Rick Santorum, one of CNN’s resident Trump defenders, tried with all his might Wednesday night to rally to President Trump’s defense after the president openly said he’d be open to accepting dirt on a 2020 opponent from a foreign country, claiming the president was merely speaking “colloquially.”

During a blockbuster interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump said there was “nothing wrong with listening” if a foreign national showed up and offered compromising material on an opponent, adding that if they “have information” he’d “take it.” Suggesting it was just “oppo research,” Trump said congressmen “all do it” and FBI Director Christopher Wray was “wrong” to say that type of incident should be reported to the FBI.

The comments were met with a barrage of impeachment calls from 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, though Santorum, in a CNN panel discussion hosted by Anderson Cooper, didn’t see what the big deal was.

“Well, I mean, let’s be fair,” the former GOP presidential candidate said when asked to comment on the controversy. “The president said he would listen, but he would also send it to the FBI. He said he would do both. The question is whether he should do both or simply refuse to get the information. But he did say he would turn it over to the FBI.”

When Cooper noted the president had actually seemed to waver on the idea of contacting the FBI, even arguing Wray was “wrong” to call for such foreign overtures to be reported, Santorum suggested Trump had simply been misunderstood.

“He has, sort of—as we all do, filler words that don’t mean what they say, like, ‘I think,’” Santorum attempted to explain. “So I took the president for his word that he would do both, which I think, I don’t think that’s necessarily inappropriate as long as he refers it to the FBI. As far as looking at the information, maybe he should and maybe he shouldn’t and I don’t think it’s a crime in looking at the information as long as you refer it to the proper authorities.”

After CNN legal analyst Laura Coates said candidates can’t legally solicit this type of help from foreign governments, Santorum objected, claiming the president had been commenting on an entirely different scenario.

“The president wasn’t answering questions about soliciting information,[Stephanopoulos] said if someone came to you and said ‘Hey, I have some dirt,’ and he was talking more colloquially,” the former Pennsylvania senator argued. “And the president’s words are often imprecise, and not necessarily, uh—that’s why he didn’t want to be interviewed with Robert Mueller because he tends to sort of ramble and talk about things more loosely.”

Santorum went on to insist that he never called the FBI when he received information and opposition research in the past, prompting Cooper to ask if he had ever gotten it from “Russia or Norway,” or any other foreign country.

Santorum acknowledged he hadn’t, saying, “If I knew that that information was coming from a foreign service, sure I would call the FBI.”