ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President-elect Donald Trump appears to be rethinking some of his campaign promises and policy positions.
In an interview with reporters and editors at The New York Times on Tuesday, Trump seemed to back away from campaign pledges concerning Hillary Clinton, climate change and waterboarding.
Pursuing investigations into Hillary Clinton
Trump repeatedly told his supporters that he would “lock her up” if elected president, a reference to Clinton’s use of a personal email server as secretary of state.
Trump once told Clinton during a debate that if he won the White House, he would instruct his “attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”
In July, after a year-long investigation, the FBI concluded that charges against Clinton were not warranted, saying agents had not found any evidence that Clinton knowingly sent or received classified information on the server.
Trump told The Times that he won’t do anything “to hurt the Clintons” and that his former rival, who he once referred to as a “nasty woman,” doesn’t need to go through a lengthy investigation as she recovers from the election loss.
“Look, I want to move forward, I don’t want to move back. And I don’t want to hurt the Clintons. I really don’t. She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways. And I am not looking to hurt them at all,” Trump said, according to a transcript provided by the newspaper.
When asked how supporters would respond if he decided against an investigation, Trump answered, “I don’t think they will be disappointed. I think I will explain it, that we have to, in many ways save our country.”
Trump indicated he might alter his view on climate change, despite previously describing it as a “hoax” and a “myth.” He suggested to The Times there may be a possible connection between human activity and global warming.
“Well, I think there is some connectivity,” Trump said Tuesday. “There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies.”
And he may no longer try to “cancel” the nation’s participation in the Paris climate change agreement, which nearly 200 nations signed in 2015 to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead, Trump told The Times that he would “keep an open mind” about the landmark negotiation.
“I’m going to study a lot of the things that happened on it and we’re going to look at it very carefully. But I have an open mind,” Trump said in the interview.
During a Republican primary debate on Feb. 6 moderated by ABC News, Trump said he would “bring back waterboarding and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
After meeting with retired Lt. Gen. James Mattis over the weekend, Trump revealed to The Times he was “surprised” and “impressed” by Mattis’ answer on waterboarding.
According to Trump, Mattis, who is being considered for the cabinet position of secretary of defense, told Trump: “I’ve never found it to be useful.”
“He said, ‘I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, and I do better with that than I do with torture,’” Trump recalled of his meeting with Mattis, whom he called a “strong, highly dignified man.”
“And I was very impressed by that answer,” Trump said. “I was surprised, because he’s known as being like the toughest guy.”
Still, Trump refused to take waterboarding and other torture tactics off the table entirely.
“If it’s so important to the American people, I would go for it. I would be guided by that,” Trump said.
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