Al Gore Recalls The Time His Campaign Received Illegal Materials — And How He Responded

"It wasn't mailed from Moscow, but it was mailed from Texas."

Former Vice President and 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Monday to promote his new climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. Since the episode marked the start of Colbert's "Russia Week," the host took the opportunity to ask Gore about a past incident which bears a striking resemblance to a controversy currently rocking the Trump administration

Last week, as the New York Times was reporting on the scandal, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a June 2016 email exchange in which he was offered damaging information apparently provided by the Russian government about his father Donald Trump's opponent (and former Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton.  

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"I love it," Trump Jr. replied, and agreed to a meeting with a Russian government lawyer. Further details of the meeting have emerged in the days since, with President Trump's lawyer insisting the Secret Service wouldn't have allowed anything "nefarious" — despite Trump Jr. not being under their protection at the time.

Many politicians, including some Republicans, have asserted that Trump Jr.'s response to the offer of information was inappropriate. The correct response, some said, was to alert the FBI

One example of such proper procedure, which soon went viral on Twitter, occurred during the 2000 presidential election, when someone connected to Al Gore's campaign received a debate prep book which had been stolen from his opponent, George W. Bush.

Colbert asked Gore to elaborate on this story during his appearance. Gore confirmed it, explaining that his friend Tom Downey, a former congressman who was planning to stand in for Bush during Gore's own debate prep, had received the book. 

"It wasn't mailed from Moscow," Gore quipped. "But it was mailed from Texas. Somebody was very unhappy with the Bush campaign."

Whether the information came from a foreign or domestic source was irrelevant to how Gore and his team reacted. "We immediately turned it over to the FBI," he recalled, "and Tom recused himself from the whole debate process."

The audience applauded Gore for his honest response to a potentially scandalous situation. Colbert, meanwhile, couldn't resist further calling out Trump Jr., asking Gore, "Did you think about the option of keeping it, winning the election, and then blaming the whole thing on the Secret Service?"

"It didn't occur to me at the time, but in retrospect..." Gore joked, before answering more sincerely, "No."

Gore and Colbert went on to speak about President Trump's decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Although Gore admitted he initially worried the move would be "disastrous," he remains hopeful, especially as the rest of the world, and even some parts of the United States,"doubled down" on their commitment to the agreement.

The former vice president urged people, especially young people, to see An Inconvenient Sequel ("It's an amazingly hot date movie," he said) and make their voices heard when it comes to electing candidates who will take climate change seriously.

"We are going to win this," he said. "The only question is how long it will take."

(H/T: Hollywood Reporter)

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