03:48 - Source: CNN
Can U.S. military refuse illegal orders from president?

Story highlights

Sessions and the Director of National Intelligence visited the Cuba detention center on Friday

It was the second time Sessions has visited Guantanamo Bay

Washington CNN —  

While President Donald Trump has been abroad at the G20 Summit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions took a trip of his own – a visit to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp at the US naval base on Cuba.

Sessions traveled to Guantanamo with his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

The Friday day trip was the first visit Sessions has taken to the detention facility since becoming attorney general. His last visit was in 2005 under then-President George W. Bush’s administration.

Department of Justice spokesman Ian Prior said the purpose of the travel was “to have an up-to-date understanding of current operations … to gain that understanding by meeting with the people on the ground who are leading our government-wide efforts at GTMO,” an acronym the military uses to describe the military base in Cuba.

“Keeping this country safe from terrorists is the highest priority of the Trump administration,” Prior said in the statement. “Recent attacks in Europe and elsewhere confirm that the threat to our nation is immediate and real, and it remains essential that we use every lawful tool available to prevent as many attacks as possible.”

The DOJ is partly responsible for handling detainee-related litigation at Guantanamo.

Trump in the past has made clear his intentions to keep the military base open – despite former President Barack Obama’s down to the wire efforts to rid the camp of all remaining detainees and close the prison for good.

On the campaign trail last February Trump told a crowd of his intentions to “load it up with some bad dudes,” potentially by bringing in people with ties to ISIS. He has also told the Miami Herald he would be “fine” with sending Americans accused of terrorism to Guantanamo. Currently 41 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.

The DOJ would not provide additional details about what parts of the camp Sessions visited. \

CNN’s Laura Jarrett contributed to this report