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Circuit Court Denies Immediate Stay of Lower Court Ruling; Travel Ban Suspension Remains In Effect; Appeals Court: Request Denied To Restore Travel Ban; Trump: Better to Get Along With Russia Than Not. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 5, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: -- that doesn't mean I am going to get along with him. He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. Will I get along with him? I have no idea --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a killer, though. Putin is a killer?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There's a lot of killers. You think our country is so innocent?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's go back to this legal fight over President Trump's travel ban. We have with us CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett, joining us now. Laura, good morning to you. And explain what happened overnight.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, good morning. So the U.S. Justice Department filed an emergency motion in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just after midnight and they were asking to essentially press pause on the Seattle judge's decision that had temporarily halted the enforcement of several key provisions of President Donald Trump's executive orders, but just three hours later the Ninth Circuit said no.

The Federal Court of Appeals has denied the U.S. Justice Department's emergency request, and in a short order just early this morning instead the Court of Appeals is asking both sides to file legal briefs before it can make its final decision on the emergency motion.

Now what this means practically speaking is that the ruling by the federal judge in Seattle, Judge James Robart, that suspended the ban will remain in place for now.

BLACKWELL: For now.

JARRETT: For now.

BLACKWELL: All right, Laura Jarrett, thank you so much -- Christi. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So let's bring in CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, and immigration attorney, Jessica Stern. Thank you both for staying with us here.

Help me understand, first of all, to you, Danny, what evidence does the Department of Justice and President Donald Trump, what evidence did they need to make their argument successful?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They had a very high legal burden, and to understand we had to take a bit of a step back and understand what exactly is happening here. I mean, when you put it in perspective, there has been no adjudication on the merits.

The fact that the White House administration and the Department of Justice did not get a restraining order on the restraining order, it doesn't mean they lose. If you take -- if you go back to the district court, that was not even an adjudication on the merits

That was a hitting the pause button until they are going to have a hearing on the preliminary injunction, which itself isn't permanent. So this is an appeal of something in permanent with something that's even less permanent.

So I mean, these briefs that are filed have these good legal arguments, but none of them are truly being ruled upon because all the Appeal's Court is deciding is whether or not to stay the stay at the lower court level. We are very far away from the actual hearing on the merits.

WHITFIELD: All right, so Jessica, what would you expect to be in the briefs that the Washington attorney generals will submit?

JESSICA STERN, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: This appeal process is going to involve really what the emergency is at this state, because the reason why the federal court issued the halt on the ban in the first place is because the state of Washington showed that right now immediately there is an effect on people who are being banned into the country and how that affects the state of Washington.

But the issue is going to be whether or not the government can show that it, in fact, has an immediate harm and that the country will face an immediate harm if this restraining order is not also restrained from enforcement.

So it's tricky because it's moving so fast and the reason why we are following this so closely is because it has such an immediate impact on people's lives at the very moment, and the government will have to show that instead the harm that the country faces by not being able to exclude certain people based on national security interest is equally at risk or even more so.

PAUL: OK, Laura, I want to ask you about a timeline (inaudible), but Danny, I want to ask you about something that is in the Department of Justice appeal. They are essentially arguing that, look, there's classified information out there that we can't share to you to prove what we are saying about dangerous people come into this country. How do you counter that?

CEVALLOS: It's a compelling argument because you can anticipate the state of Washington saying, well, this information isn't part of the record at the district court level, so whatever this classified information is, is sort of a last-minute effort to try and get a stay on the district court's stay.

I think the state of Washington will stick to its main arguments, which without addressing necessarily too strongly the argument of national security, they will stick to their guns of the equal protection clause and the establishment clause and the due process.

[06:05:09]These are all constitutional claims in addition to federal statutory claims, which on some level at the district court level without a lot of explanation did persuade that judge to believe, the plaintiffs, the state of Washington had a substantial likelihood of success. They didn't say that they win. It wasn't an adjudication on the merits. It's just a pause on the state of affairs.

PAUL: OK, so Laura, because it is a pause on the state of affairs, and because as we understand it, they are asking for these briefs by Monday afternoon, is it safe to assume that people are free to travel at least up until that point?

JARRETT: Well, that's at least what we are understanding from the advocates who are representing people who are getting on planes right now. We saw a flurry of e-mails going out yesterday from advocacy groups saying, now is your time. The judge has halted the travel ban, you should get on a plane.

If you have a legal visa or some other, you know, legal authorization to be here you should get on a plane right now is what we heard from advocacy groups.

And we have to remember there's still a New York court order in federal district court there that adds an extra layer of protection, so if somebody came over right now and landed at JFK, they can't be deported under that court's order.

PAUL: OK, but let me ask you this, then, and I'm going to send this to you, Jessica. If somebody flies into the country, and everything turns around, will they be forced -- how safe are they at the end of the day? If somebody is able to fly into the U.S. during this window, and even when something is decided in the courts, will those people, because they are here, be able to stay based on the visas they were initially submitted?

STERN: Some may and some may not. That was a large part of the government's argument in their brief filed late last night, that, you know, the government -- the executive branch does have the -- really have the supreme authority on deciding who can enter the country and who cannot.

And so ultimately, if there's a decision that their visa is cancelled, there's no judicial review of that usually unless there is some other constitutional violation involved which is the basis of what we are talking about today.

So some people may not have enough of a permission for being here in the United States that's strong enough for some sort of judicial protection, if it was maybe a temporary entry into the U.S.

But absolutely if people have more long-term residence here in the U.S., or if they had already been admitted prior to this time that they are on the plane, the constitution applies to them if they had previously been admitted on that visa. So some people will and some people may not.

PAUL: I want to listen to the thoughts of law professor, Alan Dershowitz, here because he says it's all a sticky situation. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR OF LAW EMERITUS HARVARD: What's odd is for a stay to be granted so quickly based on so superficial an opinion. The judge's opinion in this case from Washington is extremely superficial.

It doesn't really go into the merits of the constitutional issues very well. He made a statement from the bench saying that this doesn't protect us at all, and that's not the job of the judge.

The judge isn't an expert in national security, the national security advisers are. So I think we are seeing over broad generalizations both from the president and the judge. This is not the finest hour of American legal history from any point of view.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Danny, what is your reaction to that?

CEVALLOS: It's hard to disagree with Professor Dershowitz. We are on the same program when he made some of his comments (inaudible) and one of the things in the absence of legal justification in the district court's opinion in Washington, and I think that's problematic.

But on the other hand, you know, that judge probably was thinking, look, it's not my job in deciding a TRO to decide the merits, therefore my job is limited, I am to find whether or not there's a substantial likelihood of success and he did that.

The problem going forward is that it doesn't give us a whole lot of guidance at the Ninth Circuit level or going forward about which constitutional or statutory claims were persuasive and which were not.

So now the courts that are reviewing this will be doing so in a way with fresh eyes, although they have to give deference to the lower court's decision.

[06:10:03]PAUL: All righty, so Laura, looking ahead, what do you expect? JARRETT: Well, I think we should see some legal filings later tonight. The Court of Appeals has ruled that the state attorney general in Washington is going to have to submit a brief at 11:59, so it will be another whirlwind for us.

And then the following day, on Monday, we will see a brief from the United States government again explaining its reasoning, and then there will likely be a hearing held by the Ninth Circuit.

PAUL: All righty, Jessica, last thoughts?

STERN: We are in an interesting time where our president and the courts are in active disagreements and we will see ultimately how the separation of powers is respected in our country and where we are headed next.

PAUL: All righty, Danny Cevallos, Jessica Stern, Laura Jarrett, thank you all so much for being here. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: All right, so we have learned from that conversation that it is too soon to claim a legal victory by one side or the other, but what about a political victory? Our political reporters and insiders are coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: All right, we're following the breaking news this morning, the Appeals Court has denied the Justice Department's initial request to immediately restore the president's travel ban. That means that the president's travel ban will remain blocked for now.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has asked both sides to file more information asking by 11:59 tonight for the attorneys general of the states of Washington and Minnesota to respond to what we saw from the DOJ yesterday, and then by 3:00 p.m. on Monday for the DOJ to offer support for their request to lift the block of the travel ban.

[06:15:04]Let's discuss this now. I want to bring in Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent with the "Washington Examiner," Paris Dennard, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, and A. Scott Bolden, former chairman of the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party. Good morning to all of you.

First, I want to go to you, Sarah, and with the question that I ended the last segment with, and too early to determine if there's a legal victory here. Is there a political victory for one side or the other?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": I mean, this does seem like a situation where the Trump administration has lost the battle, but they could still win the war. But clearly this is not an ideal situation for the Trump administration because every day that this executive order remains in legal limbo, the White House is losing ground politically.

Their credibility is being eroded, to make the argument that this is a lawful act. So even if a judge takes their side three weeks down the road, that's a lot of time that the order has remained in limbo.

That Democrats and the opposition have the upper hand in arguing that their argument that the order oversteps the authority of the president and is unconstitutional. They are picking up steam every day that this order remain suspended.

BLACKWELL: Paris, a de facto defeat, what do you think?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this incident does give sort of a political victory to President Trump because it reinforces the theme that was played on the campaign trail in which a lot of Republicans talk about, which is the idea that there are activist judges on the bench.

With the appointment of the new Supreme Court justice who is more in line with the type of judge that Justice Scalia was, it helps the president and the president's agenda by saying, look, there are judges out there who are overreaching.

This should have been limited to the states by which brought the suit and not the entire nation, and so we have a judge who is acting broadly and outside of the scope and we have to put an end to this type of judicial activism by appointing judges who are strict constructionist.

So I think that it is a victory in the sense of the political aspects of politics versus the judicial branch.

BLACKWELL: Scott?

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, WASHINGTON, D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Yes, Victor, you know there are no political victories in the law, if you will, as you know, I'm a lawyer. The activist judges, that's really interesting that Paris would bring that up because Anthony Scalia was one of the most activist judges out there whether he was a strict constructionist or not.

I think what you're seeing here is that the judiciary will be the buffer now for the political (inaudible) of Donald Trump for his political campaign, political facts and what have you.

And maybe the politics isn't Democrat or Republican responses to this travel ban, but it will be judiciary that will act as the buffer in pushing back Donald Trump's political aspirations.

Watch the Ninth Circuit that a lot of conservative as well as liberal judges there, but 11 out of 12 judges have rejected this travel ban and the Ninth Circuit rejected an immediate restoration to it because they want more briefing.

It doesn't look good for the Trump administration, but watch this go to the Supreme Court. Remember, we still only have eight justices. This is carry over on and no political victory one way or that other at this point. BLACKWELL: All right, so let's go into this request from the Department of Justice. Let's put up a graphic number three, guys. I want to read to you from the DOJ's appeal, they are asking to immediately block this pause on the ban.

And they write this, "Unlike the president, courts do not have access to classified information about the threat posed by terrorist organizations operating in particular nations, the efforts of those organizations to infiltrate the United States or the gaps in the vetting process."

So back to you, Scott, the argument here is that this judge could not have made an appropriate decision on whether or not this ban was useful or appropriate because to paraphrase the former secretary of defense, "the unknown of unknowns," he doesn't know what he doesn't know about these countries?

BOLDEN: But the judiciary system operates on the facts and the law, and while there may be a threat there, the federal government has to show an immediate threat and harm if you don't have this travel ban in place. These seven countries that have been targeted by the federal government, none of them have individuals, who have caused any harm to U.S. citizens here, one.

And more importantly -- because there's no imminent harm there, the government is not going to be able to show the results of that, unless you are going to go into a review of national security issues, which the federal judiciary (inaudible) them to do that.

The government put this ban in place. They have to own it and defend it because right now it's indefensible according to the most recent federal judge's decisions.

[06:20:07]The other thing I want to point out to you is Donald Trump, he is attacking these judges and that's going to be a problem because he is attacking judicial independence and the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court are not going to like any of that.

BLACKWELL: All right, Scott, Paris, Sarah, stay with us. We'll take a quick break. We'll continue the conversation on the other side of this break.

President Trump also praising President Putin in a new interview, and we'll talk about that in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Our panel is back on the breaking news. We have Sarah Westwood, A. Scott Bolden and Paris Dennard with us. Paris, I want you to listen to a portion of my conversation with Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Charlie Dent about this executive order about the travel ban.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The threats can come from anywhere, not simply these seven countries, although, it's true there are real problems in those seven countries and others in the Islamic world that we have to contend with. So I say, let's take a broader perspective. It seems that the order in my view was overly broad, rushed and not properly considered and vetted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: We have seen some separation here from Congressman Dent. We've also seen that there were protests yesterday in Janesville, Wisconsin, near the home of the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. What are you expecting will be the response as this protracted fight over this executive order continues?

DENNARD: Well, look, there's always going to be differences of opinion even within the diversity of the Republican Party. We are not a monolithic group and so you will have Republicans who may disagree with the tactics or the rollout of certain things just like there were Democrats who disagree with the rollout or didn't like the rollout of Obamacare.

[06:25:07]So what we're going to find is that we are going to let the judicial system run its course, but at the end of the day, I believe Republicans are unified and the intent behind this temporary restriction, which is the seven countries were identified by the past administration and the Congress.

And that the president has been given broad authority through -- by Congress to do things such as this temporarily restriction, and so they understand that, and I think that is why the Republicans are going to, at the end of the day, support what is going on but may disagree with some of the tactics and the rollout of the measure.

BLACKWELL: It is noteworthy that this is happening so early in the president's administration. We are just about two weeks in. Sarah, to you now, what do you make this claim in this DOJ appeal that the president has unreviewable authority in this area?

WESTWOOD: Well, clearly, the president has a wide latitude to deal with national security issues, but also issues of immigration. I mean, keep in mind that President Obama also faced robust court challenges to some of his immigration-related executive orders were called the DAPA, was effectively blocked by a deadlocked Supreme Court.

And 26 states challenged that immigration-related executive order compared to just five that is challenging President Trump's order. Now you are right that it's significant that this is happening so early in Trump's administration.

And political temperatures are so much higher right now, Democrats are very, very viscerally opposed to this order, and you are seeing that manifested in all of these protests around the world that peoples' temperatures are very high on this issue.

And so even though the court challenge is much smaller in the case of Trump's executive order, it's having a much larger political effect.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's shift to another story here. I want you to listen to President Trump in a new interview with Fox News. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you respect Putin?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I do respect him because --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you, why?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I respect a lot of people but that does not mean I will get along with him. He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. Will I get along with him, I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin is a killer, though?

PRESIDENT PUTIN: There are a lot of killers. Why you think our country is so innocent?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Scott, when you hear that, you think what?

BOLDEN: I think he is legitimizing and rationalizing killers and comparing America to Russia whereby Russia and Putin are certifiable killers and verifiable killers without naming what he means by America. This is the commander-in-chief. He is supposed to be defending America and he is comparing America to the very bad acts and heinous acts committed by Putin and his administration over the years that have been verified.

BLACKWELL: And so Paris, when you hear that, and you put that into the context of what we've seen and heard from Senator John McCain, who has called Putin a killer and a thug, I don't expect that the senator would have assumed that the president then have said we've got killers, too. How did you receive those comments from President Trump?

DENNARD: Well, with all due respect to the senator, he's not the president of the United States so they have a lot of latitude in what they can say and do because they don't have the same type of responsibility as the president.

What I heard was the president trying to be as diplomatic as he can in engaging with world leaders. He is trying to restore a relationship with Russia. He is trying to restore the credibility of our country across the world.

And I think what happens is the media and some of these anchors like Bill O'Reilly are trying to needle the president to get him to say something that is going to go against any type of world leader to derail his diplomacy.

I believe his response was one of him trying to be as diplomatic as possible acknowledging the fact that yes, you can call Putin, quote, "a killer," which is a very broad statement without any facts or proof or specific reference, and say, you know, there are actually killers in this country as well, and so you cannot cast the first stone. Look at the needle in my eye before you go pluck it out of his eye.

BOLDEN: Who are the killers in America? Donald Trump wants to drive this narrative and you want to blame the media and others and the Democrats. We have verified information that Putin is a killer and a thug. What are you talking about?

This is the easy of the Trump presidency and the danger of Trump presidency is the danger of Trump supporters that defend this nonsense when you have a narrative where you compare Russia and the bad acts they committed with America without supporting and defending America, and that's coming from the commander-in-chief.

DENNARD: That's not true. It was a directive -- it was a direct statement about Putin not the whole entire country. It was about Putin being a killer and he said there are killers in this country. There is a difference. He was not saying that all of America, the America as a country are killers.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We can't hear both of you at the same time.

(CROSSTALK)

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, WASHINGTON D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: ... American killers.

BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it right there. Scott Bolden, Paris Dennard, Sarah Westwood, thank you all.

DENNARD: Thank you.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right -- Christi.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're following breaking news this morning. We have heard from the Ninth Circuit Court and the president's travel ban is still blocked, at least for the time being. But what is next in this legal battle over this controversial executive order? We're going to explain that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: It's so good to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

We're following breaking news this morning. An appeals court has denied the Justice Department's request to immediately resume President Trump's travel ban.

PAUL: Now here's what we understand that means. This is a ban that is still in place, still intact, at least for the time being. Overnight the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asked both sides, both Washington attorneys general and the Department of Justice to file legal briefs before the court, can make any further decisions on this motion.

We want to get an analysis on the ruling from Danny Cevallos, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, as well as Jessica Stern, criminal and immigration defense attorney.

So, Danny, first of all, based on what has happened overnight, where does it stand -- where do things stand for people trying to get into this country right now?

[06:35:08]

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, procedurally (ph) in the court it stands that the stay on the travel ban stays exactly where it is. So it would seem that if you are going to travel, now is the moment because things are changing by the hour.

As you said these briefs were filed and the motion was denied overnight. People are waking up to find that significant developments have happened in the last few hours, so there's always the possibility that somebody could get on a plane and things could change while they are mid flight and the nation is in a different status when they land. However, given the appellant court has denied the motion for the immediate stay at least for the next few days or so the status quo probably be maintained.

PAUL: Jessica, do you see this expanding all the way to the Supreme Court when all is said and done?

JESSICA STERN, CRIMINAL AND IMMIGRATION DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It most likely will, Christi. We are dealing with issues of constitutionality and separation of powers and whether or not the executive branch can issue such limiting and restrictive orders on peoples' ability to travel and come to the United States. And so very likely this will be decided by the Supreme Court, especially because there are so many different circuits that have had conflicting orders, as we have seen.

PAUL: We are seeing something here that we obviously have never seen before, a president tweeting in the last 23 hours, I believe -- 22 or 23 hours, President Trump has tweeted no less than 10 times, most of those tweets about this. Some of them disparaging the judge in this case in Washington, calling him a "so-called judge." To that we've gotten reaction from Senator Patrick Leahy who said, "He seems intent on precipitating a constitutional crisis. And now he is attempting to bully and disparage yet another federal judge."

Danny, do these tweets have any repercussions for the president or is it just how things are done in his administration?

CEVALLOS: It seems that -- I mean, this is a preview -- this is exactly how things are done, but it concerns me because what the president says has a lot of meaning, and it has more meaning than when Mr. Trump was president-elect or candidate, because it's essentially the executive branch, when you call an Article III judge a "so-called judge," that is a judge dually appointed for life. And for that reason to call him a "so-called judge" -- and I -- and I imagine Mr. Trump would say he's just being glib, but at the same time when you're the president those words have a lot of significance and it calls into question whether or not this judge is a validly appointed judge, which by all every indication of course he is.

PAUL: Let's talk about people actually getting on planes and coming here in this window of opportunity, I guess we would call it, as far as -- I know you have been able to clarify for us, most likely will last until Monday afternoon when briefs are expected from both of the entities here.

We have just gotten a response from one of the refugee agencies. And this is what they are saying, Jessica, "We encourage all travelers from the seven affected countries to rebook travel to the United States immediately while the stay of executive order remains in place and visas are valid." That guidance appears in a press release from the International Refugee Assistance Project, is where that's coming from.

But would you give that same guidance to somebody who is holding a valid visa and wants to come to the United States to get on that plane now, and how safe are they from being deported once they get here, if they're here and this obviously continues to move forward, the legalities of it, and things might change?

STERN: I absolutely would advice that if a person has a visa to get on a plane and come to the United States now, Christi.

It's important to remember that the people that have been affected in this last week are people who have had their visas approved in a period of time prior to now. I mean, these are not people who are going to the consulate, the U.S. embassy in different countries across the world and just applying for the first time. The people who have been affected in the last week have had their visa application vetted, have been approved already and their travel plans and their ability to enter the United States is what at issue at this point. So, yes, they should come to the United States. Many of these people have already been admitted to the United States and they may have just been away on temporary travel and have been restricted from coming back in.

[06:40:00]

It's important that they're able to get back to their lives and the reasons why their visas were granted in the first place.

PAUL: And we should point out they're not just refugees and migrants. They're tourists. They're business professionals. They're students. So a lot to consider here no doubt about it.

Danny Cevallos, Jessica Stern, we appreciate your insight so much. Thank you. BLACKWELL: And let me give you one more element of this breaking news.

We've just received, before we go to break -- we've just received from the U.S. embassy official in Baghdad that the United States has determined that it is in the -- quote -- "National interest of the country to allow Iraqi special immigrant visa holders to travel into the United States."

Now, if you don't know what those are, those are issued to Iraqis who worked with the United States government or the military as translators or interpreters. And you will remember, since the signing of this executive order, even people in Washington who supported the merits of this executive order questioned why there was no exception issued for those people who worked with the government.

So now even as the government continues to argue that this ban should be put in place, there will be this exception in the national interests, the words that they use here, for those holders of the Iraqi special immigrant visas, about 50 of those are given out per year. As we get more we will give it to you.

A quick break. We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: All right. It's almost time, almost time now for kickoff of Super Bowl LI.

PAUL: Some (ph) of (ph) you (ph) not (ph) yet (ph). Andy Scholes is though. He's ready for the whole thing, and in a sense, I understand, Matt Ryan kind of already won in a sense.

[06:45:03]

I know he's going to talk about that. Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, that's not -- yes, good morning, guys. That's not the trophy Matt Ryan wants.

Now, I got to tell you it's a beautiful morning here in Houston -- actually, I'm kidding. It's rainy and it's gloomy and it's supposed to be thunderstorms all day, but luckily for all of us NRG Stadium has a nice roof on it so the game will not be affected whatsoever.

Now, big story line for this year Super Bowl of course has been the quarterback (INAUDIBLE). Matt Ryan trying to win his first Super Bowl. And you got Tom Brady looking for a record. The team is doing one last walkthrough at the stadium yesterday.

You see there Brady with Gisele by his side as they were at -- inside the stadium. And later on Instagram Brady posting this really cool picture of he and his dad kissing his mom. Now, earlier in the week Brady -- you know, he got emotional when talking about his mom that she's been dealing with a health issue for the last 18 months. And that she hasn't been able to go to a game all season. She's in Houston. She'll be at the game later today.

Earlier this week, Brady and Ryan -- well, they spoke about what it would mean to them to win the Super Bowl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: I think it's just special because it's this year. I mean, it's -- every year is different. The fact that I have been able to do it before it just means I've been part of some really great teams and this team is trying to be one of those really great teams. That finishes the job.

MATT RYAN, FALCONS QUARTERBACK: This is what you dream about as a kid is playing in a game -- playing in this game and, you know, winning this game. That's -- that's, you know, where your thoughts are when you are in your backyard and you are 10 years old and playing with your brothers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: And Matt Ryan did bring home some early hard wares. He was named this season's NFL MVP last night. It's the first MVP award for Ryan. But maybe a bad sign for the Falcons. Since 2001, MVP's are 0- 7 in the Super Bowl. We'll find out if Falcons can stop that trend later today. Kick off for Super Bowl LI that's for 6:30 Eastern.

Now, I've been walking around Houston all week asking people, who you got Patriots or Falcons? I stopped by Super (INAUDIBLE) Leigh Steinberg's 30th Annual Super Bowl Party yesterday to get expert picks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Who do you have on Sunday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patriots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like Atlanta.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the best quarterback is going to win, whoever plays the best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I hope it's a 45-43 game.

SCHOLES: You're not leaning either way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare against a defense is not really fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said (ph) plain (ph) out (ph) the Patriots win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will go with my guy (INAUDIBLE) and I'll go with the Falcons that.

SCHOLES: Who gets gold?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). I don't know. I don't want to say because it's like -- it's mean.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: I heard a lot more Patriots this week than Falcons, guys, but one better actually put $1.1 million that the Falcons would over the three-point spread, so I guess for their sake, you know, root for the Falcons.

PAUL: Wow.

BLACKWELL: A million dollars. All right.

PAUL: I'll root for (ph) Falcons if we can share it, 1.1. All right. Andy, thank you so much.

Up next on your NEW DAY SNL's Alec Baldwin is back with his impersonation of Trump.

BLACKWELL: Yes. This time with his chief strategist Steve Bannon by his side tag teaming late night phone calls with foreign leaders.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:51:49]

PAUL: Well, you know, when we are on this shift and we're getting up at 2:00 in the morning, we miss it.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we do.

PAUL: And maybe you did too because you are out and about. Alec Baldwin reprising his role as President Trump on last night's "Saturday Night Live."

BLACKWELL: Yes. He kicked off the show with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon portrayed as the grim reaper by his side, but it was actress Melissa McCarthy's surprised appearance the drew the most laugh. She played Sean Spicer, the press secretary there at the White House, appears to lose his mind on members of the press.

Here talking about it is CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter.

Brian, I look at this Melissa McCarthy impersonation and when I first saw it was like Charlie Brown. That what she reminds me of with this makeup on. It's Charlie Brown. But she's doing a really good Sean Spicer.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You have to admire the casting directors of SNL. I don't know who thought of this to bring on Melissa McCarthy, but this was the first time they portrayed Sean Spicer since the new administration took over. And don't take it from me some SNL veterans -- T.V. writers like Bill Carter who studied this show for decades said this could be the best political sketch SNL has ever had. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Before we begin, I know that myself and the press have gotten off to a rocky start. All right, all right, all right, all right. When I said -- when I said rocky start I mean it in the sense of "Rocky" the movie because I came out here to punch you in the face, and also I don't talk so good.

Now I'd like to begin today by apologizing on behalf of you to me for how you have treated me these last two weeks, and that apology is not accepted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: When I read it with her, I thought how are they going to do that?

BLACKWELL: Chewing gum and taking names. What else did we see on the show?

STELTER: You know, SNL is really going for broke. You know, these left-leaning writers for sure have a lot to say about Trump and Steve Bannon. So Alec Baldwin was back last night playing Trump, and there's an interesting take on Steve Bannon -- watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Hey, Steve, I'm getting too worked up. Maybe I should stop.

MIKEY DAY AS STEVE BANNON: Or maybe you should call Germany.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: OK.

KATE MCKINNON AS ANGELA MERKEL: Hello, is this my sweet Barack? Barack Obama, I miss you.

BALDWIN: No, it's Donald Trump.

MCKINNON: Oh, gross. Hi, Donald. Are all of your people still protesting?

BALDWIN: Yes, everyone is marching in the street. They are so upset about how bad "The Apprentice" has gotten.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

STELTER: Pretty close to own that joke given Trump's tweets about "The Apprentice" and Arnold Schwarzenegger this week. You know, SNL continues to mime the president's tweets and comments

also verbatim sometimes to make -- to make laughs about him. Also a joke about Australia. He has called Australia say -- Australia sucks, your reef is failing. So, SNL certainly bringing it and Steve Bannon of course his chief strategist has talked about -- joked about being Darth Vader. He has really played up this idea that he is the Darth Vader character.

[06:55:03]

Kind of like Dick Cheney 15 years ago, so there is some element of that SNL is really taking to the next level by having Skeletor out there.

PAUL: So (INAUDIBLE) you would think we may be seeing a lot more of Melissa McCarthy.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: She was just so fantastic. I don't know anything that she doesn't do well. And Alec Baldwin, I mean, I think for a time there were people who thought this going to be short-lived, but maybe not so much, Brian?

BLACKWELL: Yes.

STELTER: That's right. Remember when Alec Baldwin signed up to play Trump it was for the debates basically, for the fall, and the idea was maybe after November it wouldn't be much use for a Trump character. Of course, Baldwin was surprised like many other people the election results, and now this show this kind of famous satire show which is tougher on Republicans than on Democrats usually finds itself having to come up with new characters, in this case Melissa McCarthy.

But, yes, I do think we will probably see her return later this season.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Brian Stelter.

BLACKWELL: Brian Stelter, thank you so much. And be sure to catch "RELIABLE SOURCES" with Brian Stelter starts at 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: You know, we appreciate you keeping us company especially this early in the morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And we have a lot more ahead on the next hour of your NEW DAY.

More on the breaking news, new details and fresh analysis after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: Good morning. So grateful to have your company. I am Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I am Victor Blackwell. Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.

The breaking news, no travel ban for now. Overnight an appeals court denied the Justice Department's request to immediately restore President Trump's travel ban.

PAUL: Instead the court wants both sides, the Washington attorneys general and the Trump administration to file legal brief before they make any further decisions on this.