Sen. Thom Tillis responded Thursday to the uproar from Democrats and the media over President Trump's remarks about his willingness to accept dirt on political rivals from foreign governments.
Tillis, R-N.C., said on "Outnumbered Overtime" that those who are criticizing the president fail to ask questions about the origins of the FBI's counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign in 2016.
"You have to listen to the entire discussion, where the president said if he felt something was wrong, he would reach out to the authorities, so I'll leave it up to the president to use good judgment," he said, questioning why reporters are not asking about Fusion GPS working on behalf of the Clinton campaign to gather information from foreign sources in 2016 for the Steele dossier.
"President Trump said something that has gotten people's attention. The Clinton campaign did something that's being conveniently left out of the dialogue," he told Harris Faulkner.
Trump made the comment in the Oval Office during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, saying he would not necessarily contact the FBI if he was offered dirt on his opponent.
"I think I'd want to hear it... I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening," he said, arguing he would view it as the kind of "oppo research" that is common in political campaigns.
"If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent' -- oh, I think I'd want to hear it.”
Tillis said it's "hard to believe" that no one in the Clinton campaign knew about the actions of Fusion GPS in procuring the dossier.
He said political candidates must be "hyper-vigilant" in the current environment, but "any time we receive information that we believe to be from a foreign entity, we should report it."
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