The media has been right to focus on Donald Trump’s remarks to George Stephanopoulos.
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump tells @GStephanopoulos he wouldn't necessarily alert the FBI if approached by foreign figures with information on his 2020 opponent: "It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it." https://t.co/yWRxMOaFqW pic.twitter.com/qwLw53s5yc
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2019
Contrary to the claims made by his attorney general, the president basically said, “Yeah, I ‘colluded’ with the Russians and I’d do it again.” What he described was such a clear violation of federal election laws that the chair of the FEC felt the need to remind the public that they prohibit a candidate from accepting assistance from a foreign government.
But in the midst of this latest outrage, Trump said something else that we shouldn’t ignore.
I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do. Oh, give me a break – life doesn’t work that way.
Based on what we’ve seen from this president, he is probably telling the truth when he says that he’s seen a lot of things over his life (i.e., crimes), but according to his way of thinking, “You don’t call the FBI.”
One of the reasons that statement has the ring of truth is that he said something similar back in 1993 during testimony before the House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs. Trump claimed to have a list of mafia incidents that occurred at Native American casinos. But when asked whether he had given that list to the FBI (rather than simply use it to malign the casino operations of his competitors), he stated that that was not his job.
As we’ve seen over and over again, Trump views the world through the eyes of a mafia boss rather than someone who took an oath to uphold the Constitution. That explains why he has always viewed the FBI with utter contempt.
It is interesting to contrast that view with the actions of someone the president and his enablers have demonized: Christopher Steele. Whether you think that his dossier contained accurate information or not, when the former MI6 officer gathered intelligence about how Vladimir Putin was attempting to interfere in the 2016 election, he took his information directly to the FBI—as did the late Senator John McCain. That is what people do when they have respect for the rule of law.