Trump Says ‘I’d Take It’ if Russia Again Offered Dirt on Opponent

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In testimony to Congress last month, Mr. Wray, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, said campaigns should report it if they hear from foreign governments. “I think my view is that if any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state or anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that’s something that the F.B.I. would want to know about,” Mr. Wray said.

When pressed during the interview, Mr. Trump allowed that maybe he would call the F.B.I. but only after listening to the incriminating information first. “I think maybe you do both,” he said, adding: “There’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

His answer mirrored one given recently by Mr. Kushner, who said he was not sure he would call the F.B.I. if a foreign government again offered damaging information about an opponent. “I don’t know,” he said in an interview with Axios, an online news organization. “It’s hard to do hypotheticals, but the reality is is that we were not given anything that was salacious.”

It was the second time in recent weeks that Mr. Trump has publicly chided Mr. Wray. After the F.B.I. director rejected the word “spying” to describe the bureau’s investigation of contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, Mr. Trump lashed out. “I thought it was a ridiculous answer,” Mr. Trump said last month.

Mr. Trump on Wednesday also disputed an article in The New York Times reporting that his internal polling showed him trailing Democrats in key states. “We are winning in every single state that we polled,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “We’re winning in Texas very big, we’re winning in Ohio very big. We’re winning in Florida very big. They were fake polls that were either put out by the corrupt media.”

Mr. Trump’s claim to Mr. Stephanopoulos that he never in his life called the F.B.I. conflicts with past reports. In 2017, BuzzFeed reported on a 1981 F.B.I. memo that described how Mr. Trump, as a real estate developer, contacted the bureau about a casino he was considering opening in Atlantic City. He offered to “fully cooperate” with the bureau and suggested that F.B.I. agents work undercover in the casino to root out any mafia elements.



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