United States President-elect Donald Trump comes out to welcome a guest at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club on Nov. 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, N.J. Trump canceled a meting with the New York Times on Tuesday. (Peter Foley/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)

Trump veers off script on climate change, conflicts and even whether to prosecute Clinton

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump strayed far from the talking points of his campaign during his wide-ranging interview Tuesday with New York Times journalists. Trump suggested he does not necessarily need to sever ties to his businesses while president. He said he has an open mind to acting on climate change. And he even offered some praise for the Clinton Foundation.

On the business ties, Trump was vague about when he will wind them down and how. He suggested he intends to transfer ownership to his kids, but then he also noted that the president is immune from federal conflict-of-interest laws.

Trump, who once declared global warming a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese, backed off his skepticism of climate change. He said he believed there is a connection to human activity and warming — but he is still undecided about how much of one. And he said he has an open mind to keeping in place the international climate agreement President Barack Obama took a lead in negotiating, which Trump has been vowing for months to withdraw from.

Trump also addressed the public re-emergence of the white supremacist movement, and how his campaign has energized those groups. He said he disavows and condemns such groups, including the neo-Nazis who gathered in Washington over the weekend. But he defended his pick of chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, the Breitbart News executive who boasted that his outlet is the “platform” for the alt-right.

When the conversation turned to Hillary Clinton, Trump said he will not press law enforcement agencies to prosecute her. And he even said people could argue the Clinton Foundation has done “good work.”

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