Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

One Traveler Released from JFK Airport after Being Detained; Iran to Ban U.S. Citizens in Response to Trump Ban; Three Legal Challenges to Trump Muslim Ban; Green Card Holders of 7 Nations Impacted by Trump Ban; Trump Speaks to Putin in Phone Call. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired January 28, 2017 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:00:00] HAMID DARWISH, IRAQI TRANSLATOR: And nobody can act as he likes. So just be patient and we will be with you.

And when I get out, I was surprised, all of those people waiting for me, they support me. They don't know me, they never meet me and they come support me.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were you traveling with your family? They were on another flight? Were they detained as well?

DARWISH: No, no, we're on the same flight. I have the tickets, my wife, we are with each other. We leave from Istanbul, we are together. But here and there, totally separate.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your family was held as well but in another room?

DARWISH: Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But they were detained? Your family was --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His family was released and has left safely, but he was detained throughout the night and throughout today. And that just goes to demonstrate the arbitrariness of this policy, that there is no guidance right now. We've speak with CBP and they said they are waiting on Washington for guidance. They said it is a weekend and it is slow right now, and that does not seem right when all of these people are being detained when they're supposed to lawfully be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to stress, we came here to support a number of people who are being in our opinion unlawfully detained. We are very gratified that Mr. Darwish has been released. But there are still 11 other people, one of who is represented by legal counsel, as was Mr. Darwish. They are also being unlawfully detained under very unclear authority.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did they tell you why he was released and the other man was not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. They did not tell us that. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did they tell you why they decided to release

him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They didn't give you a reason?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

STATE REP. NADIA VELAZQUEZ, (D), NEW YORK: He's tired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got to go.

VELAZQUEZ: So he's not going to take any more questions.

UIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are you going to do now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

(SHOUTING)

(CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Remarkable sequence of events here. You're seeing the man raise his fist right now, Hamid Darwish, an Iraqi national, who made his way to the U.S only to be stopped at JFK. He was traveling with his family. We understand he's been employed by the U.S. government by working as a translator overseas. He was making his way back to the United States with his family. He's gone through that extensive vetting process of going through asylum, receiving refugee status here. We understand, in general, it's a two- year a process that is an extremely vigorous vetting program. His family was able to enter but he was detained for 17 hours. You heard our interview with his attorney earlier today, Mark Doss, who called this executive order unfair and, in his words, "targeting people unfairly." As a result now, through a number of efforts, Hamid Darwish is talking to New York Representative Nydia Velazquez, who described the order by President Trump signed yesterday as mean spirited and ill conceived. As a result of quite an effort of lobbying -- we haven't heard of all the efforts that were executed -- Hamid Darwish is released now, 17 hours after being detained at JFK.

Let's listen in on the crush of discussion going on.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: We did hear Hamid Darwish. He was still very gracious. He said, well, he respects that this is the land of rights, he is very thankful and happy now to be on U.S. soil. And when talking about the people of the U.S., he said they are the greatest people in the world. So, I've got with me a number of people to discuss all that's

transpired here since this executive order was signed yesterday. With me Lynn Sweet, the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Times"; CNN political analyst, Patrick Healy, who was also the deputy director for culture at "The New York Times." Also, here in studio, criminal defense attorney and constitutional attorney, Page Pate.

Good to see -- oh, and Bob Baer is back with us as well.

Lynn, let me being with you.

A lot has transpired, mainly about Hamid Darwish, and now his release. How do you expect this might symbolize a real problem with how this executive order is going to be carried out? We heard that the attorney say it was already being exercised in an arbitrary fashion, given that his family was able to get through but Hamid Darwish, an Iraqi national, was held up for 17 hours.

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: One of the lessons of this episode is what happens when you issue executive orders and haven't given guidance to the relative agencies to know how to prioritize and carry out these orders at various ports of entry within the United States. I think another thing to watch for, Fredricka, is whether or not this is extended to people who hold green cards. Right now, the thought would be if you hold a green card, would you venture out of the United States without having written down how this executive order will be carried out in a uniform way. I think we're seeing today is a day of uncertainty because of the way it was rolled out. Before we even get to the significance of the policy, you see the impact of the chaotic unrolling.

[13:05:58] WHITFIELD: The confusion.

Our Rachel Crane, who was at JFK, reporter earlier that she had a count of upwards of 12 people being detained. Hamid Darwish is one, the first to be released.

Page, this executive order being put in place, exercised, honored, utilized whichever way you want to classify it, is this also a case that exemplifies, it is confusing right now, it will continue to be, or should this exemplify that it should not be honored, as yet, until everyone gets the message or who carries it out and in what form?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFESNE ATTORNEY & CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: That's a big problem. You have customs agents at the border or airport setting policy and that doesn't make sense. You need follow- through by the administration saying I'm going to have this executive order, this is what we're going to do, and this is how we're going to follow it up. I can't believe they didn't think it have ahead of time that there were going to people on the plane --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Because White House counsel or Donald Trump counsel crafted this order. That's not something you pen overnight. There's a lot of legalese in it. Why wouldn't all those considerations be made before announcing it, before putting it into play?

PATE: I have no idea. The policy is clear. I understand the policy as it's set forth in the executive order, what he's going to ban, what he's going to allow. But the implementation of that policy also has to be thought out. A good executive order doesn't just set policy, doesn't just set priorities, but it tells the agencies how to carry those out. And I think that's what's missing.

WHITFIELD: And, Bob, you and I were talking before the live shot of Hamid, the point you were making was the message being sent to allies, certainly leans on the cooperation and this can be misconstrued if not improperly applied to damage those kinds of relations?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: Exactly, Fred. Look at the Iraqi translators. They're working with our troops. They're dying.

WHITFIELD: And U.S. troops still in Iraq needing to rely upon translators who are Iraqi nationals.

BAER: Our troops don't speak Arabic. And you have the Kurds doing most of the fighting and they have pulled Iraqi passports. There are international flights that go into Kurdistan and these people depend upon us for supplies and we're basically saying you're not allowed in our country. This is going to be completely, totally demoralizing for them and we need them to destroy the Islamic State. What happens with this? There's been no explanation, no coordination with the state department. Who knows what's going on in the national security council. This is ill advised. It cannot be carried out and continue as it is.

WHITFIELD: I mentioned CNN's Rachel Crane is there. She's on the phone with us.

Rachel, you reported there were 12 being detained there at JFK. Hamid is the first to be released now. What more can you tell us about how people are being detained, status right now?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's a small number of people who have started a protest here at JFK. Darwish spoke about how he had been here detained since 6:00 p.m. last night. He was traveling with his wife and three children. They were not detained. He was the on one of the family that was detained. But now he has been released. He actually said that he liked Donald Trump, but this is a policy, he doesn't quite understand it, but he respected the policy. And he was obviously exhausted and very excited to be reunited with his family and get some sleep.

WHITFIELD: Patrick --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Go ahead. Sorry, Rachel.

[13:10:11] CRANE: Sorry. Fred, we don't know anything else about the remaining 11. One of the detainees is involved in this lawsuit. The remaining 10, we don't know their nationalities, what their visa status is of the 10 people.

WHITFIELD: If you could describe Darwish's description of what happened when he handed over his passport. I found it difficult to hear. Perhaps you could explain the process.

CRANE: He said his documentation was taken away from him, he was put in a room, sat in a chair, that he was put in another room, he hadn't slept, people kept coming and talking to him. It was a bit hard to hear the details. He had been in a room, he hadn't slept and that the people were questioning him for many, many hours.

WHITFIELD: In all, about 17 hours before his release, as far as we understood, based on him being detained as of 6:00 last night.

Nic Robertson also with us.

Nic, this gentleman has been a translator working with the U.S. abroad there in Iraq. Bob underscored the importance of that kind of relationship, particularly as we continue to have U.S. military in Iraq. Iraq is one of the seven nations. In all, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Sudan are part of this executive order. Your concern for any of those people working for the U.S. in any of those nations?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We've seen over the past few years, not just the U.S. but Britain as well, have not been as lenient letting in people for putting their life on the line in Afghanistan. And I have to say, as well, in Syria, too, where there are U.S. Special Forces on the ground in Syria, there will be people there, whether they're in their local tribal militias, they also will be considering their lives on the line. They'll do it for our own national interests, their own tribal interests, their own family interests. But also, they know they're partnering with the force they hope and believe supports them. And supports to them to point, if the ground shifts, and, for example, ISIS takes over and comes after and threatens their families, as we've seen ISIS do time and time again, for instance, rounding up large numbers of police and their families inside Mosul as a reaction to the way their partnership with U.S. and Iraqi forces, if that comes into play, they want to be able to turn to the United States to look for help and salvation. When you're prepared to shed your own blood for someone else's country, you expect a level of support. So, somebody making that consideration potentially now is going to think twice. It would play into the ISIS propaganda as well that propaganda, saying the United States is anti-Muslim, never look after you. That sort of propaganda is going to fuel that campaign and fuel their fight. There are many ways in which this is counterproductive, counterintuitive.

I would throw one other thing in, we've heard now Iran say they're reciprocating, banning Americans from Iran for the next 90 days as well. Well, guess what, President Trump was on the phone with Putin, as the Iranians were saying that. President Trump want to partner with Russia to tackle ISIS. If you do that in Syria, you're partnering with Iran and with Assad.

All these pieces are interconnected. And the fact that the changing landscape of how you think a partnership could work, how it is being impacted by a decision you may feel was entirely disconnected from perhaps finding support from Russia to tackle ISIS, that Iran piece is a big ally of Russia and Syria right now.

WHITFIELD: Patrick -

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Go ahead.

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Just to jump on what Nic said, we're talking about a lot of process that Donald Trump, as president, is not following standard operating procedure and thinking about the consequences of an executive order and how that will filter out to customs agents and people on airplanes. We have got to remember, that is not what he ran on. He ran on saying -- making big statements and sending a message to Americans and to the world that he was radically changing policy about border security, about who America was letting into the country

(CROSSTALK)

[13:15:17] WHITFIELD: Oh, but in his inaugural speech, he said America First. And he --

HEALY: Absolutely. And that is his focus now. I think the point is to remember -- and I interviewed him over and over again during the campaign. Sort of the message that he wants is not about, OK, let's hold back on the executive order until we figure out how it going to be implemented and who is going to do what, when. That is not how he thinks. He's not focused on that. I think, to a large extent, he wants to make a big impact in ways that Americans are watching on television, seeing what's happening at airports, and hopefully, at least his supporters, he wants to think things are changing, we're stopping some of these folks from getting into the country. That's the message that he wants to send, not, oh, I'm following all the details and doing things the usual way.

WHITFIELD: And, Lynn, it seems like message received, because this is the most consequential executive order, according to a lot of people who we talked to today. Among the 14 executive orders, this is the one that rattling most. He pledged to put America first. He pledged things would be done differently.

To your point, Patrick, we're seeing that.

But then, Lynn, there also seems to be some real political capital being spent here at the risk of further isolating himself by going around, not involving members of Congress, not being inclusive, which is the other message he has conveyed.

SWEET: Well, if I may respectfully disagree a little bit with you, Fred, and underscore a bit more of what Patrick Healy said. My guess is if Trump says that the takeaway from today is that some people were caught in detention for a few hours because I didn't do all the rule making and go through the procedures, I don't think he will think that that is the minus that we may think for people who cover government as it unfolds in a usually more orderly, consistent way. So, I'm reserving judgment for the moment, Fred, if there is any political damage in the short or long-term as a result of this chaotic roll out. I think we will see the upshot of the series of executive actions that are being rushed when it comes to presenting the budget to Congress. That's in a few weeks. That's when I think the real fault lines, if they are there within the Republican Party, will be more obvious to us.

WHITFIELD: OK, we're not going to talk about that. We'll take a short break.

Lynn Sweet, Patrick Healy, Bob Baer, Page Pate, Nic Robertson, thanks to all of you. I appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:21:41] WHITFIELD: Hi. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

So, some Americans will face retribution as a result of President Trump's executive order on immigration refugees. The government of Iran will now ban U.S. citizens from entering its borders as a, quote, "principle of reciprocity." Iran is one of seven countries whose nationals Trump has banned from the U.S. for at least 90 days. Refugees from Syria will be blocked from entering the U.S. indefinitely. And the entire U.S. refugee program is banned for four months.

Let's go live to CNN's senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, joining us from Istanbul.

Ben, the seven nations, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran, it's Iran that came out with this statement saying they are going to turn the tables and do the same thing. What more are you learning?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This came in the form of a statement from the Iraqi foreign ministry a little while ago. They described the executive order from President Trump as, quote, "a gift to extremists." According to the statement, it's described as an obvious insult to the Islamist world, and in particular to the great nation of Iran. Obviously, relations with Iran haven't been very good, certainly since the nuclear agreement was reached between Iran, the United States and other powers. There's been a slight thaw, but that thaw is clearly coming to a dramatic end. We already know that President Trump is not very well disposed to that agreement and has threatened to scrap it. This really is just another, perhaps, nail in the coffin of what, not long ago, looked like a relationship that was beginning to come alive again.

WHITFIELD: All right, Ben Wedeman, in Istanbul, thanks so much. Coming up, outrage over President Trump executive order banning

nationals from seven countries into the U.S. We'll tell you what other actions are being taken.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:27:23] WHITFIELD: President Trump's executive action banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries is already having an effect on some immigrants living in the U.S. Susan worked at the U.S. embassy in Iraq. We're not using her last name to protect her identity. She fled to the U.S. with her daughters after her family was targeted by terrorists. Now Susan is worried about other family members who do want to come to this country.

Susan is joining us now on the telephone.

Again, we are keeping her identity quiet for the sake of her own safety and her family's safety.

Susan, you've heard about this executive order. What are your biggest concerns about it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Good afternoon. Yeah, I heard about it yesterday and we were so nervous about it. My family doesn't feel comfortable about all the consequences they are going to place. So, I wish they will reconsider the situation of the people who have sacrificed their lives for the government and U.S. sovereignty.

WHITFIELD: You saw what happened in New York at JFK. We understand there are 12 people who have been detained. One, an Iraqi national, has now been released. He served as a translator for the U.S. while abroad and sought asylum, had the visa after that very severe vetting process, and was still detained.

What's your concern about those who are still abroad at any number of the seven nations that are on the list where people are banned, who have had dealings, worked with the U.S. government in some capacity? What are your concerns about their safety abroad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, as regards my family, me, myself, I worked for the U.S. government for four years during the Iraq war and we assisted the U.S. forces.

[13:30:04] I went back to work with the U.S. Army as a DOD contractor. And my sister used to work for the KBR, one of the biggest U.S. companies overseas. And we still have -- he is my only brother overseas, he is still there. He is in Jordan waiting for his wife. She is in asylum status now. She has not been granted yet. And she's been interviewed. For, like, three years, we didn't see her. And now we don't know what the situation will be. The kids are crying about their father and it is unfair what is happening.

WHITFIELD: Susan, did you and family members work with the U.S. Abroad expecting in return you would have certain protections and eventual relocation to the U.S. and that certain kind of protection as a result of working with the U.S.? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, when I was worked with the U.S.

Authority, there was no promise for us that we would be taken to the United States. So, we sacrificed ourselves without any return at that time just because we believed in the ideology of the Americans and American government. And we wanted the freedom and the liberty that we've seen in the people who came to Iraq. So, there wasn't a deal between us to serve for the U.S. government. But as a U.S. citizen now, I don't feel safe in my country here in America, because any time I would be stopped due to the executive order, I would be stopped in the road and would be asked about my papers. So, this is difficult you don't feel safe in your country, that you sacrificed your health, your family for.

WHITFIELD: Susan, thank you so much for expressing yourself and sharing your concerns for you and for your loved ones.

Thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

Meantime, Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler, of New York, tells us 12 people have been detained at JFK. And we understand among those 12, Hamid Darwish, one has been released.

And we saw him and we saw you in the mix as well, Representative. What are your feelings about this process, all that has transpired? We saw your colleague, Nydia Velazquez, who said she believes this executive order is mean spirited and ill conceived.

Give us your point of view on this executive order and what has transpired there at JFK.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: It is certainly mean-spirited and ill conceived. It's starts with an instance of religious discrimination. All of these refugees have been vetted by the United States and pose no threat to the United States. It's ironic that those who have been detained here now, plus Hamid Darwish, who has been release, they got on the planes in the Middle East, on Holocaust Memorial Day, when we remember the shame of this country, who refused to admit Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in 1939 and '40, most of whom were murdered by the Nazis because they were not admitted to this country. And we should not be doing the same thing.

The people who are here -- Mr. Darwish, who was released, worked with the U.S. military, with the U.S. Army giving them assistance for many years. He's a marked man in Iraq. He had to be a refugee here.

Another person is being held, also his wife worked with American forces. The least we can do is admit people whose lives are in danger back in Iraq because they helped our forces, they helped our troops.

And this whole idea that any Muslim is the threat to the United States is absurd and is religious discrimination, and it's disgusting.

But there's a second level. If you issue an order, people who already had valid visas and were in the air when the order was issued, they should be admitted to this country and shouldn't be held like a catch 22, which is what is happening now. WHITFIELD: Representative, what do you believe the intention of this

order was? Because if you read the policy -- and I'm just going to quote now a portion I pulled from the policy. It says, "It is the policy of the United States to protect citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit the United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes."

That's the purpose --

(CROSSTAKL)

NADLER: That's certainly --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: -- as it's outline. How do you believe it's being executed?

[13:35:04] NADLER: That's certainly a valid policy. We should not people who want to do harm to this country. However, all of these refugees, all of the refugees in Syria and Iraq who would be admitted have been vetted by the American government for up to two years, looking into their bona fides and their records and their D.R., what they have done and what they have said, and they are all guaranteed, in effect, not to be a threat to the United States. Not one single refugee has been admitted to this country from the Middle East has turned out to pose a threat to the United States. The various people who have, in fact, committed terrorist acts in this country, from 9/11 on, none of them came from any of the seven countries that are the subject of the president's executive order.

If you really want to protect this country, why are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey left out of the order? Most of the 9/11 conspirators came from Saudi Arabia.

WHITFIELD: It's been said this is a direct response to what President Trump believes is a failing exited in 9/11. When the State Department prevented officers from properly scrutinizing applications of 17 of the foreign national who went on to murder more than 3,000 Americans. How do you --

(CROSSTALK)

NADLER: Whatever the policy was in screening foreign nationals at the beginning of the Bush administration, that has not been the policy of the United States government for a long time. All of these refugees, all the refugees who were being admitted from these countries have been subject to vetting that takes about two years, looking into them on an individual basis very carefully. That wasn't apparently done at the beginning of the Bush administration with Saudi Arabia.

So, the rhetoric that we want to protect is country is certainly true, but the way to protect the country is not to deny entry to people who have helped the country and who have been vetted by our people not to be threats. (CROSSTALK)

NADLER: As I said, not one person who was admitted from Syria or Iraq has, in fact, done any terrorist or any act in this country.

WHITFIELD: Quickly, what, as a member of Congress, will you or can you do in response to this executive order?

NADLER: Well, we can try to change the law with respect to the executive order. Given the Republican control, I don't know that that's likely. But we can point out how senseless it is and, hopefully, it won't be extended beyond the three or four months.

WHITFIELD: OK.

NADLER: And we will oppose it.

WHITFIELD: New York Representative Jerrold Nadler, thank you so much. We'll leave it right there. Joining us from JFK. I appreciate it.

NADLER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Let's talk more about the legalities behind this executive order. Avery Friedman, a civil right attorney and law professor in Cleveland.

Good to see you.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor joining us from Las Vegas.

Good to see you as well.

Avery, you first.

All morning long, we've been talking to people who have taken issue with the constitutionality of this executive order and, at the same time, the due process involved in this. How do you see the White House's justification of this executive order being able to hold water up against now at least three legal challenges that have been filed?

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Well, the White House is going to justify substantively why this order is necessary. It's easy to say it, Fredricka, but now that the jurisdiction, the federal district court in Brooklyn has been triggered -- I mean we have the example of Hamid Darwish, who had been providing service for 10 years to the 101st Airborne Division, was vetted in the extreme. Yet, when he asks Border Patrol or customs officer, with whom do I speak -

WHITFIELD: And they said the president.

FRIEDMAN: -- and they tell him President Trump. So, I think in fact the Trump administration is going to have to show specifically why it is justified. And I have to tell you, Fredricka, that's going to be a significant burden.

WHITFIELD: So, Richard, one would think that counsel represented by a number of people during the transition or perhaps even after the swearing in of the president that they would have gone over this to make sure that it is lock-solid before actually exercising it. What's your view as to what happened here or whether it's just being -- whether it's not being interpreted properly or carried out properly? What's happening?

[13:40:14] RICHARD AVERY, CRIMINALD DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Well, here's the issue with these executive orders. Even Paul Ryan said it's the act of a lawless president usurping the role of Congress when they do these executive orders. But he, of course, was referring to President Obama, not President Trump. He told everyone, when I'm president, I'm going to do this, I'm going to build a wall, I'm going to ban Muslims. And guess what, he signed executive orders. The American people had an opportunity to vote against this man if they did not want these policies in effect. Didn't happen. He won the Electoral College. We don't know the extent of WikiLeaks or the Russian involvement. He won. FDR, in 12 years, issued over 1,300 executive orders. The power is vested in the Constitution and enacted and promulgated through Congress, giving the president the power to do this. The review is limited, Fred. It's limited to the Supreme Court. The president can review it --

FRIEDMAN: No, it's not.

HERMAN: -- and Congress can review it.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: So the executive order may be the last word but then won't Congress be able to say, as it pertains to the governing of visas, members of Congress would be able to challenge this executive order. Would they or would they not, Avery?

FRIEDMAN: I think they absolutely could. But I think the problem here -- we're in agreement, the president has very broad power with executive orders, but they have to be constitutional. This case is pending in a federal district court. And that federal judge, if the government can't show why you stopped people like Hamid Darwish and you can justify it, which I think will be a tough burden, it's going to be held institutional and he'll have to tweak it and do something else. Bottom line is just because an executive order is promulgated by the president doesn't make it unconstitutional. That is what the issue is right here.

WHITFIELD: So, Richard, what makes it constitutional or unconstitutional in your view?

AVERY: Good, good.

HERMAN: The issues with respect to sanctuary cities, that presents constitutional issues, which will be mired in litigation for years to come because you cannot usurp the power of the states. Judge Scalia issued a decision on that. That is an unconstitutional issue.

But he has the power to issues these, Fred. He's doing it. The fact that you have a Republican Senate and House of Representatives, they're not going to go against him. They're not going to modify anything he does. So, you have a court that's going to do it. You know what percentage of courts are successful in modifying executive orders and memorandums? Probably zero.

FRIEDMAN: It doesn't matter.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: This is going to be the law for the next 120 days. This is it.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, we're talking possibly three months.

All right, Richard Herman, Avery Friedman --

HERMAN: Three months. It will be like watching a Kentucky basketball game. It's going to be back and forth, back and forth.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: We'll check back with you all.

Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Avery and Richard.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:47:24] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Now, we're learning that green card holders are being impacted by President Trump's new travel ban.

Ryan Nobles is following the story for us from the White House.

Ryan, what are you learning?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORERSPONDENT: Fredricka, this is a pretty significant development. We have two different sources from within the administration confirming this information to CNN. They're saying the Department of Homeland Security' policy as it relates to this new executive order issued by the Trump administration is, if you have a valid green card but if you're from one of these seven countries that the administration has deemed as prone to terrorism, you will not be allowed back into the United States. Green card holders from the seven countries included in the travel ban and that is Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen, if you are holding a green card but are from one of those countries, you will not be allowed back in the United States.

A source is also telling our justice correspondent, Pam Brown, that if you are from one of these countries and you happen to be in the United States right now, holding a green card, they recommend you do not leave the country, because if you leave and want to come back in, you will be denied. The Department of Homeland Security is trying to figure out how to enact the executive order. If you have a green card and you come from one of those seven countries, you will not be allowed in the United States.

WHITFIELD: Likely impacting hundreds if not thousands of people, especially those who may have upcoming plans as well.

Thank you so much. Ryan Nobles, from the White House, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:52:44] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. A busy day. Telephone diplomacy for President Donald Trump. Last hour, he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin. There's the images. Despite the previous remark that he would be open to lifting Russian sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, officials say the current plan is not to lift sanctions.

This morning, Trump spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He had a total of five scheduled phone calls today with foreign leaders.

At the top of the hour, Trump will also be signing two executive orders, we understand, but details of what they may cover have not yet been released.

CNN senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, in Moscow.

What are you hearing about this conversation between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're waiting to hear exactly what was discussed. We haven't had any readout yet from the Kremlin or the White House either. There's been so much anticipation ahead of this call about whether it would be a pivotal moment with this, up until now, rocky relationship with the United States and Russia. The issue of sanctions discussed, the conflict in Syria, the situation in Ukraine, NATO. All of these issues are issues that have stood between these two countries forging a closer relationship over the course of the past couple of years, in particular.

And the issues of sanctions have particularly been something that's been a thorn in the side of the relations of those two countries. There's been a lot of speculation ahead of this call that Donald Trump, President Trump would move to alleviate at least some of those sanctions.

The president, for his part, has been all along been playing down any expectation that this was going to be an important phone call. They're saying it was just an opportunity for the two leaders to get to know each other, for President Putin to congratulate, for instance, Donald Trump on becoming the president. But there's been all sorts of speculations in other courses. A senior Senator here, Alexi Pushkov (ph), saying this conversation, Putin/Trump, would be the beginning of the fight against Islamic State, the solution to the crisis in Syria, and in Ukraine. So, all sorts of expectations of what this conversation could involve.

But the truth is we don't really know and again, in the next few minutes, hopefully, we're hoping to get a call from the Kremlin or get access to some kind of press statement from them talking about what exactly was raised by Donald Trump and what was discussed between these two leaders.

[13:55:12] WHITFIELD: And so, I wonder, Matthew, if it's not about the phone call, has the Kremlin said anything about its thoughts on this executive action involving Donald Trump?

Doesn't look like you can hear me, Matthew. OK. That's OK.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: No problem. I'll ask next time.

Thank you so much, Matthew Chance, for what you did deliver. Appreciate it

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredericka Whitfield, in Atlanta.

So, airport officials at New York's JFK Airport began detaining some foreign travelers after President Donald Trump signed his executive order on immigration. Last hour, one of 12 travelers was released after being detained for more than 14 hours.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMID DARWISH, IRAQI NATIONAL: -- my passport, me and my family, because I worked with the U.S. government. I support the U.S. government from the other side of the world. But when I came here, they say no. They keep me out of. I break the rules or do something wrong. I surprised really.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Hamid Darwish was released. He has been working as a translator and had worked with the U.S. military while in Iraq.