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A Seattle Judge Orders Stop to President Trump's Executive Order on Immigration; President Trump Criticizes Judge's Ruling on Immigration Executive Order; Group of Women Who Support Donald Trump Interviewed. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 4, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: We're continuing to follow breaking news. I'm Boris Sanchez. Fredericka Whitfield is off.
Protests are now unfolding across parts of the country as we get a live look at Washington D.C., New York City, and Miami. Across the east coast, protests in response to President Trump's controversial travel ban. These demonstrations have been going on for a little while now. There's actually going to be one in West Palm Beach not far from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate where he's spending the weekend. That's later tonight.
This all happening at the Department of Homeland Security says it's not going to implement the president's order after it was temporarily halted by a federal judge. Our team of reporters is covering the story from evening angle. Let's start with CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles. Ryan, agencies have been told that it's essentially just business as usual.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. And both the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are operating as if the Trump executive order had never been issued, this in response to that order, the restraining order put in place by the judge in Washington state.
This is what the Department of Homeland Security had to say in a statement earlier today about their response to that restraining order. It said, quote, "DHS has suspended any and all sections implementing the affected sections of the executive order. This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subjected to the executive order."
Now that DHS statement does go on to say that they still believe that the order is necessary and that they will implement it once again if the court proceedings make their way through. And we should say that the next thing we are looking for is the Department of Justice's response to this restraining order put in place by that judge in Washington state. They could file it in two different places that could go back to the judge and ask him to reconsider or put an emergency stay on his order, or appeal to a higher court, the appeals court in the ninth district. We're not sure exactly what they're going to do. That's what we're waiting to find out. And the Department of Justice has said that they will respond at some point in the very near future. Boris?
SANCHEZ: All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you.
Let's turn to Jessica Schneider now live in West Palm Beach where Donald Trump is spending the weekend. The White House clearly unhappy with that judge's ruling. The president himself firing back at that judge via Twitter this morning, right, Jessica?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. Donald Trump, President Trump, taking to Twitter in a series of fiery and brash tweets. They started with this one this morning. I'll read it for you. Trump tweeting, "When a country is no longer able to say who can and who cannot come in and out, especially for reasons of safety and security, big trouble." That was just the first tweet among many. Donald Trump in his tweets also calling the order of the judge out in Seattle "ridiculous."
It wasn't the only time that the administration used such an adjective to describe that order. In fact, last night a statement was released by Press Secretary Sean Spicer initially calling the order "outrageous." Then that word "outrageous" was taken out in a subsequent statement that was released, the White House saying this last night, "At the earliest possible time the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the executive order of the president which we believe is lawful and appropriate. The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people."
The administration remaining steadfast that they believe this executive order signed by President Trump last Friday remains legal. They will fight it.
And that's not the only thing happening here in Mar-a-Lago today. We know that protesters right now are gearing up as well in West Palm Beach just outside of the Trump International Hotel. We expect by Facebook estimates a few hundred, up to 2,000 people. They'll be marching toward mount Mar-a-Lago, but because of space and security concerns they will be kept on the north side on inter-coastal waterway, a pretty fair distance away from Mar-a-Lago.
So a lot stirring down here in Palm Beach, the winter White House, the White House itself having to take quick action, releasing that statement last night, and of course, President Trump as he often does taking to Twitter this morning, bashing the order itself and also criticizing the judge. Boris?
SANCHEZ: Jessica, thank you.
Let's head over to CNN aviation and government regulation correspondent, Rene Marsh. Rene, this has to have been a frantic time for the airlines as they're just trying to work to keep up with all of these orders.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was speaking with one airline official who said what's going to happen, they're waiting to see what happens next, because of course this isn't resolved yet.
But this morning we are getting a lot more clarity from the federal government on what this temporary lift of the travel ban means for passengers and airlines in the meantime. Customs and Border Protection told airlines to go ahead and go back to the standard procedures that were in place before President Trump's travel ban.
[14:05:04] The CBP went even further, telling airlines, quote, "It's back to business as usual" as far as entry into the United States. They also said it's as if this executive order never existed. Airlines in response, they have taken down the travel alerts that were on their websites and they're getting word out to their customers that people with visas that are otherwise valid are free to board U.S.- bound planes.
We saw one tweet from an immigration attorney in Chicago who said he witnessed a Customs and Border Protection allowing passengers with visas and green cards to board flights. But a reminder to everyone, this is a temporary lift. So we still have a ways to go before this is completely resolved, and airlines know that. They are aware that things could change again due to another court order. I am told that immigration attorneys are telling their clients go now in case things change again. So if you need to get to the United States, these attorneys are saying, this is your chance.
SANCHEZ: Rene, thank you so much.
Coming up, protests erupting across the country right now. We're looking at live pictures of the protest in Washington, D.C. We're going to have more on these demonstrations just ahead.
Plus, critics saying that Trump's ban is dangerous. We'll hear what Trump supporters have to say about the ban and about President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People really dislike him. I don't understand it because I love him. I love who he is. I love his transparency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:10:25] SANCHEZ: Protests erupting across the nation right now over President Trump's travel ban. You're looking at live pictures of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., New York, and Miami. We're going to continue to follow these protests as they unfold.
After a judge issued an order that temporarily reversed the president's travel ban, Trump fired back on Twitter. He tweeted this out, quote, "The opinion of the so-called judge which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country is ridiculous and will be overturned."
Now Democrats are firing back, sounding the alarm. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer saying, quote, "The president's attack on Judge James Robart, a Bush appointee who passed with 99 votes, shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn't always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the constitution." Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy doubled down in this statement, writing, quote, "The president's hostility toward the rule of law is not just embarrassing, it is dangerous. He seems intent on precipitating a constitutional crisis."
Let's talk about all of this with CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos and "TIME" magazine contributor Jay Newton Small. Jay, first to you. This isn't the first time Donald Trump has gone after a judge. Remember back during the campaign he attacked the judge that presided over the Trump University case, questioning how objective he could be because of his Mexican heritage. In this case, as I just mentioned, Judge Robart was unanimously approved by the Senate. He was actually appointed by George W. Bush in 2003. So is it really just that anyone that challenges Trump becomes illegitimate by virtue of the challenge?
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, CONTRIBUTOR, TIME MAGAZINE: Boris, I think it's pretty clear especially when you see that Trump, his favorite sort of excuse or whenever anything goes wrong is to always call the refs, whether it's judges in cases he doesn't like, as you just said, the case of the Trump University last summer, or in this case the travel ban for a federal judge in Washington state.
Or if you think about it, every time he doesn't like anything in the press, even this morning he was tweeting at the "New York Times," saying they have terrible coverage. He tweets all the time about fake news and what's going on and calling out the press whenever he doesn't like anything. And this is really his modus operandi. When anything doesn't go his way, he calls on the refs and says, well, it's the ref's fault. It's not my fault. It's not my staff's fault. It's got to be somebody else's fault.
SANCHEZ: Danny, the White House said the Department of Justice would be filing this stay at the earliest possible time. It's now 11:00 on the west coast where they're going to look at the ninth circuit court of appeals. How do you see their strategy playing out? What are the weak spots here in this decision that you see them targeting?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the biggest, if there is a weak spot in this decision, it's that the judge didn't really explain which of the plaintiff, the state of Washington, that the judge was persuaded by. It's a short opinion. If you read it, he walks through the standard for granting an injunction, which is pretty well established, nothing dramatic there. And then concludes that plaintiff wins, and most of us are left wondering, yes, but why?
And that will become important when it goes up to the ninth circuit court of appeals because they're going to review it for an abuse of discretion. They're going to look to see whether they made any legal conclusions or findings of fact, and the less there is on the record, the less the appeals court can base it on.
In fairness to the district court judge, his role in determining a TRO, a temporary restraining order, is not to decide the case on the merits. So he had a very good reason for not putting a ton of analysis into his opinion.
SANCHEZ: Right, but isn't it that he believes it's likely to prevail, so I think he -- would be the case --
CEVALLOS: Right. He concluded that there was a substantial likelihood that the plaintiff would prevail. He just didn't say which argument persuaded him in making that finding. So that will be interesting once it goes up on appeal and the ninth circuit court of appeals judges, whenever they get on the wheel, it's random, start scrutinizing this opinion and asking the questions, what were the facts upon which he based this, and what legal concepts did he apply? And the less he applied or the less that he found in the lower court opinion, the less there is for the appeals court to review.
SANCHEZ: Jay, to you. Some Republicans openly criticized the rollout of this executive decision, specifically, how it was implemented without necessarily tapping into some of the agencies that would be affected by it. How do you see them responding to this legal conundrum moving forward?
[14:15:13] NEWTON-SMALL: It is really interesting because Capitol Hill was clearly very tepid in their support for this travel ban. If they actually wanted to support it, they could pass legislation in support of it which would actually help cement the travel ban, help bolster it. And you noticeably saw neither chamber of Congress moving towards passing any kind of legislation that would actually support that travel ban.
Certainly this does make the confirmation of Donald Trump's Supreme Court justice nominee Gorsuch really important to do it as quickly as possible because if the ninth circuit then decides for the plaintiff, and as is expected, then it bounces up to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, if it ties 4-4, as there are eight members right now, that vacancy is still there, it will automatically revert back to the ninth court's decision that would stand the ninth court's decision, and in that case it would stand. So if they don't confirm Gorsuch in time, there is a likelihood that the suspension of the ban would actually stand.
SANCHEZ: Danny, quickly to you, if this does come back as a 4-4 decision from the Supreme Court, does the ninth circuit decision stand? Isn't there another decision that is essentially the exact opposite of this that might stand in the way of that?
CEVALLOS: That's how we might find ourselves in a constitutional crisis. It splits among the different circuit courts that make a case appealing to the Supreme Court to take on, so if you have two major splits, if, for example, the first circuit by then has reached a completely opposite conclusion and other courts and other circuits reached other different conclusions and it goes up in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court is at a draw, then yes. In theory, those cases go back down and the appellate court holding stands.
But it raises the question, and I'm not sure anyone knows what exactly will happen with this particular case if many different circuits are left after going to the Supreme Court in a state of split. SANCHEZ: Danny Cevallos, Jay Newton Small, thank you so much for the
time. We appreciate you being with us this weekend.
Stay with us as we continue to monitor live protests against the Trump administration's immigration policy across the east coast. We'll be right back.
[14:21:32] SANCHEZ: We're looking at live protests across the country in Washington, D.C., New York, and Miami as people there speak up against President Trump's travel ban. We're waiting for the Justice Department to file an appeal against the federal judge's order to halt that ban.
In the meantime, a new CNN/ORC poll showed that his actions did not sit well with the majority of Americans. More than half of those surveyed oppose the travel restrictions, and 55 percent see it as an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Polls also showed Trump has the highest disapproval rating of any new president ever polled for his first month in office. Just 44 percent approve of the way he's handling the job. Compare that to 76 percent for President Obama within the same time frame.
Now, President Trump's approval ratings may be down, but that doesn't seem to matter to some of his staunchest supporters. We talked to a group of women in Arizona who love Donald Trump and who think he's doing a great job. Their support for him is unwavering. Martin Savidge reports from Tucson, Arizona.
BROOKE STECK, TRUMP VOTER: I was so elated I could hardly stand it. It was like the best early Christmas present I could have gotten.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These Arizona women love everything about President Donald Trump and can't understand if you don't.
ROSALIE WRIGHT, TRUMP VOTER: If anybody is against anything he said he is going to do, I really worry about their judgment.
SAVIDGE: Has he made any slip-ups, blunders, any mistakes in your mind?
STECK: Not at this point for me.
SAVIDGE: The people he is surrounding himself with?
STECK: Great, incredible people, just incredible people.
SAVIDGE: But some wonder, is he moving too fast?
STECK: No. He is going to move forward quickly because he is going to do exactly what he said he was going to doing. I don't think he is moving fast at all. I say, keep on going.
SAVIDGE: They see nothing wrong with the president but plenty wrong with everyone else, beginning with Democratic opposition in Congress.
EILEEN EAGAR, VOTED FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I think that's a terrible thing that the left is doing to hold things up, and it's so purposeful.
SAVIDGE: Doesn't that sound so much like what the Republicans were doing during the Obama administration?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. They showed up.
SAVIDGE: How is it different?
EAGAR: She is exactly right. They showed up. These people are actually not showing up for the vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People really dislike him. I don't understand it, because I love him. I love who he is. I love his transparency.
SAVIDGE: Speaking of transparency, what about the tweeting? Should that have stopped or should he control it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it.
EAGAR: You know what it does. It leaves you out.
SAVIDGE: The "you" Eileen is referring to is the mainstream media, which the group blames for what they see as a nonstop barrage of negative news about the president.
WRIGHT: And you push and you push and you push and you don't back off. And, frankly, I'm fed up with it.
SAVIDGE: It is not the only thing these Trump voters are fed up with. They are also sick of the demonstrators who they say can't accept that Hillary Clinton lost.
STECK: Get over it. Move on. Let the man get to work and better our country. Stop with the protests.
SAVIDGE: Speaking of moving on, what's with Trump's seeming fixation on the inauguration crowd size?
Why does he bother?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is fair for him to defend himself.
SAVIDGE: And what about the president's claim of widespread voter fraud for which he has offered no proof and officials say didn't happen?
Do you believe President Trump when he says there were several million votes cast illegally?
[14:25:02] EAGAR: Yes. And I'm really glad that he is checking that system out, just like he is checking out the immigration problem.
SAVIDGE: Trump's immigration executive order is another issue these supporters see differently, seeing the move not as discriminatory but rather about safety for Americans.
STECK: As a mother of four kids, I feel that it is the right of my children to grow up in a country where they feel safe.
SAVIDGE: What about refugee children who are now banned from reaching the safety of America?
WRIGHT: We lead with our emotions, this country is sunk. You can't lead where your emotions.
SAVIDGE: It's not all doom and gloom. Despite the differences they see, these women believe we can unite as a nation under President Trump. In fact, they say, we already did for a brief period, inauguration day.
BONNIE HAYMORE, TRUMP VOTER: It was just touching and it was a wonderful two or three hours. Everybody was kind of like, yes, this is a transfer of power, peaceful. This is how America is.
SANCHEZ: That was Martin Savidge reporting. Those ladies would probably not be happy to find out that there are protests happening across the country in New York, Miami, and Washington, D.C. We're going to keep an eye on those.
But for right now, that's it for us. Breaking news continues at the top of the hour. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Fredericka Whitfield. Right now, kickoff in Houston begins after a short break. Thanks again for joining us.