GOP lawmakers to try to block federal funds for 9/11 prosecutions

GOP lawmakers to try to block federal funds for 9/11 prosecutions

Amid fears that the White House may move the terrorist trials connected with September 11, 2001, to the Washington, D.C., region, GOP lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation that would bar the use federal funds for their prosecution in any U.S. civilian court.

The move comes as the White House, met with growing opposition, has reportedly begun considering alternative locations to the originally planned federal district court in downtown Manhattan to try the professed 9/11 “mastermind” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants.

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The legislation expected to be introduced early next week is sponsored by Rep. Frank WolfFrank Rudolph WolfVulnerable Republican keeps focus as Democrats highlight Trump Bolton could be the first national security chief to prioritize religious freedom House votes to mandate sexual harassment training for members and staff MORE (R-Va.), whose district borders Washington, D.C., and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump says he will sign executive order to end family separations Trump backs narrow bill halting family separations: official Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-S.C.), and would prohibit funding for any Justice Department prosecution in civilian courts of a person being tried in connection with the 9/11 attacks.

Earlier this week, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) introduced a similar bill that would prohibit the use of federal funds to try within U.S. civilian courts any detainee being kept in the Guantanamo Bay prison.

New York Gov. David Paterson and, in a stark reversal, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday expressed their disapproval for holding the trials in the Manhattan court, mere blocks away from where the World Trade Center towers once stood, saying that it would cost the city and state hundreds of millions of dollars in security costs.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats' education agenda would jeopardize state-level success Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan Selling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal MORE (D-N.Y.) earlier this month asked President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Are we a nation that rips families apart? Another chance to seek the return of fiscal sanity to the halls of Congress Colombia’s new leader has a tough road ahead, and Obama holdovers aren't helping MORE to include in his budget -- set to be released to Congress next week -- security funds for state and city security costs.

While there has been no official announcement as to where the trials would be held if the White House decided against New York City, several Republican aides said that the administration was considering the Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia areas, an unpopulated island near Manhattan or nearby military installations.

Wolf raised objections several weeks ago to reports that the White House was considering hosting the trial of Riduan Isamuddin – an alleged close ally of Osama bin Laden’s -- and two other defendants in the Washington, D.C., region.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder: Trump administration has 'brought shame to the nation’ with family separations US law is not on the side of Mueller's appointment as special counsel Holder redistricting group backs lawsuits for 3 additional majority-black congressional districts MORE, Wolf said that there had been enough recent intelligence pointing to possible terrorists threats related to Isamuddin to deny him a trial in civilian courts in the D.C. area, suggesting that to do so would put the region in jeopardy.

While most of the politicians speaking about the terrorist trials being brought stateside were opposed to the idea this week, the mayor of Newburgh, N.Y. -- a small city an hour outside of New York City -- said on Friday that he would be happy to host the trials at a nearby Air National Guard base, according to the New York Post, saying that he saw it as a “tourist attraction” and that it “would put Newburgh on the map.”

Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Senate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill Texas official compares Trump family separation policy to kidnapping MORE (D-Calif.) said on Friday that she opposed bringing the trials to New York City.

“I think that the administration ought to listen to the mayor, listen to the mayor’s concern and candidly make a change,” said Feinstein in an MSNBC interview. “There is nothing wrong with making a change.”

“[Mohammed] does not have to be tried in NYC. If there is evidence that this will either make NYC a target or present unusual expenses, then the mayor -- and I’ve been a mayor -- should be listened to.”

Earlier in the week a bipartisan contingent of senators wrote Holder and asked him to consider military trials for the alleged terrorists, saying, “The attacks of 9/11 were acts of war, and those who planned and carried out those attacks are war criminals.”

The letter was signed by Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's America fights back Mellman: Trump can fix it GOP strategist Steve Schmidt denounces party, will vote for Democrats MORE (R-Ariz.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending Senate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill MORE (R-Maine).