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Trump will defer to Defense Secretary Mattis on torture

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President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. (AP/Evan Vucci

Defense Secretary James Mattis will be able to "override" administration decisions about torture, President Donald Trump said Friday.

Trump, who has contended that "torture works" and promised to bring back "enhanced interrogation" techniques such as waterboarding, promised Friday during a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May that Mattis will be able to have a say when it comes to torture.

"I'm going to rely on him," Trump said. "I'm going with our leaders. We are going to win with or without [torture]."

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis confirmed Thursday that Mattis still did not support torture or "enhanced interrogation techniques."

"Secretary Mattis said in his confirmation process that he will abide by and is committed to upholding international law, the Law of Armed Conflict, Geneva Conventions and U.S. law, and that has not changed," Davis said.

Trump Friday said he does "not necessarily agree" with Mattis' view on waterboarding but will allow for him to "override" the decision-making there.

"He's an expert. He's highly respected. He's the general's general," Mattis said.

In an interview with ABC News earlier this week, Trump said he was "a little surprised" to find out that Mattis, a retired general, does not support torture. He told ABC News then, too, that he would consult with Mattis on the practice.

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