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Apple's Cook takes on Russia's influence, tax reform on NBC

iPhone X has to share the spotlight with national politics in the CEO's interview with Lester Holt airing Wednesday night.


Apple CEO Tim Cook talks politics in an interview airing Wedesday night with "NBC Nightly News."

NBC/Screenshot by CNET

Yes, Apple is gearing up for the Friday release of its iPhone X. But that didn't keep company CEO Tim Cook from sidetracking into some serious politics during an interview airing Wednesday night on "NBC Nightly News."

In one teaser clip for the interview with Lester Holt, Cook responds to question about Russia's influence on the 2016 presidential election via social media -- the very topic lawmakers are taking on this week on Capitol Hil with executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Cook says he doesn't think the big issue is ads on the platform from foreign governments. That's just 0.1 percent of the issue, he said.

"The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers, and so, to influence their thinking," Cook said. "And this, to me, is the No. 1 through 10 issue."

Another teaser clip shows Cook talking about how tax reform is sorely needed. The problem, he said, is that companies don't bring cash back to the US because of taxes.

"This isn't good for the US. There's no tax receipts there," Cook said. "And it's not good for investment in the U.S. And so this needs to be fixed. In my view, it should have been fixed years ago. But let's get it done now."

This isn't the first time we've heard from Cook about taxes. He appeared in 2015 on "60 Minutes" telling Charlie Rose that the notion that his company is avoiding taxes on overseas profits is just "political crap" coming from the politicians who refuse to change an antiquated tax code.

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