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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton "cannot conceive" of any possible situation that would require U.S. combat troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria, she said on CBS This Morning.

"I don't think it's the smartest way to go after ISIS," Clinton said on Tuesday. "I think it gives ISIS a new recruitment tool if we get back into the fight."

"We're not putting American combat troops back into Syria or Iraq. We are not going to do that," she told show co-host Charlie Rose.

It should be a "non-starter" because it wouldn't do anything to further the defeat of ISIS, she added.

Clinton's position is similar to that of President Obama, who has sent U.S. Special Forces but is resistant to deploying combat troops.

GOP candidate Jeb Bush, who is calling for more troops on the ground, tweeted his response shortly after the Clinton interview aired:

Hillary Clinton limiting ISIS attack options shows she’ll continue Obama’s containment. I have plan to defeat them.

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 1, 2015

Clinton also emphasized the need to cooperate with the Russians, who are proponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and were recently victimized by ISIS when a bomb was planted on a Russian-bound plane from Sharm el Sheikh, killing 224 people.

Although she called for a no-fly zone over Syria, Clinton said the Russians would need to be informed, even if they aren’t participating. “I want them at the table,” she added.

Clinton also emphasized that the focus should be on defeating ISIS rather than Assad, noting that she doesn't think the latter is attainable.

"Right now we're not going to see a military defeat of Assad,” she said. “It's not going to happen.”

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ABC/Randy Sager(WASHINGTON) -- Chris Christie will not rule out waterboarding as a method of acquiring intelligence because he doesn’t believe it’s a form of torture, the New Jersey governor said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday.

“We need to do whatever we need to do to get actionable intelligence within the Constitution,” Christie said.

Christie said he doesn’t believe waterboarding constitutes torture because it was conducted in 2002-03 under U.S. Department of Justice guidance that the action was “lawful and constitutional.”

But the United Nations says waterboarding qualifies as a form of torture. It was used by the CIA after the 9/11 attacks to interrogate several suspected terrorists, but President Obama banned it in 2009.

Christie faulted Obama and Hillary Clinton for second-guessing the practice.

Waterboarding entails placing a cloth over someone’s head and pouring water over the cloth to simulate drowning. It is generally used in an effort to obtain information or intelligence from the person in question.

GOP candidate Donald Trump has outwardly called for using waterboarding as a form of interrogation, saying on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos last month that he would “absolutely” reinstate it as a form of interrogation.

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ABC News(BETTENDORF, Iowa) — Presidential candidate Ted Cruz took a question about women's access to birth control and turned it into an attack against Democrats Monday, saying at an Iowa town that they've manufactured a war on women and falsely painted conservatives as the "condom police."

"Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila. So, yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them, but it’s an utter made-up nonsense issue,” Cruz said at a campaign stop in Bettendorf, Iowa.

The Republican senator from Texas used humor to explain his stance, subtly referencing his own use of family planning.

"Now, listen, I have been a conservative my entire life,” Cruz said. “I have never met anybody, any conservative, who wants to ban contraceptives. As I noted, Heidi and I, we have two little girls. I’m very glad we don’t have 17.”

While Cruz, 44, expressed his support for access to birth control, he reiterated his opposition to abortion and attacked Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for her pro-abortion rights beliefs.

"Hillary Clinton embraces abortion on demand in all circumstances up until the moment of birth, partial birth abortion with taxpayer funding with no notification for parents in any circumstances," Cruz said.

Cruz said Clinton can't base her candidacy on the economy, Obamacare or foreign policy, so she and the Democrats have created a false narrative about Republicans opposing birth control to scare voters.

"So what do you do, you go, ‘Ah ha, the condom police. I’m going to make up a completely made-up threat and try to scare a bunch of folks who are not paying a lot of attention into thinking someone’s going to steal their birth control. What nonsense," Cruz said.

Shortly after answering the question, Cruz was also asked about Planned Parenthood and how he would get rid of the organization. He made no reference to the Friday shooting in Colorado Springs at a Planned Parenthood facility, but renewed his pledge that he would instruct the Department of Justice to investigate the health care provider on his first day in the White House.

"On these videos, you see senior officials of Planned Parenthood callously, heartlessly laughing, sipping chardonnay and selling the body parts of unborn children and you should just ask are those my values. Is that what I stand for?" Cruz said, citing a series of recent anti-Planned Parenthood videos.

Cruz has previously called the Colorado Springs shooting "horrific" and "unacceptable." He rebutted those who've claimed the criticism of Planned Parenthood by Republican presidential candidates could have inspired the shooting.

"Well, I think there has been some vicious rhetoric on the left. Blaming those who are pro-life. I’ll tell you I am proud to be unambiguously pro-life, to support protecting every human life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, I think every human life is a gift from God,” Cruz said in Newton, Iowa, Sunday.

“This murder that occurred in Colorado is tragic. It is a criminal act, we don’t fully know the motivations of this deranged individual.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One by one on Monday night, 13 female Democratic senators took the stage inside the packed ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. to raise money and announce their support for Hillary Clinton.

But it was the person missing from the group who stood out most.

Elizabeth Warren, the progressive lawmaker from Massachusetts, was the only female Democratic senator who wasn't at the endorsement event and fundraiser for Clinton's presidential campaign.

Warren, who many thought would run for president herself, has so far declined to back anyone in the primary. She is also one of only six Democratic senators who has not endorsed Clinton.

Clinton's campaign said it invited the 13 female senators who have endorsed Clinton to attend tonight's event, but would not say whether or not they invited Warren. They also would not comment about Warren's absence.

"We're honored to have 13 women Senators coming together to endorse and support Hillary Clinton," Clinton spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said in a statement, "This is a sign of the broad support Clinton is receiving from women across the country who know she'll fight for us."

Warren's senate office declined to comment.

Last year, all of the female Democratic senators -- including Warren -- signed a secret letter to Clinton encouraging her to run for president. Warren later clarified that while she supports Clinton running, she had not endorsed her.

"You know, all of the women -- Democratic women, I should say, of the Senate -- urged Hillary Clinton to run, and I hope she does," Warren told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos last year when asked if she would back Clinton.

"Hillary is terrific," she replied when asked again.

Many of the other senators who signed that letter were at the event tonight, including Senators Tammy Baldwin, Barbara Boxer, Maria Cantwell, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Heidi Heitkamp, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Jeanne Shaheen and Debbie Stabenow.

No one, however, made any mention of Warren's absence during the program. "I'm not sure why she wasn't," Mikulski said coyly, "Maybe she has a cold."

The fundraiser tonight, which was held just blocks from Capitol Hill, was only the second of Clinton's fundraisers to be open to the press. More than 1,000 people attended and tickets ranged from $250-$2,700, according to the campaign.

Clinton, who spoke following remarks from each of the Senators, spoke broadly on a range of issues such as equal pay, paid leave, marriage equality, climate change, the economy and terrorism.

She also offered her thanks and praise of her former colleagues.

"They have so much courage and smarts, the combination of grit and grace," Clinton, a former senator, said pointing to the women standing on stage behind her, "It was the honor and privilege of my life to serve with them."

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Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Paul Ryan's got a new job -- and a new look.

The newly minted House speaker was sporting facial hair after the week-long Thanksgiving recess.

Ryan's facial hair -- his staff have taken to calling it the "#BeardoftheHouse" on social media -- has earned praise from the facial hair community.

"It’s a pretty shrewd political move," said Adam Paul Causgrove of the American Mustache Institute. "It’s a bold step, he’s going out there to show the rugged manliness that he wants to define his speakership."

"When we look at the current crop of presidential candidates, we’ll go another session without a mustached POTUS since President Taft," he added.


Hey @USHouseHistory, when was the last time a Speaker of the House sported a beard?

— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 30, 2015

.@SpeakerRyan It’s been a while (Gillett & Cannon before him).

— U.S. House History (@USHouseHistory) November 30, 2015


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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- If you missed your chance to splurge on Black Friday or simply chose to skip the lines – don’t fret, because the 2016 presidential candidates have got you (political junkies) covered this Cyber Monday.

To kick off the holiday season, presidential hopefuls are offering their loyal supporters an array of products, offering everything from 'I hate tea (parties)' mugs for the Dems to ugly Christmas sweaters from some of the Republican candidates.

This ‘CyberCruz’ day, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is introducing an ugly Christmas sweater to his campaign apparel collection.


Today only: save 20% on your purchase at -- order now and RT to spread the word!

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 30, 2015


Dr. Ben Carson’s supporters can also stay warm in the ‘Ben Carson for President’ ugly Christmas sweater.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is offering free shipping on orders of $75 or more.


Free shipping on orders of $75 or more at the 2016 shop! #CyberMonday

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 30, 2015


Ohio Gov. John Kasich is enticing his supporters with 25-percent off t-shirts and a free bumper sticker with each order.


Don't miss today's #CyberMonday sale! Use the code: KASICH2016 for 25% off t-shirts! Visit:

— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) November 30, 2015


Floridians Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio seem to have the same idea, both offering a sale that extended through the weekend.


Hoodies, koozies, camo hats & more — it’s all still 20% off! Show you’re on our team with our official campaign gear

— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 28, 2015



New hats, mugs, scarves and more. The All-Weekend Cyber Monday Sale is still going on:

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 29, 2015


Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley took to Twitter Friday, to encourage his supporters to shop for 'cool gear.'


Shopping today? Check out for some cool gear.

— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) November 27, 2015


And while the Cyber Monday deals end when the clock strikes midnight, for those hoping to get their hands on campaign merchandise from presidential candidates who didn’t get in on the action – below are the links to each of their shops.

Donald Trump

Bernie Sanders

Rand Paul

Mike Huckabee

Rick Santorum

As for candidates Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham and Jim Gilmore, ABC News was unable to locate online stores for their campaigns.

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Andrew Burton/Getty Images(PORTSMOUTH, N.H.) -- New Jersey Governor and GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie said, "It didn't happen" when it comes to Trump's claim that "thousands" of Muslims celebrated in New Jersey following Sept. 11 attacks.

The latest comments come after Christie was criticized last week for not condemning Trump's claim, saying at the time that he did not remember any Muslims celebrating in his state.

“It didn’t happen and the fact is, people can say anything, but the facts are the facts, and that didn’t happen in New Jersey that day and hasn’t happened since,” Christie told reporters on Monday at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"I do not remember that,” Christie emphasized. “It’s not something that’s part of my recollection. I think if it had happened, I would remember it, but there could be things I forget too, but I don’t remember that.”

On Monday, Christie explained that he was not trying to “hedge” anything when he said he didn’t recall specifics. The candidate also reminded reporters that the day of the attacks, his primary focus was on determining the safety his wife and brother, who were both in lower Manhattan at the time of the attacks.

“I said I didn’t remember it, it wasn’t me trying to hedge anything, it was me telling the truth, and I said I think even that day if it had happened I’m pretty sure I’d remember it,” Christie said.

Asked by a reporter if Trump’s comments should disqualify him from being president, Christie said the decision about a candidate’s qualifications should be left to the voters.

“The only thing that disqualifies anyone from being president is not getting enough votes or not being a us citizen or 35, other than that, nothing disqualifies you," Christie said. “I'm not going to get into all that stuff … the American people should decide what this should be."

Following a meeting at Trump Tower with several African American church pastors, Trump told ABC News' Tom Llamas that Christie should be "careful with what he says."

"He didn't say that the other day. He was very weak the other day," Trump said Monday in response to Christie's comments. "He said it like, well, he doesn't know. And now I guess he feels a little bit emboldened. He must be careful with what he says."

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal(WASHINGTON) -- It’s the most wonderful time of the year -- especially for Congressional spending hawks.

Sen. James Lankford introduced his “Federal Fumbles” list, a compilation of 100 government projects that Lankford says are “prime examples of wasteful spending.”

It also happens to call out one presidential hopeful: real estate magnate Donald Trump, whose new hotel project in Washington, D.C., housed in the Old Post Office Building, is the recipient of a tax credit for historic structures to the tune of $40 million.

“While the lucky guests of this palatial hotel will be awestruck by its glitz and glamour, taxpayers are unlikely to be amused that they helped foot the bill through a $40 million tax credit thanks to the National Historic Tax Credit,” Lankford wrote.

Here’s a look at a few other spending items that made the list:

Thousands Researching Seniors’ Romancing

The dating waters can be rough -- but just how do older adults navigate them? That’s a question the University of Texas at Austin is seeking to answer, and has received almost $375,000 in National Science Foundation funds over three years to find out. The study’s researchers maintain their purpose is practical, and serious: as Americans begin to live longer, research about how that affects their interpersonal relationships becomes harder to find.

“Longer life expectancies and high divorce rates have contributed to a new social reality in which older adults (i.e., age 60 ) increasingly find themselves unpartnered and searching for companionship. ... Results from this study will be informative for improving happiness and health throughout the lifespan.”

Shakespeare, Only Without the Words

Lankford’s list singles out a Northern Virginia theater that has received almost $200,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts over the past four years: the Synetic Theater in Arlington, which frequently stages wordless adaptations of William Shakespeare plays.

“William Shakespeare was lauded for many things: his meter, his verse, his complicated characters. Generations of families have come together to enjoy productions of Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays. ... But was Polonius right in Hamlet when he said, ‘Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice’? Lankford asks in his “Fumbles” list. But the Synetic Theater says it’s only spent $35,000 in federal funds on silent Shakespeare performances in its 15-year history. And the theater also defended the art form. “Our angle is different but still valuable as we use traditional physical techniques that are at the root of all theatre,” the theater’s marketing manager Alysa Turner said in an email to ABC News.

Latest Pentagon Target: A Bird?

The Department of Defense issued a $283,500 grant to the study of a tiny breed of bird, the California Gnatcatcher, “to determine use throughout each vegetation alliance,” according to a description of the project on -- although the total money the program would actually use was far less than the dollars allocated. The first question Lankford asks about this study is why the Department of Defense is spending money to research this bird, while there is a perfectly valid federal agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that could be better suited to it, assuming the California gnatcatcher is not a national security threat?

“DOD should be in the business of defense, not nature conservancy,” the report says. A representative for the gnatcatcher research program could not immediately be reached by ABC News.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders chose to undergo an outpatient hernia repair surgery at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. on Monday, according to a statement from his Senate office.

Campaign staff told ABC News that the 74-year-old Vermont senator was not feeling well this past weekend in New Hampshire, and on Sunday the Senator elected not to come by a rally with supporters in Manchester ahead of the state Democratic party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner there.

Michael Briggs, a spokesperson for the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign, told ABC News that he does not think the procedure will impact Sanders's campaign schedule and that the senator is still planning to travel back to New Hampshire for more events this weekend.

"Sanders has maintained a grueling campaign schedule with coast-to-coast travel since announcing his presidential bid last May," Briggs said. "He faithfully travels back to Washington, D.C., for his Senate duties as well. He has been asked several times on the trail about his age and the toll of a presidential race and often answers that he has so far been blessed with good health."

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has formally invited President Barack Obama to deliver his last State of the Union to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.

“As we look ahead to the new year, we have both an opportunity and an obligation to find common ground to advance the nation’s interests at home and abroad,” Ryan wrote in a letter sent to the White House on Monday.

“We also owe it to the American people to present solutions that address the challenges they face," Ryan said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration said it will tighten its visa waiver program to prevent foreign fighters from entering the U.S. in the wake of the Paris attacks two weeks ago, the White House announced on Monday.

"We’re doing everything we can to ensure that the threat of foreign fighters or individuals who have been radicalized does not make its way to our homeland," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Monday in Paris. "We want to ensure that we have tighter scrutiny in place, better information sharing."

The administration announced new changes on Monday to the program, which allows 20 million visitors from 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without visas each year. The new changes include screening whether travelers have visited countries considered a "terrorist safe haven" and working with countries participating in the visa waiver program to help collect and use biometric screening.

Various government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, will work together to deploy "foreign fighter surge teams" to try to counter the travel of terrorists in certain countries, officials said.

The announcement came as President Obama visited Paris for a climate conference just two weeks after terror attacks rocked the French capital and killed 130 people.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Congress is back in session Monday with only several weeks to run through a list of legislative items -- including a must-pass spending bill that could be caught up in the fight over Syrian refugees.

Here are some of the items on the legislative agenda and why they matter:


Congress has until Friday, Dec. 4, to pass a highway bill that funds infrastructure projects across the country. The measure -- the product of negotiations between the House and Senate following the passage of two separate proposals -- would be a bipartisan, multi-year achievement for Congress, provided members can reach an agreement on financing the measure.


Congress has until Dec. 11 to send a must-pass $1.1 trillion spending bill to the White House, under the terms of the two-year budget agreement President Obama signed into law in early November.

While that bill -- a parting gift from John Boehner for new House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis, -- set two-year budget figures in an attempt to make it easier for lawmakers to negotiate a deal, lawmakers are still sparring over the finer details and language of the must-pass bill, raising the specter of another government shutdown.

One possible area of contention after the Paris attacks remains the admission of Syrian refugees to the United States. While the House passed a bill restricting Syrian refugees earlier this month in a bipartisan, veto-proof vote, Senate Democrats have threatened to block the measure. Seventy-three House Republicans have signed onto a letter from Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, to House GOP leaders calling for an omnibus rider that would block funding to admit Syrian refugees into the United States.

Additionally, lawmakers could also include rider language targeting Obama administration financial and environmental regulations.


Senate Republicans are planning to vote to partially repeal parts of Obamacare in a measure that could also include provisions targeting Planned Parenthood funding. The reconciliation bill -- which Senate Republicans can pass around a Democratic veto -- is all but certain to receive a presidential veto. Republicans remain split on tying the bill to Planned Parenthood, which could also be targeted with a rider in the omnibus.


House lawmakers continue to work on legislation addressing national security fears after terrorist attacks in Paris two weeks ago left 130 dead. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Monday he hopes the House will vote on a bill in December that would boost security on a program that allows foreigners from dozens of countries to enter the United States without a visa. Several of the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris were citizens of countries that participate in the visa-waiver program.

McCarthy, who formed a task force of seven House GOP committee leaders to put forward legislation addressing post-Paris security concerns, told reporters that security is the "top issue" for House Republicans heading into the end of the legislative year, and said members are "very concerned where the president is and where the country is."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration will tighten its visa waiver program in the wake of the attacks in Paris two weeks ago, the White House announced on Monday.

The new changes to the program, which allows some tourists from certain countries to travel to the U.S. without visas, include:

  • Changing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to screen whether travelers have visited countries considered a “terrorist safe haven.”
  • Working with countries participating in the waiver visa program to help collect and use biometric screening.
  • The Departments of Homeland Security and State, the FBI and U.S. intel will work to deploy “foreign fighter surge teams to work with countries to counter terrorist travel.”

You can see the full fact sheet from the White House here.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- On Monday, the State Department released the largest batch of emails from Hillary Clinton's private server to date -- 7,800 pages.

Some 66 percent of the 52,000 pages of email she turned over to the government are now available for review and the State Department is on pace to have all of the documents released by January 2016, as ordered by a federal court.

The documents released on Monday are mostly from 2012 and 2013, but include others that span her tenure as Secretary of State. The State Department has not been able to release the email in chronological order because much of it had to be set aside to be reviewed by other government agencies. Officials say many of those pages of email that have been held up were in Monday's release.

One email from November 2010, titled "Follw up," was just recently cleared by the Director of National Intelligence and deemed unclassified. The DNI had previously made public its decision to flag that email for further review. Although the content of the email was unknown until Monday -- it was a discussion between a New York Times reporter and a spokesperson at the State Department -- it and others still under scrutiny by government agencies have been seized upon by those critical of Clinton's use of a private email server.

Ultimately this email was not deemed classified, but many other have been. A State Department official tells ABC News that in this release alone 328 documents were upgraded to a classified level, meaning that they were redacted and are unavailable for public review. So far 999 have been graded as classified.

Scrutiny of Clinton and her her email problem by the Republican presidential candidates and the press has subsided in the weeks following her marathon testimony in front of the House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks. Republicans revealed emails in that hearing they claim show she was offering a different narrative to the public than she was in private. Clinton denied those claims.

The FBI still has an open investigation into the handling and security of Clinton's private email server and while it says it is not targeting Clinton directly, the outcome of that investigation may affect her run for the White House.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- GOP front-runner Donald Trump concluded a meeting on Monday of African-American pastors with the backing of some of the participants, but not the blanket endorsement he had initially advertised.

The outcome of his New York meeting didn't seem to faze Trump, however, saying he was "amazed" by Monday's events and it was a “beautiful thing" that none of the attendees asked him to change the tone of his message.

“I think they want to see victory because it is about we want to win and we want to win together,” he said after the meeting this afternoon.

Trump’s campaign had originally promoted Monday’s meeting, which reportedly involved nearly 100 African-American pastors, as an endorsement, sending out a news release Wednesday using that language. The meeting was supposed to be followed by a news conference, which was canceled this weekend, and no media was invited to the closed meeting.

But Trump was endorsed by some members of the group, including the Rev. Darrell Scott of the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and Pastor Steve Parson, a Richmond-area minister in Virginia.

“He’s best for not only the country but certainly the black community,” Parson said. “We’re wanting to get off of welfare and we feel that can be done through the information the knowledge of a person like Donald Trump.”

While other participants didn’t outright condone him, they also didn’t endorse him, expressing reservations about comments Trump has previously made that could be construed as offensive.

“We’re deeply disturbed by the lack of empathy that he seems to show,” one participant who was invited by Scott said before the meeting. “I think that’s a real thing to talk about.”

After news of the meeting became public, over 100 leaders in the African-American community published an open letter to the ministers, urging the attendees to consider Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail, which they called “overtly divisive and racist.”

“I was told it was an endorsement,” Trump said on Monday of the meeting on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I have fantastic relationships with the people, but I think pressure was put on them when they heard there was a meeting by people who disagree.”

Katrina Pierson, the Trump campaign's national spokeswoman, said today on CNN's “New Day” that it would be too confusing to label the meeting as an endorsement because the entire group was not endorsing him.

"A lot of the pastors were concerned they might get backlash if they weren't one of the pastors that were endorsing at this time," Pierson explained on “New Day.”

"So the campaign decided, you know what? We want to have the meeting. All the pastors will meet with Mr. Trump and we'll close it to the media."

Trump, 69, also stood by his comments about Muslims cheering on 9/11 in New Jersey, insisting this morning he saw the footage, and did not confuse it with scenes of celebrations from the West Bank. When asked why no one could find the video, Trump said it had not been archived properly.

“Fourteen, 15 years ago, they didn't put it in files. They destroy half the stuff,” Trump asserted.

Trump reiterated that Serge Kovaleski, who wrote the 2001 Washington Post article claiming that authorities detained people “allegedly seen celebrating the attacks,” which Trump had been citing as defense for his claims at rallies, is now trying to pull back his reporting.

Trump is embroiled in a controversy over whether he mocked Kovaleski’s disability during a rally last week. He has denied mocking the reporter.

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