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Donald Trump says Apple should back down in San Bernardino case

Surprise right-wing presidential candidate Donald Trump weighed in on Apple's fight with the U.S. government on Wednesday, saying the iPhone maker should acquiesce to the FBI's demands and dismissing company CEO Tim Cook's argument that such action would set a dangerous precedent.

"To think that Apple won't allow us to get into her cellphone? Who do they think they are?" Trump said during an interview, as noted by Business Insider. "No, we have to open it."

The reality television star was referring to comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook in an open letter posted earlier in the day. Cook vowed to oppose a court order demanding that Apple create a compromised version of iOS to assist the investigation into the San Bernardino terror attack, arguing that doing so would be a net negative to society.

"The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control," Cook wrote.

Trump rejected that interpretation.

"Apple —this is one case and this a case that certainly we should be able to get into the phone," he said. "And we should find out what happened, why it happened, and maybe there's other people involved. And we have to do that."

It's not immediately clear whether Apple could comply, even if it wanted to. The device in question is already encrypted and locked, though it is an older iPhone 5c that does not contain the same secure enclave and advanced cryptographic features found in more recent models.