Tom Cotton talks Trump veepstakes, rips into Clinton email use

Sen. Cotton on FBI recommendation on Clinton, Trump's VP search

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, sought to dispel any rumors that Republican presidential contender Donald Trump was considering him as a potential running mate, telling "CBS This Morning" that he's not interested.

"No, I am not being vetted and I have no reason to believe I'll be selected," Cotton said in an interview Wednesday morning. "I'm very proud and happy to be serving the people of Arkansas and the Senate, and I look forward to continue to serve them."

Trump, in a Fourth of July tweet extravaganza, fueled speculation about his vice presidential short list with several laudatory messages for Republican lawmakers, including one mention of Cotton's "solid" interview performance with NBC News Sunday.


Trump has already begun vetting some contenders. Among them are former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Trump's one-time rival for the GOP presidential nomination and now a top surrogate for the campaign.

But on Wednesday, Cotton demurred when asked if he would take up the veep spot if offered.

"I'm not going to speculate about hypotheticals. I don't believe that will happen, no," he told "CBS This Morning."

And he further refused to weigh in on who Trump should pick as his second in command: "That's a choice for him to make," Cotton said.

Cotton also defended Trump as the better presidential pick over presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, slamming the former secretary of state for the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server.

"Donald Trump may occasionally say things that are controversial or even objectionable to some, but those are words," he said. "These are actions from Hillary Clinton."

"Hillary Clinton exposed our nation's most sensitive, national security secrets to foreign adversaries," Cotton added. "We even know that she took her unsecured personal email devices to the territories of hostile powers. To give you a sense of just how amazing that is, I as mere junior senator never take any of my personal devices to any country -- not even to Canada, much less to adversarial countries. Hillary Clinton's judgment to be the commander-in-chief in my opinion is now disqualified."

He echoed Trump's words that the justice system was "rigged" in Clinton's favor, blasting the meeting last week between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton and suggesting that another party should be involved in deciding to press criminal charges.

"I've long ago stated that we should have an independent voice, particularly after Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton, the spouse of the target and a target himself of an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation," Cotton said. "I think she should pass on decision-making authority to the next person in the chain of command...there's no reason why Attorney General Lynch can't step aside and at least give the final decision making authority to her deputy."

Lynch said last week that she would leave the decision about whether to prosecute Clinton to the career prosecutors who had been working on the case since its inception.

Despite the FBI recommendation that no charges should be brought against Clinton, the Arkansas senator pointed to statements made by FBI Director James Comey as further proof that Clinton could not be trusted as commander-in-chief.

"[Comey] said that even though he did not believe criminal charges were warranted -- which is very different from saying no crime was committed -- that any other person would face serious security or administrative consequences," Cotton noted. "Let me say what that means in plain English: It means they would lose their job and lose their security clearance."