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Trump and Torture

A lot of attention has been focused on President-Elect Donald Trump’s past statements endorsing the use of torture. Recent condemnations of the new administration by several human rights groups are premised on those statements. But much less notice has been paid to the how those surrounding him have apparently worked to educate him on the issue in recent weeks.

During an interview Mr. Trump gave to the New York Times last November, for example, he was asked again for his views on torture. He responded that he had discussed waterboarding with General James Mattis, now his Secretary of Defense-Designate, who, to Mr. Trump’s amazement, said that he never found it useful and could do better with a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers. Mr. Trump told the New York Times he was impressed with that answer.

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