MSNBC Analyst: ‘Anti-American’ to Deny U.S. Re-Entry to ISIS Terrorist

Appearing on MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle Friday morning, analyst Jason Johnson, Politics Editor for The Root, blasted the Trump administration for refusing to allow ISIS terrorist Hoda Muthana from returning to the U.S. after she left to join the violent death cult. The left-wing contributor even argued it was “anti-American” to deny her re-entry to the nation she declared war against.

After a clip ran of an exclusive NBC News interview with Muthana, Ruhle turned to her panel of guests for reaction. Real Clear Politics Associate Editor A.B. Stoddard agreed with the Trump administration: “This country is a gift and I think she’s relinquished her privilege and I’m kind of in agreement with the President that she, you know, may not be allowed – shouldn’t be allowed to come back here.”

 

 

Moments later, Johnson chimed in to complain: “There are white domestic terrorists who get radicalized online all the time in America who are out shooting people, threatening to kill people....And we’re not deporting them. They’re allowed to be here.” He argued that Muthana was “an American citizen” and that any attempt to block her return was somehow antithetical to American values:

If she’s willing to come back and face whatever consequences she faces for being a part of a terrorist organization that’s declared war on the United States, that’s perfectly fine. But this idea that this administration has been promoting that we can pick and choose who citizens are and determine citizenship based on if we like somebody and their ideology is anti-American. She is still an American citizen, she should be allowed to come back.

Even Philippe Reines, a former State Department official under Hillary Clinton, was wary of allowing Muthana back in country:

So, yes, if she wants to come back, I think she should be allowed to come back. I would feel a hell of a lot better if she were facing charges before she came back....she should know that she is facing X charges in X jurisdiction, X felony for X amount of years....But it can’t be this vacuum of everyone gets to come back no matter what they do to our country.

Johnson defended his argument by seeming to downplay her involvement with ISIS: “And just being a part of ISIS, we need to determine exactly – we’ve had people flee and join ISIS. Before you had somebody do that a couple years ago. We need to – ”

Ruhle interrupted him: “Let’s not give ISIS excuses, okay?”

Johnson insisted:

I’m not giving ISIS excuses. What I’m saying is, people have left and joined these kinds of terrorist organizations before....And just because she was a part of ISIS, I would like to know, similar to you, look, “Did you help in any bombing? Did you help in any planning? Did you give people information about America?” Because that determines what kind of punishment you should receive.

He reiterated: “But again, she’s an American citizen. And if there’s anybody that should punish her, it should be us back here because she’s an American citizen.”

The U.S. State Department has adamantly refuted that assertion. “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday.

Here is a transcript of the February 22 discussion:

9:33 AM ET

(...)

STEPHANIE RUHLE: I’ve got to get my panel in on this one. A.B., what is your reaction to this?

A.B. STODDARD [REAL CLEAR POLITICS]: My reaction is that she said she prefers the U.S. to other places. This country is a gift and I think she’s relinquished her privilege and I’m kind of in agreement with the President that she, you know, may not be allowed – shouldn’t be allowed to come back here. And I guess her argument is she should come back and serve jail time. It’s very complicated. But we can’t allow everyone who is brainwashed and radicalized online to come back in and potentially infiltrate again here domestically. So it’s a very thorny question. But she took a risk and she’s going to pay the consequences.

JASON JOHNSON [POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT]: There are white domestic terrorists who get radicalized online all the time in America who are out shooting people, threatening to kill people and so forth in Silver Spring.   

STODDARD: And we’re not deporting them.  

JOHNSON: And we’re not deporting them. They’re allowed to be here. She’s an American citizen. If she’s willing to come back and face whatever consequences she faces for being a part of a terrorist organization that’s declared war on the United States, that’s perfectly fine. But this idea that this administration has been promoting that we can pick and choose who citizens are and determine citizenship based on if we like somebody and their ideology is anti-American. She is still an American citizen, she should be allowed to come back.

RUHLE: Philippe?

(...)

PHILIPPE REINES: You know, I worked in the State Department for four years, I understand the legal requirements and rights that this woman has. So, yes, if she wants to come back, I think she should be allowed to come back. I would feel a hell of a lot better if she were facing charges before she came back. And she would know what that was. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know if that’s possible. I don’t know the background to it. But I do, to the extent that I give her any credit or benefit of the doubt, she said that she’s willing to face the consequences. I think that needs to be more tangible. And that she –

RUHLE: Meaning more tangible, when she says, “face the consequences,” she has articulate what that is?

RUHLE: No, we should articulate what that is. I don’t know in what jurisdiction she committed a crime, but she should know that she is facing X charges in X jurisdiction, X felony for X amount of years. Obviously, she gets due process, benefit of assuming that she’s innocent until proven guilty. But it can’t be this vacuum of everyone gets to come back no matter what they do to our country.

JOHNSON: And just being a part of ISIS, we need to determine exactly – we’ve had people flee and join ISIS. Before you had somebody do that a couple years ago. We need to –

RUHLE: Let’s not give ISIS excuses, okay?  

JOHNSON: I’m not giving ISIS excuses. What I’m saying is, people have left and joined these kinds of terrorist organizations before. People join terrorist organizations domestically. They should know what the consequences of those things are. And just because she was a part of ISIS, I would like to know, similar to you, look, “Did you help in any bombing? Did you help in any planning? Did you give people information about America?” Because that determines what kind of punishment you should receive.

But again, she’s an American citizen. And if there’s anybody that should punish her, it should be us back here because she’s an American citizen.  

RUHLE: Alright, this is a complicated one.

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