Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump asserted on August 11 that some Americans should be transported to the U.S Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and put on trial in a military court; an action that would violate the U.S. Constitution (video below).
"I want to make sure that if we have radical Islamic terrorists, we have a very safe place to keep them," Trump told the Miami Herald.
Trump criticized President Obama for not using the words "radical Islamic terrorists," and accused the president of "allowing people to get out that are terrible people. He's allowing a lot of people out of Guantanamo that should not be released."
President George W. Bush and President Obama have both released detainees who were deemed not to be a threat after thorough government screenings, which is exactly what Trump said he would do.
"Would you try to get the military commissions, the trial court there, to try U.S. citizens?" asked the Herald reporter.
"Well, I know that they want to try them in our regular court systems, and I don’t like that at all," Trump replied. "I don’t like that at all. I would say they could be tried there, that would be fine."
U.S. citizens cannot legally be tried by military tribunals, which do not provide the same rights and protections as the Sixth Amendment Find Law explains:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
The Navy base in Guantanamo Bay is neither a state nor district, but rather land owned by Cuba and leased to the U.S. under a decades-old agreement.
The San Francisco Chronicle noted several other differences: The U.S. Defense Department appoints and removes judges in a military tribunal; the military brass selects jurors who can, in turn, convict without a unanimous vote (death penalty cases are an exception); and prosecutors are allowed to use evidence not allowed in U.S courts (confessions under physical or mental pressure and some otherwise illegal searches, for example). Additionally, a second-person account of an out-of-court accusation is allowed without direct questioning of the source by the defense team.
During the same interview, Trump denied global warming science: "I'm not a big believer in man-made climate change. There could be some impact, but I don’t believe it’s a devastating impact."