Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday that CNN's Larry King does a better job interrogating his guests than Justice Department officials did with Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after his capture.
Speaking with John King on CNN's "State of the Union" about whether terrorist trials should be held in civil courts, McConnell said, "What we need to do is deny these people a show trial."
He continued, "We need to proceed to interrogate them, which you couldn't do obviously with the Christmas bomber."
Then came the zinger, "I mean, Larry King would have a more thorough interrogation of one of his witnesses than the Christmas bomber had by the Justice Department" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Politico):
JOHN KING, HOST: If you ask the White House about this, it highlights -- they say it's not just the president, it's not just Attorney General Holder, that General David Petraeus says he believes a public trial at a federal courthouse is the best way to do it so that it's not an al Qaeda recruiting tool.
That Secretary Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration at the Defense Department, also they believes a trial in the federal court system is preferable to a closed trial in the military commission. And that the CIA operatives leading the fight against these guys in Yemen, in Somalia, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, also believe that if you did it in a closed setting in a military commission it would be a powerful recruiting tool.
If General Petraeus, Secretary Gates, and the intelligence leaders say, do it in court, why do you say that's a bad idea?
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KENTUCKY): I simply disagree and so do the American people.
Look, Guantanamo is -- it was not there before they started attacking us in the '90s, before they attacked us on 9/11. Osama bin Laden did not mention Guantanamo in his last video. What we need to do is deny these people a show trial. We need to proceed to interrogate them, which you couldn't do obviously with the Christmas bomber.
I mean, Larry King would have a more thorough interrogation of one of his witnesses than the Christmas bomber had by the Justice Department. This is really dangerous nonsense. We have a way to do it, John. Interrogate them, detain them, and try them in military commissions offshore at Guantanamo from which no one has ever escaped.
The American people think that's the best way to do it. Most of the legal experts that we talk to think it's the best way to do it.