The White House on Wednesday flatly denied that President Donald Trump had ever called the American criminal justice system "a joke and a laughingstock," just hours after Trump said precisely that during a televised Cabinet meeting. (See comments at 3:36 in clip above)
"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," Trump said at the meeting.
The president's remark followed a terror attack in New York City on Tuesday that killed eight people. The suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, was shot on the scene and quickly taken into custody. Authorities later found items that indicate the attack was inspired by ISIS.
A few hours after Trump's Cabinet meeting, CNN's Jim Acosta asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, "Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock?"
"That's not what he said," Sanders replied. "He said that process has people calling us a joke and a laughingstock."
Sanders went on to say that the president was frustrated by how long and costly it is to prosecute individuals accused of terror-related crimes under U.S. law.
"Particularly for someone to be a known terrorist, that process should move faster. That's the point [Trump] is making. That's the frustration he has," she said.