Murkowski differs with Trump on campaign help from foreign powers

President Trump told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos he’d likely take foreign intel on a rival candidate and wouldn’t necessarily call the FBI. Photo: Screen shot from

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was not happy to hear President Trump say he would accept foreign intel on a political opponent.

“It’s not anything I would have said. So no, I didn’t like it,” she said.

In an ABC News interview that aired Wednesday night, Trump said it’s unrealistic to expect a campaign to call the FBI if Russian or other foreign powers offer information on a rival candidate, like the offer made to his son in 2016.

“This is somebody that said ‘We have information on your opponent.’ Oh, let me call the FBI,” Trump said, hitting a sarcastic note for the last sentence. “Gimme a break. Life doesn’t work that way.”

“The FBI director says that’s what should happen,” responded ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

“The FBI director is wrong,” Trump said, though he later said he would “maybe” call the FBI.

If another country offered him incriminating information on an opponent, Trump said he’d likely take it.

“You go and talk honestly to congressmen, they all do it,” Trump said. “They always have.”

Murkowski said that’s not true.

“Well, when he says that ‘all politicians do it’ – this politician doesn’t,” she said.

Outside the Senate chamber Thursday afternoon, Sen. Dan Sullivan wasn’t ready to talk about the president’s remarks.

“I honestly have not seen one thing the president has said,” Sullivan said, after a floor speech and on his way to meet some constituents. “I mean, I have been very busy. But when I read it and see it, I’ll take a look at it.”

His spokesman Mike Anderson later offered a statement: “Sen. Sullivan believes that this type of information from a foreign entity should be immediately reported and turned over to the appropriate authorities.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats say the president’s comments amount to an invitation for foreign meddling in the 2020 presidential election.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at

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