GOP: Plan to close Guantánamo 'illegal'

GOP: Plan to close Guantánamo 'illegal'
© Getty

Congressional Republicans are sending an early warning to the Defense Department that its plan to close Guantánamo Bay would break the law.  

"No matter how hard the President wishes it wasn’t the case, transferring dozens of dangerous terrorists to any domestic location is illegal," Republican Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerJuan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate MORE (Colo.), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsJuan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump Senate GOP hopes to move new NAFTA deal before impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Worries about war in world capitals, Congress MORE (Kan.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate panel advances Trump's new NAFTA despite GOP gripes Trump to sign order penalizing colleges over perceived anti-Semitism on campus: report Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump MORE (S.C.) said Friday. "Moving the detainees to South Carolina, Kansas or Colorado will not lead to even the smallest change in the beliefs or propaganda of radical Islamic terrorists."
 
ADVERTISEMENT
They added that the President Obama's push to create a "Gitmo North" location within the United States makes the country less secure. 
 
Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.) added, separately, that any push to bring detainees into the United States would "represent a blatant and serious violation of the plain language of the law."
 
 
Their comments follow comments from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Thursday that he has "framed for the President a proposal to establish an alternative location," including moving some detainees into the United States. 
 
The Pentagon has sent teams to review facilies in South Carolina, Kansas and Colorado as potential alternatives to the Cuban facility.
 
White House press secretary Josh Earnest, however, said Friday that he was unable to confirm if the White House is reviewing the Pentagon's plan. 
 
"I don't know the answer to that question," he told reporters. "Presumably the White House has some insight into the work that they are doing. ... I don't know if they've emailed over a draft version or anything." 
 
The Obama administration has pledged for months that it intends to turn over a plan to close the controversial Cuban facility to Congress, as part of an effort to fulfill a long-standing campaign pledge to close the prison. 
 
The administration announced earlier this week that it had transferred 10 detainees to Oman, bringing the Cuban prison's population below 100 for the first time since it was opened in 2002. 
 
Republican leadership, however, have signaled they have no interest in taking up the president's forthcoming plan, and have sent several bills to Obama's desk that directly forbid him from moving detainees into the country. 
 
 
 
"I'm a big fan of using Gitmo the way it has been used and I think — hopefully, he will fail in his effort to completely remove all of these bad guys from Guantánamo," he told reporters.
 
The White House hasn't ruled out the president trying to use his executive authority to close the prison.