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NY Attorney General Refuses to Step Down; White House Fence Jumper Arrested; How GOP Can Get Obamacare Bill Passed; Issa Faces Tough Town Hall over Health Care; Experiencing Utah's Olympic Park; ACLU, Civil Rights Groups File Lawsuit Against Travel Ban. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 11, 2017 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: First, start with the U.S. attorney general from Manhattan who is refusing to step down.

Let me bring in CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, in New York.

So, Paul, now, Preet Bharara was told back in November that that the president-elect asked him to stay on the job. And now, the attorney general told 44 of the remaining 46 U.S. attorneys general to pack it up and leave. And now, Preet Bharara is saying, no, fire me. What do you suppose happened?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYT: It's very, very strange. The president has the right to replace all U.S. attorneys. It's been done in the past. Bill Clinton got rid of 93 of them when he came into office. But to have had a meeting with him and to say to him I'm probably going to keep you on the job and then to reverse is a big deal.

Now, this is what I think is going on. You have to remember, that Preet Bharara came to prominence as a result of working for Chuck Schumer. He was counsel to him before he was U.S. attorney for the southern district. And with all of these investigations now going on, and with Schumer turning so definitively against Trump, I suspect that Preet's background maybe has been of concern to the president-elect.

I would also add a second thing. With this investigation about the Russian wiretaps and whether the Trump Tower was wiretapped, the southern district of New York, which is where the U.S. attorney for the southern district, Preet Bharara, presides, is going to be front and center in this. I think Trump has decided he wants his own person, not somebody recommended by Chuck Schumer.

WHITFIELD: So, you see a real direct correlation.

Let me bring in CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett.

Laura, you've been doing some digging on this as to what changed in the, what, four or so months now since Preet said so definitively he would be staying on at the request of the president-elect.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER (voice-over): That's right. We're trying to figure out what changed because Bharara was put out in front of the cameras and was telling everybody that he was going to stay on. And so now, the question is, what changed in those intervening moments. We know that he has decided not to submit a letter of resignation. We have not heard back from the White House. The White House referred us to the Justice Department and we're waiting to hear back.

WHITFIELD: Here's the moment we're talking about last November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PREET BHARARA, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The president-elect asked, presumably because he's a New Yorker and is aware of the great work of our office, to discuss whether or not I'd be prepaid to stay on as United States attorney to do the work as we have done it independently without fear or favor for the last seven years. We had a good meeting. I said I would absolutely consider staying on. I've spoken to Senator Sessions, who is the nominee to be attorney general. He also asked that I stay on. So I expect I'll be continue the work at the southern district of New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, Laura Jarrett, back on the phone with us now.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, there are 93 attorneys general in all across the country. Half of them have transitioned out, and that's nothing unusual when you have u a change of administration. These remaining 44 that were given this abrupt notice, that's what many in the law community are criticizes that abrupt nature. Can you give us more detail as to how many of them were notified on Friday? If they were formally notified or, if it is the case, that many learned that their jobs -- they were asked to resign because they had news reports.

JARRETT: That's exactly right. We are hearing that some found out about it from the news, but some found out about it from the Justice Department. They were informed from the acting assistant attorney general, Dan Boente, that they were being asked to resign. And I should put in context that this is not unheard of. This has happened before. President Clinton asked U.S. attorneys to resign as well back in the '90s. But in this case, it was the way it was done. Sources are telling us that the rug was pulled out from underneath them and they were given no notice and were told to clean out their desks -- some were told, I should say, that very day.

WHITFIELD: Do we know how Preet Bharara was informed or learned?

JARRETT: We are still looking into that, Fredricka. We're still learning more information just this hour on exactly what happened there.

WHITFIELD: OK, Laura Jarrett, Paul Callan, thanks. Appreciate it. We'll check back with you.

Another breaking story, that security breach at the White House, a pretty big deal. An intruder scaling a fence and making it all the way to a residential entrance. This all happening while President Trump was inside. Officials say a man carrying a backpack was arrested by the south entrance to the executive residence before midnight after being discovered by a U.S. Secret Service officer. The White House was placed under security condition orange, one of the highest levels of security for the Secret Service.

Let's get the latest developments now from CNN's Athena Jones at the White House. And also with me is Tom Fuentes, CNN senior law enforcement analyst.

Athena, let me begin with you. This is very significant when you hear a Secret Service officer ran into, essentially bumped into this intruder who was able to allegedly scale a fence, get on the property before being arrested?

[13:05:56] ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a huge deal. A big concern because this is someone who was able to get to the door of the south portico, the opposite side of the building from the north portico that you can see behind me. This suspect had a backpack. It turns out the backpack was examined and there were no hazardous materials found. But the fact this intruder was able to scale at least one fence, possibly several more, according to the police report, and get as close as he did to the residence, only a couple hundred feet from the president's bedroom while the president was here, this is going to be closely examined because they want to get to the bottom of this.

As we've been saying, it is not unheard of to have these fence-jumping situations. You may remember back in 2014, when a man was able to scale this front fence, get through the north portico to the front door of the White House and make it into the East Room. That man had a knife in his pocket. So this is a concern and it has been a concern for years for Secret Service, and now to see this suspect was able to get as close as he did and be apprehended -- and it looks as though this Secret Service agent bumped into him and was able to apprehend him. They're going to looking at this breakdown of security and try to figure out to avoid it.

WHITFIELD: Right. And that detail, according to our Jeff Zeleny, who had his hands on the police report, that indicated that the Secret Service person ran into him and was able to make the apprehension.

At the time, Athena, the president was in the White House. There was no contact between him and the suspect. And now, the president is golfing in Virginia.

But, Tom, as we learn more information - Jim Acosta learning from a source that the suspect on the grounds there had no criminal history, no previous history involving the Secret Service. What other questions might you have about how they looked into the background of this person and how he was able to breach security?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So far, it sounds like a mentally disturbed person who was able to breach security the same way previous fence jumpers did. They went over the fence and it hasn't been changed. So all this talk for a couple of years of raising the fence higher or changing the configuration so you can still look through the fence as a tourist on the sidewalk, but have it taller like the fences that surround Buckingham Palace in London, none of that has happened. All of these discussions and nothing news has happened.

WHITFIELD: OK.

And, Athena, is it sort of business as usual there at the White House? Tours happening today, any activity there at the White House that was already previously scheduled even though we know that the president is golfing now in Virginia?

JONES: No plans on the president's official schedule. As you mentioned, he is golfing right now, but there have been tours going on. We've seen them coming and going behind me. So, you arrive here, you would think nothing had taken place last night, nothing as serious as this.

But I want to share with you more information we've just received on the jumper. His name is Jonathan P. Tran, 26 years old, born in 1990, and he is at the courthouse right now, of course, continuing to be detained. We're getting more information as the minutes go by on this suspect and this serious breach of security.

WHITFIELD: All right. Athena Jones, thank you so much.

Tom Fuentes, appreciate you as well. Thank you.

FUENTES: Thank you.

[13:09:41] WHITFIELD: Coming up, Vice President Mike Pence hitting the road to sell the GOP health care bill. As Republicans remain divided, what would it take the get the legislation passed? That's ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Vice President Mike Pence just wrapped up a speech in Louisville, Kentucky, to pitch the GOP's harshly criticized bill to repeal Obamacare and he was talking to business owners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And most importantly of all, the top priority the president gave us, to work with members of Congress and make sure the Obamacare nightmare is about to end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining me now is Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the same city.

You represent one of the same cities where Pence spoke. Congressman, good to see you.

REP. JOHN YARMUTH, (D), KENTUCKY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Congressman, your initial thoughts on this GOP health care proposal?

[13:15:07] YARMUTH: Well, unfortunately, what we got out of the Republicans was not a health care proposal, but a political and ideological proposal. That's the only thing this accomplishes, is to satisfy their ideology, lower taxes and less government involvement, moving toward a free market in health care, which doesn't exist anywhere in the world. But Republicans think they can create that here in United States. Rather than improve things, it makes them worse, and does so by giving a $600 billion tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and corporations. So I think it's misguided.

WHITFIELD: So, what are the areas that you believe need improvement? Because advocates would say that the Affordable Health Care Act, also called Obamacare, the cost is going up by 20 percent. And it means that it is a failure, is the word that we've heard. Sort of called it catastrophic. So, what are the areas of o improvement that you believe you're on board with?

YARMUTH: OK, well, let's get all this straight. There's not much wrong with the Affordable Care Act. The only problems that exist now are the individual insurance market and that affects about 6 percent of the population. Everything else about the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid portions and the Medicare portions, are working just fine. And a lot of the consumer protections in the act are helping millions and millions of Americans and keeping them from bankruptcy and giving them the coverage they never had.

The insurance markets are a problem because Republicans dismantled part of the safeguards that were in the original law. There was a mechanism to indemnify insurance companies if they got disproportionate amount of sick people as opposed to healthy, and that's caused many insurance companies to vacate the market. Again, because the Republicans sabotaged it by taking the mechanism away.

So, we do need to work on the insurance markets. They are causing a great deal of problems. There's not enough u options available. We have non-profit -- a very popular non-profit co-op in Kentucky that was just months away from becoming self-sustaining and, again, the Republicans took away the subsidies helping those co-ops move toward sustainability. So, that is a problem and the individual market we have to deal with, but that's about 6 percent of the population.

(CROSSTALK)

YARMUTH: Everything else is working very well.

WHITFIELD: Sorry to interrupt. Is it your view that the current ACA is sustainable without some intervention?

YARMUTH: It's sustainable. The insurance markets need work. I think the only answer to the individual insurance market is to allow individuals to buy into Medicare, but I don't get total agreement on that from many people. And I've talked to executives who say it's difficult to create a sustainable individual insurance marketplace through the private sector. Even with the tax credits that Republicans are proposing in their suggested legislation. But the rest of the act is very sustainable.

What we've seen in the rest of the insurance world, Medicare growing at the lowest rate of growth in its history, premiums in the employer group market, rising at very, very low rates and Medicaid taking care of not only ensuring tens of millions of people, 440 thousand in Kentucky alone, but helping to make hospitals sustainable. That's one reason why the American Hospital Association is against the Republican plan because it will cost hospitals their life in many cases.

WHITFIELD: So, reportedly, President Obama implored two fellow Democrats on the Hill not to involve themselves in the Republican repeal and replace plan. At the same time, there's been a lot of criticism being launched on Democrats that if this is their baby, they should be involved in helping to reshape it. Where are you on that?

YARMUTH: We have been saying, the Democrats in Congress have been saying for seven years now, we know there are things that can be done to make the Affordable Care Act work better. We would have loved to have worked with Republicans over these last seven years. What we got instead were over 60 votes. When we said, work with us, they said, no, we'd just rather have the issue and vote to repeal it, dozens of times. So I think we stand ready to work with Republicans. If they want to help us improve the act, we'd love to do that.

[13:20:11] WHITFIELD: President Trump tweeting this morning saying, "We're making great progress with health care. Obamacare is imploding and will only get worse. Republicans coming together to get the job done."

What's your response to that?

YARMUTH: Well, I certainly know that with the one exception of President Trump meeting with two Democrats the other day in regard to drug prices, they have not reached out to Democrats to any extent to help them move any changes in the Affordable Care Act. So you know, Donald Trump says things, he doesn't have any substantiation for. So does my governor, Matt Bevin. They talk about things being an un- mitigated disaster, nightmares. None of that is true. And --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: He was critical of the plan and then he kind of, you know, tried -- I guess cleaned it up a little bit in sounding more of an advocate of the plan.

YARMUTH: Right, well, you've seen in the last few days -- and remember, they just surfaced this plan Monday. Voted in committee on Wednesday. There were never public hearing on this type of major proposal, which is frightening. It's not the way to do business. What you're seeing already is opposition to this plan across the political spectrum. Very conservative groups. You're seeing the hospital association, doctors, AARP. All sorts of organizations are opposed to this law because it will reduce care. Care will cost more. And this is all to give millionaires a $600 billion tax break.

WHITFIELD: OK, we'll leave it there. Congressman John Yarmuth, good to see you. Thanks so much.

YARMUTH: Thanks, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And this week, CNN will host an exclusive health care town hall with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. It will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash, on Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. eastern. You don't want to miss it.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[13:26:30] (CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Emotions are running high at a Republican town hall in Oceanside, California. Congressman Darrell Issa is holding his second town all today and some exchanges have been very heated, especially when it comes to health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since Trumpcare eliminates the 3.8 tax on individuals making more than $250,000, how much more will this benefit you personally, Congressman, in dollars?

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's national correspondent, Kyung Lah, is live from this town hall.

Kyung, what's taking place?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the second one. The first lasted about an hour. This one expected to last about as long. Both have been packed to capacity, about 500 each. And the very first question that the congressman answered here was also on the Affordable Care Act, the overhaul, how the develop would try to make it affordable, affordable is the theme that's weaved through every question we have heard in regards to the Obamacare overhaul. And we went to the congressman in between these two town halls to ask him about that. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: So, Congressman, just your reaction to that first town hall? A bit contentious.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, they're expected to be. The nature of these are the people that show up are the ones who have concerns on one side of the other. And I think we have a pretty good number of questions and answers. I hope, on the second session, some of those will be asked again. For me, be a little shorter and get a few more questions in.

LAH: How are you going to bridge the gap with what we're hearing about health care from your district with the GOP plan?

ISSA: There's still changes we're looking for. Congressman Murphy's desire and pushing hard to make sure that mental illness is properly covered. I think the critical and it's an area that's still being worked on. There were people here today that said it wasn't in the plan. I'll be talking to the Dr. Murphy to get his input next week because he's one of our go-tos. We also, obviously, I have things that I want to see in it, including a larger pool for these, the plans that remain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(SHOUTING)

LAH: I'm letting you listen to the reaction of the crowd here because what's happening is, as the congressman tries the answer questions, if it's something the entire crowd disagrees with, you hear them chanting, or booing in this case, as you're hearing. A lot of people very upset with his answers in regards to the Affordable Care Act -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Kyung Lah, keep us posted there. Appreciate that.

Now coming up, the White House dismissing dozens of U.S. attorneys. Actually, coming from the attorney general. But one is standing his ground, saying he won't leave until the president fires him. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:32:18] WHITFIELD: Clear skies in Salt Lake City. A perfect chance to see Utah's Olympic Park. Even though the city hosted the games 15 years ago, you can still see what it is like, experience what it's like to be an Olympian.

CNN's Chris Moody went away and lived out his dream of bobsledding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MOODY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Salt Lake City, Utah, the world headquarters of a Mormon Church and a thriving business city that serves as a gateway to some of the best winter sporting activities in the country. About a quarter of a million people visit for business conventions each year. If you're one of them and have a few hours, just a 35-minute drive will take you to one of the great thrills.

Ever since I was young, I've dreamed of speeding down a sheet of ice like a Winter Olympian. The Utah Olympic Park was built for the Winter Olympics in 2002, and it is still used today as a training center for athletes.

What makes it truly special? This is just one of two places in the United States where a normal person like me --

(on camera): You want to kiss me egg? All right, here we go.

(voice-over): -- can ride an actual bobsled.

(on camera): Woo-hoo

MOODY (voice-over): It's hard to think you're a bobsledder by watching on TV, but the reality is that you can do these things here at the park.

Carl Roepke is a Winter Olympian, who's been at this for more than 20 years.

CARL ROEPKE, WINTER OLYMPIAN: It's pretty neat to go down the track pushing 70 miles an hour. We're doing the driving and all we want you to do is have fun.

MOODY (voice-over): This sport is not for the faint at heart. Bobsleds are roller-coaster fast and the turns alone can reach up to 5 Gs. And this runs year-round. In the summer, they just add wheels.

ROEPKE: I think the biggest thing is you want to bring home a story. It's not that the snow was the greatest in the world and got to ski at park city. The first thing that comes out is they took a bobsled ride. You've got armchair quarterbacks that say that's not the way to go through curve 12 when you're watching Olympic games. They say, how do you know? Because I've rode the bobsled.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WHITFIELD: We continue to follow the news out of the Washington, D.C. A security breach at the White House. A fence jumper making it all the way to a residential entrance with the president inside. We're getting our first response now from President Trump as well.

CNN White House correspondent, Athena Jones, is following that for us now.

And we understand, Athena, the president was there, he was not in harm's way, no contact with the suspect. He's now having a working lunch meeting at one of his golf courses in Virginia. So, bring us up to date.

[13:35:02] ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. That's right. The president spoke with the small pool of reporters with him at the golf course in Virginia. He said that, "The Secret Service did a fantastic job last night." He said he was told about the intruder last night. This was late. Took place around 11:38 p.m. We should reiterate that the suspect did not get into the White House. But he did get up to the south portico, the door facing the Washington Monument.

The president says that the intruder was a, quote, "troubled person." And he says he appreciates the work -- to go on, he says he appreciates the work of the Secret Service, that the suspect was disturbed, and this was a sad situation. So some comments from this president, the first time we're hearing from him responding to this serious breach of security.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is also with the president and with those reporters at that of- site working lunch with the president's cabinet. And Sean Spicer, also speaking with reporters, emphasized that the president was informed about the jumper and commended the good work of Secret Service. And when asked about whether the president has confidence and trust in the Secret Service, he reiterated the good job the service does and said they have full confidence in the Secret Service. But, again, Fredricka, this is a serious breach that's going to be closely examined.

WHITFIELD: Athena, just to recap, we're talking about somebody who may have scaled a fence, correct? And then, according to some of our sources, that have talked to our CNN reporters, Jeff Zeleny, Jim Acosta, he may have scaled a fence, then may have bumped into a U.S. Secret Service officer who was able to take down this person. He had a backpack. They did x-ray it immediately to learn there was not unsafe in there.

But they fact the suspect got within yards, perhaps a couple of hundred from the president while the president was in the White House is very serious and it means the Secret Service is trying to reevaluating, trying to find out where are the gaping holes, how is it this person was able to breach maybe one, perhaps two perimeters.

JONES: Right, and we're talking about a couple of a hundred feet from -- the suspect was right up to the door of the residence, and would have been only a couple hundred feet from the bedroom where the president would have been, or we assume would have been. Certainly, very, very close to the president.

And we have a statement from Secret Service and police report. The police report provides a few more details. It says the suspect jumped over a fence on the south side of the White House, near the South Lawn. The police report indicates that he may have jumped over a few fences, starting with one at the northwest complex of the Treasury Department, scaling up there, and maybe two others. So it's an important breach.

And it's also interesting that, as you mentioned, the suspect wasn't seen necessarily jumping this fence. Instead, the Secret Service agent bumped into the suspect and was able to detain them. Very serious matter.

WHITFIELD: Remarkable. Yeah, very serious.

Thank you very much. We're glad no one was hurt including the president, of course. And also, some relief being expressed that a suspect was apprehended. Thank you so much, Athena Jones. Appreciate that.

Of course, we'll stay on top of that story.

And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:43:41] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Pictures of the White House hours after a 26-year-old suspect, an alleged fence jumper, breached the security there at the White House. He'll be arraigned today. We understand the U.S. Secret Service officer just simply bumped into him on White House property. He came potentially dangerously close to the president, who was inside the White House, we're told just within a few hundred feet. The president is OK. A 26-year-old has been arrested. Again, will be arraigned today in a D.C. court.

Meantime, the high-profile U.S. attorney for Manhattan is fighting back against his recent dismissal by the Trump administration. Apparently, many of the attorneys general put on notice yesterday. Preet Bharara is one of dozens of attorneys appointed during the Obama administration who have been asked to leave. That request coming from new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But sources say he will not resign and, instead, says he will make the president fire him.

Let's bring in senior CNN media and politics reporter, Dylan Byers.

So, Dylan, good to see you.

Although a turnover is normal with a new administration, the criticism is the way in which, the method in which these attorneys general were dismissed is usual. Tell us more.

[13:45:07] DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA & POLITICS REPORTER: That's right. It's not necessarily out of the ordinary to get rid of the previous administration's appointed attorney generals. That said, this sort of broad sweep at once, what's really notable about this is that Preet was asked to leave. He is universally well regarded by that community, sort of a hero of celebrity in that sphere because he's known for going investigating Democrats as vigorously and aggressively as Republicans. Indeed, now, he has cases that involve both Andrew Cuomo of New York and Mayor de Blasio. Getting rid of him is a really a big deal.

And his refusal to go quietly is also a big deal. It's sort of the first big test of Donald Trump. How he's going to react to this, how he's going to deal with this and Donald Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, as well.

Right now, in the Justice Department, there's mixed feelings at the top. Among Jeff Sessions and his deputies, there's a lot of anger and frustration over his refusal to leave. I think, further down the chain, there are a lot of people who respect him and admire for what he's doing right now.

WHITFIELD: So, is there a feeling that other U.S. attorneys may follow suit? Now that he has said out-loud he's going to be fired in order to leave, might others?

BYERS: That's difficult the know because, again, he is sort of, you know, a giant in this community. He is sort of a very unique figure. Not all federal prosecutors are nearly as widely and universally respected as he is.

I think there's also a question here about some of the cases that Preet was investigating. For instance, he was looking into Russians who had benefitted to close ties from Putin. He was conducting the investigation into FOX News and how FOX News handled the departure, or the sexual harassment allegations against former FOX News CEO, Roger Ailes. So there are a lot of investigations here that sort of hit close to home for President Trump. I think that's what makes him such a unique figure. In the days and weeks ahead, we're going to see a very public battle between Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and Preet Bharara.

WHITFIELD: Dylan, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BYERS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Coming up, the president's revised travel ban not in effect yet and already facing lawsuits. Will it stand up to the coming legal fights? Our panel weighs in, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:52:49] WHITFIELD: President Trump's revised travel ban is facing new challenges. The ACLU and other civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit against the executive order that bans people from six majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S. That's on top of a legal challenge out of California, and federal lawsuits filed by the state of Hawaii and Washington State.

Joining me right now here in Atlanta is law professor and civil rights attorney, Avery Friedman; and law professor and criminal defense attorney, Richard Herman, in Miami.

Wish you were in Atlanta but we'll get it together one of these days, all be in the same place.

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTOREY & LAW PROFESSOR: One of these days.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: The ban has just been revised. The ACLU suit claims the ban is religious discrimination, unconstitutional.

So, Avery, you first.

Is this a very similar argument already made against the original immigration ban?

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: It is very much the same.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Or travel ban, I should say.

FRIEDMAN: Travel ban, immigration ban, Muslim ban, they're used interchangeably. But even though the language of religious preference has been removed, it's essentially the same thing, the impact on the economy, the individuals who don't have a fair process and equal protection under the law. That's exactly what was heard in Honolulu this week and Seattle this week, and also, the new case in San Francisco.

WHITFIELD: Removing Iraq from the original seven, and now it's down to six, Richard, and people feeling like they were being profiled and targeted by place of origin, mostly Muslim nations, names, et cetera. Why does this ban have a better chance?

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Well, first of all, Iraq had to be removed because we have U.S. soldiers fighting in the fight along with Iraqi soldiers and, you know, if they feel that we are banning all Iraqis from the United States, yet our soldiers are fighting with them, you can imagine the friction that would go on there.

But you know, by removing Iraq and by making modifications to the extent of visas and green card individuals, this ban that's put in place has a much better chance of being upheld.

Now, I know one judge in Wisconsin held that Syrian individual who was living in the United States, his family's in Syria. So those family members should be allowed to come, so he attacked the ban on that level. And then Washington State, went back to the state judge with the initial restraining order and the judge, for procedural reasons only, said, I deny your request but come back to me in a proper format and then we'll address it.

[13:55:39] WHITFIELD: Here's just a reminder. This is then- presidential candidate, Donald Trump, on the campaign trail calling for what he said was extreme vetting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies. We have no idea where these people are coming from.

We cannot afford to talk around issues anymore. We have to address these issues head on.

I called for a ban after San Bernardino and was met with great scorn and anger.

The pause is temporary. We must find out what's going on. We have to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So given his documented sentiments, arguments have already been made in the previous cases from the original travel ban that there is intent, an examination of intent.

Avery, will the same argument be made on intent?

FRIEDMAN: You could remove the words "religious preference," but at the end of the day, it's the people affected. This was intended to be a Muslim ban. The candidate, Donald Trump, said that. He had Rudy Giuliani trying to write the memorandum justifying it. So ultimately, headed into a federal courtroom in a showdown this week, both in Honolulu and back in Seattle, that's exactly what the administration and the Justice Department is going to have to defend against.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Go ahead, Richard. And what is potentially different about the crafting of this proposal versus how it was done before?

HERMAN: It's much better and more well-reasoned than the first one. The first one was a sloppy mess. Again, by taking care of green card individuals and visa individuals, this ban really has a shot.

Now, you played that video of Trump and you cannot enact laws based on discrimination. So that's the argument, that he proclaimed this during the campaign. There's his intent. You could dress it up as you want, but it's discrimination and we're not going to uphold that. However, Fred, the president has great latitude when it comes to immigration executive orders, great latitude, maybe more in this area than any other executive order.

FRIEDMAN: We'll see.

HERMAN: A lot of deference has to go to the president. Don't be surprised if this one is upheld.

WHITFIELD: So far, this plan is not being -- it's not in place, it's not executed. But can it, Avery? While you have litigation, ongoing litigation on the other proposal, can you tackle these simultaneously?

FRIEDMAN: That's part of the problem. Nothing is in effect. The old executive order is gone and the new one is coming in. So both substantively and procedurally, this case and all the cases related to it are an absolute mess.

WHITFIELD: All still on hold, Richard?

HERMAN: Yes, the other executive order is not gone. It's going through the process. It now has to go back to court.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: It will be back this week.

HERMAN: For a hearing on the merits of the case. Don't forget, it was a temporary restraining order, and now we get to the nuts and bolts of it. The administration should have dismissed the first one and gone with this one.

FRIENDMAN: I agree with you.

HERMAN: This one, they have a real shot at.

FRIEDMAN: I agree.

WHITFIELD: All so complicated, but your brilliant minds help streamline it, simplify it for us.

HERMAN: You lead us. You encourage us.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: All right. Appreciate it, guys.

Richard, Avery, thank you so much. Appreciate your patience.

HERMAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Hello, again. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

New details into the midnight security breach at the White House. A fence jumper making it nearly to a residential entrance with the president inside. The intruder will be arraigned today. He reportedly told a Secret Service officer, "I'm a friend of the president. I have an appointment," end quote. The president's response straight ahead.

Meanwhile, the fallout is growing after a swamp of forced resignations within the Justice Department. A federal attorney refusing to leave his post, saying, I will only step down when I hear from the president himself.