Trump says "of course" he'd report damaging information to the FBI

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Trump appears to invite interference in 2020

President Trump insisted Friday that he would both want to review information provided from a foreign government and give the information to the FBI, if it's "incorrect or badly stated," after facing criticism earlier in the week when he said he would be open to taking dirt about his rivals from a foreign power.

"Of course you have to look at it," Mr. Trump told Fox & Friends in a phone interview Friday morning, adding, but "of course you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general." However, the president did not necessarily commit to reporting such contacts in all cases.

"If I thought anything was incorrect or badly stated, I'd report to the FBI or law enforcement, absolutely," the president said.

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Mr. Trump has taken heat — including from Republicans — after seeming to welcome opposition research from foreign actors during an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. On Friday morning, the president claimed he thought he made it clear he would report damaging information to the FBI, even though he told Stephanopoulos that "maybe" he would report that to the FBI.

"Everybody understands that and I thought it was made clear," the president told Fox & Friends.

But Mr. Trump insisted that "nobody's going to present me with anything bad" because he loves this country.

On another topic, the president asserted that Iran was indeed behind the attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, going a step further than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said that evidence points to Iran.

"Iran did do it," Mr. Trump said, before going on to attack the Iran nuclear deal and declaring Iran is a "nation of terror."

The president also defended his top aide Kellyanne Conway, whom the Office of Special Counsel says should be removed from the federal government because she has violated the Hatch Act prohibiting federal officials from engaging in political activity so many times.

"It looks to me like they're trying to take away her right on free speech," Mr. Trump said, adding he won't fire her as the ethics office suggested.

First published on June 14, 2019 / 8:43 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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