Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton square off on national security issues

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took the same stage for the first time Wednesday night, aiming to position themselves as best prepared to lead in turbulent times and warning that their opponent would put the country at risk.


Questioned back-to-back but not face-to-face, the presidential foes addressed an audience of veterans and active-duty troops — and a national TV audience — from the decommissioned USS Intrepid, which is now a floating museum in New York. The “commander in chief” national security forum, hosted by NBC, served as something of a preview for voters of the candidates’ highly anticipated trio of debates later this fall.

Here are some highlights from the forum.

Clinton defends herself on email scandal

Hillary Clinton is trying to assure voters that she was careful in her handling of classified information as secretary of state.

Clinton says, “I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously. Always have, always will.”

Clinton was asked by a veteran during a “commander in chief forum” hosted by NBC how she could be trusted, given her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

Clinton insists she never used an insecure system to handle classified material designated and marked with clear headers.

She says that she “communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system” and “took it very seriously.”


Clinton says none of her emails were “top secret”

Democrat Hillary Clinton says none of the emails she sent or received had a header that clearly marked “top secret.”

The former secretary of state addressed her use of private email during a forum Wednesday night on NBC.

She noted that she has years of experience dealing with classified material dating back to her time as a senator. Classified material usually has a heading marked “top secret,” she said.

She insisted that none of the messages sent or received on her private server had such a heading.

Clinton conceded that some of the messages included references to the covert drone program. But she said there was no discussion of “covert actions” that were being considered in the messages.

She also said there was no evidence her email server was hacked.


Trump says he’ll take praise from Putin

Republican nominee Donald Trump is once against praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him a "leader" and saying Putin has "great control over his country."

Trump was asked at a presidential forum how he would de-escalate tensions between the U.S. and Russia if he's elected to the White House.

Trump says he thinks he'd "have a very good relationship with many foreign leaders," including Putin.

Trump has been criticized in the past for seeming to heap praise on Putin and other strongmen. But Trump was unapologetic on Wednesday night, saying he was happy to take a compliment from Putin. He says if Putin "says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him." Trump added, however, that Putin's compliments would not influence his decision making as president.


Clinton promises no ground troops in Iraq

Hillary Clinton is promising never again to send ground troops into Iraq.

The Democratic presidential nominee said the same of Syria.

Clinton made the comments during a Wednesday night forum on national security.

She noted that roughly 200,000 troops were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan when she took over as secretary of state.

She declared, “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again.”


Trump says some of what he’s learning in classified briefings is shocking

Donald Trump says he was shocked by one thing he learned at a classified intelligence briefing — but he won't say what it was.

The Republican presidential nominee said at Wednesday’s national security forum that he has learned that leading Democrats “did exactly the opposite” of what experts recommended in several instances. He said he did not learn anything, however, that changes the way he viewed his policies.

Presidential nominees in both parties get regular intelligence briefings to ensure they’re prepared to serve as commander in chief immediately if elected.


Clinton says vote for Iraq war was a mistake

Hillary Clinton is again saying that her vote in favor of the Iraq war was a mistake. But she’s arguing that her opponent has not taken responsibility for his support of the war.

At an NBC "commander-in-chief" forum Wednesday, the Democratic nominee stressed that her 2002 vote was a mistake and said it was important to learn from it. She also asked to be judged on her entire record and argued that Republican Donald Trump had also voiced support for the war at the time, but "refuses to take responsibility."

Asked about whether her "hawkish" foreign policy, Clinton also said that she views "force as a last resort, not a first choice." She also again argued that she and Trump held similar positions in the past on Libya, saying that taking action in that country was the right decision.


Trump says he has regrets

Republican Donald Trump says he has regrets as a politician.

He wishes he had won the Republican presidential nomination “in a nicer manner.” But he says voters shouldn’t worry about his temperament or judgment as commander in chief.

The Republican presidential nominee made the comments during Wednesday night’s forum on national security.

He cited his recent trip to Mexico as an example of his ability to serve as commander in chief.

He noted that the Mexican officials who arranged the trip were forced out of government in recent days. He saw that as a good thing. He said, “That’s how well we did.”


Clinton says she has plan to cut military suicides

Hillary Clinton says she has a comprehensive plan to cut down on the epidemic of soldier and veteran suicides.

Speaking at a presidential candidates’ focum, Clinton says. “We’ve got to remove the stigma” of mental health problems.

She says she wants to assure people serving that reporting a menatl health issue won’t be a black mark against them.

And she says more also has to be done to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

The Democratic nominee is also assuring that she’ll do more to improve veterans’ healthcare.

She says, “I’m going to focus on this. I’m going to work on everybody. And we’re going to fix the problems” withthe Department of Veterans Affairs.


Clinton defends Iran nuke deal

Hillary Clinton is defending the Iranian nuclear deal.

She said at Wednesday night forum that Iran was “on a fast track” to acquiring the material necessary to make a nuclear weapon before the deal was signed.

The deal, Clinton said, “put a lid on their nuclear program.”

She insisted the U.S. is not “being played” by Iran.

Clinton said the deal allows enough insight into Iran’s actions to ensure they’re following the rules.


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