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CNN NEWSROOM

Deadly Shooting at Quebec Mosque; Trump Defends Travel Ban as Thousands Protest; Some World Leaders Condemn Trump's Travel Ban; Trump's Immigration Ban Sparks Protests Across U.S.; Computer Glitch Grounds Delta Flights In U.S.; ACLU Lawyers Helped Draft An Emergency Stay Motion; U.S. & Saudi Arabia Agree To Support Safe Zones; Trump Spoke With Putin By Phone Saturday; Iranian Student in Limbo Due to U.S. Travel Ban. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 30, 2017 - 00:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:00:14] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: 12:00 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We're following breaking news this hour here on CNN in Canada.

I'm George Howell.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Cyril Vanier.

Police say there are casualties after a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City. At least five people were wounded. They have not yet confirmed how many people were killed.

HOWELL: Let's go now to our CNN national correspondent in New York, Brynn Gingras is following this story. And Brynn, what's the latest information that you've learned -- joining us now by phone?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes. Well, George -- they're still trying to figure out this investigation. It's still early but, of course, as you mentioned, the shooting happened over this evening and the police can confirm that there are people who died in that mosque, the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center. But as you mentioned as well, they have not confirmed how many people.

We do know though five people are injured. They're in the hospital at this point. And we also know from Quebec City police that one person, at least one person, has been arrested.

The police department there tweeting this is now under control and that the mosque has actually been evacuated. But of course, still a very fluid motion at this point.

We know that the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau -- he expressed his condolences, again, through social media tweeting tonight. "Tonight Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims and their families." But again, this is something that is still unfolding. We're still learning all this information, but certainly sad to hear as we do know that people did die in this incident -- George.

HOWELL: Brynn there in New York.

The NYPD is also on a raised alert given what happened. What more can you tell us about that?

GINGRAS: Well George -- this always typically happens when we have incidents like this happen all around the world, whether it be terrorist-related, not terrorist-related, as these investigations are unfolding. So typically the NYPD does take actions and that is what we're seeing here.

We know that the NYPD is now paying special attention, is the best way to say it, to mosques in the New York City area and also sending their heavily-trained, highly-armed team, those special teams that they have that go around the city. Those teams are actually also paying particular attention to mosques overnight, again this while just keeping a close eye on the investigation which is fluid at this point. But that is happening now here in New York City -- George.

HOWELL: That happening in Canada and also at the same time in the back drop of what's been happening, tensions raised in the United States.

Brynn Gingras live for us, CNN national correspondent. We'll stay in touch with you as you continue to learn more. Thank you.

Now we're learning about another big story that we're following.

The Trump White House is pushing back against criticism of its travel ban, calling it a massive success story so far, but many do not agree with that.

VANIER: Thousands of people came together at airports across the country, protesting for the second straight day, denouncing the executive order. The travel ban bars people from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. for three months. Federal judges in several cities granted emergency stays and top Republicans and Democrats are speaking out against the ban.

More now from Dan Simon in Los Angeles.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You could see a number of protesters here at the international airport at LAX. This represents really a small sliver of the number of protesters who were here earlier in the day.

But as you can see, the crowd is still strong, still very vocal and they are making their displeasure known about this executive order.

We were told by an immigration lawyer that there are still some people who are in detention, people who are still detained, but we have been unable to confirm that with federal authorities. We did hear about one person who was released, who was in custody for about 24 hours. And we were told that border patrol went through her phone, looking at her photos, also going through her luggage before letting her go. That is just one of the stories that we had heard.

And as you can see from this crowd behind me, they are very upset by what has happened. And you have a number of lawyers also on the ground trying to assist those who may be impacted by this executive order.

But given now that we have darkness, still a number of protesters here on the ground. And it's clear that they don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

Dan Simon, CNN -- Los Angeles.

HOWELL: Dan Simon -- thank you.

Despite the protests, President Trump is defending this controversial travel ban. In a statement that was released Sunday, he said this --

VANIER: "America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as president I will find ways to help all those who are suffering."

[00:05:06] HOWELL: The President of the United States also stated that his executive order is similar to former President Barack Obama's policy -- a ban on Iraqi refugee visas for six months in 2011. Though a point of factual difference that is important to point out here. Mr. Obama's policy did impose new screening procedures; however, there was never an outright ban that was implemented.

VANIER: And we're also hearing reaction from Mr. Trump's chief of staff.

HOWELL: Reince Priebus is trying to assure the country that green card holders will be allowed into the U.S. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The executive order doesn't affect green card holders moving forward. I said that. But what I'm suggesting to you is that Customs and Border Patrol, I would suspect, if they have a person that's traveling back and forth to Libya or Somalia or Yemen, I would suspect within their discretion they might ask a few more questions at JFK or some other airport when someone is coming back and forth within their discretionary authority as a Customs and Border Patrol agent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: It is important to point out though, there was a great deal of confusion among many of these agencies on trying to decide how to decipher this executive order.

VANIER: Yes, think about how to interpret the executive order.

HOWELL: Even an error in one of the statutes that was listed in this executive order so. But again, Reince Priebus saying that the executive order stands and is effective.

The U.S. Senate's Democratic leader is among those denouncing the immigration order.

VANIER: Chuck Schumer, who was visibly very emotional, said tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty. And he vowed to get the President's order overturned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: This executive order was mean-spirited and un-American. It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the country, and it will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who will do us harm. It must be reversed immediately.

Senate Democrats are going to introduce legislation to overturn this and move it as quickly as we can. And I, as your senator from New York, will claw, scrap and fight with every fiber of my being until these orders are overturned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: And Democrats are not the only ones raising concerns.

HOWELL: Some top Republicans in Mr. Trump's own party, they are now speaking out, worried about how this ban could do harm and whether it could hurt the U.S. in fighting terrorism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think the effect will probably in some areas give ISIS some more propaganda. But I'm very concerned about our effect on the Iraqis right now.

The dominant influence in Iraq today is not the United States of America. It's Iran. So, what will the Iraqi parliament do? If we're talking about the fight against extremists and ISIS, the battle of Mosul is going on as we speak. And we certainly don't need some impediment to succeeding in driving the ISIS -- ISIS out of Mosul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: John Thomas joins us now. He's a Republican consultant.

You're in favor of the travel ban. First, I'd like you to consider for us the political angle. There's been a lot of pushback against this executive order since it came out on Friday, since it was signed. There were protests. Do you think this ultimately hurts or helps the presidency of Donald Trump? JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I think eventually once it all

gets sorted out properly, I think it helps Donald Trump for a couple of reasons.

First of all, this was one of Donald Trump's main campaign promises -- that he wanted to fight terrorism -- and he did say that he wanted extreme vetting. And so the fact that he's coming through on that promise, as he's sorting it all out, I think is a political win long term.

And the other is, Donald Trump's larger message to the American people, we saw it in his inaugural speech, was that it's time to put America first. Not the world first, but America first. I think once all this -- the machinations of the implementation are sorted out, Americans are going to look at this, you know what it may not have been perfect at first but at least finally we have a commander-in- chief fighting for us.

VANIER: And tell me about that. You say the implementation and some of the chaos that you're referring to. What does that tell us about the skill of the Trump administration at this moment in time? Because it's one thing having a set of policies; it's another, as we're seeing, to actually implement them smoothly?

THOMAS: That's one thing that the Trump administration -- or at least Donald Trump doesn't have any experience with, is governing. And I think he's quickly learning that you have to be very careful what you do because there are -- obviously are ramifications to it.

[00:10:08] In defense of the Trump administration, Trump's chief of staff on "Meet the Press" this morning -- or yesterday morning, I guess, said that the reason that they rolled it out as quickly as they did and didn't -- didn't notify agencies that this will be happening, you know, in a week, a month or six months, is because they didn't want to give potential terrorists notice that they could come in before this is implemented. So it was kind of a sneak attack in a sense to ensure that terrorists don't sneak through knowing the ban is coming.

VANIER: One of the arguments that's made against the ban is that it might not actually work to protect and improve the security of American citizens. If you look at nationalities of people who have carried out attacks in the past in the U.S., none of them would have been prevented from the travel ban -- by the travel ban that we're seeing now.

THOMAS: Yes, you know, it's a good -- it's a good question. And it's hard to definitively say what will stop terrorism, but I think you have to kind of use a healthy dose of common sense. And we know that there are states that sponsor terrorism. And we know that in some of these cases, I think in the seven or eight countries that were temporarily suspended or barred from traveling to the United States, that those governments don't have national I.D. databases in place to work with the United States Homeland Security to vet these people.

So, it's not even a matter of wanting to vet. They don't necessarily even have the I.D. systems in place. So before we let strangers into our house, we probably should know who they are and what their intentions are.

VANIER: Republican consultant, John Thomas -- it's been a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you very much.

THOMAS: Thanks so much.

HOWELL: The President's travel ban on people from seven countries and refugees trying to enter the United States has been met swiftly with legal challenges.

For more analysis on the ban and the legal hurdles that it faces, we're now joined by CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.

Paul -- always a pleasure to chat with you.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Nice being with you.

HOWELL: First let's talk about the -- thank you -- the aftermath of this executive order. A series of court challenges, a federal judge granting a stay, many innocent people detained, then released. Might we see more court challenges to come?

CALLAN: I think right now we're up to four federal courts have now ruled against the Trump administration, saying that the way that this was handled violates the due process clause of the constitution as well as other rights, the equal protection clause in particular under the constitution. So, I think you'll see other court challenges asserting those arguments.

HOWELL: Just from a legal perspective, the many people who found themselves in the middle of all of this, what recourse did they have and, you know, what would you expect people to do about this given the confusion?

CALLAN: They have very little recourse actually -- not having actually entered the United States technically until they clear customs and clear immigration. They're sort of in a state of limbo. So all they can do is what many of them did, and that's to contact a lawyer, get into federal court to see if you can have the finding set aside.

Now, the Trump administration has said that this has only affected less than 1 percent of people entering the United States. And that it's really a very, very small number of people who have been affected, notwithstanding the size of the demonstrations.

And that makes sense to me because if you look at the list of countries that they selected -- the seven countries -- they're all countries that don't have a lot of commerce with the United States. There aren't a lot of people traveling between Libya and the United States or Somalia and the United States. Iraq, of course, is a different situation. But -- and certainly we're not getting a lot of traffic from Syria, except the refugees. So, I think this has only impacted on a very, very small number of people at this point. And it may start to settle down as the week goes on.

HOWELL: You pointed out four federal courts involved. Paul -- where does this go from here? Explain to our viewers, as concisely as you're able to, because I know it's a complicated situation, but where does this go from here?

CALLAN: Well, it's a very complicated situation because you have federal courts in the -- really where the different points of entry are. Los Angeles, you know, New York, Boston -- and they're all issuing rulings

Now, eventually, those will find their way to appellate courts. And I believe eventually to the United States Supreme Court and we'll have one unified ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States. And I would -- I would suggest that these things are going to move pretty quickly because obviously they're having an impact on -- at airports across the country.

[00:15:05] HOWELL: Paul Callan, CNN legal analyst. Thank you so much for your time and insight.

CALLAN: Thank you.

VANIER: The British foreign office is clarifying how the ban applies to U.K. nationals now. A U.K. national traveling from one of the seven named countries will be allowed into the United States and a dual citizen of one of those countries and the U.K. traveling to the U.S. from outside those seven countries will also be allowed in.

HOWELL: The only people who may face extra challenges, those people who are dual nationals traveling from one of the seven countries. For example, a U.K.-Libyan dual national traveling from Libya might be additionally checked.

Technical problems have struck again at a major U.S. airline -- Delta Airlines. Flights across the U.S. were grounded for several hours Sunday night when a computer outage crippled systems. Federal authorities say the ground stop is over but Delta says the flight delays continue.

VANIER: And the company said it's working to fix the problem and flights in the air were not impacted. The airline suffered a similar mishap last august. A power outage at its operation center here in Atlanta resulted in thousands of flights being canceled.

President Trump's travel ban could damage some important U.S. diplomatic relationships in the Middle East. How countries in that region are reacting next.

HOWELL: Plus, a five-year-old boy caught up in the President's travel ban. The moment he reunited with his mother.

This is CNN NEWSROOM. [00:16:35] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

Some world leaders are speaking out against President Trump's travel ban and even welcoming those who were turned away by the United States.

VANIER: Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted, "To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength."

HOWELL: Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon had a similar response. She tweeted, "The Prime Minister must make clear our obligation to give refuge to those fleeing war, persecution and opposition to banning people based on origin or faith."

VANIER: Our Ian Lee is live in Istanbul with reaction from the Middle East now. Ian -- let's start with reaction in Turkey.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing really is from a tweet from the deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek saying that "Refugees are welcome in Turkey, the world's largest refugee-hosting country. We'd happily welcome global talent not allowed back into the United States."

Now, we haven't heard from the Turkish government officially. This announcement -- this ban came out on a Friday late, going into the weekend here in Turkey. So, if we are going to hear some sort of official statement, it probably would probably be today.

But expect the Turks to be walking on egg shells a bit. They weren't specifically called out in this ban. They're not a part of it.

And we know how Donald Trump reacts to even the smallest sleight so Turks will be moving forward cautiously although Turks in the past, President Erdogan specifically has expressed optimism about President Trump and how relations could be improved. So, really right now, Turks probably are just wanting to move through this and not make many waves.

VANIER: And it's not just Turkey that could be walking a tight rope here, other countries in the Middle East are having to find the appropriate reaction to this.

LEE: You know, the thing is, when Donald Trump won the presidency, he was riding a bit of a wave of popularity really across the entire Middle East. You had Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the first foreign leader to call and congratulate the President.

You had, as we said, President Erdogan hoping to have better relations with President Trump; also Gulf nations who are afraid of the growing Iranian threat that they perceive also thinking that Donald Trump would be stronger.

But with this new ban, you are having countries -- especially specific countries like Iraq, you have certain factions in that country saying, well, if they're going to ban us in the United States, then why not ban us -- or ban Americans in Iraq?

Now, there hasn't been any official statement to that, although there are some members of the government who are at least expressing that view. You also have Yemen coming out and saying that this just supports terror and sows the visions that there is no justification for it. Sudan, another country that's targeted in this, said that they regret the decision and say it's unfortunate because they say there was a warming of relations between Sudan and the United States.

And, of course, Iran is upset over this. They summoned the U.S. interest section in Tehran, that is the Swiss ambassador, they say that this is baseless and discriminatory. So, where there was at least in some especially Arab countries, there's a bit more trepidation after this ban.

VANIER: Ian Lee reporting live from Istanbul with a round up of the reactions across the Middle East to that executive order and that travel ban signed by the Trump administration on Friday. Thank you very much -- Ian.

HOWELL: And Cyril, you know, around the world we're hearing such strong negative reaction to this travel ban for millions of people, in fact, around the world.

In the United States we're seeing the same. We have people who are protesting. At the same time it's important to point out there are also millions of people who support what President Trump is doing, not as vocal as the opposition.

VANIER: There are two sides to the story.

HOWELL: Yes. Just not quite as vocal but here has been the effect of that rollout from children to the elderly. We're hearing just how nerve-racking it has been for those traveling to the U.S. from those seven banned countries.

[00:25:00] VANIER: We're also hearing from dual citizens of those nations. Again the countries included in the travel ban are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the Dallas airport. They told us that our visa has been revoked. And I felt really shocked. Very frustrated, as I said before, and I couldn't believe that we're being deported, actually. And yes, we underwent a very difficult situation. It's very hard for us after a very long flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was waiting in line. When his turn came, and they saw that he was Syrian. Someone came and he took him to a private room where there were like people from all nationalities over there. And then a person comes and he lectured about like how if you're from these seven countries, you have to go back. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born in Iraq. I work with U.S. military as

Arab interpreter for about two years. My life was in great danger so the United States basically helped me to come to the United States. I earned my U.S. citizenship.

And it's like this decision of Mr. Trump is severe -- like, it's very, very offending, actually. Like it's questioning my and my other people integrity of loving the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: And here's the case of an Iranian mother who was reunited with her five-year-old son who was caught up in the confusion surrounding the travel ban. She anxiously awaited his arrival at Washington Dulles Airport on Saturday night only to learn that he was one of those travelers detained.

HOWELL: After hours without answers, she finally got to hold her son in her arms again. Look at that. Here's part of the moment when they were reunited.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you.

I have a present for you. Happy birthday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: On his birthday, nonetheless.

VANIER: Yes. It was.

HOWELL: And the birthday present was to be reunited with his mother.

VANIER: Civil rights groups and volunteer lawyers are flocking to U.S. airports to help dozens of stranded people caught up in Donald Trump's travel ban. What they're doing to get them out of legal limbo -- coming up on the show.

HOWELL: Plus, President Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's King Solomon. They discuss Syria, Yemen and how to keep terrorism from spreading.

Live across the United States and around the world this hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

[00:27:32] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:30:58] CYRIL VANIER, CNN "NEWSROOM" ANCHOR: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and indeed around the world. I'm Cyril Vanier.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN "NEWSROOM" ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell. With the headlines we're following for you.

This hour, police in Canada say, at least five people are wounded after a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City. They have not yet confirmed how many people are dead in that shooting. One suspect though has been arrested and police say the situation is under control. We will bring you more information in just a moment here as we continue to follow this story.

VANIER: And mass protests have broken out across the United States in response to President Donald Trump's travel ban. His executive order temporarily bans travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority countries. Many of the demonstrations are at airport where dozens of people were detained and later released.

HOWELL: Flying Delta in the morning, I am and they had few problems, a computer outage has severely impacted flights across the United States. Federal authority say a ground staff that halted all Delta flights in the U.S. for several hours is now over. International flights weren't affected. Delta though says delay is continued and it is working to quickly fix the system outage.

CNN following the deadly mosque shooting in Quebec City. Our Paula Newton is on the way there and now joins us by phone. Paula is our correspondent based in Canada.

Paula, what more do we know here? So we're talking about an attack on a mosque. The Prime Minister issued a statement calling this a terrorist attack just recently. What more can you tell us?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And you know, all levels of government now saying that indeed this was a terrorist attack. And for what they know from eyewitnesses and what has been, quite frankly, in a sense very profound from the impact it's having here, is the fact the scene, this is it was a coordinated attack. Witnesses say that it was at least two gunmen that were dressed in black and that started shooting indiscriminately.

There were several dozen people inside. Now as you alluded to before, police really do not want to confirm the number of dead. We know there are people who lost their lives in there. They do not want to confirm the number. And several people have been injured and apparently a couple fighting for their lives in hospital. In terms of investigating this, they are not ruling out there were accomplices, co-conspirators. And that's what they're looking for right now.

All levels of government, counter-terrorism working on this right now to try and figure out what was missed. This was an Islamic society, a mosque during Ramadan in June did have the bloody head of a pig left on their door step. That act was roundly condemn that the time but to see it escalate in such a way, I can tell you it's really shaken not just this province but the country as a whole.

HOWELL: Paula, just for context that you point out that history. But would it be fair to say from your own reporting, from what you've seen, have there been raised tensions in Canada? NEWTON: I wouldn't say there would be raised tensions. There are tensions here, as there are in many different communities. And in fact, Canada has taken in tens of thousands of refugees specifically Syrian refugees in the last few months. I will say that especially in Quebec that I know that counter-terrorism officials had been following some far right groups.

Now, this is complete speculation. I'm just telling you what I know that counter-terrorism officials have been doing. And the problem was that while they were monitoring their correspondence and monitoring their speech. They certainly hadn't gotten to the point where yeah, where they thought it would lead to this kind of violent confrontation. But of course, this is what concerned them at the time.

Again, complete speculation. What is really disconcerting for police, again, is the fact that it was coordinated and they had no clues. Now, there was not heightened security at the mosque as far as I know, even with that incident. Obviously, all places of worship have been under some extra vigilance in the last few years. But they -- after that incident, of course, they had been shaken but I did not hear of any specific security measures that were taking place in that mosque after than incident in June.

[00:35:09] HOWELL: Paula Newton on the phone with us, on the way to the scene to gather more details for us. Again, Paula based in Canada and Paula bringing us some context. We'll continue to stay in touch with you as we learn more.

VANIER: And the other big stories we're following this hour, protesters are responding to Donald Trump's travel ban by gathering at U.S. airports to voice their outrage.

HOWELL: CNN U.S. National correspondent Paul Sandoval was at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport here in Atlanta and has this report for us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is quiet now here at one of the United States' busiest airports but Sunday it's a very different situation as crowds lined the curb. These were demonstrators that are gathered just outside one of the airport terminals with a clear message for President Donald Trump. They felt that this latest executive action that called for restrictions, travel restrictions not just people from predominantly Muslim countries but also refugees. People here called that not just unconstitutional but also un-American.

Protesters here having their voice heard. And at one point, Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed also joined the chorus. Take a listen.

KASIM REED, ATLANTA MAYOR: You can't be outside in the energy that's outside and not understand that people are getting it and you can identify seven countries if you want. But the fact of the matter is, this is a Muslim ban. And I don't believe that the majority of people in the United States of America want to see a Muslim ban tied to a religious test be the standard for our country. And the only way that won't be the standard that is if we stand up.

SANDOVAL: Mayor Reed also called for accessibility for attorneys that could potentially be able to speak to some of these individuals that may be detained here in Atlanta. We understand there were about 11 individuals that were detained by authorities over the weekend but they were eventually released. Now the question, some of the refugees, they could still be headed here to the south. Will they be able to clear customs? Will they be able to make it to their new home?

Paul Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: And the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU is stepping up to help people put in legal limbo because of the travel ban. The civil rights group argued for a nationwide stay to keep them from being deported. Well Karen Tumlin ist he legal director for the National Immigration Law Center and she joins us now from Los Angeles. Karen, your organization filed that lawsuit in New York within an hour of the executive order being signed?

KAREN TUMLIN, LEGAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER: Not quite that quickly but within an hour of the executive order being signed, we were already hearing really disconcerting reports about what was happening to individuals with valid visas, including refugees, arriving in U.S. airports. So we worked swiftly with our colleagues at the ACLU, the International Refugee Assistance Project and the Yale law school clinic to file overnight a lawsuit challenging the detention of two individuals and seeking relief actually for everyone nationwide held in this position.

VANIER: Right, you mentioned two individuals, two Iraqis who were your clients, they have since been released but the lawsuit stands.

TUMLIN: That's right. We filed the lawsuit as a nationwide class action while this was happening, literally, like you said, hours after the executive order issued. And overnight on Friday. We knew that our two clients who are Iraqis were being threatened with being put back on plane and sent back to Iraq, a country that they left because they feared for their safety.

VANIER: What specifically is your legal challenge? Is it just the detention at the ports of entry or is it a wider challenge against the executive order?

TUMLIN: So it's actually a bit in between. So we filed for these two gentlemen at seeking that it be protection for actually all individuals across the country. We do believe that the executive order --

VANIER: Protection from what, from being detained?

TUMLIN: From an unlawful executive order. And right now, protection from being returned to countries that they had left and they would not be safe to return to, so that they can't be deported as part of the executive order.

VANIER: So, if you win the lawsuit, the executive order, the substance of it falls, correct?

TUMLIN: Partially. Right, we believe and we're working with our colleagues that we need to take down the entire executive order. Right now, as a temporary measure, put in place Saturday night, the court has said nationwide no one can be removed from these seven countries until the court sorts things out more. So we're going to --

VANIER: What's the substance of your legal argument going to be when the merits of the case are actually reviewed, though? I mean, currently we have this emergency stay, but when the merits of the case are reviewed, you're effectively challenging a decision made by an American president on the grounds of safety and protecting U.S. citizens.

TUMLIN: So we think that the executive order as a whole is unconstitutional, illegal. And I'll give you a couple of reasons why.

[00:40:04] First of all, there is a constitutional right that individuals can exercise freedom of religion and have free expression thereof. Now, this executive order is not grounded in findings or particular things about safety. And what the President himself and those who helped draft is, like Rudy Giuliani, New York City, makes very clear that the naked intent is to discriminate against certain groups of people based on what they believe, their religion, and where they're from. And that's unconstitutional.

VANIER: But the courts would have to presume what the intention of the President at is when the executive order actually didn't mention specific religions, for instance. You mentioned the religious test.

TUMLIN: Well it's actually a little more complicated than that, right? So, for example, right now we have a situation where the President in his first week in office with the stroke of a pen decided that he could override laws on our books that issue visas that Congress has put in place. So, there are lots of questions here, including whether the President has the authority at all to issue these kind of bans on specific people coming into the United States.

VENIER: All right Karen Tumlin of The National Immigration Law Center, thank you for your views. We're going to of course continue to follow this closely. We'll have to speak to you again in the coming days. Thanks.

TUMLIN: Thank you so much.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," creating safe zones in Syria and Yemen.

VINIER: President Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's King Solomon about how they might work.

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VINIER: Welcome back. The White House says that U.S. President Trump and Saudi King Solomon have agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen in order to protect Syrian refugees.

HOWELL: The President spoke by phone with Saudi king on Sunday. The White House says, they reaffirmed their country's long-standing friendship and agreed it's important to strengthen efforts to fight the spread of terrorism.

VINIER: Jomana Karadsheh joins us now from Amman, Jordan. Jomana, how do Mr. Trump and the Saudi king propose to set up and enforce those safe zones? That usually requires boots on the ground, which for the U.S. is not the case, at least in Syria.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. A very complex thing, especially when it comes to a complicated war zone with so many different parties involved, like Syria, for example. So, it's easier said than done, as we have seen the Obama administration in the past really not pursuing that because of the complexities they're involved. We've heard the president talking about this during the campaign a few times. Seeing this, as a solution to try and stem that exodus of Syrian refugees into Europe and other parts of the world.

[00:45:03] But again, it is such a complex thing to enforce. There are so many questions about how you do it. It's going to entail a lot of planning and significant resources, really, to try and do that, because if you look at the threat in Syria, we're talking about, for example, creating these zones where civilians would feel safe enough to not flee the country.

So, you can't really do that without enforcing a no-fly zone. And the question is who is going to be doing that? Who is going to enforce a no-fly zone that at one point also was described as extremely costly to run and operate this no-fly zone in parts of Syria or the bordering regions according to a senior U.S. general a few years ago.

He said it would cost about $1 billion a month to have no-fly zones, and then the issue that you mentioned which is the boots on the ground. Who is going to be policing these safe zones? Who is going to be protecting these civilians there? That's another question, and we're talking here about U.S. boots on the ground. Is it going to be regional troops that are going to be doing this?

So, a lot of questions about how it would be done. Would this be going through the United Nations? Is it going to be some sort of agreement between different countries? Because if you talk about having a no-fly zone, this means that there could be a risk here of, you know, a clash when you talk about the Syrian air force, the Russians. So you can't have this no-fly zone without any sort of agreement without these countries.

So, a lot of questions and as we have seen from these notions that are put forward by President Trump, more questions really than answers at this point about hour anything like this would go forward and how it would be implemented. Cyril VINIER: And Jomana Karadsheh reporting live in Amman, thank you very much.

HOWELL: President Trump and his Russian counterpart talked about improving relations between the two countries during their phone call. Though; there was apparently no mention of lifting sanctions that Washington imposed on Moscow for the annexation of Crimea.

For more on this story let's go live to Moscow, Clare Sebastian following this story. Clare, the President has indicated it is too early to talk about lifting sanctions, though sanctions will remain in place for now. What more do we know about the substance of that call and where things go from here?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, absolutely, George. No mention at all of the word sanctions. But they did say they were looking, according to the Kremlin readout of the call that they were looking at restoring, quote, trade and economic ties between the two countries. And it would of course be, be very clearly helped by lifting of sanctions.

But there are a couple of other elephants in the room, you could say, in this call. No mention at all of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. No mention at all of NATO, which is something that's come up in other calls that Trump has had with foreign leaders.

That's of course is a serious concern to Russian, NATO troops on its eastern border, including U.S. troops. But they did discuss to had various other things, nonproliferation, cooperation in terms of the Iranian nuclear program, the Korean peninsula, and they made it a priority according to the Kremlin to work together to target international terrorism, particularly ISIS in Syria. That they said was the key point.

And they say that they were working towards planning a face-to-face meeting. The time and place of that, not yet set. But the tone of the meeting, according to both sides, very positive, clearly a new phase perhaps in Russian-U.S. relations.

HOWELL: And Clare, one other thing. The President pointed out, you know, how this relationship goes is still up in the air. I want to read the quote he says, "How the relationship works out, I won't be able to tell you until later. I've had many times where I thought I'd get along with people and I don't like them at all. So this is really up for grabs." Says the president of the United States.

SEBASTIAN: Absolutely. And I think the Russians are also kind of leaving their options open, not putting too much out on the table as such. But were seeing, you know, a fairly a positive response from the Russian media over here. They talked about a new tone. One of the most influential programs here in Russia, Sunday Night Program anchored known by critic as Russia's chief propagandist, he points out that it was Mr. Trump who brought up the, the kind of the warm attitude of the Russian -- of the American people toward the Russian people. He said that was definitely something new. And they are latching onto this, this supposedly warming relation between Russia and U.S. as a sign of a kind of a new global order. The head of the Duma State Foreign Affairs Committee, Aleksy Pushkov, his Twitter account very much a measure of a, of Russian sentiment. He tweeted that it was, you know, Russia and the U.S. who are now resolving global conflicts and that Europe, its role is waning. So this is very much part of the narrative here in Russia at the moment.

HOWELL: The President has indicated he wants warmer relationship, but it is important to point out the divide between the President and members of his cabinet, between the president and Democrats and Republicans and the house and senate. Many of them urging caution about growing closer to Russia.

[00:50:13] How is that being perceived across Russia?

SEBASTIAN: Well -- I mean, it's interesting, George. This is another part of the narrative that we've seen long here in Russia throughout the campaign, that there are divisions in the United States. They talk about actually -- there was another tweet from same Aleksey Pushkov talking about Trump's executive order on immigration that came out over the weekend.

He said that, you know, he talks about the statistics that, you know, half of Americans agree with it, half of them don't. And he said this isn't just a difference of opinion. This is about an acute conflict between the two sides of American society. So, very much in Russia's interest to look as America somewhat dealing with a divide, some accusation that they feel has been repeatedly leveled against Russia.

HOWELL: Clare Sebastian live in the capital of Russia. Thank you so much for your time and insight.

VANIER: We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll tell you about a doctoral student at Yale University who's concerned about President Trump's travel ban. Why he fears that he will not be allowed to finish his studies in the U.S., next.

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VANIER: A doctoral student from Iran who attends Yale University is now in limbo after President Donald Trump's travel ban.

HOWELL: Ali Abdi is worried that he can't return to studies in the United States and he fears heading back to his homeland. Becky Anderson has the story.

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BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Chaos, confusion, and outrage. U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order has sent shock waves around the world. Barring citizens these seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S.

[00:55:01] Also affected by the travel ban, green card holders currently outside of the United States. People like 30-year-old Ali Abdi, an Iranian PhD student at Yale University. He was passing through Dubai. He fears he won't be able to return to America.

You haven't yet tried to get back to the states, correct?

ALI ABDI, IRANIAN YALE STUDENT: I have not tried, but there are confirmed reports of Iranians with green cards who have either been taken off from their plane from the point of departure or they have been banned from entering the U.S. after they arrive.

ANDERSON: Emotionally, how does this all make you feel?

ABDI: It makes me feel that I cannot consider U.S. home anymore. I mean, home for me is a country that I feel safe and comfortable and secure and I feel welcomed. And I cannot also go back to my home country, Iran, because of being political activist and human rights activist.

The situation that I am in now compared to thousands of other people whose lives are adversely and negatively affected by the current executive order is actually nothing. There are families who are now -- I mean, torn. There are kids who are now taken away -- I mean, already taken away from their parents.

ANDERSON: What is your message to President Trump?

ABDI: What you're doing is not making America safe again. You're making America unsafer. Because you're feeding the sentiments of racism and also you're making people like me feel that America is not welcoming them anymore. I was doing my PhD in the U.S. And I was going to contribute to American society and American public by teaching there, but now that opportunity seemed to be taken away from me.

ANDERSON: If you can't go back, what does Ali do next?

ABDI: I am not allowed to go to Iran. Or if I'm allowed, I would be in jail. Actually between jail and Yale, I choose Yale. So, future is unpredictable. I cannot tell you for sure what would happen.

ANDERSON: A sense of uncertainty then shared by thousands of people who have no idea what happens next.

Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

VANIER: Between jail and Yale, he says.

HOWELL: Yeah. The news continues right after this.

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