>> Sir, I would consider the principle threats to start with, Russia.>> Retired Marine General James Mad Dog Mattis, President-Elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Pentagon, breaking sharply with Trump Thursday on the dangers posed by Vladimir Putin.>> I think right now, the most important thing is that we recognize the reality of what we deal with, with Mr. Putin, and we recognize that he is trying to break the North Atlantic Alliance.
>> Pentagon reporter Adris Sallee.>> Obviously, Trump has sort of talked about and questioned the importance of NATO and the role they play and the commitment other countries have to NATO. But Mattis said that is was a very important alliance the United States had and was very significant to the security and interests of the United States.
>> Mattis telling senators at his confirmation hearing, he backs a stronger US military presence in Eastern Europe to oppose Russia's aggression. But Mattis making clear he supports Trump's desire to engage with Russia.>> I'm all for engagement, but we also have to recognize reality when there's a decreasing number of areas where we can engage cooperatively.
And an increasing number of areas where we're going to have to confront Russia.>> Trump on Wednesday renewed his praise of Putin, even as he conceded the Russian leader had meddled in the 2016 elections. Mattis also breaking with Trump on Iran, saying that he believes a deal struck by President Obama to block Iran's pursuit of nuclear arms should remain in place.
Even as they called Iran the biggest destabilizing force in the region. Also facing Senators, Trump's pick for the CIA, Mike Pompeo. The Kansas Congressman making an effort to defuse tensions between Trump and the intelligence community over its conclusion Russian hackers tried to tip the election to Trump saying he accepted their findings.
>> I attending the meetings at which the President-Elect was briefed. Everything I've seen suggest to me that the report has an analytical product that is sound.>> Pompeo also vowing to stand up to Trump if he called for enhanced interrogation techniques for terrorist suspects, such as waterboarding.>> Would you comply?
>> Senator, absolutely not. Moreover I can't imagine that I would be asked that. And I'll always comply with the law.