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The Latest: Cotton suggests China a hindrance on North Korea

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on The Associated Press Newsmaker interview with Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. (all times local):

9:30 a.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton is suggesting that China is more of a problem than a partner for the United States when it comes to North Korea.

The Arkansas Republican — a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee — says in an Associated Press Newsmaker interview that China has been lying for 25 years about wanting to eliminate North Korea's nuclear capability.

Cotton says China is using North Korea to divert attention away from economic warfare against the U.S. and other misbehavior.

He says China must see war with North Korea as imminent, and suggests that the Trump administration build up its military position around the Korean Peninsula to send a message to China.

Cotton also says the U.S. military should stop sending dependents of troops to South Korea.

North Korea recently launched its longest-range missile yet with the potential of reaching the U.S. East Coast.


9:25 a.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton says there's "lots of evidence of malicious Russian behavior" in U.S. politics but so far, he says there's no evidence that President Donald Trump colluded in that meddling.

The Arkansas Republican says in an Associated Press Newsmaker interview that he agrees Russia hacked into Democratic emails during the 2016 election. But Cotton says there's no evidence so far from multiple investigations that Trump colluded in Russia's interference.

A U.S. intelligence assessment from January concluded that Russian military intelligence provided hacked information from the Democratic National Committee and "senior Democratic officials" to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has denied that Russia was the source of emails it released, including those from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.


9:15 a.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton says a repeal of the requirement that people get health insurance will be part of any tax bill passed by Congress.

The Arkansas Republican says in an Associated Press Newsmaker interview that the individual mandate is the most hated part of the Obama-era health law.

Cotton says the provision "is squarely within the four of corners of the tax bill."

A repeal of the requirement was included in the tax bill passed by the Senate. The House bill didn't have that provision.

Millions of people in the United States are expected to go without coverage if they're not required to have it. It's a gamble that they won't get sick and raise premiums for others. That could lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for those who do get insurance.


9:12 a.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton says President Donald Trump was "acknowledging a fact" that's universally accepted when he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Cotton says in an Associated Press Newsmaker interview that Trump's action wouldn't hinder efforts to forge a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The Arkansas Republican says any idea that the peace process had been working "is simply not the case."

He's echoing comments Trump made Wednesday when he announced his decision on Jerusalem. Trump said it was time for a new approach after repeated failures of peace negotiations.

Reaction to Trump's action was quick overseas, with international leaders worrying publicly that Trump's decision would destabilize the region.


9:10 a.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton says no one should be subjected to "trial by newspaper" on sexual harassment accusations like those against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore or President Donald Trump.

The Arkansas Republican says in an Associated Press interview that such allegations should be decided on their merits.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct from decades ago when they were teenagers and he was a prosecutor in his 30s.

More than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct, and his voice was recorded by "Access Hollywood" boasting of touching women without their consent. Both men deny the accusations.

Cotton says that in Alabama's election Tuesday, voters "are going to make that decision, just like the people of this country made their decision last year on Donald Trump."

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