By MICHAEL CROWLEY 11/19/16 politico
Republican Sen. John McCain issued a fiery warning to President-elect Donald Trump on the subject of torture Saturday.
“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do. We will not waterboard,” McCain told an audience at the annual Halifax International Security Forum. “We will not torture people … It doesn’t work.”
Trump has repeatedly said that he would use much harsher measures against suspected terrorists. “We have to fight fire with fire,” he said at a June campaign rally, adding that the U.S. would have to “fight so viciously and violently” against the Islamic State.
“What do you think about waterboarding?” Trump asked the crowd, which cheered his answer: “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough.”
At a Republican primary debate in February, Trump vowed that he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
On Saturday, McCain reminded the audience that torture remains illegal under the Geneva Conventions and was also banned by Congress last year.
That law, signed by President Barack Obama, restricts interrogation techniques to those outlined by the U.S. Army Field Manual — which does not permit waterboarding.
Some conservatives argue that waterboarding, practiced on terrorist suspects by the Bush administration in the mid-2000s until Congress banned it in 2005, does not meet the definition of torture.
Former top national security officials, including some who served under Bush, have predicted insubordination and resignations from the military and CIA if Trump orders them to torture.
But on Friday Trump announced that he would tap GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo to head his CIA.
Pompeo has defended Bush-era interrogation programs that included waterboarding and other techniques widely defined as torture as “within the law, within the constitution.”
Anyone who tries to resume torture, McCain added to applause from the crowd of American, Canadian and European security officials and experts, would find themselves in court “in a New York minute.”