- CBS News
- White House national security adviser John Bolton weighed in on the controversy surrounding New Jersey-born ISIS bride Hoda Muthana in an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
- Muthana, who was born in New Jersey and fled the US to join ISIS in 2014, has been trying to return to her home country.
- But the Trump Administration has barred that effort – claiming she was never a US citizen in the first place.
- Bolton said that if she wants to return, Muthana needs to provide “evidence of citizenship.”
The Trump Administration is staying firm on its opinion that “ISIS bride” Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen.
In an appearance on “Face the Nation” Sunday, White House national security adviser John Bolton weighed in on the controversy surrounding the New Jersey-born woman who joined the caliphate four years ago, but now wants to return home.
Despite being born in the US, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has argued that Muthana is not a citizen because her father was a Yemeni diplomat at the time she was born, a technicality that would exempt her from claiming birthright citizenship.
But Muthana’s father has refuted this claim, providing INSIDER a document that he says proves his diplomatic service ended before his daughter was born. Last month, he filed a lawsuit against the US, demanding the administration recognize his daughter as a citizen and let her return to her home country immediately.
When asked why the Trump Administration wouldn’t want to bring Muthana back to the US to face trial, Bolton reasserted the State Department’s opinion that she was never a citizen to begin with.
He also added that “Americans can renounce their citizenship by their words and by their actions aligning with foreign powers.”
According to the State Department’s website, there are strict rules about how someone can renounce their citizenship. They must sign an oath of renunciation in person at a US Embassy or Consulate. It’s unclear if Muthana did that before crossing into ISIS-controlled Syria in 2014.
Bolton said US officials would consider the merits of her citizenship claim if she provided evidence.
“If she’s got evidence of citizenship, she needs to present it,” he said. “We’ll take a look at it.”
Bolton did not weigh in on the validity of the documents Muthana’s father has already provided, which are what she previously used to get and renew a US passport. The Obama administration revoked her passport in 2016, using the same reasoning the Trump administration is using now.
- Courtesy of Hassan Shibly
Bolton said he wants to keep captured American ISIS fighters in Syria
Muthana is currently living in a Kurdish-controlled refugee camp in northeastern Syria, with her 18-month-old son. The boy’s father was a Tunisian ISIS fighter.
When asked about whether the administration plans to do with the other American ISIS fighters who have been captured since the fall of the caliphate, Bolton said he hopes to keep them in Syria for now.
“Certainly the situation of the 800 to 1,000 ISIS prisoners that are being held by the Syrian opposition in northeast Syria is very much on our mind,” he said on “Face the Nation”. “We’ve spoken to our European allies about some of them taking their citizens back. We’re looking at what to do with the rest of them.”
Bolton continued: “It’s one reason frankly we’d like to successfully negotiate the status of northeast Syria so that the prisoners for the foreseeable future can stay exactly in the prison facilities there and now.”
But he didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing some back to face trial in the US.
“It’s a possibility,” he said, “but we’re not eager to have simply pick up that responsibility we think others have the responsibility too, and that’s the approach we’re taking.”
- Read more:
- ISIS bride from Alabama who urged people to drive pick-up trucks into crowds on Veterans Day wants to come back to the US: ‘Please forgive me’
- American ISIS bride’s father files lawsuit to have the US recognize her as a citizen and return her to the country immediately
- 11 American women who left the US to become ISIS brides and fighters