Return to Transcripts main page
NEW DAY SATURDAY
Trump to Speak With Five World Leaders Today; Berlin Mayor To Trump: Do Not Build This Wall; Trump: We Need to Help "Targeted" Christians; Refugees From Seven Muslim Nations Temporarily Banned; Interview with Mayor Marty Walsh; Trump May Launch Voter Fraud Investigation; Syrian Refugee Turned Business Owner Reacts to Ban. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired January 28, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[08:00:21] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have a great relationship with Russia and other countries. I will consider that a good thing and not a bad thing.
I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no evidence that any refugees that we have brought into this country have committed any act of terrorism in the U.S.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, at least very, very tough to get into the United States. We are going to help them.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": You say a minimum of 3 million voted. That's a huge percentage. You think 15 percent of the people who are not citizens in this country voted in the last election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we're complete and satisfied, we'll expose the list to the public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's always good to start our morning with you. Thanks for being here. I am Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I am Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. President Donald Trump has a busy day ahead. In less than an hour, he'll be speaking with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe followed by four other world leaders throughout the day, leaders of Germany, France, Australia, and Russia. Vladimir Putin on the list today as well.
PAUL: His call with Putin being welcomed by Russia. One official calling it, quote, "The most important one." But it is sparking concern among other world leaders and U.S. lawmakers including Republicans.
BLACKWELL: Earlier this morning, France spoke out on the president's executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries. The French foreign minister calling it, quote, "worrying."
PAUL: CNN is covering this story from all the angles. We have CNN senior international correspondents in Russia, Germany and Turkey. We want to start with Ryan Nobles, who is live at the White House for us this morning.
All right, Ryan, President Trump has a lot planned for today. What is he expected to discuss at top of the list with these world leaders?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christie, for the most part, these are really just introductory phone calls with President Trump and many of these world leaders. The fact that Trump comes from the business world, and not the political world.
He's not had the opportunity to meet many of these leaders from these very important countries. So this will be his first opportunity to introduce himself and talk about some of his plans going forward.
But you're right. The most important phone call that many view is that phone call he has in the middle of the day with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump has talked a lot about wanting a warmer relationship with Russia.
He talked on that a little bit during his joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May from yesterday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We'll see what happens as far as sanctions, very early to be talking about that, but we look to have a great relationship with all countries ideally. That won't necessarily happen, unfortunately probably won't happen with many countries but if we can have as we do with Prime Minister May and the relationship that we've all developed.
And even in the short relationship that we just developed just by being with each other, had lunch and we really had some very interesting talks and very productive talks.
But if we can have a great relationship with Russia and with China and with all countries, I'm all for that. That would be a tremendous asset. No guarantees, but if we can, that would be a positive, not a negative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So it is assumed that top on the list of that conversation with Vladimir Putin today will be the talk of whether or not the U.S. will lift heavy sanctions that are currently in place on the Russian government. There are some Republican leaders that are very concerned that the Trump administration is heading in that direction, among them Senator John McCain, who said that he "hopes that President Trump will put an end to the speculation and reject such a reckless course.
If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify these sanctions against Russia into law." The Russian government certainly hoping the sanctions are going away, but some of these other foreign leaders that Donald Trump will talk to today certainly are hoping that those sanctions remain in place -- Christi.
PAUL: All right, Ryan Nobles, so grateful to see you this morning. Thank you.
NOBLES: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to Moscow now and bring in CNN senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson. Ivan, how is the kremlin characterizing this upcoming call?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is clearly trying to manage expectations, Victor. A kremlin spokesperson saying yesterday that this is going to be pretty much diplomatic, standard diplomatic protocol, that Russian Vladimir Putin will congratulate Donald Trump on his inauguration.
This will be the first formal contact between the two leaders since the inauguration but the kremlin spokesperson saying he doesn't expect real substantial issues to be discussed in this preliminary conversation.
It is very important to note that in some circles here, some official circles and some media circles that Donald Trump's administration's election victory was welcomed, was celebrated, and you've got an outspoken lawmaker here in Russia by the name of Alexei Pushkov, who has announced on Twitter that he thinks that this phone call between the two leaders would be a new beginning for the battle against ISIS, for resolving the war in Syria and the war in Ukraine as well.
[08:05:13]So there are some big expectations from some Russians who are hoping this could lead to a thawing of relations between Moscow and Washington, less isolation, less opposition from western countries, from the U.S. and the European Union, which have coordinated sanctions against Russia together since it intervened in annexed territory from Ukraine in 2014.
So hopes that this could perhaps lead to an end in that, an end of a united front coming from the west against Russia. A lot of what Donald Trump has said during the election campaign and his run up to the inauguration has been music to the kremlin's ears, particularly when he has talked about NATO, the military alliance being obsolete.
Russia here sees NATO as being an aggressive power and as a threat to it, but of course, Donald Trump has contradicted himself in the past, has made reversal. So I think a lot of people are waiting to see what could come of this first round of direct communications, which are expected to take place in the coming hours.
BLACKWELL: Yes, that call is scheduled for noon Eastern, about four hours from now. Ivan Watson in Moscow for us, thank you.
PAUL: Let's go to Germany now where Berlin's mayor has some strong words for President Trump. He says, quote, "Today at the beginning of the 21st Century we simply cannot accept our historical experience is to be thrown out by the very people to whom we largely owe our freedom, the Americans.
I appeal to the president of the United States not to go this way of isolation and exclusion. Wherever such borders still exist today in Korea and Cyprus, they create suffering and the opposite of freedom. I call upon the American president.
Think of your predecessor, Ronald Reagan, remember his words, tear down this wall that is why I say dear Mr. President, do not build this wall." Atika Shubert has more for us. Good morning, Atika.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- she's spoken to President Trump before, when he won the election. She made a brief congratulations call to him. So they're likely to hit on a variety of topics including Russia, but nothing too in depth. This is more of a getting to know you, what is the working relationship going to be.
It is going to be quite awkward. President Trump has said he has respect for Angela Merkel as a leader here in Germany, but that her policy on refugees was, quote, "a catastrophic mistake."
Now Merkel herself has refrained from making any direct comment on President Trump other than to say that Germany stands by its liberal democratic values. In fact, people around her are far more outspoken such as Foreign Minister Steinmeyer who said he was appalled by President Trump's campaign.
And that he sees the kind of nationalism that Trump represents as dangerous to the world. So it will be an interesting conversation to follow to see exactly what they talk about, but most of all, what the relationship will be.
Interesting to note here, Angela Merkel is one of the world leaders that knows Vladimir Putin best. She speaks fluent Russian. She grew up in East Germany under the Soviet era. She could certainly offer a few words of advice to President Trump on how to deal with President Putin.
PAUL: All right, Atika, we appreciate it. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about these executive orders, two more signed late Friday. One is aimed at spurring military spending, the other changes U.S. immigration policies.
PAUL: Yes, the order on immigration is making some waves this morning, appearing to prioritize Christian immigrants over Middle Eastern countries, from Middle Eastern countries, by giving added weight to those who are minority religion in their home country.
Here's what the president told the Christian Broadcasting Network about why he believes Christians in particular need this help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They have been horribly treated. If you are a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, very, very, at least very, very tough to get into the United States. If you were Muslim, you could come in. But if you were Christian, it was almost impossible. And the reason that was so unfair is that everybody was persecuted in all fairness, they were chopping off the heads of everybody. But more so the Christians and I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: OK, so let's look at the numbers at large here. According to a Pew Research study in 2016, the U.S. admitted 38,901 Muslims, which is a record for a single year, 37,521 Christians so with those numbers with the context here, you decide if the president's characterization there is accurate.
Now let's talk more about this executive order. This bars millions of people from coming from certain let's call them terror prone countries, that's how the government is characterizing them, entering the United States 90 days.
[08:10:06]According to a White House official, those countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.
PAUL: We should point out, it also suspends the U.S. refugee admissions program for 120 days and indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees, putting a cap on the total number of refugees admitted at half of the current level, about 50,000 now. It calls for new screening procedures and cancels the visa interview waiver program for repeat travelers.
Shortly after this executive order was signed Google apparently sent an internal advisory to its employees saying if they're from a country listed in this order they should can cancel their travel plans.
CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, joining us live in Istanbul. Ben, you have been able to talk firsthand with some of these families who are affected. Help us understand how they are processing this.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're disappointed is a mild way to describe their reaction to this executive order. I was in touch today with a friend who served for years as a translator for the U.S. military in Iraq, risked his life many times, I have seen the file he submitted to the immigration authorities, their glowing recommendations from senior U.S. military officials.
In the meantime, he's seen his wife's health deteriorated, their marriage is on the rocks, and of course, because he is a Sunni Muslim from a town that was under occupation by ISIS, there's also a price on his head, so he is very worried about the security of his family.
Now the chance of going to the United States, which they had put so much hope in seems to have evaporated, at least for the time being. One Syrian refugee that lives near the Turkish border in the south of the country told me he is enraged by this executive order which he described as racist.
Another Iraqi I have been in touch with who actually has a green card, who has lived in the United States for several years. He is currently in Baghdad, supposed to travel to the United States tomorrow, but of course, there's so much lack of clarity in this executive order.
He doesn't know if he can get back in. This is what he wrote to me. He said, "I honestly am a bit scared. I'm not sure if they will let me in. I would never imagine this would happen in the U.S. since it is one of the few countries letting in immigrants from across the world to start a new life there. I am shocked."
And this does seem to characterize the reaction of many people who are hoping someday to escape the terror and war that has racked places like Iraq and Syria and come to safety and security in the United States.
PAUL: All right. Ben Wedeman, so appreciate that perspective. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: President Trump will speak with five world leaders today including Russia's President Vladimir Putin. What potentially will be discussed and what will not. That's next.
BLACKWELL: President Trump will speak with five world leaders today, the leaders of Japan, Germany, France, Australia, and Russia. What will be on the table for those discussions and what will be left out?
We're joined by David Rohde, CNN global affairs analyst and national security investigations editor for Reuters, and Nic Robertson, CNN international diplomatic editor. Good morning to both of you.
David, I want to start with the executive order that was signed by the president last night and what we heard from David Miliband, the head of the International Rescue Committee about that order and its impact. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MILIBAND, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: America is no safer than it was 24 hours ago, but 60,000 people who have been through the vetting process around the world are victims of terror around the world aren't going to be able to come here. What's more, America's reputation as humanitarian leader has been lost. And a propaganda gift for those extremists who want to say America doesn't want Muslims to come here.
I think it is a dangerous day, a hasty, and harmful set of decisions because remember it's harder to get to America as a refugee than through any other routes at the moment. These are victims are terror who are seeking haven.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: David, what do you make of that characterization of this executive order?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Many of the things he's saying are accurate. The key to defeating ISIS is to get Muslims on the ground particularly Sunni Muslims to sort of battle them. Right now there are Iraqi forces fighting and dying in Mosul, trying to retake Mosul from ISIS.
You mentioned earlier that the president saying that ISIS have killed more Christians in the Middle East than Muslims, I don't know the exact numbers. Christians only makeup 4 percent of the population in the Middle East. The vast majority, vast, vast majority of people ISIS has killed have been Muslims in the region.
So we need allies, Arabs, Muslims, Afghans, Pakistanis in general to sort of combat extremism. That's the key. This is a battle for the future of Islam between moderates and extremists and we need to back the moderates.
So I don't think banning Muslim immigrants and saying you're going to help Christians will get us more allies in the region.
BLACKWELL: Nic, let's look ahead to the calls that the president will have with these world five leaders today. He's actually going to speak with the prime minister of Japan at the top of the hour. Let's look ahead to 11:00 a.m. and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
They are on opposite sides of this discussion, admitting Syrian refugees. We have the ban that's in place here in the U.S. and more than a million have been admitted to Germany. How deep do you expect their conversation to go into that or is this going to be just a congratulations, Mr. President, introductory call?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This call comes just an hour before the call with President Putin, and certainly I think we can expect Angela Merkel to talk with President Trump about her understanding and knowledge and interaction with President Putin. They once upon a time, she once upon a time believed they had a decent relationship. She no longer believes that.
She has come to over time see President Putin as unreliable. So setting that part aside, what Angela Merkel will be worried about here are several things. I mean, there's erosion of the U.S. moral authority around the world when you start appearing, giving the appearance of banning certain religions and not accepting refugees across the board. [08:20:03]Obviously this is a transition period to something else, but this message as David Miliband said, it could quite easily be manipulated by ISIS. ISIS remains a threat in Europe. So Angela Merkel will maybe frame her conversation with President Trump in that respect because President Trump has been very strong about being anti- ISIS.
She'll remind him that this can potentially fuel their propaganda. But there's a deeper worry here for Angela Merkel and the French president on the call with President Trump later in the day. What this kind of language does is enable the populous nationalists, anti- Islamic political parties in Europe.
And already in Holland where there are elections in two months, supporting what President Trump has done and calling on him to go further and ban and restrict entry for people from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.
Right now, they're the most popular party in Holland. They potentially stand to come out as the largest party in the elections in a couple months, and that worries Europeans.
BLACKWELL: David, let's talk about the call with Vladimir Putin. We know at the news conference the president said it is too early to lift sanctions on Russia. A U.S. official tells CNN that the White House asked for information about those sanctions ahead of the call with Putin. Do you expect that it will be on the table during the first call?
ROHDE: I don't think it will be, but you know, President Trump is bold in what he has done so far. If he does this, if he removes sanctions it will split the Republican Party. He needs their support to carry out his agenda in Congress.
One thing that you mention the call to Angela Merkel, Europe is a critical trading partner of the United States. If you look at the European Union as a whole, it ranks next to China. If he gets aggressive in terms of trade with Mexico and China, he needs strong relations with Europe.
He calls NATO obsolete, but a beneficiary of NATO has been this tremendous trade between the United States and Europe. He is going to potentially alienate Republicans here in Washington and then he can alienate Europe, a key trading partner if he pushes very quickly on removing these sanctions.
BLACKWELL: Yes, interesting that we heard from the prime minister there, Theresa May, yesterday characterize the president's views of NATO for him, that he is 100 percent behind NATO. We didn't hear it from him himself. That will be part of the German and French call later today. David Rohde, Nic Robertson, thanks so much. We'll be right back.
[08:26:10] PAUL: It's 26 minutes past the hour. President Trump's executive order regarding the border wall with Mexico is taking center stage it seems as his first week as president. The Mexican president was scheduled to meet with President Trump earlier this week cancelled that trip over dispute about who is paying for the wall.
BLACKWELL: Which according to a few sources would cost between $10 billion to $25 billion. Now yesterday the two spoke by phone and agreed to negotiate but not speak publicly about the issue. Meanwhile, the world's fourth richest man, Carlos Slim, held a rare press conference yesterday to offer help for Mexico to negotiate with Trump.
Let's check some other top stories now. Coming up on the bottom of the hour, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will not be charged with criminal misconduct in the so-called "bridgegate" scandal. Prosecutors say they can't prove the charge in court. A probable cause hearing over a criminal summons is scheduled for next week, however.
Now you may remember back in September of 2013, Governor Christie was accused of orchestrating a lane closure on the George Washington Bridge in an alleged political revenge plot to punish a mayor who did not support him.
PAUL: Actor, John Hurt, who starred in the original science fiction hit "Alien" has died, we are sorry to tell you. He's known for this scene when a creature explodes from his chest in the space craft. We aren't going to show it. You know what it is. He worked for more than six decades in TV and film. We don't have word on details of his death, how he died. We know that he was 77 years old when he left us.
BLACKWELL: It's 31 years ago today, the Challenger space shuttle exploded after launch. A booster engine broke off 73 seconds into the flight. The space shuttle exploded in midair. The seven astronauts killed in that incident. It was the first time NASA lost an astronaut during a flight. Also remember today those who died in the Apollo 1 and Columbia accidents.
PAUL: You remember where you were when you've watch that. Take a look at this video out of New York. Saw that pickup plowing through the side of a bus. Here's the interior of it. According to police, the driver was getting off the exit ramp and mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brakes, and the truck driver was fined for failure to reduce speed on a curve and keep right on a highway. Eight people were hurt in that crash.
BLACKWELL: President Trump cracks down on illegal immigration with an executive order to end federal funding for sanctuary cities. Boston's mayor joins us to tell us what he's doing to combat the move, that's coming up just ahead.
[08:32:16] PAUL: Welcome to Saturday. 32 minutes past the hour. I am Christi Paul. BLACKWELL: I am Victor Blackwell. Good morning.
President Donald Trump will speak with Russian president Vladimir Putin later today. It's part of series of calls he has planned with several world leaders. Leaders of Japan, Germany, France, and Australia also on the list.
PAUL: In the meantime the world is reacting this morning to these sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration policy. President Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim majority countries, barring those from certain as they called terror- prone countries from entering the United States for 90 days. Those countries include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.
BLACKWELL: It's part of President Trump's attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, he's also calling for an end to sanctuary cities. The move will strip federal grant money from states and cities that give shelter to illegal immigrants.
Now Miami-Dade County has the second highest number of immigrants in the country and they were first to comply with the president's call to action. The mayor said here that he will cooperate with all immigration detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security. That's a move the president praised on Twitter saying it was the right decision. Strong. Meanwhile, Democratic mayors in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, have banded together to challenge the president's order.
PAUL: All right. So one of those mayors is with us now, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Good morning, Mayor. Thank you for being with us.
MAYOR MARTY WALSH (D), BOSTON: Good morning. Thank you for having me today.
PAUL: Sure. Now you have indicated that you are prepared to open city hall's doors to shelter undocumented immigrants if need be. I know you even said that they can use my office. Why do you feel so strongly about this? And are you really truly prepared to do that?
WALSH: I'm a son of immigrants. My mother and father came to this country in the '50s to pursue the American dream. They had myself and my brother. One of their kids became mayor of the city of Boston. And that's what we built our country on, the American dream. And a lot of immigrants, there's a lot of immigrant stories like that, there's a lot of people in this country that came from other places for many different reasons.
I absolutely am prepared to open up my office and prepared to open up city hall. I think it's very unfair and unfortunate right now the message that the administration is sending to people around the world about America. And I think that's counterproductive to who we are as a country. And I think that, you know, today hearing reports that the president is going to be meeting with foreign leaders to talk about the economy, moving the economy forward. That's what our president should be talking about, not throwing out distractions out there.
PAUL: How far are you willing to go?
[08:35:01] WALSH: I am pretty clear. I mean, we have what's called the Trust Act in the city of Boston. We are not going to -- we don't work with federal authorities in reporting undocumented immigrants when we pull people over or know somebody is here undocumented. What we do, if there's a felony committed, we do notify the federal government. We do follow the rules there, there's no question about that, but I don't think this is the appropriate thing to do.
We have 11 million people in this country that are undocumented. We have people in this country that were brought in by their parents. We have young Americans that were born here by two parents that were undocumented. And to simply talk about putting fear into people that we're going to round people up and deport them out of this country, that's not the right thing to do.
First of all, it's not going to be good for the economy. It's not going to be a good thing for cities across America. And last week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, bipartisan group of mayors sat down and talked about immigration and talked about the importance of looking for a pathway to immigration, not going out and putting -- you know, threats out there saying that they're going to be deporting everyone.
It is not going to work. And I think it's important for Washington to understand, sit down, and actually talk about what should they do for policy moving forward. We're supposed to be moving our country forward. And this is a very irresponsible --
PAUL: So, if I'm hearing you correctly --
WALSH: -- threat that's being made.
PAUL: If I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying it's the policy to legalize these people that is the problem?
WALSH: That's -- for the last seven years, the Congress and the Senate, because they can't seem to get together because of Democrats and Republicans haven't been able to move anybody's agenda forward, it should be -- the president should be angry at them, and put it on their lap, say OK, Republicans, OK, Democrats, let's come up with some immigration reform issues here. Because immigration isn't just simply people that are here undocumented, it goes a lot deeper than that in this country. It goes into work visas, it goes into education, it goes into more than simply people are here undocumented.
PAUL: There are people watching this, though, who remember Kate Steinle, and Donald Trump talked much about her, the San Francisco woman who was killed by -- who authorities say was an undocumented immigrant who have been deported five times. And so there are people out there watching who believe that sanctuary cities should not be in existence, that you should be following federal law in that regard. What do you say to them?
WALSH: Well, let me just say two things. Number one, we clearly have a breakdown in policy if somebody has been deported five times in the United States of America and got in four of those times. And I think that that's a problem there. And the second thing, I think it's very unfair, and I've heard a lot of those stories, and my heart goes out to all the family members who loved ones, but we can't paint a broad brush over every single person in this country who is an undocumented immigrant and say that they're a murderer or a criminal because they're not.
WALSH: And I think it's very unfair. We have a lot of hard-working people in this country that believe or not, trying to raise a family, that are working.
WALSH: And raising a family, their kids are in our schools. So I think that, you know, that's what Donald Trump is doing, he's trying to place fear in people by using those very, very heartfelt extreme cases where people lost loved ones. He shouldn't be doing that. He's doing a disservice to the families who lost loved ones by doing that. And I think as president of the United States of America, and his administration should really say OK, how do we deal with this issue because the issue is about the gentleman who was deported five times in this country and on the fifth time when he came back into this country he took someone's life. He should never have been allowed in here the times before that. And that's what we need to do when we talk about immigration policy and immigration reform.
Building a wall doesn't solve any potential family's problem down the road with people who are here undocumented and commit felonies, and serious crimes, and take people's lives. His policy does not deal with that issue.
PAUL: Mayor Marty Walsh, we appreciate you taking time to talk with us this morning. Thank you.
WALSH: Thank you.
PAUL: We'll be right back.
[08:42:24] BLACKWELL: Well, the Trump administration is poised to move forward with its accusation of widespread voter fraud. At any time now, any day the president could sign an executive order launching an investigation after he renewed the baseless claims that he would have won the popular vote if not for, quote, "three million to five million illegals who voted."
Here to discuss, CNN contributor and former Federal Election Commission general counsel Larry Noble, former Trump campaign senior adviser and former congressman Jack Kingston and Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Times," Lynn Sweet.
Good morning to all of you. And Larry, I want to start with you. The threshold for proving fraud is high. In some respects what the president describes being registered in two states, the deceased being on the rolls, those are not crimes. It's illegal to vote in two states, of course. What's the threshold they have to reach and is there any evidence that supports the president's claim here?
LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They would have to show that somebody actually voted in two places or that somebody intentionally registered falsely in two places, that they registered some place where they do not live.
What the studies have shown is that what's happening is people move, they're registered in one place, they move, and they register in their new place, and they forget about that they were registered in the other place. That's not illegal. In fact what turned out is that some of the people closest to Trump are registered in two places. I think Steve Bannon is, his daughter is.
NOBLE: Jared Kushner is. So that's very common. The fact that you're registered in two places doesn't mean you voted in two places, that's what's illegal.
BLACKWELL: So, Lynn, let me come to you. There was 4:00 a.m., because I just checked, when the president tweeted out that he's going to order a major investigation into this voter fraud. What's the delay? I mean, we've seen more than a half dozen executive orders signed this week. We haven't heard anything more about this.
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: I don't know why there is a delay but I don't think the -- I don't think it means that we won't see an executive order coming on it, but I want to underscore what Larry said that there is a distinction between voter rolls that need to be purged and checked and actual fraud. If God forbid I drop dead sometime today, I will still be on the voter rolls for awhile. It takes time for the local authorities who run elections, multiple, multiple ways that elections are conducted in this nation by local authorities with a multitude of different rules, depending on what state you live in, and your local jurisdiction.
SWEET: It takes time. And I hope as we have this discussion that there is a distinction made between voter rolls that need to be cleaned up and then fraud committed and then take the other layer of information that's in these allegations that President Trump and his supporters are making that there were illegal citizens who were doing the fraud.
[08:45:11] You would need a whole other investigation to then you would have to have names of people to determine that.
SWEET: This isn't something that could be fixed by just a computerized logarithm. BLACKWELL: Let's go to that, Congressman.
SWEET: And analysis.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to that because Donald Trump yesterday tweeted out that he is looking forward to seeing the final results of Vote Stand. Greg Phillips and crew say at least three million votes were illegal, we must do better. Now this gentleman, Greg Phillips, and this group VoteStand say that there were three million noncitizens then who voted. He spoke with my colleague Chris Cuomo on "NEW DAY." Let's watch a portion of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You said we know that three million illegally voted.
GREGG PHILLIPS, FOUNDER, VOTESTAND: Right.
CUOMO: You did that already.
PHILLIPS: We didn't name a soul, though. We didn't name a person.
CUOMO: Right. And you still haven't.
PHILLIPS: But we will.
CUOMO: Do you have the proof?
CUOMO: Will you provide it?
CUOMO: Can I have it?
PHILIPS: No. We're going to release all of this to the public. We're going to release our methodology. We're going to release the raw data. We're going to release our conclusions, we're going to release everything to the public.
PHILLIPS: As soon as we get done with the check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: As soon as he's done with the check. Now this tweet came out back in November, Congressman. And it seems the president is basing this certainty on this group that has not completed the verification process.
JACK KINGSTON, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, Victor, first of all, let me say, I support an investigation. I think it's in every American's interest to have ballot security. And that I would include irregularities because the Pew Charitable Trust has underscored 24 million people are registered incorrectly and that -- it needs to be cleaned up. 1.8 million dead people are still registered to vote.
BLACKWELL: But that doesn't mean people that voted for those dead people or that people who are registered in two states voted in each of those states. What evidence is there that there are three million of votes?
KINGSTON: Well, there's a lot of cases that have been tried. There was a case of a woman named Maria Ortego in Colorado who died in 2009, yet she voted in 2010, '11, '12, and '13. Little too much resurrection. There was a case of a woman, in Democrat congressional candidate in Maryland who was voted in Florida and Maryland.
BLACKWELL: But, Congressman, I don't -- I don't want to cut you off because of the content of what you're speaking. But we know that there are irregularities, there are cases of voter fraud, but three million to five million. How does the president or his attorney general once this -- he's confirmed, how will they prove fraud?
KINGSTON: Well, here's the question. There's only four states that require proof of citizenship, and surveys, one from George Mason and Old Dominion University showed that many people who are here legally who have a green card, and a green card entitles you to work, and drive, and own a gun, but it doesn't entitle you to vote, and yet a high percentage of them, maybe as high as 6 percent still are registered to vote, and there's nothing in the system to filter them out.
So what I would think Democrats and Republicans and anybody who cares about our ballot security would say, you know what, let's really focus on people who are voting illegally and maybe they don't even know better, but the system can catch that and stop it.
BLACKWELL: Let me come back to you because we hear the congressman supports this investigation, but there are Republicans from the county level, all the way up to the speaker and the Senate majority leader who are walking away from this accusation, this claim of widespread voter fraud. Is there some political benefit to the president, to the White House, to continue to stay on this line?
SWEET: It is hard for me to just -- not that anyone is asking me, and Congressman, I bet you'll have a good answer to refute what I'm about to say, with all the issues facing the new Trump administration who won, who everybody acknowledges his election is not an issue, no one is trying to diminish his accomplishment, he is the 45th president. It does look like he's trying to still wrestle with the fact that Hillary Clinton won about three million more votes in the popular vote.
And it would seem with all the things to do on his plate that you could move on, voter fraud should not be ignored but should it be given the priority right now and the emphasis that it's about to be given? And of course there is a worry that a backlash to this will be voter suppression laws. BLACKWELL: Yes. Larry, very quickly, what would have to happen for
this to be true. I mean, you'd have to have secretaries of state and supervisors of election across the country admit that they're inept and that their individual systems are all broken.
NOBLE: Right. You'd have to have that. And you would also have to have this idea that three million illegal immigrants are willing to commit felonies in some sort of broad conspiracy to vote. And that's just absurd. And, you know, these allegations have been made over and over again.
[08:50:03] And they've never been able to prove any widespread impersonation -- voter fraud in terms of in-person voting. And there is a real danger here. The danger is that these allegations are used, as Lynn said, to put more voter suppression laws into place. There's no proof.
KINGSTON: Victor -- Victor, you just said that --
BLACKWELL: All right --
KINGSTON: You just interviewed the mayor of Boston who proudly said he was going to let illegals -- give them shelter in his own office.
BLACKWELL: All right.
KINGSTON: Can we really count on somebody like that to support voting laws? I doubt it.
BLACKWELL: It's separate issues. Very separate issues. But --
KINGSTON: But when 80 percent of people vote for Democrats --
BLACKWELL: Congressman, we've got to --
KINGSTON: -- who are here illegally, we need to look at it.
BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap up, Congressman.
Congressman Kingston, Larry Noble, Lynn Sweet, thank you all. Quick break. We'll be back.
SWEET: Thank you.
KINGSTON: Thanks, Victor.
PAUL: President Trump's executive order suspends the refugee program for four months. And there are a lot of critics of it that say this is going to affect the economy. Take a look.
[08:55:06] LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Walk into Yassin's falafel house and you'll see this sign. It's a message of inclusiveness.
YASSIN TEROU, OWNER, YASSIN'S FALAFEL HOUSE: We welcome everybody. Whatever they're coming from, whatever background, you are safe at Yassin.
SEGALL: Yassin Terou understands how important it is to feel welcome. In 2011 he fled Syria and came to the United States here to Knoxville, Tennessee, as a refugee. He struggled to find work and to find a sense of community.
TEROU: OK. So I have to create my own work with very minimum cost. And there was, like, the idea to make sandwiches. So I decide to give and to start with falafel sandwiches at our mosque and start from there.
SEGALL: The sandwiches were so popular at the mosque that it spurred a business. But Yassin soon faced another hurdle -- accepting credit cards.
TEROU: For someone like me who doesn't have perfect English to make contracts, working with Square was very clear and easy.
SEGALL: Fast forward a few years and his business is growing. And today's a big day for Yassin. His friends, family, customers are all gathered to welcome a special guest.
Jack Dorsey, the founder of both Twitter and Square, the payment system used by Yassin and lots of businesses like his.
JACK DORSEY, CEO, SQUARE: Square has always stood for inclusivity and inclusion. And you know, when we started the company almost eight years ago now, one of the things we found were that people were being blocked from participating in the economy because they couldn't accept credit cards, because they couldn't go through a credit check or they were denied for whatever reason.
SEGALL: Yassin's story is part of a film series produced by Square profiling business owners who use its platform.
TEROU: This last year has been hard on me and my family. It is like, are we still welcome here?
SEGALL: His story has never been more timely.
(on camera): Donald Trump has essentially blocked Syrian refugees from coming into the United States. How do you feel when you see this?
TEROU: It's very sad. But in the same times I think we have to talk a little bit positively, we have to change these ideas. We have to work more, show more love for this community. And we are sure this community will get the love back to us.
SEGALL: Jack, you're a tech founder in Silicon Valley, which is a place where immigration has helped pave the way for some of the biggest companies. You know, do you worry that some of the immigration policies put forward will impact innovation?
DORSEY: We benefit from immigration. We benefit from diversity. We benefit from including more people because we see different perspectives. And you know, the goal of the companies that we build in San Francisco and New York and anywhere within this country is to have global impact. And to have global impact you need to really understand the world. And to understand the world you need to have people from all over the world inside your companies.
SEGALL (voice-over): Yassin's success has provided jobs for three other refugees like him.
(On camera): Is this, you know, your version of the American dream?
TEROU: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
SEGALL: You believe in the American dream.
TEROU: Yes. And I will keep believing. It's not only about businesses and economy. It's about freedom. It's about respect. If you work smart, you will get his dream in reality.
PAUL: Laurie Segall there, and here. What else did you learn, Laurie?
SEGALL: You know, it's interesting to see, ask Jack, the founder of Twitter and Square, two of the biggest tech companies, about the impact this would have and it's interesting, we see the Google CEO just sent out a note saying 100 employees from Google will be impacted by this ban. He also is urging people to come back to the United States. He said that this will have a lot of personal costs.
And I will say, you can't sit in front of Jack, who's the founder of Square, he's also the founder of Twitter. So I had to ask him about Donald Trump's use of his platform, the platform he created.
SEGALL: He has said that he has a complicated relationship with it, but it has been a learning experience to see the unprecedented use. And I said under any circumstance, you know, would you ban the president of the United States if he ever crosses the line. He said that's a lot of power and he wouldn't give me a yes or no on that, right, guys. So to be determined.
PAUL: Yet to be seen. Yes.
PAUL: Laurie, thank you so much.
SEGALL: Thank you, guys.
PAUL: So good to have you here. BLACKWELL: Well, that's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00
PAUL: "SMERCONISH" is up after a quick break.