Ryan on NYC terror suspect: ‘Let the justice system play itself out’

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea MORE (R-Wis.) on Thursday appeared to side against those calling for the suspect in Tuesday's terror attack in Manhattan to be held as an enemy combatant rather than prosecuted through the Justice Department.

In an interview with CNN, Ryan said that the justice system should "play itself out" in the case of 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, who was shot in the leg and detained by police after allegedly striking a crowd of pedestrians with a rented Home Depot truck, killing eight people and wounding several others.

"I think there's no — there should be no safe harbor in any way, shape or form for terrorists," Ryan said. "But as far as I'm concerned, let the Justice Department and let the justice system play itself out.”


Ryan wouldn't specifically say whether Saipov should be held as an enemy combatant, instead saying that he has "already" been arraigned in federal court.

"I'm pretty sure they arraigned him already in federal court. So I'm pretty sure he's going to go through the federal court system, if I'm not mistaken," Ryan said.

On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Saipov with providing material support to a terrorist group and violence and destruction of a motor vehicle with willful disregard for human life. The charges come with a possible death sentence.

"This is a bad guy. He's a terrorist. Obviously I think that's already an established point. But again, I think the justice system should just play itself out," Ryan said.

Asked for further clarification on the subject, the Speaker's office declined to comment.

Ryan's comments are in contrast to those made by Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Biden's debate performance renews questions of health At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWe've lost sight of the real scandal The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? The Memo: Times correction gives GOP lifeline in latest Kavanaugh controversy MORE (R-S.C.), who called for Saipov to be sent to Guantánamo Bay in a press conference Wednesday.

“There’s ample evidence to suggest that these attacks were motivated by radical Islamic thought, that he killed in the name of radical Islam and that he is expressing his allegiance to ISIS, that he is acting as a soldier of the caliphate — and we should treat him as a soldier of the caliphate,” Graham said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

If Saipov were treated as an enemy combatant, he would not be entitled to a lawyer or read his Miranda rights.

President Trump on Thursday defended the decision to try Saipov in federal courts.

“Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system,” the president tweeted Thursday morning.

In a tweet the night before, Trump called for Saipov's eventual execution.