McCain to Trump: 'We're not bringing back torture'
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home MORE (R-Ariz.) pushed back Wednesday against an effort by President Trump to revisit controversial enhanced interrogation policies, saying, "We are not bringing back torture." 

“The President can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law," McCain said in a statement. "We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America." 

Trump is drafting a three-page order on “detention and interrogation of enemy combatants" that would remove a rule limiting interrogators to only using techniques listed in the Army Field Manuel and call for a review of the manual, according to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the executive order.


McCain added that Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who was confirmed as CIA director on Monday, told him that "he will comply with the law that applies the Army Field Manual’s interrogation requirements to all U.S. agencies." 

Asked if he could commit to senators that the CIA is “out of the enhanced interrogation business,” Pompeo said during his committee hearing, “You have my full commitment."

McCain noted that Defense Secretary James Mattis gave a similar promise during his confirmation hearings, and he is "confident these leaders will be true to their word.”

The Arizona senator and Trump repeatedly sparred over waterboarding and torture during the presidential campaign after the then-GOP candidate voiced support for bringing back waterboarding and a "hell of a lot worse." 

The Senate passed an amendment in 2015 by McCain — who was tortured while held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam — that banned brutal interrogation techniques widely classified as torture, including waterboarding, as part of an annual defense policy bill.
Pressed on Tuesday about what would happen if the Trump administration tried to change the Army Field Manual, McCain predicted the Senate would have another vote to ban waterboarding and other forms of "enhanced interrogation." 
“We could have another vote. It will be 92-7 again,” he told reporters. 
The 2015 amendment passed 78-21.