if any other president had said anything resembling this, you know, Republicans in Congress would have, understandably, you know, called him a traitor.”
Clapper agreed, saying: “Can you imagine if Barack Obama, if he were still president, somehow said something like that? The Republicans would be going nuts over this.” He also described Trump’s remarks as “incredible, amazing, stunning and disturbing.”