Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell Rebuke Trump on Torture

The Republican Party’s two top Congressional leaders delivered a rebuke to President Donald Trump on the issue of torture, sending a clear message that it’s not something they want to revisit.

“Torture is illegal,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday at the Republican lawmaker retreat in Philadelphia. “And we agree with it not being legal.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added that the issue had already been debated by Congress, and that his colleagues were satisfied with the status quo. A law was passed in 2015 that outlaws the use or threat of force in American interrogation of detainees.

“The director of the CIA has made it clear that he's going to follow the law. I believe virtually all of members are comfortable with the state of the law,” McConnell said.

The White House brought the issue back to the forefront after a draft presidential order leaked. The document proposed to reopen overseas CIA black sites to interrogate suspected terrorists, and to review more aggressive interrogation techniques, referred to during the Bush administration as “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Against all evidence, Trump claimed Wednesday that experts had told him that torture was an effective way of questioning detainees. He did not name those experts.

—Tim Mak