Donald Trump States Waterboarding 'Absolutely Works' During First TV Interview As President

"Fight fire with fire"

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Donald Trump has stated he believes waterboarding as a form of torture works, saying "we have to fight fire with fire" during his first TV interview as president.

Speaking to ABC News, Mr Trump said he would consult with the defence secretary James Mattis and CIA director Mike Pompeo about what could be done legally to combat terrorism.

When asked whether he thought the method of torture would be effective, he said:"Absolutely I feel it works."

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"When they're shooting, when they're chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they're chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when Isis is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?" he continued.

"As far as I'm concerned we have to fight fire with fire. I have spoken with people at the highest level of intelligence and I asked them the question 'Does it work? Does torture work?' and the answer was 'Yes, absolutely'.

He added: "They chop them off and they put them on camera and send them all over the world. So we have that and we're not allowed to do anything?

"I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group and if they don't want to do it that's fine. If they do want to do then I will work toward that end.

"I want to do everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally but do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works."

Ex-CIA director Leon Panetta said it would be a "serious mistake to take a backward step" on torture, while Senator John McCain, himself a survivor of torture, added that "the law is the law - we are not bringing back torture in the United States of America."