White House denies Trump called the justice system 'a joke' and 'a laughingstock' hours after he said it

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  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during Wednesday’s press briefing that President Donald Trump did not call the justice system “a joke” and “a laughingstock.”
  • Trump, hours earlier, said: “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday said President Donald Trump did not call the US justice system “a joke” and “a laughingstock.”

Hours earlier, Trump said just that.

During a meeting with Cabinet officials in the West Wing on Wednesday, Trump discussed what is next for the man accused of killing eight people in New York City on Tuesday when he rammed a rented pickup truck down a lower Manhattan bicycle path. That man, identified by police as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant originally from Uzbekistan who arrived in the US in 2010, left a note that said he carried out the attack in the name of ISIS, according to police.

Trump, who said he would consider sending Saipov to the Guantanamo Bay prison, told reporters the US must “come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.”

“They will go through court for years,” he said. “And at the end, they will be — who knows what happens. We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughing stock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.”

Naturally, Sanders was asked about that statement at two separate points during Wednesday’s press briefing.

The first time she was asked, Sanders said Trump was simply “voicing his frustration with” the “lengthy process.”

She was pressed later by CNN’s Jim Acosta.

“Why did the president call the US justice system a joke and a laughingstock …” Acosta said before Sanders cut in and said, “That’s not what he said.”

“He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock,” Sanders said. “He’s simply pointing out his frustration with how long that this process takes, how costly this process is, and particularly for someone to be a known terrorist, that process should move faster.”

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