President Donald Trump would consider declaring the New York City terror attack suspect an enemy combatant and sending him to Guantánamo Bay because "the actions he took certainly justify that," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.
"We would consider him that in terms of how we would process him, yes," she told reporters at the daily briefing. "I don't believe that determination has been made.
"That's something we'll wait until we get further into the process."
Trump said earlier Wednesday that he would consider sending Sayfullo Saipov, 29, the Uzbek immigrant whom authorities followed an Islamic State playbook "to a T" in carrying out the truck-mowing attack Tuesday that killed eight people and injured a dozen others in Manhattan, to the U.S. prison in Cuba.
"Send him to Gitmo, I would certainly consider that, yes," President Trump told reporters before a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
The president's comments came after Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for Saipov to be declared an enemy combatant — allowing authorities to question him without a lawyer.
"If you take up arms against the United States in the name of radical Islam, you should be treated as a terrorist," Graham said. "You'll never convince me that the best way to gather intelligence in this war … is reading them their Miranda rights."
Sanders told reporters that Trump's call for sending Saipov to Gitmo was not" necessarily advocating for it, but he would certainly support it if he felt that was the best way."
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