The Slatest

Trump Says in Oval Office Interview if Russia Offered Dirt on His 2020 Opponent He’d Do Exactly What He Did Before—Take It

It shouldn’t be shocking at this point, but somehow it remains jarring to hear a president of the United States so consumed by self-interest that he can admit to learning nothing and cares not at all about any principle other than his own survival and success. When asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office on Wednesday if he’d call the FBI this time around if his campaign was offered help from a foreign power, Donald Trump responded “Life doesn’t work that way.” What about if that foreign power was Russia or China offering dirt on an opponent, would he take it or hand it over to the FBI? “I think maybe you do both,” Trump responded.

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump continued. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’—oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” Stephanopoulos then questioned whether it was a good idea allowing foreign countries to interfere in a domestic election. “It’s not an interference, they have information—I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI—if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”

It’s hard to read that any other way than it sounds—and how Trump surely meant it. After years of investigations, Donald Trump has predictably learned nothing and conceded even less. The president is a Ponzi Scheme of a man and that means that the grift can never end that no truth or revelation can interfere with the fragile existence of the fiction his presidency is built upon. The interview is a preview of what’s to come: a toxic explosion of a campaign over the next 18 months. It’s also a reminder that Donald Trump is a threat to American national security.