Tom Cotton says Donald Trump is right to keep open the possibility of prosecuting Hillary Clinton in a Trump administration.
The Republican senator from Arkansas explained why in the latest episode of “The Jamie Weinstein Show,” where he also discussed what issues Trump should focus on in his first 100 days, whether Trump should consider NeverTrumpers for posts in his administration, his influences and much more.
- Cotton on his reaction to Trump’s win (4:27)
- What Trump should focus on in his first 100 days (6:59)
- Is he worried Trump is walking back his immigration stance? (8:46)
- On prosecuting Hillary Clinton (13:07)
- How Trump should handle Iran(14:05)
- On moving U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (17:36)
- Who should be in Trump’s administration (19:03)
- How Trump should handle the alt-right (21:47)
- The advantage of being a combat vet in the Senate (24:35)
- On his influences (27:09)
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In an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday, President-elect Trump was asked whether he is still considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton for her email scandal. Trump didn’t foreclose the possibility.
“I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to think about it,” Trump said before going on to say he was most focused on his policy agenda.
In an interview with “The Jamie Weinstein Show” from his Washington, D.C. office, Cotton seemed to agree with Trump’s approach.
“The facts and the law have to take investigators to their proper conclusion,” Cotton said. “I obviously don’t know all the details of what happened in the investigation of the email server. I don’t know all the details of what’s happening with the Clinton Foundation. But in the same way that we don’t punish our political opponents after an election in this country, we also don’t exempt politicians or other high public officials from the rule of law in this country.”
“So there is an ongoing investation according to published reports into the Clinton Foundation,” he continued. “That investigation probably needs to continue and it needs to be settled based on the law and the facts, not based on, you know, who won or who lost an election. That’s a basic tenet of our country.”
Though Cotton says he has talked to Trump since Election Day, he would neither reveal what they discussed nor say whether he would consider a post in the Trump administration.
“I haven’t been asked. I haven’t pursued,” he said.
Asked whether Trump should consider conservative NeverTrumpers to fill some posts in his administration, Cotton said Trump has to make that decision on a “case-by-case basis” for the higher-level positions.
“At the lower levels, you know, at the assistant secretary level or even more junior, there are a lot of talented people who have experience in the government who may not have been active in the campaign but who can be put in position – again at the lower levels – to help make the machinery of government run, to make sure that each department and agency is doing its job and delivering on Donald Trump’s promises,” he added.
Cotton wouldn’t say who he would like to see named to top cabinet posts other than to suggest that Trump “find a position” for retired Marine General John Kelly.
The Arkansas senator hopes Trump will reverse many of the executive actions President Obama took in office immediately, but then pursue his own agenda legislatively.
“He should not go further and try to implement a Republican agenda through executive action,” Cotton said.
Cotton especially agrees with Trump on the need for a major rethinking of America’s immigration policy.
“There’s virtually no evidence we need more low-skilled or unskilled workers,” he said.
He also said he believes Trump should fulfill his campaign pledge to move America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Many countries have opposed that over time,” he explained, especially speaking of the entire Arab world. “Those countries now have a much closer relationship with Israel than they did 15, 25 years ago in part because of President Obama’s failed policy of accommodating Iran and of indecision in Syria. So I don’t think you would see the diplomatic fall out that you might of seen 25 years ago.”
“But I also think it is an important signal to send to everyone in the world, especially the Palestinian people, that we are going to support a two state solution through peaceful means determined by those two states based on facts and reality,” he added. “It’s not our role to impose a solution on the people of Israel or the Palestinian people. We can do what they ask to facilitate one, but part of that is recognizing the basic facts and the facts of the matter are things like Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and it will remain the capital of Israel, Israel is not returning to the 1967 lines, the Palestinian people are not going to have a traditional military. Those are all well known things and it would be beneficial for the prospects of peace if the United States and the rest of the world owned up to those facts and didn’t treat them like they were still in flux.”
Asked about Trump’s controversial appointment of former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon as a top White House adviser, Cotton punted, simply noting he hasn’t met Bannon or read his writings.
“If Donald Trump wants him in the White House though, the president puts around him those in whom he has the highest degree of trust,” Cotton explained.
For his part, Cotton said he intends to be “a strong legislative ally of much of Donald Trump’s agenda in the Senate.” When they disagree over policy, Cotton said he intends to work on those “differences privately.”