Nancy Pelosi speaks after Trump says he would accept election help from foreign governments — live stream

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

CBSN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding her weekly press conference Thursday morning, as calls to open impeachment proceedings against President Trump intensify after he said in an interview Wednesday that he would accept election help from foreign actors.

Mr. Trump made the comments in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that aired in part Wednesday night on "ABC News World Tonight." Stephanopoulos asked Mr. Trump whether he would take information offered from a foreign actor in the next election, or alert the FBI.

"I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening," Mr. Trump said.

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"If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said,] 'We have information on your opponent' — Oh, I think I'd want to hear it," Mr. Trump continued, adding that "it's not an interference."

"I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI In my whole life," Mr. Trump added, saying, "Give me a break — life doesn't work that way."

When Stephanopoulos pointed out that the FBI director has said that a candidate should call if they are offered intelligence on an opponent from a foreign actor, Mr. Trump shot back: "The FBI director is wrong."

Mr. Trump's comments were quickly criticized by Democrats, and particularly candidates running to become the Democratic nominee for president in 2020. On Thursday morning, Mr. Trump made light of the issue by suggesting it would be absurd if he alerted the FBI to every conversation he has with foreign leaders.

"I meet and talk to 'foreign governments' every day," the president tweeted Thursday morning. "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!" Should I immediately…call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again."

Pelosi has stood firm in her opposition to opening an impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump, despite a growing call to do so from a significant minority in her caucus. Pelosi has said that she continues to support investigating Mr. Trump, such as the House Judiciary Committee's investigation into whether the president obstructed justice by trying to block the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called the president's comments "dangerous, appalling, unethical, unpatriotic." He said his committee is working on a bill to define foreign assistance for the purposes of election and that getting opposition research from a foreign power should be prohibited. "It shouldn't be necessary, but for this president, it needs to be spelled out," Schiff continued.

Democrats in the Senate have also expressed outrage against Mr. Trump's comments. In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked if his Republican colleagues were going to "sit and cower" in response to Mr. Trump's latest comments. He mentioned a bill by Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which would mandate that candidates tell the FBI if foreign actors offer them intelligence related to an election opponent. Warner is asking the Senate to consider the bill under unanimous consent Thursday afternoon.

Republicans in the Senate have also condemned the president's comments. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Mr. Trump's closest allies in Congress, said that he thought the president's words were "a mistake."

"If a foreign government comes to you as a public official, and offers to help your campaign giving you anything of value, whether it be money or information on your opponent, the right answer is no," Graham said. "I think it's a mistake of law. I don't want to send a signal to encourage this."

First published on June 13, 2019 / 10:12 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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