Sen. Cotton: US troop build-up to deter Iran and ‘retaliate if provoked’

“Iran has been waging a low level war against the United States for 40 years.”

Striking a hawkish tone, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas strongly supported President Donald Trump’s buildup of U.S. troops last week in the Middle East.

“The reason why we've deployed additional troops and resources … to the Middle East is not to take action against Iran. It's to deter Iran from taking action against us, and, if necessary, to retaliate if provoked," Sen. Cotton said on Wednesday’s Powerhouse Politics podcast.

Citing his service as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Cotton noted that “Iran has been waging a low level war against the United States for 40 years.”

Cotton also echoed President Trump on another controversial and timely subject: the Mueller report.

Despite the inconclusive nature of special counsel Robert Mueller’s statement on Wednesday morning, Cotton told hosts Rick Klein and MaryAlice Parks that the contents of the report “clearly" showed that there was "no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence services."

When asked what the next step may be in terms of a congressional investigation, Cotton responded "It's [the Mueller report] 450 pages long. They spent two years working on it. It's available for free on the Internet. I don't know what else would be added by hearing more from Bob Mueller personally."

Cotton went on to discuss his new book, "Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery," which offers a history of Arlington National Cemetery’s Old Guard and his own reflections from serving in the unit after his first tour in Iraq.

When asked about the importance of ceremonies in the cemetery, the Cotton told ABC that he was humbled by the sacred nature of the funeral services he both witnessed and participated in during his time serving in the Old Guard.

"It doesn't matter whether it's the President of the United States or a humble private from the Korean War," Cotton noted. "This is a 'no-fail mission' and we will always be there to honor our fallen."