New York truck attacker planned rampage for weeks and carried it out in the name of ISIS, police say

The scene at Chambers Street and West Highway in New York City. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Ricky Carioti.

Ricky Carioti

President Donald Trump tweeted overnight that the suspect in the New York City terror attack "should get the death penalty."

Trump wrote the tweet calling for a suspect's execution late Wednesday.

"NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!" his tweet read.

His tweet deviated from an unwritten rule that presidents shouldn't express themselves on the outcome pending criminal cases. Public comments that someone is guilty or should be punished in a certain way can and do play into the hands of defense lawyers if and when cases go to trial.

The lawyers for Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted his base in Afghanistan in 2009, argued unsuccessfully that candidate-Trump's comment that he was a "traitor" would taint any trial. While a military judge said Trump's comments were "disturbing," he did not feel it necessary to dismiss the case. Bergdahl ultimately pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

"NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017"

Eight people were killed and a dozen injured on Tuesday when 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov drove a rented truck into people walking and cycling on a New York City bike path, federal authorities said. Authorities charged Saipov with providing support to a terrorist organization, alleging the Islamic State inspired him to carry out the attack.

"In court papers, federal authorities said that Sayfullo Saipov told the FBI that he began planning his attack a year ago, though he settled on using a truck as a weapon only two months prior," The Washington Post reported.

The tweet was one of many from Trump since the attack in New York.

After the attack, Trump wrote several tweets calling for tougher vetting processes of immigrants, in particular calling for an end to the State Department program known as the Diversity Visa Lottery. In several of these, he tweeted at the Fox News show "Fox & Friends."

"The United States will be immediately implementing much tougher Extreme Vetting Procedures. The safety of our citizens comes first!

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2017"

"We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter). @foxandfriends

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017"

He also attacked Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who in 1990 introduced the House bill that helped create the visa program, in an open effort to associate Schumer with the attack.

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