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

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck Ocasio-Cortez calls out Steve King, Liz Cheney amid controversy over concentration camp remarks Democrats talk up tax credits to counter Trump law 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 McCainVeterans group to hand out USS John McCain T-shirts for July 4 on the National Mall Will we ever have another veteran as president? Meghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks Trump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions 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.