President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday to defend his stance that he would check out information from foreign governments about political opponents before going to the FBI.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Trump in an interview Wednesday what he would do if someone from a foreign government came to him with information on an opponent, which a Russian lawyer reportedly did with his son and some of his campaign officials in 2016. Trump said he may report it to the FBI but not before listening to what the information is, since it may not be a form of "interference" in the election.
Interfering in the election is what the Justice Department maintains Russia did in 2016. Thursday morning Trump said on Twitter that all his contact with foreign leaders could not be likened to interference.
"I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments' every day," Trump tweeted. "I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Wales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about ‘Everything!'"
He said it would be ridiculous to call the FBI about all these meetings, and he added that the "Fake News Media" was leaving out important parts of his full answer to Stephanopoulos's question.
In another string of tweets, he turned the matter around to accuse Democrats of spying on his campaign and contacting foreigners about him.
"When [Virginia senator Mark Warner] spoke at length, and in great detail, about extremely negative information on me, with a talented entertainer purporting to be a Russian Operative, did he immediately call the FBI? NO, in fact he didn't even tell the Senate Intelligence Committee of which he is a member," Trump tweeted.
Trump also brought up when Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) took a call from Russian comedians claiming to have naked pictures of Trump obtained by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Schiff reportedly told one of the comedians, who claimed to be Andriy Parubiy of the Ukrainian Parliament, to coordinate with the FBI and the House about transferring the "compromising material."
Trump said the investigations into Russian collusion with his campaign were a "Witch Hunt" and a "giant scam."
Much of the reaction to Trump's comments to Stephanopoulos expressed outrage and called for impeachment. Former Hillary Clinton aide Brian Fallon lambasted Democrats for their inaction.
House Dems are offering our democracy their thoughts and prayers.
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) June 13, 2019
Democrats in the House have a majority, and many of them are calling for Trump's impeachment, but it is unclear how many are on board. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) contends Trump participated in a "cover-up" but has not opened the door to impeachment hearings. Around 60 Democrats were in favor of impeachment as of Wednesday, before Trump made his comments.