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Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump’s rhetoric could affect fight against terrorism

A pair of New York City Police Transit officers patrol in New York the subway station in Times Square, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Authorities are increasing security throughout New York City following explosions at the airport and subway system in the Belgian capital of Brussels. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
LISTEN: Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump’s policy of banning all Muslims from entering the United States could negatively impact the fight against terrorism.

“If you divide Americans, if you demonize Muslim-Americans, you are giving up a lot of good intelligence,” Clinton told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday. “People will feel reluctant to pass on to the FBI or law enforcement what they are hearing and seeing.”

In the wake of the attacks in Brussels that killed at least 31 people on Tuesday, Clinton said the United States needs to team with European and Middle Eastern officials to defeat terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic State.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks.

“We have to defeat ISIS,” Clinton said.

The former secretary of state said she would initiate an open door-type policy, should she be elected president, so the U.S. and other nations could share information in hopes of stopping attacks before they happen.

“Intercepting those who are potential plotters or perpetrators of terrorism is the most effective way to save lives and prevent the kind of horrible attack we saw in Brussels but also that we saw in San Bernardino,” she said.

Clinton said Trump’s anti-Muslim policy turns a cold shoulder to nations the U.S. needs to embrace.

“We have to have partnerships, a coalition with Muslim nations,” she said. “It’s harder if you’ve got somebody running for president who’s insulting them and their religion.”

Clinton was also critical of Trump’s approach to interrogating terrorist suspects. The New York billionaire has taken a hard stance, saying he would work to reverse anti-torture laws that allow questionable practices such as waterboarding.

“I have been very involved in assessing whether the use of techniques like that are helpful to us,” she said.

“People will say anything under duress. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s useful, that it will help us find perpetrators or prevent the next attack.”

Clinton said tortuous interrogations have “not been proven to stop terrorism.”

While Clinton said she understands the growing frustration surrounding America’s approach to ISIS and the larger fight against terrorism, she said rash decisions must be avoided.

Instead, she said she would develop a plan that would eradicate terror groups while protecting the nation.

“This is the commander in chief’s most important responsibility: to keep American people safe,” Clinton said.

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