Trump: Nominees will ‘express their own thoughts’

Trump: Nominees will ‘express their own thoughts’
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President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE on Friday defended his Cabinet nominees repeatedly breaking from his own policy positions during their confirmation hearings this week.

The Senate began interviewing Trump's Cabinet picks this week, often finding they disagree with their would-be boss on everything from climate change to waterboarding.

Trump’s choice to lead the CIA, for example, told lawmakers Thursday he would “absolutely not” comply with orders to resume so-called enhanced interrogation tactics.

“Moreover, I can’t imagine that I would be asked that by the president-elect,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) said in response to questions from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCOVID-19 and the coming corruption pandemic Encryption helps America work safely — and that goes for Congress, too Democratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children MORE (D-Calif.).

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Trump has previously voiced support for waterboarding, which critics say amounts to torture. The practice is currently illegal.

The president-elect’s choice for Defense secretary, meanwhile, struck a tougher tone on Russia Thursday than Trump has.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis called Russia the “principal threat” to U.S. security during an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added the U.S. has a “relatively short list of successes” improving ties with Russia.

The retired general also broke with Trump on NATO.

“[It is] the most successful military alliance probably in modern world history, maybe ever,” Mattis said.

Trump has previously expressed hope for warmer ties with Moscow and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The president-elect also repeatedly criticized NATO as obsolete on the campaign trail, urging it to do more in the fight against terrorism and for member countries to spend more on the alliance.