June 19, 2018

Trump's Shift on New York Attacker and Guantanamo Riles Graham

03 November 2017, 12:31 | Marta Robbins

President Donald Trump at a meeting on taxes at the White House on Tuesday. REUTERS Kevin Lamarque

President Donald Trump at a meeting on taxes at the White House on Tuesday.   REUTERS  Kevin Lamarque

President Donald Trump on Thursday appeared to rule out sending the NY terrorism suspect to the USA military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after threatening a day earlier to send the alleged attacker to the detention center.

In a tweet early Thursday, Trump said that he "would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically the process takes much longer than going through the Federal system".

The complaint said Saipov had requested permission to display the flag of the Islamic State militant group in his hospital room.

The suspect, who eyewitnesses say screamed "Allahu Akbar", Arabic for "God is great", and waved a paintball gun and a pellet gun after stepping out of the vehicle, was shot at least once in the abdomen by police and is now hospitalized in critical but stable condition. "Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!".

He added that the US justice system is "a joke and it's a laughingstock" because it doesn't move quickly enough.

One constant in his message since Tuesday's attack is his loud call that Saipov face the death penalty, though saying so raises concerns that the defense could use the statement to say the jury pool is tainted. He was wheeled into a federal court in a wheelchair, handcuffed and his feet shackled.

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Mr Trump said on Wednesday that he would consider sending Saipov to Guantanamo Bay.

The lawyers for Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted his base in Afghanistan in 2009, argued unsuccessfully that candidate-Trump's comment that he was a "traitor" would taint any trial. His attorney, David Patton, has said he hopes "everyone lets the judicial process play out".

Of those killed on Tuesday, five were Argentine tourists, who were among a group of friends visiting NY to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, one was a Belgian citizen, one was a NY resident and one lived in New Jersey. A law enforcement official said Kadirov was a friend of Saipov's and may not have any role in the case.

No one detained on U.S. soil has ever been sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, located on a USA military base in Cuba, and no suspected terrorists captured overseas have been transferred there since 2008.

His tweet raised troubling questions about the separation of powers and the independence of prosecutors and the federal judiciary.

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