WASHINGTON (AP) — US President Donald Trump said Friday that his defense secretary’s opposition to torture would override his own belief that enhanced interrogation “does work,” addressing concerns about a return to Bush-era use of waterboarding and other especially harsh procedures.
“We’re no longer going to be the country that doesn’t know what it’s doing,” Trump declared.Three issues — whether Trump would allow the use of torture, the US-Mexico relationship and the future of sanctions on Russia — dominated the new president’s brief news conference after his first meeting with another world leader.
Trump was asked if he was considering lifting US sanctions against Russia ahead of an expected Saturday phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump was noncommittal, saying “We’ll see what happens. As far as the sanctions, very early to be talking about that.”
Since taking office, Trump has signaled a renewed embrace of torture in the fight against Islamic extremism. But he said he would defer to the views of his defense secretary, James Mattis, who has questioned the effectiveness of such practices as waterboarding, which simulates drowning.
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