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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Trump Fires Attorney General Over Travel Ban; Trump To Announce Supreme Court Pick Within Hours; Washington State Among Those Suing Over Order; Suspect Charged In Deadly Quebec Attack; U.K. Parliament To Debate Trump State Visit. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 31, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani live from CNN London. Thanks for being with us this Tuesday. This is THE
WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Donald Trump has made a career out of firing people on reality television, and from the oval office, the president sent a clear sign he will not
tolerate dissent there either, by dismissing Attorney General Sally Yates. She's a holdover of the Obama administration.
She only had a few hours left on the job, but she said she would not defend Trump's executive order, banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim
countries in the Middle East and Africa. The White House calls that move a betrayal. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You don't believe in the president's agenda, and I think every one of the cabinet members, every one
of the appointees understands that they serve at the pleasure of the president. We talked about this at length during the transition.
This isn't about joining the government to execute your ideas or your initiatives. The president was very clear during the campaign, whether
it's economic security or national security, that he has an agenda that he articulated very, very clearly to the American people.
And that -- hold on. Thank you. And that it is his job to lay that vision out and that the people he appoints and nominates and announces as staff
members or cabinet level members or agency heads, their job is to fulfill that. If they don't like it, they shouldn't take the job. It is the
president's agenda that we are fulfilling here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Very clear there from Sean Spicer. Every day, this daily briefing has been very much scrutinized. Speaking of the travel ban,
after four days of chaos, security chiefs explained how they're implementing the controversial order.
Dual citizens may enter the U.S. using their passport from the country not on the banned list. Those under the ban would be turned away before
boarding departure flights.
As constitutional law takes the spotlight as well, there's a lot going on, because Donald Trump beyond all this talk about the travel ban will
announce his picks for Supreme Court justice in about five hours.
Sources tell CNN, it's down to two. When I say picks, those are the two, quote, "finalists," an administration source told CNN. Neil Gorsuch (ph)
and Judge Thomas Hardiman, both will be in Washington tonight.
Let's discuss all of this. Our CNN politics reporter, Tal Kopan is in Washington for us. Let's first talk about the firing of Sally Yates. She
only had a few hours left on the job. She was dismissed, relieved of her duties, according to the White House, and replaced.
Jeff Sessions, of course, the new attorney general, confirmed today. What was the point of essentially so publicly dismissing her, do you think?
TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I'm not sure that, you know, it was a choice of publicly or not publicly, what happened was it became public that
she had issued this memo that she would not defend the executive order. And once that got out, I don't think there would have been any way to
dismiss her, not publicly.
And so, you know, in some ways, she sort of forced the administration's hand, and that's sort of what has been talked about by some in the
administration is, well, why didn't she just resign? You know, there's a sense that perhaps she wanted this to be known publicly, before she
actually stepped aside.
But, you know, keep in mind, it's a very common question, one that she was actually asked in her confirmation hearing, and Jeff Sessions, Trump's sort
of attorney general in waiting was asked during his confirmation hearing, which is, what would you do if you were asked to defend something that you
found to be unconstitutional?
And she said she would stick with her view of the constitution, and she appears to have lived up to that, according to what she did yesterday.
GORANI: All right. And let's talk a little bit about what to expect there from the announcement by President Trump this evening. One of two men,
we're talking about, Neil Gorsuch here, verry young men, by the way, Gorsuch is 49, Thomas Hardiman, the other reported potential pick, 51 years
old. Both conservative on social issues. What is the expectation this evening?
KOPAN: Well, yes, I mean, you mentioned that they're young. That's the way to get the most out of your Supreme Court pick, because these are
[15:05:07]So we've seen these picks trending younger, because then you can get years of their viewpoint on the court and with only nine members, you
know, one perspective is huge. Keep in mind with Scalia's death, we've got a 4-4 split right now on the Supreme Court.
So Trump's pick will sort of restore whatever the balance was when Scalia was on the court. It's likely to be a conservative. But it's someone
who's going to sort of bring the court back to where it was under Scalia with one swing vote.
So the attitude from the White House has been trying to pick someone they think can get confirmed. With everyone in Washington gearing up for
potentially a second appointment down the road somewhere in Trump's term, that could replace one of the liberal justices, now that would swing the
So what we expect to see tonight from one of these two men is a bit of a safe pick, someone who's conservative, but isn't likely to ruffle feathers
quite as much, with everyone in Washington keeping an eye on whether he gets another pick down the road in a year or two.
GORANI: All right, certainly. I mean, these picks, I imagine, of course, Democrats do not have a majority. What is the strategy here in terms of
one of these two men, as far as you think the Trump administration is concerned, to try to get the chances on their side for a confirmation?
KOPAN: Well, keep in mind, the one thing in the Senate in terms of confirmations that still requires 60 votes is the Supreme Court nominee.
So, Republicans only have 52. They're going to need Democrats in order to confirm this nominee.
They think they'll get them. There are definitely moderate Democrats, including some who live in states that Trump carried, who are up for re-
election the next cycle, which makes them particularly susceptible to a little lobbying.
And if the pick is -- you know, a lot of these confirmation battles have come down to, is the person qualified? You may not agree with their
perspective, but are they qualified? That's often how Supreme Court nominees are judged.
And with these picks, it's a little bit hard for some of these moderate Democrats to really make a case against voting for them. They'll be put
through the ringer, but Democrats may still try to obstruct at all cost. There's still a lot of hard feelings about President Obama not getting his
pick for this seat confirmed, for months.
So there's going to be some raw tensions and we're probably going to see some serious maneuvering on both sides threatening to eliminate the 60-vote
threshold, threatening to filibuster all night. There's going to be a lot of so forth back and forth posturing, even before we get to a vote.
GORANI: Well, certainly. We're going to have a lot to cover there. Abby Phillip of "The Washington Post" is able to join us finally. Abby, Sean
Spicer, the press secretary, said don't call it a ban, even though the president yesterday tweeted about the ban.
We're talking about the partial travel ban against one of seven -- against a list of seven countries and a total suspension of the Syrian refugee
program. There are those waivers being processed. Some visa holders are being allowed in, a few Syrian refugees, as well. What are some of these
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think what we're seeing right now is the sort of slow walk back of portions of this executive order
between last Friday and today. On Saturday, there were a lot of reports of visa holders and green card holders not only being prevented from entering
the United States, but being prevented from boarding flights that landed in the United States, even if they were connections.
And that has changed. You heard today, both Sean Spicer and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, talking about how the law was not actually
intended to impact those people, but that is different from what was happening over the weekend.
And I think a similar thing is happening with the language around the executive order. Not calling it a ban is something that is contrary to
both what Sean Spicer himself said yesterday at an event in Washington, and also what the president said in a tweet yesterday, as well.
So I think the White House is trying to soften the impact of the executive order and soften its public image after a few days of negative coverage.
GORANI: And this dismissal of Sally Yates, the acting attorney general, was this to be expected, Abby?
PHILLIP: Well, you know, I think after Sally Yates made it clear that she was going to object to the executive order, it was only a matter of time
before Donald Trump would eventually replace her. I mean, as an Obama appointee and as a political appointee at the Department of Justice, she's
subject to the whims of the president.
That's just how these things work. So it was just a matter of time before she learned her fate. It just so happened that it was a few hours later.
But the issue isn't that she was leaving, but rather, how she was dismissed, and the way in which the president and Sean Spicer this morning,
called it a betrayal.
[15:10:04]I mean, that's really sharp language and it's something that is kind of a departure from what we usually hear, even when political
appointees are dismissed for political reasons.
GORANI: Right. Well, she made a dramatic exit and more just crazy news cycle days, like this one. Tal Kopan, thanks very much. Abby Phillip at
"The Washington Post," thanks so both of you for joining us.
Earlier, I spoke to former U.S. deputy attorney general, George Terwilliger. I asked him how unusual it is for a president to fire an
GEORGE TERWILLIGER, FORMER U.S DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, it's pretty unusual. It doesn't happen very often. But, you know, in the United
States, the way our government works, the executive branch is unitary. So there's one boss and it's the president.
When the president gives a directive, it's the responsibility of the people who work for him to carry that out and if they can't carry it out, are a
crisis of conscious of some sort, then their job is to resign and leave. Miss Yates just did so in a very noisy manner.
GORANI: Right, but aren't there three branches of government? Will the executive now meddle in the judicial every time they feel like officials
are not advocating for the president?
TERWILLIGER: No, not at all and in fact, this very case points up what the difference is. The job of the attorney general and the Justice Department
here is to go into court in an adversary court system and represent the views of one side. It's not the attorney general's job to be an umpire
between the president and the executive branch and its legal opponents.
GORANI: Why do it less than 24 hours before the confirmation of President Trump's nominee for attorney general?
TERWILLIGER: It just worked out that way.
GORANI: All right, so, it couldn't -- wouldn't it have been made sense to just wait the half a day until Jeff Sessions is confirmed. He felt like it
TERWILLIGER: Yes, and I agree with that. You can have a subordinate official as important as the acting attorney general of the United States,
a position I served in, to turn around and say, no, Mr. President, I'm not going to carry out your directions.
GORANI: All right. And the reason she was acting attorney general is because Jeff Sessions had not been confirmed yet --
TERWILLIGER: That's correct.
GORANI: -- to take his post.
TERWILLIGER: That's correct.
GORANI: Let's talk about the executive order, though. You have so many legal challenges being mounted now saying that banning even temporarily the
citizens of seven countries is not constitutional.
TERWILLIGER: It's so important to break down what these disputes are actually about and without going into a great deal of detail, some of the
disputes are legal. Is this constitutional or is it not constitutional?
But mainly, these are policy disputes and policy disputes aren't to be litigated. Policy disputes are adjudicated in the court of public opinion
and in the public world between Congress, the president, and the two political parties in the United States.
GORANI: But there can be legal challenges.
TERWILLIGER: There can be legal challenges to some of it and of course, it will take a long time for those things to wend their way through the
courts. The fact that one judge or another does something initially isn't going to be the bottom line.
GORANI: And typically, an executive order, if it is legally challenged, I mean, is that -- that also, too, must be rather unusual, right?
TERWILLIGER: It's somewhat unusual, but it's really not the order itself that's being challenged, it's the carrying out of the order and the affect
that it has on people.
GORANI: All right. And this could go to any court level? I mean, it could be at a lower level, it could also possibly go up to a federal level.
TERWILLIGER: It could work its way all the way up to the Supreme Court.
GORANI: Even the state of Washington is suing -- I mean, how does that work? Because that sounds just so -- to our international viewers,
something also extremely unusual, for a state to sue the White House.
TERWILLIGER: Yes. And I don't think that's going to get very far, because our constitution has a supremacy clause in it, which makes the federal
government and the U.S. Constitution supreme to the laws of the states.
GORANI: OK, so what's the point?
TERWILLIGER: I'm not sure.
GORANI: OK. Is it just a symbolic move, do you think on ant part of Washington State?
TERWILLIGER: Perhaps. It could be political.
GORANI: And the Supreme Court nominee, we're expecting an announcement there. But I guess people from the outside looking in will say, so Donald
Trump, obviously, is the president of the United States. He's the chief of the executive. He is the commander-in-chief, the Republicans have a
majority in Congress. He will and has named an attorney general and will name a Supreme Court justice nominee. Where is the checks and balances
TERWILLIGER: Well, the checks and balances are going on right before the eyes of the world right now. Many of the checks and balances in our
system, as in many democracies, are essentially political in nature, not legal. So we have the opposition party in Congress holding up
confirmations, asking hard questions.
We have debates about legislation and we have debates about policy, including immigration policy. And in the end, the people decide because if
two years from now, they don't like the way things are going, they can change who they vote for and who has a majority in Congress.
GORANI: Because in two years, mid-term elections take place, and you could see a change in the majority on Capitol Hill?
TERWILLIGER: You could.
[15:15:09]GORANI: George Terwilliger actually held the same post as Sally Yates before she became acting attorney general. And that was deputy
attorney general that was under the Bush administration, there with his views on some dramatic events unfolding in the nation's capital.
A lot more to come this evening, as Canadians mourn the victims of the deadly mosque attack in Quebec. We're learning more about the man police
say carried out the massacre.
And controversy swirls around President Trump's planned visit to the U.K. Parliament is readying itself for a debate about it. Stay with us.
GORANI: We're learning more about what authorities call a terrorist attack against the mosque in Quebec City, Canada. Investigators have now charged
a university student with six counts of murder. He's 27, name, Alexandre Bissonnette. He was known to local activists for his far right views,
according to local media reports.
Canadians held candlelight vigils to grieve for the victims and send a message of unity. The gunman killed six people during evening prayers on
Let's go live to Quebec City. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is there. What more do we know about this suspect?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're learning, Hala, is that he was a student here at Laval University. He was studying political
science and we spoke to several people who identified him immediately when we showed them his picture.
And they said he was in class with them. They were surprised. They describe him as somewhat antisocial. He's 27 years old, but didn't really
have appear to have very many friends. He came to class with a computer, but no notebook, and didn't really seem to engage in the class.
We're also learning that he lived about 10 minutes away from here with -- he's got a twin brother, and reportedly they lived together. He worked at
a blood bank not too far from where we are right now. They were as shocked is as anyone. He worked at a call center.
The flags there were lowered to half-staff. What we know about Bissonnette is that he is in custody right now. He is being detained. He's charged
with six counts of first-degree murder, as well as five counts of attempted murder.
And officials have called this an act of terror and they say he's a lone wolf, that they don't believe he acted with anyone, and they're looking
into things, for example, like his social media accounts, his computer, and his cell phone records.
Anything that might give them an indication as to why he carried out this act. There's a possibility that if they find something, additional charges
could be brought.
But what we are learning, also, he did have a profile and was known to certain groups, specifically one called (inaudible) "Welcome Refugees," in
which he apparently had made statements that were very sort of nationalistic, that were anti-immigrant.
[15:20:04]He showed support for the French politician, Marine Le Pen and he also made certain anti-feminist statements, as well. All of that right now
is under investigation -- Hala.
GORANI: It will be interesting to see where, if it's indeed, him, as he's a suspect now, where he was radicalized. That question often asked of
attackers in other terrorist incidents. And the Trudeaus, the prime minister and his wife, held a vigil to commemorate and honor the victims as
well, I understand -- Deborah.
FEYERICK: Yes, they did. And we were there last night about 7:00 and there were several thousand people there, and they said they were there to
show solidarity with the Muslim community. They held signs, saying, we are all humans, signs denouncing Islamophobia.
There were students. There were families who brought their young children. But they were all there, and they really -- Canada has really been touched
in a very deep way by this crime, because many see the Muslims and the Muslim community here as essential to the fabric of Canada and what it
stands for. So this has really hit them very much at the heart -- Hala.
GORANI: And what we know about the victims, just a few of the names we can put up on the screen. They're all men, right? I mean, we have three men
in their 40s, one man in his 30s, one in his 50s, and one in his 60s. What are people saying about the victims? Are there families speaking out?
What are we hearing about them?
FEYERICK: Well, yes, absolutely. And of course, one of the reasons it was likely all men is because the men and the women are separated in the
mosques and so wherever he entered, that's who he shot, essentially, but these were beloved members of the community.
There was a butcher who was very well known, very well liked, he had a PhD, we're told. There was also two friends who came from Tunisia. They were
fathers. They were friends. They leave behind wives. And really an integral part, again, of who this community is and what it's made of.
People who came here for a better life and thought that they had found that better life.
GORANI: All right. Deborah Feyerick, thanks very much in Quebec City with the very latest.
Donald Trump's travel ban has caused heated debate everywhere in the world, including right here in the United Kingdom. Thousands took to the streets
across the country Monday, you'll remember, we covered that.
And now Mr. Trump's upcoming state visit to the U.K. will be debated in parliament, after two competing petitions gathered millions of signatures.
Diana Magnay traveled to an area that voted heavily for Brexit, way outside of London, to see if there's an appetite for a similar type of travel ban
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Monday evening, there were angry protests outside Downing Street, people at their most inventive,
with a placard and marker pen railing against Donald Trump's travel ban. But isn't that just a weft of the metropolitan elite about all of this.
(on camera): For all the demonstrations and the hand ringing before parliament, there are still plenty across Europe who tend to agree with
Donald Trump's travel ban, who resent the influx of migrants and refugees into Europe and who don't want them in their backyard.
That was after all what for many people the Brexit vote was about, in a Europe where anti-immigrant sentiment is shifting politics to the right.
(voice-over): There's nowhere you sense that more than in the Brexit heartlands, like Rumford, where Reece Cannon and David Gray are hanging out
on a Tuesday afternoon. They weren't quite sure who Trump was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, against another woman.
MAGNAY: But they did think his travel ban was a good idea.
DAVID GRAY: And for us English, we can get more work out there. Pay our bills and don't have to scrounge. That's the way it should be.
MAGNAY (on camera): So it would be better for you if there weren't any immigrants in Britain, you think?
GRAY: Yes, definitely.
REECE CANNON, FORMER RECYCLING WORKER: If this country, England, had only English people, it would be a much better environment for the English
MAGNAY (voice-over): For them, this was about jobs. Others, though, singing from the Trumpian song sheet.
JAMES SHEKLS: When you look at what's happened in Germany, when you look at what's happened in France, you've got people coming into the country,
with under the guise of being asylum seekers and there is, albeit, a small percentage have been proved to be terrorists.
MAGNAY: Human rights, in his view, by the by, if Britain's to keep the bad dudes out. The message from the European mainland, that nationalism and
the politics of Donald Trump were an unprecedented threat.
DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multi-polar external world, so many are
becoming openly anti-European or euro skeptic at best.
[15:25:10]Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation.
MAGNAY: Britain's Theresa May has already extended a welcoming hand to Mr. Trump, even as a petition to parliament to prevent his trip from being an
official state visit out of supposed respect for the queen gained signatures by the second. Other European leaders have yet to meet him,
describing his administration as an external threat will not make that moment easier. Diana Magnay, CNN, London.
GORANI: Let's go now to Westminster. Fred Pleitgen is outside the Houses of Parliament. Let's first talk about these petitions. There was one
petition at the beginning of the week to downgrade Donald Trump's visit from a state visit to an official visit. It got more than a million votes.
Then a competing petition to support a state visit for Donald Trump. What -- which one's winning?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now it's still the one to downgrade the visit from a state visit, to not give
Donald Trump that state visit here to the United Kingdom. We also have to keep in mind, Hala, that one to downgrade the visit has actually been out
there for a little longer.
And that's sort of been keeping an eye on the one to allow him to have a state visit and that's actually been gaining traction quite quickly. It
was earlier in the day today that it actually went over that threshold of 100,000 people, assigning that petition, and currently right now, I'm
keeping track of it, it's at 166,056 signatures in that petition.
And it's interesting, because a lot of us, of course, resolves around that executive order that was signed by Donald Trump, banning people from
several Muslim majority countries, from coming to the United States. And that, obviously, made a lot of people here in the United Kingdom also very
angry and led them to want to have this petition to downgrade the visit.
The Trump petition is a little more vague. It says, Donald Trump should be invited to make an official state visit because he is the leader of a free
world and the U.K. is a country that supports free speech and does not believe that people that oppose our point of view should be gagged.
So that's the official wording of that petition. Again, right now, both of them have cleared that threshold of 100,000. They will be debated on
February 20th. However, there's not going to be a vote on one or the other -- Hala.
GORANI: And this is the parliament, and so the parliament is to debate this visit. This is all symbolic. It's not like it's going to change
anything, right? What's the debate in parliament?
PLEITGEN: Well, to debate the merits of either. You're absolutely right. No matter what conclusions parliament comes to, and there won't be a vote
on this, you're absolutely right. It certainly isn't going to change the position of the British government.
And I think Theresa May, the prime minister, has made absolutely clear that she is going to stick to that plan to invite Donald Trump on an official
On the one hand, the British government has said that they are somewhat critical of that, especially that executive order, banning those people
from those several Muslim majority countries.
However, it seems as though they also feel that there could be severe damage to the ties between the United Kingdom and U.S., if, in fact, there
were any sort of issues or downgrading of a potential state visit by Donald Trump.
GORANI: And when is it going to happen, do we know?
PLEITGEN: The state visit, we're not yet sure when exactly it's going to happen. Theresa May said, look, all of this is going to be several months
down the line. One of the things that people are expecting is that it could be some time in summer.
Certainly, that's going to be the time there's going to be a G-7 Summit here in Europe anyway, but it really isn't clear at this point when the
visit is going to happen. Anyway, the vote or the debate on these two petitions is going to be on February 20th. Certainly, a lot of people will
be watching and seeing the arguments on both sides of the equations there.
GORANI: Well, there's been some heated discussion and debate in parliament these last few days. That's for sure. Thanks very much. Fred Pleitgen is
The lawsuit over President Trump's travel ban, the lawsuits, I should say, are multiplying. Just ahead, a constitutional lawyer will join me to talk
about the executive order and how the courts might handle it.
Also ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's doing the right thing. Those people have to be vetted. These people are coming off the street. We have no idea who they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Trump supporters at a Pennsylvania diner signed off about the travel ban and why they are standing behind the president. Their stories
are coming up.
[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: The two judges considered to be the top finalists to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court are heading to Washington.
The American President, Donald Trump, is expected to announce his choice between these two men in under five hours. Judge Neil Gorsuch and Judge
Thomas Hardiman are believed to be Mr. Trump's leading choices.
Also, among the top stories we're following, Canadian authorities have charged a university student with six counts of murder in connection with
the deadly shooting at a mosque in Quebec City. Twenty-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette was known to local activists for his far-right views, according
to local media reports.
One of the most famous women in the world is joining forces with one of TV's most prestigious news magazines. The American network CBS says Oprah
Winfrey has signed on as special contributor with "60 Minutes." The network says Winfrey will appear in several stories in the upcoming season,
with the first to air in the autumn.
President Donald Trump is taking a page from "The Apprentice" during his first 100 days in office. On Monday, he fired the acting U.S. Attorney
General after she refused to defend his travel ban. Sally Yates is a long- time Justice Department employee who clearly paid the price for standing up to the President or perhaps, some others are saying, she decided to leave
with a bang.
Back in 2015, Senator Jeffrey Sessions asked Yates how she'd respond to pressure from then President Barack Obama, how she'd react. Listen to the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you just need to say no about. Do you think the
Attorney General has a responsibility to say no to the President if he asks for something that's improper?
But if the views the President wants to execute are unlawful, should the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General say no?
SALLY YATES, FORMER UNITED STATES DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Senator, I believe that the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General has an
obligation to follow the law and the constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Sally Yates, back then, questioned by Sessions. Well, he is, of course, now Trump's pick for Attorney General, but the confirmation process
has been anything but smooth. Democrats have now delayed the vote on his nomination in the Judiciary Committee.
Floyd Abrams joins me now from New York. He's a constitutional and First Amendment attorney and the author of the upcoming book, "Soul of the First
Thanks, Mr. Abrams, for being with us.
FLOYD ABRAMS, AUTHOR, SOUL OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT: Thank you.
GORANI: First of all, what was your initial reaction when you heard that the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, had been dismissed by the
ABRAMS: Well, I wasn't really surprised that he had dismissed her. She acted bravely and really in the highest tradition of the American bar, I
think. But what she was saying, in effect, is, I will not be party to enforcing a law that I think is so contrary to a combination of law and
public policy broadly construed.
[15:35:03] ABRAMS: So President Trump had two choices. One is to fire her. The other is to let her stay for the time period, before Senator
Sessions has confirmed, and appoint someone else to do the arguing or take the leadership of the defense of the administration with respect to all the
GORANI: Sean Spicer said it was a betrayal, that the job of an Attorney General is basically to defend the President's agenda.
ABRAMS: Well, I think Senator Sessions had it right the first time in the passage that you just showed. That, sure, the job of the Attorney General
is to defend the President, except in circumstances where the President has so overstepped the bounds of law and of the constitution that the Attorney
General or the acting Attorney General thinks it's inappropriate to do so. That's what she thought --
GORANI: And do you believe this --
ABRAMS: -- that's what she did.
GORANI: Do you believe, I mean, it's all then down to legal analysis, that this executive order and its implementation actually violates the law, and
it might even be unconstitutional?
ABRAMS: I think there's a very strong argument that it is unconstitutional. That, at the end of the day, it is nothing more or less
than not only focusing on particular countries, which is undenied, but people of a particular religion.
The idea that you would have a sort of built-in exemption or favoritism for minority religions in those countries, particularly with the context of
President Trump having, earlier, advocated a flat ban of Muslims coming into the U.S., I think, tells the story. And I think, you know, we'll have
a lot of cases in the courts for some time to come, in which the issue of whether this really is consistent with the First Amendment is going to be
GORANI: And let's talk a little bit, also, about the nominees or what the administration is calling the, quote, "finalists," a source told CNN.
GORANI: Neil Gorsuch, a 49-year-old. Thomas Hardiman, a 51-year-old. Both conservative on social issues, which is to be expected, and both very
young, comparatively speaking. What should we expect in terms of you do need a 60/40 majority in the Senate to confirm a Supreme Court nominee?
ABRAMS: Yes, you do need 60. And I don't think they probably have 60 if that's the way it stays, and this is all unpredictable. And in their
cases, their testimony before the Senate, I think, really will be important.
But, you know, there is what we call the nuclear option. That is to say, to change the rules of the Senate to allow a vote of 51 to carry the day.
And one way or the other, I have to say, it seems likely that either one of these jurists will be confirmed.
GORANI: Yes. And this would be replacing Antonin Scalia, who, of course, was a very conservative justice.
GORANI: And it is down the road that the Supreme Court makeup, if Donald Trump has the opportunity to nominate another justice, that's where things
will change in a major way.
ABRAMS: Yes, that's so. Certainly, that's what more conservatives hope for and would expect and were trying to bring into effect. A lot of
presidents have been very unhappy with the people they wound up appointing because those people were more independent or more different than the views
of the presidents that appointed them. I have no doubt that President Trump and his advisers will work very hard to get people as conservative as
possible on the court, but you really never do know.
GORANI: Right. And Thomas Hardiman actually works alongside Donald Trump's older sister, I believe, in Philadelphia.
GORANI: So they know each other. So there's a family connection there.
ABRAMS: Yes. And if anything, I would say she is probably considered a more moderate judge than any of the judges that are being considered right
now by President Trump.
GORANI: All right. Floyd Abrams, thanks very much, the author of the upcoming book, "Soul of the First Amendment." When is it out?
ABRAMS: April 25th.
GORANI: All right. Thanks so much for being with us this evening.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
GORANI: Despite the legal challenges, many people who voted for Donald Trump say they fully support his travel ban. Randi Kaye gathers opinions
in a Pennsylvania town that helped send Mr. Trump to the White House. Listen to this sampling of opinion.
[15:40:02] JANET GATTINE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: We have to check out who's coming in. We have to know who's coming in.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Supporters of President Donald Trump and his refugee plan weren't hard to find at the Beltway Diner in
Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. After all, Trump won this county with 58 percent of the vote, a major reversal from President Obama's tight victory
here in 2012.
KAYE (on camera): Do you think that this will make America safer and prevent terrorism?
GATTINE: Yes. Yes.
KAYE (on camera): Why?
GATTINE: Because there's so many of them here now, it's hard to keep track of them. And they just keep coming and coming and coming.
KAYE (voice-over): This Pennsylvania farmer, a long-time registered Democrat, switched parties to support Trump because he liked his refugee
KAYE (on camera): He says this isn't a ban on religion. This isn't against Muslims. How do you feel about it?
STANLEY FTORKOWSKI, TRUMP SUPPORTER: It's not. He's doing the right thing. Those people have to be vetted. These people are coming off the
street, we have no idea who they are. They --
KAYE (on camera): But the State Department does vet them already. They spend a couple of years vetting these folks, and they've even turned some
away. You're saying it's not enough?
FTORKOWSKI: But there's still enough room for those people to sneak through. I don't think they get everybody.
KAYE (voice-over): And if they're coming in from Syria, many here told us, don't even bother vetting. Just keep them out for good.
FTORKOWSKI: There's a lot of bad people over there, that we don't know their backgrounds. We don't know where they came from. We don't know
fully what they're behind. Sure --
KAYE (on camera): You really sound like Donald Trump when you say that.
FTORKOWSKI: I kind of agree with him.
KAYE (voice-over): Not a single Trump supporter here considers President Trump's executive order discriminatory.
KAYE (on camera): What do you say to those who call this discrimination and illegal?
JANICE CALHOUN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: You can't call it discrimination when we've got so much violence with the bombings and attacks. It's like he's
just trying to keep us safe.
KAYE (on camera): Will this make America safer, do you think?
CALHOUN: I don't know. I don't know. I'm hoping it will.
KAYE (voice-over): In a diner jammed with Trump devotees, this woman stuck out, an independent who supported Hillary Clinton. She says President
Trump is bullying Muslims.
KAYE (on camera): But about the ban, specifically?
JOAN SWEDAR, CLINTON SUPPORTER: The ban is a disgrace. This country is made up of immigrants. He just wants to sign executive orders to show that
he's doing something. He has no idea what it's all about.
KAYE (on camera): Is this discrimination, in your view?
SWEDAR: Oh, definitely. It's discrimination. It's illegal. And it's a disgrace to our country.
KAYE (voice-over): This woman couldn't disagree more. She says it's the only way to stop terrorism.
KAYE (on camera): What about the terrorism, though? What scares you about that?
GATTINE: Oh, my god, you never know where it's going to be, you know? You could be shopping or you can go to church, they might want to blow up your
KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
GORANI: Well, there you have it. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
He was wounded while helping the U.S. military in Iraq. Now, his hopes of taking his family to America have been dashed. His story, ahead.
[15:45:24] GORANI: Well, back now to U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration order, in particular, his 90-day ban on travelers from seven
targeted countries. Once more, they are Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
And in Iraq, the U.S. still has a regular presence. American troops are supporting Iraqi military against ISIS. And American contractors are
working there as well. Iraq's Prime Minister, moments ago, said Iraq will not retaliate against the travel ban, but is, quote, "studying all of its
There are Iraqi citizens who've stood alongside the Americans as interpreters, informants, and in other capacities, sometimes at great
personal risk. And some who hoped, one day, to move to the U.S. are seeing those hopes dashed, at least for now.
CNN's Ben Wedeman joins me from Baghdad with one of their stories. Ben?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala. When I think of what's important to keep in mind with this travel ban is, as far
as Iraq goes, among those seven countries on the list, Iraq is fighting side by side with the United States against terrorism. And I think that's
why so many Iraqis are so upset, particularly those who were side by side with the Americans and risked their lives over the years.
OMAR, WORKED WITH AMERICAN TROOPS IN IRAQ: See Wisconsin and Michigan.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Bags packed, U.S. visas and passports, Omar and his family are ready to go, but they're not going anywhere following President
Trump's temporary travel ban which includes Iraq.
OMAR (through translator): It was a strong shock. We received visas after waiting three years. Then this order comes.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The Iraqi branch of al Qaeda planted a bomb in his car in 2009. It blew both his legs off and mangled his left hand. They
targeted him because he provided the U.S. Marines and Iraqi police with intelligence on the terrorists in his home town of Fallujah.
OMAR (through translator): They were planting bombs, aimed at innocent people, the Americans, the Iraqi army, the police.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Omar, his wife, and four children received visas under a special program for Iraqis who worked for or helped the Americans.
In letters of recommendation, Marine officers praised his sacrifice and unyielding courage, commendable traits which have now left him and his
family in danger.
OMAR (through translator): I have no future in Iraq and my children have no future. If they go back to Fallujah, they'll be under threat. People
will say, your father is Omar and kill them.
WEDEMAN (on camera): And your kids, they're still too young to go to school, right?
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Van was a translator for the U.S. Army. That's the nickname American soldiers gave him, not his real name. He doesn't want to
show his face for fear of retribution from Iraqi extremists. For now, also out of fear it will jeopardize an American visa application he submitted
seven years ago. He has a simple message for President Trump.
VAN, WORKED WITH AMERICAN TROOPS IN IRAQ: He should go and ask the soldiers, is that the right way to do it? Is that the right thing, to
leave somebody behind? No.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Van received a letter containing a bullet and a threat a few years ago, "Stop working with the Americans or else." He
moved his family three times and keeps a low profile.
VAN: I want to stop looking behind when I walk on the street. That's all I want.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): He wonders if he'll have to keep looking behind for the rest of his life.
WEDEMAN: And, of course, these are just two cases. And there are many more of men here in Iraq who were with the Americans and now desperately
want to get out, but now they can't -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Ben Wedeman, thanks very much, live in Baghdad.
[15:49:42] We'll be right back with much more. Stay with CNN.
GORANI: All this week, CNN's "FREEDOM PROJECT" uncovers an international sex trafficking network in our series, "Brides for Sale." On Monday, we
introduced you to a woman who was sold into a sham marriage when she was just a child. In this report, Muhammad Lila meets the heroes who are
risking their lives to save them.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this tiny office at a rundown street in Hyderabad, a group of women are plotting a daring
operation. They're putting on hidden cameras, hoping to catch a human trafficker in the act of selling a young girl.
JAMEELA NISHAT, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, SHAHEEN WOMEN'S RESOURCE AND WELFARE ASSOCIATION: You have to be very fast. When you are going behind also,
you have to be very fast.
NISHAT (through translator): Walk straight ahead. You should not give the impression that you are new to the area.
LILA (voice-over): These are the women of Shaheen, an NGO that helps rescue and prevent underage girls from being sold into forced marriages.
Jameela Nishat started Shaheen more than 20 years ago.
NISHAT: I got into the work because I want my dream to come true.
LILA (on camera): What's your dream?
NISHAT: My dream is that every girl be happy and enjoy her life to the maximum and feel free.
LILA (voice-over): After rescuing girls, Shaheen helps to rehabilitate them, teaching them skills like tailoring, applying henna, or how to use
computers, all to help them become financially independent.
LILA (on camera): How many girls do you think you've helped?
NISHAT: Directly, at least more than a hundred. But indirectly, almost a thousand.
LILA (voice-over): All of the women here have stories of physical and sexual abuse. Many were sold against their will to wealthy tourists, part
of an underground network that targets poor villagers so desperate for money, they'll sell their own daughters. Some were gang-raped. Nearly all
were given drugs, sometimes by their own parents, making them helpless, unable to stop what was happening.
LILA (on camera): Is it just a business transaction for them?
NISHAT: Just a business.
LILA (on camera): That's it?
NISHAT: It is just a legalized sex work. I call it that way.
LILA (on camera): Legalized sex work?
NISHAT: Flesh trade.
MUNEERA BEGUM, SURVIVOR (through translator): After coming to Shaheen, I got strength.
LILA (voice-over): One of the girls that Shaheen rescued was Muneera Begum. She says she was just 12 years old when her parents sold her to an
Arab man, who was 70. She says he kept her locked up, using her only for sex. When she became pregnant after a few months, he left her, telling her
over the phone something he knew all along, that he wasn't coming back.
BEGUM (through translator): I used to cry a lot. I was in so much pain, I thought my life was useless. The last time, I tried to cut my wrist.
LILA (voice-over): That's when Muneera was rescued and taken in by Shaheen.
BEGUM (through translator): I owe a lot to Jameela ma'am. I used to cry so much but she wouldn't let me cry.
NISHAT: One of the girls came and showed me all the wounds that she got on her body, and --
LILA (on camera): She had wounds?
NISHAT: She had, all over, wounds. All over the body.
LILA (voice-over): Most of the girls are sold in forced marriages where everyone is paid off, the brokers, the clerics, even the girl's parents,
but the girls themselves are never given a choice. Traffickers prey on poor Muslim families in Hyderabad, an Indian city with its largest Muslim
population. Their customers are wealthy tourists from the Middle East and Africa, regions that, historically, Hyderabad has had strong business ties
[15:55:05] LILA (on camera): We are on our way right now to visit one of the most senior religious authorities here in Hyderabad. Let's see what he
We asked a senior Muslim cleric, Mir Mohammed Qadir (ph), if in Islam, a girl could be forced to get married without her consent.
MIR MOHAMMED QADIR, SENIOR MUSLIM CLERIC: If the girl says no, it can't happen. Her consent is necessary.
LILA (voice-over): But as the victims told us, their consent wasn't taken into account, or they had no idea what was going on. So if a top religious
authority says girls can't be forced into a marriage, we wanted to know why it's still happening.
LILA (on camera): Hello, sir. Nice to meet you. I'm Muhammad Lila.
LILA (voice-over): V. Satyanarayana is the deputy police commissioner. He says the network of traffickers sends potential customers to Hyderabad.
LILA (on camera): Look, if this is an international criminal racket, why aren't the police doing more?
SRI V. SATYANARAYANA, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF POLICE: Yes, we are continuously doing, that's why the rampancy, whatever the degree of this
occurrence, has come down. Ultimately come down.
LILA (on camera): OK.
SATYANARAYANA: And we want zero tolerance to these nasty, criminal acts.
LILA (voice-over): Because only 5 percent of the police force are women, Shaheen and its volunteers have been taking matters into their own hands,
running their own sting operations, trying to catch known traffickers in the act, and then giving their undercover footage to police, forcing them
LILA (on camera): When you look around at this house and all of the people here that you've helped, do you think you're making a difference?
NISHAT: Hopefully. I only think it is a drop in the ocean. We have to do a lot. We need to do a lot.
LILA (voice-over): And as this group of women head out, they know it could be dangerous. But if it means saving lives, they all say the risk have
Muhammad Lila, CNN, Hyderabad.
GORANI: So this report was a few minutes long, and in that time, a couple dozen children could have been forced into slavery, according to
statistics. So we're reaching out to young people across the world for a student-led day of action.
It's called "My Freedom Day" on March 14th. And what is driving the day is a simple question, what does freedom mean to you? And you can contribute
and send us a text, a photo, or a video across social media using the "My Freedom Day" hashtag.
This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you tomorrow at the same time, same place. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS"