President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered an unequivocal message to Americans outraged at the announcement that the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks would be tried in New York.
"I don't think it will be offensive at all when he's convicted and the death penalty is applied to him," the president said of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to MSNBC's Chuck Todd.
Although Obama later clarified that he was not "prejudging the outcome" of the case, he did repeat his line that "people will not be offended if [a guilty verdict is] the outcome."
Obama's confidence, however, arrives at a time when some congressional lawmakers are scrambling to keep those detainees out of the country, much less away from federal, civilian courts.
Senate Democrats battled back a Republican amendment on Tuesday that would have blocked federal funds from being used to "construct or modify" any U.S. prison "to permanently or temporarily hold" Guantanamo Bay detainees.
That effort, which was tabled, emerged just as the federal government began preparations to relocate suspected terrorists to a supermax facility in Illinois -- another hot-button political issue. Presumably, the amendment would have also ensured the five 9/11 suspects to be tried in Manhattan could not be held in New York prisons while proceedings took place.
At the same time, House Democrats began battling back a similar Republican effort in their chamber. The possibility that GOP leaders could instruct their conferees to lobby for a Gitmo relocation ban as part of the commerce appropriations bill forced Democrats to postpone those negotiations, GOP lawmakers said Tuesday.