President Donald Trump said he “may“ bring up election interference with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in Japan later this week.
“I may,” Trump said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” that aired Sunday.
“I may if you’d like me to do it, I’ll do that,” he told the host, Chuck Todd.
The president stunned many in Washington earlier this month when he asserted he’d be willing to accept dirt on his potential 2020 opponents from foreign countries.
The administration, and Trump himself, have since tried a number of times to walk the comments back.
Meanwhile, congressional Democrats have sought to turn the issue of election security in a cudgel against Republicans, calling for action on long-stalled bipartisan legislation and proposing a raft of new measures aimed at shoring up state and local voting systems before Election Day.
Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of Trump’s leading critics, recalled that Trump discussed special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on interference in the 2016 election during a lengthy phone call with Putin last month, where Trump once again called the probe a hoax.
Trump’s comment underscore “once again to the Russians, if there were any doubt, that they’re free to intervene in the next election, as long as they intervene on the president’s side,” Schiff said during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.. “And he will not have the guts to call them out on it. He may even be grateful. That is the message the Russians have gotten from the president.”
For his part, Trump disputed the idea that his comments signaled to Russia to interfere in 2020 as Moscow did during the heated 2016 presidential race.
“Oh, that’s not true. That’s not true,” he said.
Trump said that he’d be willing to listen to the information while at the same time reporting it to the FBI.
“I said both. I’d do both. Except they didn’t put it on.”