U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday defended himself from criticism after saying he would take campaign help from foreign powers on his political rivals.
Trump, in an interview on Wednesday, said he would hear out a foreign source with damaging intelligence on opponents, even if the information was coming from competitors like China and Russia.
He said that he would “maybe’’ consider reporting the contact to the police.
“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day.
“I just met with the Queen of England, the Prince of Wales, the PM of the UK, the PM of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland.
“We talked about ‘Everything! Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous!’’ Trump said in a series of tweets defending his comments.
However, Sen. Lindsay Graham, a Trump ally, was quick to condemn the president as having made a “mistake” and said it is wrong to encourage the sharing of foreign information on domestic rivals.
Democrats were harsher, with some in the party’s left-wing upping their calls for impeachment proceedings.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s comments were giving Russia a “green light’’ to interfere again in the elections against 2020.
An investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that Russian agents interfered to help Trump, however, declined to make a decision whether the White House had obstructed justice.
Trump’s remarks, however, came the week before he is set to launch his campaign and while Congress is still probing Russian election interference in 2016.