Trump would ‘err on side of security’ in NSA debate

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Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJohnson faces tough crowd at Libertarian debate Sanders: Primary isn't 'rigged,' just 'dumb' Trump University judge to unseal documents MORE is aligning himself with GOP presidential rivals Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the Republican Party’s divide over federal surveillance powers.

The billionaire said he would “err on the side of security" during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, a day after new National Security Agency (NSA) reforms went into place.

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“Every time I pick up a phone, I assume people are listening to my conversations,” added Trump, the GOP front-runner. “I don’t like it, but I have to make that assumption. I would really much err on the side of security. As a lot of people would agree with me on that.”

Trump’s comments come amid a growing NSA debate within the Republican Party that has splintered the party’s hawks from its civil liberties advocates.

Rubio has launched a heated campaign to hit Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his support of the new NSA restrictions, which went into effect on Sunday. Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) helped to weaken national security by pushing to end the NSA’s controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, Rubio has claimed. 

Bush, whose brother oversaw the growth in NSA powers, has also sided with Rubio against Cruz and Paul in the debate, as has New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and others in the Republican race.  

The issue burst into the fore following this month’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, which have prompted renewed concerns about national security.

“I've been there from the beginning,” Trump insisted on Monday morning. “I’ve been there from before the Paris attack. After every attack, everybody says exactly this, but I err on the side of security."