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John McCain says he will not allow Donald Trump to bring back torture

The Arizona senator and former prisoner of war was tortured in Vietnam

Rachael Revesz
New York
Wednesday 25 January 2017 21:04 GMT
Mr McCain was tortured in Vietnam as a prisoner of war - he was released after almost six years
Mr McCain was tortured in Vietnam as a prisoner of war - he was released after almost six years (Getty)

John McCain has warned that he and his colleagues will prevent Donald Trump from bringing back torture before the President signs his next executive order.

The Arizona senator and former prisoner of war said in a statement: "We are not bringing back torture.

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

Mr McCain sits on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee. He is a widely respected senator and was a prisoner of war for six years in Vietnam until 1973, during which time he was tortured.

The New York Times reported that President Trump is drafting a three-page order on “detention and interrogation on enemy combatants” that would allow interrogators to use techniques outside of the Army Field Manual.

He is also calling for a review of the manual, according to the executive order.

The executive order would also reopen “back site” prisons overseas, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before they were shut down by former President Obama.

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump advocate bringing back waterboarding

Newly-appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo, who previously said he was for using torture methods, told Mr McCain that he would "comply with the law that applies the Army Field Manual’s interrogation requirements to all US agencies."

During his senate confirmation hearing, Mr Pomeo told senators, "You have my full commitment” when asked if he would ensure that the CIA under his control would not be involved in the "enhanced interrogation business".

James Mattis, the new secretary of defense, gave similar commitments to the senate. The senate voted to approve him to the post despite him only being a civilian for three years, not seven years as is usually required.

The Senate passed an amendment in 2015 from Mr McCain that banned torture interrogation techniques, yet President Trump said on the campaign trail that he was in favour of waterboarding and a "hell of a lot worse".

Mr McCain told reporters he estimated the Senate would hold another vote to ban “enhanced interrogation” if the President pushed to bring back torture.

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