While Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) thinks President Donald Trump has the “right attitude” on fighting the war on terror, he said the Trump administration is following in former President Barack Obama’s footsteps when it comes to handling terror suspects.
The Department of Justice was “woefully unprepared for this moment,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The explanations I got from the Department of Justice about the legal reasoning, made me so mad I could not see straight. They said the reason they didn’t declare the New York guy an enemy combatant, even though he pledged allegiance to ISIL … is because there’s no evidence of command and control. That is ridiculous.”
Graham and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pushed the Trump administration to name Sayfullo Saipov, the man suspected of killing eight in a terror attack in New York City last week, an enemy combatant, which would have allowed the military or CIA to interrogate him without a lawyer. Instead, federal prosecutors filed charges on Nov. 1, placing the suspect in civilian court even though Trump complained about the criminal justice system, calling it a “joke” and “a laughingstock.” He even suggested early on that he’d like to see the suspect placed in Guantanamo Bay or receive capital punishment.
“It’s hard to catch a terrorist alive … and when you do you should try to gather intelligence,” Graham said. “I wanted to hold him a longer period of time, let military, CIA interrogate him about what he knows about terrorism, how he got radicalized. He said he was a soldier of the Caliphate, ISIL claimed he was a soldier of the Caliphate. We talked to him one day in the hospital, read him his Miranda Rights, we throw him right in court and can’t get intelligence going forward. … So when it comes to Trump policy, they are using Obama’s playbook and they’ve got a lot of Obama people held over, and I want to see that change.”
Watch a clip of the interview below: