White House sees NY attacker as 'enemy combatant'

White House sees NY attacker as 'enemy combatant'”

President Donald Trump railed against a U.S. visa program following Tuesday's truck attack in New York City. He has presented himself as a champion of law and order, advocating tougher criminal penalties as a way to keep Americans safe. Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan, is accused of driving onto a New York City bike path and striking several pedestrians in the Halloween attack. Police officials said witnesses recounted hearing the attacker shout "Allahu Akbar" as he exited his truck, and multiple outlets have reported police found a note pledging allegiance to Isis.

Trump told reporters Wednesday that he would "certainly consider" sending Saipov to Guantanamo and suggested US federal courts are not capable of trying and prosecuting terrorists. "Look at him as an unlawful enemy combatant, take the time you need to develop who he is, what he did, and why; be ready to present if necessary to a federal judge your case against him being an unlawful enemy combatant". The president called the legal system's method for handling terrorism prosecutions "a joke" and "a laughing stock", arguing its insufficiently harsh punishments made future attacks more likely. He reiterated that push in a Cabinet meeting, saying he would "ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this programme". The ban is now tied up in court challenges.

Trump also criticized the U.S. justice system, saying he would be open to sending the suspect, whom police have identified as Sayfullo Saipov, to the U.S. military prison operated at the naval base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We also have to come up with punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting now", Trump added.

"We're so politically correct that we're afraid to do anything", he said.

Graham said he believes President Trump understands the nature of the threat and the "religious war" facing the United States right now.

While Barack Obama vowed to shutter the prison, he failed in the face of resistance from Congress. The US will treat suspect Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as an "enemy combatant" moving forward, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

Senator John McCain called for the administration to use the designation.

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