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U.S. Judge Halts Trump Travel Ban, the World Reacts; Trump's Army Secretary Pick Drops Out; Lawmakers Back Continued Russian Sanctions; Steadfast Women Trump Supporters. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 4, 2017 - 02:00   ET

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


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LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): From CNN's World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Michael Holmes. A warm welcome to all of you. We're live with the breaking news on the U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

KINKADE: The White House is gearing up for what could be a big court fight. On Friday, a U.S. federal judge in Washington State temporarily froze the president's immigration order nationwide.

HOLMES: That measure, of course, had been sparking huge protests in the U.S. but also around the world. In response, the White House now says it's going to challenge the judge's order.

In the meantime, U.S. Customs officials now telling airlines that the government will begin reinstating canceled visas.

KINKADE: Now this is the latest of multiple judicial orders suspending President Trump's travel ban. The attorney general for Washington State says it's the White House that's causing the chaos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: The question went to me because this happened at 4 o'clock, where there would be some confusion.

I'll tell you where there's been confusion: the president's executive order. That's what caused confusion. I'm sorry; there's no other way to put it. It's Keystone Kops. It really is.

That's not just me speaking, that's Republican members of Congress, right. That's what's caused the confusion. And, so, no, I don't worry about the confusion. There's nothing confusing about the judge order. And the federal government will be expected to abide by it -- and then they will.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KINKADE: A federal judge's decision to halt Mr. Trump's executive order came the same day the U.S. president arrived at his Mar-a-lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

HOLMES: CNN's Jessica Schneider is there as well. She has more now on the latest challenge to the U.S. travel ban.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after one week of being caught up in the courts, President Trump's executive order banning immigration from those seven Muslim majority countries is halted tonight.

A federal judge in Washington State put the brakes on the order, issuing a temporary restraining order that does halt this executive order.

But the White House tonight saying that they are fighting back. They say that the Department of Justice plans to issue an appeal. The White House has continued to maintain throughout the past week, continues to maintain now even in the wake of this ruling from a federal judge, that what President Trump did in issuing that executive order was completely lawful.

Now we understand that the Department of Justice will file an appeal but it will not be immediate. We are waiting for that. It will likely not be in the overnight or early hours tomorrow.

Of course, this entire issue has been in the courts front and center for the past week. We've seen numerous judges ruling on this, whether it was the day after President Trump issued that executive order or numerous civil rights groups filing lawsuits in the federal courts all over the country.

This is just the latest legal wrangling that has come up. And now this puts that executive order out of commission. So what the Customs and Border Protection Agency has said, they said that it is now back to business as usual.

In fact, they had a conference call with the airlines and they said that airlines should begin resuming as usual, that the government will begin reinstating those visas that they had actually taken out of commission over the past week.

And that airlines should remove some of those travel ban alerts from their websites. So, going forward, Customs and Border Protection says that they will be moving forward as if it is business as usual, as if this executive order from President Trump was never signed.

But the White House vowing to fight back. The Department of Justice, they say, will be filing an appeal. So to be continued -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KINKADE: The strongest opposition to the order yet is coming from an

unlikely source. Washington State is pushing back on the president's sweeping order. The governor says he's proud of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASH.: This president is totally bound by this order. We expect him to abide by this order. We will not accept any deviation from this order whatsoever.

The Constitution is supreme in this country and I'm -- frankly I'm proud that Washington State has led the country in standing up for the basic values and will not allow --

[02:05:00]

INSLEE: -- anyone, including the president in Washington, D.C., to contravene those values.

And we had tonight a federal judge, who was appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush, decide in a very forceful decision, frankly, that this is a country that -- we are not going to allow the tests of religion to determine who comes into our country. We are not going to allow decisions that actually jeopardize our national security.

Look, the fact is, in this case, that the people from these seven countries -- there have been 700,000 refugees admitted since the disaster of September 11th. And not one -- not one incident -- has occasioned where people from these seven countries caused a fatal terrorist act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KINKADE: CNN legal analyst and former New York City prosecutor Paul Callan joins us now.

Paul, great to have you with us.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Nice to be with you, Lynda.

KINKADE: Just explain for us, how significant is this ruling and what exactly does it mean?

CALLAN: It's a very significant and unusual ruling. There are 1,200 sitting federal judges in the United States. And this is a ruling by one judge, who is essentially overruling the President of the United States and has issued an order to bind every court in the United States.

So usually you don't see that. Usually they just sort of stay to their own federal district when they issue a ruling. So this is a very unusual ruling.

KINKADE: Well, that's right. We have seen a number of courts issue a ruling on this executive order. How is this one different?

This is nationwide.

CALLAN: Yes, this one is different. The other judges simply issued orders that pertain to their districts. So for instance in New York, New York has one order; Boston has a different order.

But this Seattle judge said, you know something, the rules about getting into the United States affect the entire United States. So -- and I find it's unconstitutional what the Trump CNN administration has done.

And we, for sake of uniformity of approach, I'm going to apply this to the entire United States. And technically he has the right to do so because he's a federal judge, he's not a local judge. But it's unusual. Usually federal judges don't do that.

KINKADE: And it was only a matter of time before the Trump administration responded, the White House calling the order "outrageous," vowing to defend it.

Can they succeed?

CALLAN: That's a great question. The Boston appellate court that looked at the order up there ruled in favor of the Trump administration. So, on balance, the Trump administration has some good arguments that they can bring to a higher court to say that this lower court judge made a mistake.

But the appellate court out on the West Coast, the Ninth Circuit Court, is a liberal court. And it's a court that might rule against the Trump administration. And if that happened, it will all wind up in the United States Supreme Court.

KINKADE: So what does it mean for the people caught up in this, people from those seven banned countries, who have valid visas?

Can they now travel here?

CALLAN: Well, I think this is a ray of hope for them. This judge said this is clearly unconstitutional and that the government cannot defend it adequately, that the case is so strong against it.

However, they would make a big mistake if they tried to board an airplane tomorrow just because this order has been issued. A higher court could overrule this tomorrow or the next day and they could be caught trapped in an airport again. SO I would wait until next week to see how this thing plays out.

KINKADE: And no doubt this may also be a ray of hope for refugees affected by this ruling.

CALLAN: No question about it because as a matter of fact, the judge in the ruling specifically dealt with the refugees and said that the provision restricting them was unconstitutional as well. So it is a ray of hope for refugees around the world.

KINKADE: And in terms of the politics, how does this play out for Trump?

For Trump supporters, this was a promise he made during the campaign. It looks like policy on the run. It seems to be his first major policy fiasco.

CALLAN: I think that you'll see Trump play this up as a fight between judges trying to make law and the President of the United States, who was elected democratically and he is going the say I was elected by the majority of the Electoral College, who want restrictions on immigration.

And a single federal judge shouldn't be able to stop that. So I think that's how the Trump administration will handle this.

KINKADE: Paul Callan, great to have your expertise and perspective on all of that. Thanks so much.

CALLAN: Thank you, Lynda.

KINKADE: The U.S. State Department and Homeland Security are trying to determine the effect of the suspension.

HOLMES: A lot of uncertainty; airlines are being told, though, to return to business as usual. Here's Rene Marsh.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Customs and Border Protection spoke with all of the U.S. major airlines and essentially told them that things are going back to the way they were prior to this executive order going into place.

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MARSH: On that call, I'm told by a source who was on that call, Customs and Border Protection also said that the government was starting the process of reinstating those visas.

How long will that process take?

How long will it be before people can show those visas and board planes?

That part is unclear. But that is the word given to all of these major U.S. carriers, that the government was starting this process of reinstating those visas that were revoked.

If you're a passenger who falls into this category, of course, you're watching this and you have no idea what this means for you.

All of that being said, based on all of the information about what was discussed on that conference call tonight between Customs and Border Protection and airlines, I would say that would mean, at some point, once their visas are reinstated, yes, they can come to the United States.

Again, that is based on the information that I have from that source, the guidance that CBP has given airlines.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Well, people in the regions directly affected by the travel ban are waking up to this latest news. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joining us now from Baghdad, Iraq.

Of course, one of the countries listed in the travel ban, Ben, I know you've been gauging reaction to the initial executive order and it wasn't good.

What do you expect Iraqis are going to feel about this court hearing, this court decision?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, apparently, the situation at Baghdad International Airport is normal. And there are no direct flights from Baghdad to the United States. So there's nothing to report from that the end.

Now, obviously, Iraqis have been watching very closely the contortions when it comes to this executive order, first hearing that green card holders cannot go to the United States; then they can go to the United States.

And this latest news regarding, for the moment, a federal judge overturning the entire executive order, I suspect people aren't going to be rushing to the airport; probably they'll be waiting until amateur hour is over and there's some sort of clear guidance from the United States because you have a variety of people here who do want to go to the United States.

There are those former translators and others who worked with the American Army, with the U.S. government here in Iraq, risked their lives. And some of them, as we've reported, have visas and their passports but waiting for that phone call. Others have applied, have been waiting for years, hearing nothing.

And then there's ordinary Iraqis, businessmen and others, who do have business in the United States. But I suspect they'll be holding off for the time being, despite this order from a federal judge.

HOLMES: Yes, it's been interesting over the last few days, as the Trump administration has been trying to back away from any suggestion that it's a Muslim ban.

But what do people there in Iraq tell you?

Do they buy that?

WEDEMAN: Well, you know, it's interesting because yesterday we were at a church, a Catholic church here in Baghdad, where some people expressed support for the ban because they don't want Iraqis to emigrate; certainly the Christian community is about a third of what it used to be before the U.S. invasion in 2003.

And one woman told me her daughter's in Germany; her son's in Sweden. She's all alone here in Iraq. She feels that Europe isn't much safer than Iraq. She wants her children to come home. And she wants the Americans to stop opening the door to a young -- the young generation of Iraqis who want to leave.

So you have a variety of opinion. Others do, in fact, see it as a Muslim ban. They see it as discriminatory and certainly, for Iraqis, people, a country that is an ally in the United States in the fight against ISIS -- and I know I've spoken ad nauseam about this -- they're particularly perturbed because this is a country that is fighting terrorism.

The prime minister, the president here have all said Iraq is a victim of terror.

So why is Iraq being victimized by this executive order?

HOLMES: Yes, you know, and as you reported and you know, a lot of us know, I mean, Iraq, of all the nations that were sort of rounded up, if you like, in this original order, Iraq has a particularly poignant view to make. It's been intertwined with the U.S. since 2003. They've lived through U.S. --

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HOLMES: -- involvement of one sort or another, be it fighting alongside or against. It's a country with a very particular view of all of this.

WEDEMAN: Yes, they look, for instance, at the fact that they've been lumped together with Syria and Iran, two countries that have a long and troublesome history with the United States.

Iraq, on the other hand, they will point out, that thousands and thousands of Iraqis have died in the war against terrorism and in the war against ISIS. And millions of people have been displaced as a result.

In terms of who's been victimized by ISIS, they certainly say they should be top of the list of victims and not the victims, as I said, of a executive order -- Michael.

HOLMES: Ben, thanks for that, Ben Wedeman on duty for us there in Baghdad. Appreciate it.

KINKADE: Well, there's been swift political fallout since the judge's ruling on that travel ban. How Democrats are seizing on the opportunity. That story just ahead.

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HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. We are live with breaking news. A new court ruling, knocking down U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban.

KINKADE: That's right. CNN has been following this story since it broke several hours ago, when a U.S. judge in Washington State temporarily halted the travel ban nationwide.

HOLMES: The Trump administration says it will challenge the ruling because it considers the travel ban unlawful; still, the judge's ruling basically resets to before Mr. Trump's executive order.

KINKADE: U.S. Customs and Border Protection told U.S. airlines it will begin reinstating U.S. visas to affected international travelers and allow refugees with valid U.S. visas to enter the United States.

Democrats praising the suspension on the ban; Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, "This ruling is a victory for the Constitution and for all of us who believe this un-American executive order will not make us safer."

HOLMES: He continued on, quote, "President Trump should heed this ruling and he ought to back off and repeal the executive order, once and for all."

KINKADE: CNN senior political analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein, joins me now.

Ron, great to have you with us and other bigwigs (ph) of the administration.

Firstly, your reaction to the court's ruling tonight on Trump's immigrant ban?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a really striking moment. And it really exemplifies, I think, the way the conflict in American politics has grown more complicated because what we saw here was a Democratic state going into federal court -- Democratic state attorney general going into federal court and basically taking a move against the Trump administration executive order that Democrats in Congress don't have any power to pursue.

It's a shockwave. It is not the end of the story.

There is going to be appeals through the appellate courts on the West Coast, probably on the East Coast. Ultimately the Supreme Court will have to decide if it can while it is divided 4-4 at this point.

KINKADE: And Ron, we're just two weeks into the Trump administration and we are seeing a radical shift already in foreign policy.

Instead of tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, a deal he called "the dumbest ever," he now looks to be reinforcing it; instead of warmer relations with Russia, he is now condemning the Kremlin and of course Israelis -- turned 360 on that as well -- 180, rather.

New settlements -- he was against the new settlements. He is now for them.

What should we make of these backflips?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think your misstatement there at a 360 is actually a preview. I don't think this zig is the last zag. I think the story of the Trump administration on foreign policy will be that it is somewhat improvisational.

Look, there is a North Star here. When he said he wants to be a president who advances the idea of America first, I think that is, in fact, his North Star and he is going to challenge much of the international rules-based order that the U.S. has constructed and led since World War II.

He said the other day he could, quote, "care less if the European Union dissolved." He has questioned the value of NATO. He's walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

I think that is the overall direction. But in the implementation on a kind of day-to-day and week-to-week, I think we're going to see a lot of zigging and zagging. And I think what you saw here was both Vladimir Putin in Ukraine and Benjamin Netanyahu with settlements took the original -- the initial statements of the Trump administration as perhaps even more of a green light than the administration was comfortable with. Now they are trying to dial that back.

But I think that the general direction that he set out of embracing Netanyahu and trying to melt the chill with Putin and be more accommodating toward him, I think ultimately he will get back there. This shows there are some limits, though.

KINKADE: And, Ron, looking at America's closest neighbor, Mexico, relations there seem to be getting worse. Trump reportedly threatening to send in U.S. troops.

Does he realize that, as commander in chief, those words, even if they're off the cuff, carry a great deal of weight?

BROWNSTEIN: I think he is clearly adjusting to the difference between being a candidate, whose stock in trade was being as outrageous as possible, and being the President of the United States, whose words move markets and send armies onto ships.

They of course dispute the characterization that he was threatening Mexico. They argue that he was offering to help Mexico.

But we don't really know. And there is significant reporting that goes toward the characterization that you cited. What I can tell you is in a new CNN poll today, broad opposition to this idea of building a wall across the Mexican border, support only relatively tepid among the core groups, in the Republican coalition, those working-class white voters, who are the foundation of his electoral victory, and opposition enormous on the other side of the ledger, among college- educated whites, among young people, among minorities, more Republicans in Congress raising questions about whether the cost- benefit analysis really plays out, whether the $12 billion to $15 billion it would cost to do this is really justified in terms of the impact at a time when we have had net zero undocumented migration from Mexico for several years.

KINKADE: Ron Brownstein, great to have you with us.

[02:25:00]

KINKADE: We appreciate your time today. Thanks.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

And we're going to have much more ahead on the court battle over President Donald Trump's ban.

KINKADE: I'll talk to one of our legal analysts about why the ban's suspension may increase the confusion about who will be able to enter the U.S.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

KINKADE: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Welcome, everyone.

We are, of course, following live breaking news: a big setback for President Trump's travel ban. A U.S. federal judge temporarily halting the order nationwide.

KINKADE: It had suspended travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority countries. Within the past few hours, the White House again defended its ban as legal and said it plans to fight the ruling as soon as possible.

HOLMES: The attorney general for Washington State spoke earlier with Anderson Cooper and explained what it took to file the order and why he did it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: The standard is very explicit to get a temporary restraining order. And it's not easy to get for all sorts of obviously reason. But part of the standard is we, the State of Washington, I had to show, to demonstrate that we were likely to prevail on the merits when the judge e eventually gets to that point. So the judge had to reach that conclusion that we are likely to

prevail on the merits. That is a high hurdle obviously a few days after filing a complaint. But the judge did conclude that in order to grant our motion for that temporary restraining order.

So that is just a part of the order today.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Why was this something that you filed?

[02:30:00] I mean, that Washington State -- obviously I assume there are a number of businesses in Washington, obviously Amazon and others, that...

I mean, did they play a role in this?

FERGUSON: They did. I guess, first, in terms of why I filed it, a couple thoughts.

Number one is, we are a nation of laws, right?

And I had a clear view, an opinion that the executive order was unconstitutional and my legal team agreed. And we moved very, very quickly, literally working around the clock -- and that is not an exaggeration -- around the clock since last weekend to prepare our complaint and our motion.

The reason I feel so strongly is the executive order of such a magnitude that the president signed just is a violation of our Constitution and different statutes and it impacts so many Washingtonians in such deeply personal ways.

Moreover, to your point about businesses, I deeply appreciate businesses like Expedia and Amazon here in Washington State that last weekend when I

reached out to them, quickly wrote declarations for our filing before the court in support.

And their motions -- their declarations, excuse me, go to issues of how this impacts their employees adversely and adversely impacts their business.

And so I think that helped us make our case that there is an adverse impact, not just to Washingtonians here in my state but also to businesses in my state as well.

COOPER: Obviously a lot of people are going to see this through a political lens, no matter what side of the aisle they're on. You are a Democrat but you are pointing out that the judge who has made this order tonight, he is a Republican, appointed by George W. Bush, right?

FERGUSON: That's correct. And one more thing I'll say about that is whenever folks say that this is a political thing, that's what someone says when they don't have an argument, honestly. And I'll just point out that I'm in my fifth year as attorney general of this state.

In the last four years, in my first term, I twice sued the Obama administration, things I don't do lightly. I deeply respect and admire the president. But that respect and admiration is irrelevant to my decision on whether to file a lawsuit against the federal government.

If they're violating the law in a constitutional way or unlawful way, it is my responsibility, Anderson, to defend the rights of Washingtonians. It does not matter who the president is. It does not matter if he or she is a Democrat or a Republican -- irrelevant.

And so folks who want to say this is political, A, they don't know what they are talking about and, B, they don't know my record and, C, they do not understand the Constitution.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos joins us now.

Danny, great to have you on the show. This seems to be throwing the whole immigration system into chaos.

What does this ruling mean?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's important to understand that this judge didn't strike down an executive order. All he did was issue a TRO, a temporary restraining order. But it's important to understand that the only thing a temporary restraining order does is preserve the status quo. It's like hitting the pause button.

But the standard that the litigants, that the plaintiff had to get, is very, very high in a case where they're seeking a temporary restraining order. You have to show likelihood, substantial likelihood, of success on the merits. And, in this case, that's exactly what the judge found.

Most lawyers will tell you that it's very difficult and rare to get these TROs granted. But, in this case, the judge, in a very short opinion, ruled that there was a substantial likelihood that they would prevail on the merits. And that's why he issued this stay, this temporary restraining order.

KINKADE: It has been argued that this immigrant ban is unconstitutional.

Has that case been made?

CEVALLOS: It's been made and very well made. The state here argued -- the State of Washington argued several constitutional claims. One was the equal protection clause, for example, the idea that any law that treats classes of people differently based on race, national origin, religion, is subject to strict scrutiny and likely unconstitutional.

Another tack is that this executive action violates the establishment clause. And they listed other federal laws it potentially violates as well. But the thorny issue is this: this very short written opinion by the

judge only essentially says I find substantial likelihood on the merits. It doesn't really address which of those merits. And for that reason, in the coming days, this actual opinion raises more questions than it answers.

KINKADE: So people caught up in this, people from those seven banned countries with valid visas, is there going to be a lot of confusion at the airports this weekend?

Should they try to travel to the U.S.?

And will they be welcome here?

CEVALLOS: There's a lot of confusion for everyone. And, as I said, the order, the actual written opinion, is really hot off the presses and rather inscrutable because it doesn't really give a lot of guidance.

It's one thing to read a legal --

[02:35:00]

CEVALLOS: -- justification in a court opinion. It's entirely another thing to take that piece of paper and start administrating it and actually putting it on the street and seeing how it plays out.

So I think this order is going to be open to interpretation because it's so short and really doesn't give a lot of guidance. It's going to create more battles than it resolves.

KINKADE: Certainly a lot of headaches for people involved. Danny Cevallos, good to have you with us. Thanks for your time.

CEVALLOS: Thank you.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, the Trump White House putting its personal stamp on both domestic and world affairs. We'll discuss coming up.

KINKADE: Plus, what renewed fighting in Ukraine means for Mr. Trump's ties with Russia. We'll go live to Moscow just ahead. Stay with us.

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HOLMES (voice-over): Welcome back, everyone.

President Donald Trump's pick for Army Secretary is withdrawing his nomination.

KINKADE: That's right. Vincent Viola says it would be too difficult for him to untangle his business ties. The billionaire from New York owns a U.S. hockey team and founded several companies. HOLMES: Viola says he is still offering his support, though, to Mr. Trump and the administration. But a bit of a surprise development there.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump quick to establish a new tone, of course, for American diplomacy which fits his personal style.

KINKADE: We are seeing much of the same at home in the U.S. Our Jim Acosta reports on all the action out of the Trump White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump delivered a brief but stern message to Iran from the Oval Office.

TRUMP: They're not behaving.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The Trump administration is backing that warning with new sanctions on Iran, hitting 25 individuals and companies connected to that country's ballistic missile program, punishment for Tehran's missile launch from last weekend. While officials --

[02:40:00]

ACOSTA (voice-over): -- caution the sanctions won't impact the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration, the White House is weighing its options.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: I think the president's been very clear, he doesn't take options off the table.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP COUNSELOR: Does he have the right to?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Insisted they agree with him.

CONWAY: Well, he has a right to form a team.

ACOSTA (voice-over): That tough rhetoric is competing with an embarrassing gaffe from a top spokesperson for the White House, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who tried to justify the administration's travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries in a mistake-filled moment on MSNBC.

CONWAY: I said it's brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program, after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: -- because it didn't get covered.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But here are the facts: President Obama did not ban the Iraqi refugee program. And there was never a Bowling Green massacre. In fact, in 2011, two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green,

Kentucky, were arrested on a series of terrorism charges.

Conway later clarified on Twitter, "Honest mistakes abound."

But critics are pouncing.

Hillary Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, slammed Conway for a completely fake Bowling Green massacre. "Please don't make up attacks."

Conway fired back, "I misspoke. You lost the election."

The pro-gun control Brady Campaign ripped Conway for promoting fake news about a shooting that never happened to justify the reprehensible actions of this administration.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIF.: Apparently, according to the Trump administration, fake news is synonymous with any bad press they get. So if they get bad press, it's fake. At the same time, they've seen -- they demonstrated a ready willingness to invent facts at will.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But the White House did embrace some real news, declining to quarrel with the Labor Department's new jobs numbers: a low 4.8 percent unemployment rate, cheered by the president as the sign of a strong economy.

TRUMP: And I think that it's going to continue big league. We're bringing back jobs.

ACOSTA (voice-over): That's a major departure from the campaign, when then-candidate Trump repeatedly blasted the unemployment rate as phony.

TRUMP: Don't believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 percent and 5 percent unemployment. The number's probably 28 percent, 29 percent, as high as 35 percent; in fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.

The unemployment number as you know is totally fiction.

ACOSTA (voice-over): And despite his campaign rhetoric promising to be tougher on Wall Street, President Trump today signed an executive order scaling back the financial regulatory reform known as Dodd- Frank.

TRUMP: We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank because, frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine, that had nice businesses they can't borrow money. They just can't get any money because the banks just won't let them borrow because of the rules and regulations and Dodd-Frank.

So we'll be talking about that here in the terms of the banking.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, Mr. Trump's calls for better ties between the U.S. and Russia are being put to the test. Violence has flared yet again in Eastern Ukraine. And the new U.S. ambassador to the U.N. slammed the Kremlin at her first Security Council appearance.

For more, including Mr. Trump's expected phone call with Ukraine's president, CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us now from Moscow.

Clare, Mr. Trump initially did mention that they might ease some of the sanctions against Russia; that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Lynda, I think it is interesting to know that a week ago, there were great hopes that the issue of sanctions might come up when President Putin spoke to President Trump on the phone.

But not a single mention of that word and throughout the week, you know, hopes, particularly on the Russian side, that sanctions might be lifted, repeatedly dashed.

There was even a moment when the Trump administration amended one of the sanctions that was brought in under the Obama administration. That was to allow U.S. companies -- they'd carved out a loophole, essentially, to allow U.S. companies to pay customs and trade duties to the FSB.

But even that very much played down on the U.S. side; President Trump saying that he was not easing anything. And of course then we heard those very harsh, very stern comments from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., saying that sanctions wouldn't be lifted until Crimea was returned to Ukraine.

So that was very much a pivot from the really pro-Russia comments that we've seen from Trump throughout the campaign.

But as for the Russian side, well, the Kremlin is very much trying not to overhype any of this, Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, telling us yesterday that he really never indulged in any serious optimism for an improvement in Russia-U.S. relations.

So they are really just watching at the moment and waiting to see what happens next -- Lynda.

KINKADE: And, Clare, in the coming hours, we know that the U.S. president will talk with the president of Ukraine.

What can we expect?

SEBASTIAN: Well, this will be absolutely crucial, Lynda. Of course it takes place against the backdrop of an increasing level of violence in Eastern Ukraine, unprecedented levels of cease-fire violations, according to international monitors.

[02:45:00]

SEBASTIAN: And this will be a very interesting relationship to observe. I think Ukraine will be slightly heartened by the comments,

particularly by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, this week, expressing U.S. support for Ukraine.

They might be looking for a higher level of support than they had originally anticipated. Certainly some of President Trump's comments during the campaign trail, particularly for example when he said he might consider recognizing the independence of Crimea, those were very worrying to Ukraine.

But this will be a particularly interesting relationship. I think many will be watching both Russia and in Europe to see how the U.S. continues to respond to the violence in Eastern Ukraine.

KINKADE: And talking of that violence there, what is the current situation right now?

Things seem to be getting worse.

SEBASTIAN: It's an extremely serious situation on the ground there in Eastern Ukraine, Lynda. As I said, unprecedented levels of cease-fire violations, according to international monitors from the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Ukrainian side saying yesterday that they saw the worst violence in the last 24 hours than they had seen in a year. Of course, we're two years on from the cease-fire agreement in Minsk. That brokered by France and Germany and that really seems to be hanging in the balance now. Casualties reported on both sides.

Civilian casualties that the humanitarian crisis unfolding there, which is what aid agencies like the Red Cross are warning, critical infrastructure has been knocked out. People are living, particularly in the flashpoint town of Avdiivka and parts of Donetsk, we're also seeing reports of -- that they're living without electricity and heating. And this is the middle of winter, freezing conditions.

So it's a high level of worry about the situation there on ground unfolding.

KINKADE: And in the midst of all of this, particularly Trump's turnaround from his position a week ago, what does this mean for relations between the Kremlin and Washington?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, I mean we've seen a lot of mixed messages over the last week, Lynda. I think everyone's really looking to see how things -- how the next steps unfold. I think Ukraine will be a major sticking point going forward.

But it's interesting to note that the Russian media is still holding onto some signs that there might be an improvement in relations. They talk about the fact that Nikki Haley did say she still wanted an improvement in relations between Russia and the U.S.

They talk about the fact that, as we know, that Nikki Haley and the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, met again on Friday in New York after that initial first appearance by Nikki Haley. And they talked, according to the Russian media, about working closely together at the U.N.

So certainly there's a lot riding on this and it's been a very turbulent week for this relationship.

KINKADE: Yes, To say the least.

All right, Clare Sebastian, I'll have to leave it there for now. Thanks so much for joining us.

HOLMES: And we'll have more on our breaking news coverage: the suspension of a U.S. travel ban from certain Muslim majority countries.

Plus, we talked to a group of voters about how President Trump is doing so far. And their answers may surprise you.

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[02:50:00]

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HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. We are following live breaking news. The White House saying it's going to challenge a judge's order suspending president Donald Trump's travel ban.

KINKADE: Huge protests erupted after Mr. Trump signed that immigration order a week ago. The White House got a boost Friday when a federal judge in Massachusetts refused to extend a restraining order against the ban on travel into the U.S. from seven Muslim majority countries.

HOLMES: But just hours later, another judge, this time in Washington State, temporarily froze the ban nationwide.

Now a group of women say this travel ban is one of the best things President Trump could have done for the United States.

KINKADE: In fact, they say everything so far has been great except for the media and the Democrats. And they speak to Martin Savidge. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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 (voice-over): These Arizona women love everything about President Donald Trump and can't understand it if you don't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody in this country is against anything he said he's going to do, I really worry about their judgment.

SAVIDGE: Has he made any slip-ups, blunders, any mistakes in your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at this point for me.

SAVIDGE: The people he's surrounding himself with, the cabinet choices?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Incredible people.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just incredible people.

SAVIDGE: But some wonder, is he moving too fast?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he's going to move forward quickly because he's going to do exactly what he said he was going to do. I don't think he's moving fast at all. I say keep on going.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): They see nothing wrong with the president but plenty wrong with everyone else, beginning with Democratic opposition in Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they showed up.

SAVIDGE: How is it different?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she's 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 (voice-over): Speaking of transparency...

SAVIDGE: What about the tweeting?

Should that have stopped? Or should he control it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it.

And you know what it does?

It leaves you out.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The "you" Eileen (ph) 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and you push and you push and you push. And you don't back off. And, frankly, I'm fed up with it.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's not the only thing these Trump voters are fed up with. They're also sick of the demonstrators, who they say can't accept that Hillary Clinton lost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get over it, move on. Let the man get to work and better our country. Stop with the protests.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Speaking of moving on, what's with Trump's seeming fixation on the inauguration crowd size?

[02:55:00]

SAVIDGE: Why was he bothered?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's fair for him to defend himself. That's all.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): And what about the president's claim of widespread voter fraud, for which he's offered no proof and officials say didn't happen?

SAVIDGE: Do you believe President Trump, when he says he thinks there were several million votes cast illegally?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And I'm really glad that he's checking that system out, just like he's checking out the immigration problem.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Trump's immigration executive order is another issue these supporters see differently, seeing the move not as discriminatory but rather about safety for Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, 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 (voice-over): But what about refugee children, who are now banned from reaching the safety of America?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lead with our emotions, this country's sunk. You can't lead with your emotions.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's not all gloom and doom, 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just touching and everybody -- it was a wonderful two or three hours. And everybody was just kind of like, yes, this is a transfer of power, peaceful. This is how America is.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, thanks so much for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes.

More of our breaking news coverage ahead with Cyril Vanier and Robyn Curnow. That'll do it for us, though. Do stay with CNN, the world's news leader.

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