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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Federal Judge Temporarily Halts New Travel Ban Nationwide; Awaiting Trump Rally, Paid For By Reelection Campaign; Interview with Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 15, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN WOLF AND THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: -- now on Erin Burnett OutFront.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: And OutFront now, breaking news, President Trump right now at this hour we are learning that there has been a block of the travel ban. A federal judge just moments ago issuing a restraining order on Donald Trump's latest executive order on immigration. It was slated to go into effect at midnight tonight. And let's get straight to Jeff Zeleny for the latest on this.
Jeff, this is the retooled "improved executive order that would ban immigrants from -- or people coming in, to be clear, from six Muslim majority countries as well as a temporary stay on refugees. There had been a lot of tweaks in the language but now a nationwide ban coming out of Hawaii.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDEN: That's right, Erin. And the White House is still assessing this right now. In fact, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who is on the ground here in Nashville, Tennessee, where the president's scheduled to have a rally here coming up, he just told reporters moments ago that they are still looking at this decision and he would have more to comment on later. He said after the rally as they fly back to Washington.
But Erin, I would be very surprised if President Trump did not say something about that here at the rally. Now, this of course is something the administration spent a lot more time on. They, you know, worked on it for weeks back to the drawing board and they simply wanted to get this right. And there was a delay in terms of the implementation of this. So this is taking them by surprise. It is angering them, no doubt. But they are still assessing this at the moment here.
But as you said, that Hawaii decision of course affects the entire country, but it certainly will be one more piece of the president's argument here for why he needs to do something. So, Erin, already in this rally here they've been talking about immigration, illegal immigration. I certainly expect the president to keep talking about that here at this red state rally in Tennessee, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much. And let's go to our Justice Reporter Laura Jarrett for more on this. Laura, what are you learning right now? Again, this is stunning. They had retooled this. This was possible but not expected.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: That's exactly right. They certainly felt like they had done a lot to remedy the problems that the courts had outlined last time. They exempted green cardholders, they exempted those with valid visas, they got rid of the provision that was in the last executive order that prioritized certain religious minorities, but the court in Hawaii said that's not enough. And in this ruling, which is a nationwide block of section 2 of the order, which is the 90-day ban of foreign travelers from the six Muslim majority countries, as well as the 120-day ban preventing all refugees from coming here, the judge specifically looked at the establishment clause challenge and that's the one that the states have been living for saying, look, this really discriminates on the basis of religion. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Laura. I've got Paul Callan here and Mark Preston. So Paul, what Laura just said there that in particular this goes at the establishment clause, there have been a lot of changes that she points out, you know, green cardholders, visa holders, no religious prioritization. There have been a lot of changes. It wasn't permanent in terms of the ban on Syrian refugees. They're focusing on the establishment clause. Put that in English.
PAUL CALLAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: This is surprising. The establishment clause says there has to be a separation of state -- of state from religion in the United States. It's the religious clause of the constitution. And the reason that this was criticized by the Washington State Judge originally was that there was a special subsection giving special exemptions to certain Christian minorities but not Muslim minorities. So --
BURNETT: That was removed.
CALLAN: They took it out completely. So, this thing -- the new one doesn't say anything about religion at all. Now, why is the Hawaii Judge doing this? Well, he's doing this for another reason. You remember there was a big argument about what Trump had to say during the campaign about the Muslim religion. He said he was going to do a Muslim ban and Giuliani right at the very end when this thing is being discussed in court said, I had a discussion with Trump about how to implement a Muslim ban, so I think the court here is looking at those discussions and saying there's religious discrimination.
BURNETT: And that is important, Mark, because the Department of Justice even today said those things should not be admissible. Those were things just said on the campaign trail, you know, sort of as if they had a premonition or concern. Certainly, they knew this case in Hawaii was up today. And now there's one in Washington State. Judge Robart who of course put the original temporary restraining order, it was slated to rule any moment really about whether Washington State would go ahead with this again.
So they put this out there saying that shouldn't be admissible. So, significantly you have now not judge Robart times two, another judge saying basically it is. MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Right. And we could see a
double barrel, right? We'll see what happens, you know, in a ruling if we could see in the next couple of hours quite frankly. If not sooner, you know, this has really been a difficult day for the Trump Administration which has had a lot of difficult days. Not only do you have what happened on Capitol Hill earlier today when you had republicans --senior republican saying they found no evidence of wiretapping and then -- Trump Tower and what we have just seen now, the White House I think was not expecting, they did not expect this to happen. They were not prepared, they thought they had gotten past this. I think most of us thought they got passed.
BURNETT: I think most people do. I mean, I have Alan Dershowitz, and Alan, you were here along with Mark and Paul Callan the first night as this news broke with the original restraining order. Are you surprised by the decision out of Hawaii?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: No. I'm not surprised because the attitude of the court is that there can't be any lawful order as long as Candidate Trump said what he said and Giuliani said what he said. That makes anything that happens thereafter simply a cover for a Muslim ban. And so, the whole effort to try to clean it up was futile, taking out the religious part of it which gave religious preference to discriminated against groups.
That didn't matter because the entire ban, no matter what it says, was badly motivated, then it struck down. Now, the problem is that the Supreme Court has taken exactly the opposite attitude when it comes to looking at motive and intent. They said you don't look at motive and intent. You look at the words of the regulation and that's what the Supreme Court will ultimately hold. So --
BURNETT: And that, Allan, where you believe this is now headed? I mean, they're not, you know, we -- they have not replied, I want to emphasize this, there's been no response but given what they have done so far, it would seem very reasonable for them at this point to dig in their heels. Now, they've said time is of the essence, which would go against that but they've also said this one is fixed, so that they would take it to all the way to the Supreme Court.
DERSHOWITZ: They're go to the Ninth Circuit first and there it's a crapshoot. You have to see what panel you have, there 20-some-odd judges, some of them liberal, some of them conservative. They'll probably seek expedited appeal through the Ninth Circuit, not through the Supreme Court. But I think even with eight justices they have a very good chance of winning in the Supreme Court, and if they get their ninth justice in there in a timely way, I think it's almost certainty that they would uphold at least the core of this newly revised travel prohibition. I'm not saying it's a good ban or it's a good prohibition but there's a difference between something being bad as a matter of policy and being unconstitutional.
BURNETT: And which is what I want to get out with you, Paul, when you look at this legally, and you're saying, you know, this establishment clause again is saying what he said in the campaign is admissible and Alan is saying that's clearly what they're saying but the Supreme Court would historically say or by precedent it would say it's not, intent is not what matters, the letter of the order is what matters. Is this political on the part of these judges?
CALLAN: Well, you know, it's interesting because this Hawaii court is part of the Ninth Circuit and you're going to see the Trump administration attacking the crazy Ninth Circuit again and saying you can't go by what they say, they're too liberal, that court. I do think and I agree with Alan on this, the words of the statute matter and I think it is dangerous when you go back into a political campaign and say we're going to interpret the law based upon what was said during the course of a lengthy and contentious political campaign. I can't ever remember seeing that done before. It's really kind of a new concept to do that.
BURNETT: So, Alan, would you say then these judges are being political? Because as part of this, what you're also -- if you could explain, because, you know, we had Washington and the Ninth Circuit, now this is a separate temporary restraining order and a separate executive order. But does it all build to the same precedent? Because so far the precedent in this overall issue is all going in one direction and that is against the executive order.
DERSHOWITZ: I wouldn't say it's political in the sense of partisan. I would say the judges have points of view and a Hawaii Judge, think of it, Hawaii, the most multicultural, ethnic state in our union, is likely to have a strong bias, conscious or unconscious, in favor of immigration and against any kind of discrimination based on religion. So I wouldn't call it partisan politics. I don't think it matters whether it's a democrat or republican.
(INAUDIBLE) they're not trying to help or hurt a particular party. But I do think ideology matters, and the ideology of many judges is going to be in favor of a more permissive immigration and against anything they see as religious discrimination.
BURNETT: What this is going to down to, Mark, though which is going to be very crucial, is how the White House responds to this and in particular not even the White House, how Donald Trump responds to it, right? He could come out guns blazing against whatever names and adjectives he'd like to put on this judge or on the upcoming Ninth Circuit possibly hurting his cause, or not. That is the decision because he is now finding out about this literally in the past two or three minutes. He said that.
PRESTON: Right. He found out as we did. You know, what's going to be interesting is how quickly they react to it and not just publicly but what they do to try to make an appeal because remember, they delayed going back in. They initially went in and said that they wrote the law quickly because it was in to say our national security interest. It was knocked down. They were ready to come back out with it. They then delayed it and then of course we are where we are right now.
If they come back in very speedy and they say we need this done very quickly, that it could be in question because the fact to matter is, why wasn't it done quicker? But to your point about what public opinion is right now, the politicization of the judiciary, specifically from politicians where they're democrats and republicans that are going to be attacking in a co-equal branch of government I think is dangerous. And we've seen a lot of that happened lately.
BURNETT: Right. Because, Paul, what they're doing is saying that what he said in a political context is what they're basing the decision on if this establishment clause is the point.
CALLEN: And they're going back. How far back can you go? Can you go back a year earlier when he first started running for office or, you know, six months in or three months in? It's an unusual thing to do. But I think the other thing that -- and I agree with Mark here that they're up against the wall now because before they had the option of withdrawing the executive order, rewriting it in a slower, more careful manner and reissuing. Now they've reissued. They're going to look like complete idiots if they say are, we're going to take this one back and we're going to rewrite a third one. They have to go --
BURNETT: No. They have to -- they have to fight this one all the way to the top. And I just want to bring in Jim Sciutto quickly before we go because, Jim, as this news is sort of breaking around the world, what is the reaction to this restraining order?
JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Let me tell you this, Erin. The politics and the law and then there's the national security implications from this. And the fact is you speak to many senior commanders in the U.S. Military who served in that region, they don't see this -- not only do they see this as helpful, they see this counterproductive, particularly in terms of relationships, key counterterror relationships with Muslim majority countries in the region.
And it's just not U.S. Military commanders, I was in Britain last week, you speak to the British, they see this ban has counterproductive, close U.S. ally. I spoke to a Saudi Senior Adviser today who was here on the Saudi Crown Prince's visit to Washington who described the travel ban as counterproductive. So, you have that viewpoint, which is you're hearing not just from U.S. -- close U.S. allies but people inside the U.S. Military whose job it is to build these relationships and protect the U.S. from terrorism which is the punitive goal of the president's travel ban. That's a key voice he's going to continue to hear.
BURNETT: All right. And I just want to jump in here with the breaking development here. Jeff Zeleny is reporting that an aide says Donald Trump has been informed of the temporary restraining order and at this moment we should expect the president to talk about this ruling tonight. He is going to be speaking live in about 15 minutes this hour at a rally in Nashville. So, we are going to be bringing that to you to hear what he has to say.
Will he attack the judges? Will he not? This is a crucial moment and a test for him to see how he will respond. As our breaking coverage of this continues, we are -- as we get more information, we're going to bring it to you. I do want to mention the breaking news that Mark brought up just a moment ago, the president was asked today why he tweeted about President Obama wiretapping him before producing any evidence, and tonight he is responding. Here's what the president just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. He hadn't talked about this in 11 days since his tweet. And 11 days when he first brought this up, he fired off four very specific tweets accusing President Obama of a crime. I want to read them to you. The first one was at 6:35 on a Saturday morning. It reads. "Terrible. Just found out that Obama had my, "wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism."
The next one about 15 minutes later, is it legal for a sitting president to be, "wiretapping a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by a court order. Capped, A NEW LAW. A third tweet, three minutes later after that. I bet a good lawyer could make a great case so the fact President Obama was tapping my phones in October just prior to election. And the final missive 10 minutes after that, how low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon Watergate. Bad [ or sick ] guy.
Now, President Trump in those tweets clearly and repeatedly is talking about President Obama tapping his phones. Now not everyone in the president's own party is standing by his side. Manu Raju is OutFront. And Manu, not only is wiretapping of a very specific definition, which of course is tapping a phone, but the -- now you have senior republicans who are seemingly the abandoning the president on this claim.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes. He's getting virtually no support on Capitol Hill from either side and actually James Comey just left a briefing a couple hours ago with top senators on the judiciary committee and one of those senators, Dianne Feinstein, a democrat of a California came out and was asked directly, have you seen any evidence of wiretapping yet? And she said no. And, Erin, she is not alone.
Today, members of President Trump's own party are openly challenging his claim that Trump Tower had been wiretapped under the orders of President Barack Obama.
REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We don't have any evidence of that took place and in fact, I don't believe just in the last week of time the people we've talked to, I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.
RAJU: And Senator Lindsey Graham said official answers over Trump's allegation of wiretapping may soon be coming.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: There may be no there, but there is pretty easy to answer the question, was there a warrant issued or applied for. So, Senator --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simple, the answer is no.
GRAHAM: I believe it to be. But the longer they take to get back to me, the more concerned I am. And it builds suspicion. You know, what's taking them so long?
RAJU: This comes as FBI Director James Comey privately briefed senators about his ongoing investigation, a move to defuse tensions with the republican judiciary chairman who's holding up a key confirmation of a top justice department official until he gets more answers.
SEN. CHUCK GRRASSLEY, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I expect people to respond according to what they told me and in this particular instance, we were not given the respect that the constitutional -- gives us of oversight of the executive branch of government. And so that's very irritating.
RAJU: The house intelligence committee is calling on the justice department to immediately provide any information to support President Trump's allegations that were made during a Saturday morning tweet storm 11 days ago.
NUNES: President Obama wouldn't physically go over and wiretap Trump Tower so, now you have to decide are you going to take the tweets literally? And if you are, then clearly the president was wrong. But if you're not going to take the tweets literally and if there's a concern that the president has about other people, other surveillance activities, looking at him or his associates, either appropriately or inappropriately, we want to find -- we want to find that out.
RAJU: But Nunes and the top democrat of the committee, Adam Schiff, disagree on one key piece of their investigation, whether the Trump Campaign had any improper contact with Russians were meddling in the elections.
Do you have any evidence of that?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Not that I'm aware of. I wouldn't answer that question as categorically as my colleague.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Look, the answer is no.
RAJU: And the attorney general said today that he never gave the president any evidence or reason to believe he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration. SESSIONS: I have recused myself. I'm not talking to the president or the people who are investigating the case and unable to comment on any of these details.
RAJU: Now, Erin, today was the day in which Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island believed that he would get an answer from James Comey on a central question, whether or not the FBI is actually investigating the Trump Campaign and any alleged contacts that occurred with Russian officials. Now, the deadline that he said he agreed upon with James Comey came and went. They did not get an answer but Comey telling both him and Senator Lindsey Graham today they would send a letter next week to answer some of their questions including evidence that they're seeking about whether Donald Trump was wiretapped by Barack Obama. But, Erin, the FBI saying it's going to be a classified letter. So we'll see if any of it eventually becomes public, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Manu. Thank you very much. I want to go now to the top democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff. And Congressman, I want to ask you about this breaking news on the wiretapping the president's comments. First though, I want to ask you about the breaking news at this moment, the president we understand has just been informed that Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order on his executive order.
The new and revised one on foreign travelers from six countries and refugees. One of the main reasons was because of comments Trump repeatedly made on the campaign trail about banning Muslims. Do you have any concern that this could make the judges seem political, that they're looking at political statements and taking a political stand or not?
SCHIFF: No. I don't think it's a question of the judges being political or looking at political statements. I think what the judges are properly looking at is what was the intention of this executive order, and you can't ignore the legislative and non-legislative history here, particularly if you would learn in discovery more about what Rudy Giuliani said about the Trump Administration coming to him and saying, OK, how do we put this Muslim ban in a form where we can put it off as something else?
There's just no walking away from that history and I think it is pertinent to the legal issues that the court has to decide but I think also on the broader merits the administration is going to have a very hard time demonstrating that the selection of these six countries was something other than arbitrary and that it was somehow a good indicator of who might later commit an act of terrorism. It was course, if that was the criteria, you'd have to put Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or other countries really at the top of the list.
BURNETT: Yes. So, I want to ask you about what the president just said, you heard him in that interview saying, "wiretap covers a lot of different things. Obviously according to the dictionary, it doesn't. Wiretap is a very specific term, it means to tap a telephone or telegraph wire, it's an old definition, in order to get information, he is referring to what he says more generally. Do you think that's fair or not?
SCHIFF: No. I think it's really -- it would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. A wiretap is a wiretap and particularly when he elaborates that he believed that President Obama was tapping his phones, so I certainly don't think wiretap is broad enough to cover what is really a baseless accusation, a complete fabrication by the president of the United States. It's certainly not broad enough to cover that. And that is exactly unfortunately what is involved here.
BURNETT: So, I want to play again a little bit more of what the president said today about the wiretap investigations because he said more information is coming. You're obviously the one in the investigation, you're seeing it. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You, again, are the one receiving this information. House Intelligence Committee. Have you seen anything very interesting, do you have any idea what these things could be and why they would be coming over the next couple of weeks?
SCHIFF: Sure. First of all, we have seen nothing, no evidence to support the president's claim, nor does anyone really expect to. I think what the president is saying is in two weeks look forward to me giving you another obfuscation, another distortion, another, you know, feint, maybe I'll tell you that in another couple weeks so I come up with yet another explanation. Of course over the last couple weeks we've seen endless permutations by Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway and others as they try to rationalize, make sense of, explain away what you really can't, that he accused his predecessor of being bad and sick and wiretapping him.
And I do I want to underscore why this is important, because some would write it off as just the president being the president, but first of all, like his comments to Bill O'Reilly when he said, we're no different than Russia, Putin is a killer but how are we any better, these comments that his predecessor wiretapped him also undermine our democracy. They play into the Russian narrative of things that, yes, Russia, we don't make any bones about it, we're a corrupt plutocracy, we don't really pretend, otherwise, so are the Americans, they're just hypocritical about it.
And when you have a President of the United States saying basically Putin is right, I've been bugged by my predecessor, we're equally corrupt, that's just feeds that whole destructive narrative.
BURNETT: Congressman, one thing I'm trying to understand, and this is a tough one, right? But we understand there maybe -- there's questions out there. And I ask you, is it possible that there was some sort of surveillance, right? Obviously of Russians who were having conversations with people in Trump Tower or of Russians who may have had -- been in Trump Tower, right? That there was surveillance that ended up picking up the Trump campaign and things they said? Is that possible?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, it's certainly possible for example that when we look at foreign spies talking to each other that we might collect what's called incidental collection where either a foreign spy talks to an American or a foreign spy talks to another foreign spy about an American, that's called incidental collection. But of course that is not only lawful but it's also not what the president was talking about. He was explicitly talking about Barack Obama bugging him in Trump Tower.
SCHIFF: And I don't think he can walk away from that basis accusation by trying to say, well, you know, somewhere at some point and some countries and some time, there may be something that I can hang my hat on.
BURNETT: Of course, he shouldn't be able to walk away from that because there is a very specific definition. And he must be held to account for that but if there was surveillance and it picked up people in the campaign and it came from some sort of order, FISA, again, we just -- we just don't know, you are the one who has the information, if that happened, are you concerned that many Americans may see that as surveillance? They may see that as something that was done against the Trump Campaign and they see folks like yourself by adhering to such a technical definition as being on a witch-hunt?
SCHIFF: You know, first of all, it's not a technical definition. We're not expecting President Trump to flip to the code book and see how Title XVIII defines a wiretap. He used it in, you know, very colloquial terms. Barack Obama tapped my phones. So, by his own language, by his own lay terms or by expert terms, it all adds up to the same thing. Now, we are prohibited from talking about any form of the classified information as it pertains to foreign intelligence gathering or a criminal wiretap.
We can't discuss that, but, you know, we can discuss this accusation because it is completely without merit and I think, you know, it's incumbent on us to explain to the public what is lawful surveillance and what isn't and that what Sean Spicer is saying, what the president is saying is simply not either logically coherent or possible because what it means is to say on the one hand as they have the president wasn't subject to an investigation and a court approved warrant and on the other hand we still believe that they were tapping his phones means that the FBI would have had the mitigation, some rogue operation, unsupervised and unapproved by a court and there's simply no evidence of that.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Congressman. Thank you as always.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, live pictures from Nashville. The president will be there. He's going to be speaking at a rally moments from now. And he is expected, Jeff Zeleny reports at this moment, to respond to his travel pan being blocked again. The words and what he says are crucial. Again, that coming up any moment.
Plus, Paul Ryan refusing to tell CNN if the healthcare bill will pass. Calls it a goofy question. Is it?
And Jeanne Moos on whether we should take President Trump literally or seriously.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They take him literally and not seriously.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, SENIOR MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT'S TRANSITION TEAM: No, no, no. Don't take him literally. Take him symbolically
BURNETT: Breaking news. A big blow tonight to President Trump's new travel ban just house before it was set to take effect, a federal judge this time in Hawaii has blocked it, another block we're waiting right now from Washington but this one is effective nationwide, so it is going to take effect. We are learning President Trump is now aware of this major development. Jeff Zeleny is OutFront live in Nashville where the president will be speaking moments live at a real paid for by his re-election campaign.
And, Jeff, you've been reporting that the president knows about this. Will he talk about it, because what he says or does not say about the judges and the next steps could be crucial to its fate?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, indeed, he has been informed about it. I'm told it's not a matter of whether he'll talk about it, but it is a matter of how and what he will say. Now, this would not be a true Trump rally if he shied away from the opportunity to go head into this.
Now, of course, is all over what one key campaign pledge, that travel ban. But the whole reason he's holding a rally here is because of another campaign pledge, repealing Obamacare. He's trying to turn applause into action and start governing.
ZELENY (voice-over): President Trump is coming back to one of his favorite haunts tonight, the campaign trail. He's hoping a booming rally will help jump-start his agenda, starting with a key campaign promise already in jeopardy, replacing Obamacare. Trying to revive that old magic that swept him to the presidency, his big rally tonight here in Nashville is an official campaign event paid for by his 2020 re-election committee, not one organized by the White House and open to everyone.
PROTESTERS: Donald Trump has got to go. Hey, hey, ho, ho!
ZELENY: It's one way to try and keep most protesters outside.
CROWD: USA! USA!
ZELENY: So the president can fire up his base as he did for more than a year.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I Donald John Trump --
ZELENY: The same day he took the oath of office, Trump filed his re- election paperwork. His campaign bank account instantly flush with $7.6 million remaining from 2016, but it's a new and unusual way of doing business considering President Obama and President Bush waited until their third year in office to open their re-election committees.
One Republican close to the Trump campaign telling CNN, "This is all about building him up."
People close to the president say he's feeling increasingly isolated in the White House, suddenly part of the establishment, facing resistance from the GOP's conservative corners.
With that divide hanging over the party, people lined up for hours today to see their new president, including Marie Long, a nurse from Nashville.
MARIE LONG, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think people should give him a chance. I mean, you know, he's going to be there for at least four years and so why not -- why not build up America instead of tear it down, you know, and build up the president and give him a chance.
ZELENY: Andrew Sparks, a paramedic in West Tennessee, wants Republicans to follow the president's lead on health care.
ANDREW SPARKS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think the first thing they need to do is get on the same page. I mean, we -- you know, we're not going to get anything done unless we all get on the same page. And so, you know, President Trump, he's new and Speaker Ryan, he's been there a little while, so it ain't going to hurt to listen to what President Trump has to say. So, you know what, it ain't going to hurt.
ZELENY: Team Trump hopes the power of those voices can persuade reluctant Republicans to get behind his agenda.
Michael Glassner, who's leading the Trump reelection effort defended the early campaign rallies, telling CNN, "If it's unorthodox now, then it was unorthodox to run a primary campaign based on a large campaign rally model."
Yet it wasn't so long ago that Mr. Trump had this to say about a president and his campaigning.
TRUMP: And, by the way, President Obama should stop campaigning and start working on creating jobs. We have a president all he wants to do is campaign.
ZELENY: So, Erin, President Trump will be coming out here at some point we're told. But there is a bit of a delay in the program. His lawyers and the whole administration is looking over this court ruling even as they look to Washington state and Maryland for other potential rulings yet tonight.
So, Erin, a campaign rally here in Nashville suddenly taking on newer, and more urgent meaning over one of the biggest campaign pledges of all, that travel ban -- Erin.
BURNETT: That's right. It's going to be crucial to see how he replies.
As Jeff said, they're going through it, a bit of a delay. He's going to be going out on that stage and it will be fascinating, because you've got Washington, you've got Maryland coming out with rulings tonight. Will they contradict Hawaii? Will they also issue restraining orders? All of these crucial for his response tonight.
OUTFRONT night, Kayleigh McEnany, contributor for "The Hill", and former Ambassador Norman Eisen. He was also the White House ethics czar for President Obama.
So, Ambassador, let me start with you.
President Trump going to be going out on that stage. It's not just something to go out and talk about Obamacare or as it may be the travel order tonight but it's an official campaign rally, right, two months into his presidency, using re-election funds money. We're, what, more than 1,000 days away from that.
You were with President Obama at this point when he was in the White House. Returning to the campaign trail so soon, re-election funds, what do you say?
[19:35:07] NORMAN EISEN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: Erin, thanks for having me back.
It's extraordinary. I think that President Trump is driven to this by the chaos in his administration, the empty chairs, the many defeats that he's already suffered this -- this travel ban ruling, the initial one tonight from the Hawaii court just the latest black eye on top of the Russian investigation, the loss of Mr. Flynn.
And finally, he has an emotional need to connect. So, it's neediness all around that's putting him out on the campaign trail. It's unusual, and I think it's contrary to doing what he was elected to do -- govern, not keep running.
BURNETT: Kayleigh, what do you say? I mean, President Obama started his re-election campaign in April 2011, right? I mean, this is -- let's just be honest -- this is extremely early to do anything like this.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure.
BURNETT: And when Obama did that, Trump at the time was tweeting. "Our country is blowing up and Barack Obama is out campaigning." Another tweet, "Why is Barack Obama always campaigning or on vacation?"
Isn't he being hypocritical now? I mean, he's doing it years earlier.
MCENANY: I don't think so, because I think he got a great jobs report. He's delivering on his promises. He was critical of President Obama doing that because President Obama wasn't delivering on his promises to the people.
I'm happy that he's paying out of his re-election fund, not out of people's fund. That would be the Treasury. I think that's great.
And, look, I was at his last rally, the Melbourne real, and this is where he speaks directly to the people. Inside of a fireside chat, it's a face-to-face chat, where he reports to the people, breaks through the media. The media, we talk a lot about Russia, we talk a lot about the investigations going on, we never really get to talk about the content of his executive order. So, this is his chance to talk to the people in an unfiltered way.
BURNETT: So, Ambassador, what do you say to that? Is it effective, and what about Kayleigh's point which is an interesting one, would you give him this, it's better he do it with his own re-election money than with taxpayer money?
EISEN: I -- I think that we have a president here, Erin, who has a 40 percent approval rating if that. This is a time in the presidency when presidents are usually reaching out. They are still basking in the honeymoon. They are building their base. They are assembling the support to govern.
And I think that by reaching back to the 39 percent, 40 percent, 41 percent who approved of him, his base, controlling who comes to these rallies, he's costing himself the ability to unify the country. So, no, I do not think this is a good thing. I think it's a sign of turmoil, of panic, of emotional hunger. It's the opposite of leadership.
At this point in the Obama administration, we're asking how can we broaden the coalition to get things done. And those jobs are not jobs that Donald Trump deserves credit for.
BURNETT: So, Kayleigh, let me ask you about this point, though, because when Barack Obama had a real and he had a rally early on, it wasn't paid for this way, right, but when it's paid for this way, Trump can control who comes in, right? So, it is people who like Trump. You don't get protesters.
When Barack Obama had had a health care rally, which I guess this was maybe going to be, it may change tonight, but anybody could come in, right? Anybody could come in. Does this change that, right, if he's only letting in people who like him, does the ambassador have a point? He's not reaching out.
MCENANY: I don't know, because -- look, I don't think we know who he's letting in. I don't think we know who is being censored at the door. I think he likes to speak to his supporters, like I said, through an unfiltered medium, and I don't find anything wrong with that.
And I agree with Norm strongly that this is emotional neediness or psychoanalyzing President Trump on this way.
On the contrary, President Trump doesn't like to be around the people in Washington like President Obama. He's not a natural bureaucrat. He doesn't fit in with the political elite. He fits in with the people.
It's not emotional neediness. It's wanting to speak to the people directly and be around the voters, something other presidents don't like to do.
EISEN: Well, he's fitting in with 40 percent of the people. He's almost 20 percent below the approval rating of other Democrats and Republicans at this point in their term.
The problem is that he's not connecting. Presidents are supposed to reach out to all the people, including the ones who didn't vote for them.
Here you have policy chaos. You have empty seats. They are also behind in getting people approved. You have the overhang of scandal because of his foreign -- unconstitutional foreign government presence and gifts that he's receiving. You have litigation all over the country.
BURNETT: All right.
EISEN: He's now lost twice on the Muslim ban. We'll see what the other courts do.
It's -- it's a -- a train wreck, and the last thing he should be doing is going out and talking to people who agree with him.
[19:40:00] He should be talking to the people who disagree with him.
MCENANY: And he does on a regular basis. He brings in coal miners. He brings in Al Gore. He brings in Tulsi Gabbard. He brings in people from across the aisle, something noticeably absent from the Obama administration.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to you both.
And as he speaks at this rally, as I said, moments away, this is going to be crucial. He's going to be speaking there live in Nashville. His lawyers right now are huddled. What is he going to say about the breaking news at this hour?
A federal judge blocking his new travel ban nationwide. It was going to take effect at midnight. It now will not take effect. This is a judge in Hawaii.
We're also awaiting rules from Washington and Maryland. We're going to hear what the president has to say about this in a moment.
And more breaking news now from Paul Ryan now tonight, not answering whether he has the votes to even pass the health care bill. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: More breaking news at this hour. House Speaker Paul Ryan right now refusing to commit to bringing the GOP health care bill to the floor next week. Remember, they had originally said they would have it done within days, not even saying if they will bring it next week. He's also refusing to tell our -- to tell CNN if he even has the votes to pass the bill that's clearly dividing the Republican Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:45:09] REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: As far as the House is concerned, we're -- we have consensus and we're fine-tuning our consensus, going to the goal line with our president to get this done and then it goes over to the Senate and they start over there.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You have consensus, so if it came up in the House this afternoon it would pass?
RYAN: Well, it's not coming up this afternoon. It's going out there legislative process. That legislative process has not been finalized. That's -- so that's kind of -- no offense kind of a goofy question or faulty premise. If this goes through four committees, we've gone to two so far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. OUTFRONT now, the senior Republican senator from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy. When he heard the CBO numbers of 24 million uninsured Americans, he said that's not what President Trump promised. He's on the committees that will take up the bill, if it gets to the Senate.
And I use the word if, Senator, because you heard what I just said. Our Sunlen Serfaty just caught with the speaker, and he says he may not even bring the bill to the floor of the House next week.
How serious is that? Is that an admission that it may fail?
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA), HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR & PENSIONS COMMITTEE: I don't think it is serious. In the legislative process, there are oftentimes are considerations which are not anticipated. It's just kind of the sausage, making, if you will, part of the process. I don't think it's serious.
BURNETT: All right. He does say that this bill is on its way to the Senate. So -- so let me ask you. Could the bill as is right now, Senator Cassidy, pass in the Senate?
CASSIDY: Well, you're asking me a hypothetical which is not going to come over as it is. It's going to come over differently, and as it comes over, it will be amended in the Senate. So, the simple answer is: no, it wouldn't, because the Senate will want to amend it to take care of the considerations we have representing the people of our state and our nation. So --
BURNETT: Yes. So, let me ask you about that because, you know, when this came out, you know, your comment, as I quoted, that's not what President Trump promised. When you said that, what did you mean? How specifically do you think Trump broke his promise with the health care bill that is now on the table?
CASSIDY: I'm not sure the president has broke his promise because we don't have the final product. But during the campaign, President Trump or candidate Trump said that all would be covered, caring for those with preexisting conditions without mandates at a lower cost. So, if the CBO comes out with numbers that 14 million more are uninsured next year, obviously not everyone is covered. And you can imagine some of those have pre-existing conditions.
I do think there's a way to get there. I've personally introduced a bill with Susan Collins and others that does get us there and so, I'm hopeful that on the Senate floor, we can adapt a bill that comes to us to something which we can fulfill that promise.
BURNETT: So, your bill, of course, would allow states if they want to keep Obamacare, they could keep it. But I want to ask you how this bill is going to change, right, because part of the reason that it wouldn't pass today in the Senate or in the House is because there's a split in your party, right? There are some on the right, they want to get rid of Medicaid expansion even earlier. There are others, more moderates like yourself, who are concerned that not everybody is going to be covered under it.
You don't have the same goals, your two groups, it would seem. Your own state, Senator, 400,000 people have insurance thanks to the Medicaid expansion. If rolling back that sooner is what Paul Ryan does to get those 19 Republicans on board in the House, to get it through the house and get it on your floor, that's a changed bill as you said. But I would imagine, that's changed in a way that makes you even less likely to support it?
CASSIDY: Erin, you have so much in that comment, let me start at the beginning. First, the Patient Freedom Act does not allow a state to keep the status quo. The state has to re-impose all the penalties and mandates that we're going to repeal, number one. And number two, it is the conservative solution to give states options and choices.
It is what Obamacare did to force things upon them. We allow states to have those choices. That is the conservative solution.
Going back to your kind of ending point, that there's a lot of folks covered under expansion. I just wrote an article on "The Hill", I think it's on thehill.com in which we point out that health care is going to be paid for. And we might think that because we don't cover through this bill society doesn't pay, I'm a physician and I've worked in the hospital for the uninsured for 25 years. Society is going to pay.
The other thing we point out is that taking care of people's coverage is good politics. The president learned that --
CASSIDY: -- because when he got elected, he got elected with those four promises.
BURNETT: But you're saying you worked with the uninsured, I really just want to understand. If the change in the bill gets rid of the Medicaid expansion, things that health poorest in this country, it gets rid of it sooner, is that a bill you could ever support?
CASSIDY: That bill would be amended and I would consider supporting the amended bill.
BURNETT: But you wouldn't support rolling back Medicaid sooner? I'm just trying to get a bottom line understanding --
CASSIDY: You know, we're about coverage. Bottom line is, again, the president ran promising that folks would be covered and society is going to pay for that coverage and we're going to pay for those diseases.
[19:50:01] And so, I as a conservative want to make sure we do the fiscally responsible thing, the honest thing, acknowledge that they need coverage, and acknowledge it's going to be paid for --
CASSIDY: -- and do it in a fiscally responsible fashion.
BURNETT: All right. Senator Cassidy, I appreciate your time. Thanks.
CASSIDY: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Next, breaking news. President Trump moments away, as we said, from taking the stage at a rally, going to be talking about Obamacare, and we are told at this moment, expected to talk about the breaking news at this hour. The rather surprising temporary restraining order, Trump's travel ban, the new one will not go into effect tonight. Hawaii banning it nationwide.
And Jeanne Moos.
BURNETT: So, how do we know when to take President Trump seriously but not literally?
Jeanne Moos finds out.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take him or leave him, it's hard to know how to take him.
TRUMP: Just literally.
I mean, literally.
Literally around, you know, on the little bowl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't take Donald Trump literally about anything.
MOOS: For instance, when President Trump tweeted, "Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower," no one thought President Obama himself literally tapped those wires.
[19:55:07] But even the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee now says --
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: Are you going to take the tweets literally? And if you are, then clearly, the president was wrong.
MOOS: Wrong or worse "lied", say Trump critics online.
"If tweets are not to be taken literally, then stop tweeting."
This whole literal thing first surfaced last year in the Atlantic when writer and CNN contributor Salena Zito observed, "The press takes him literally but not seriously. His supporters take him seriously but not literally", to that which candidate Trump responded, "Now, that's interesting".
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They take him literally and not seriously.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. Don't take him literally, take him symbolically.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We take the tweets so seriously, and not figuratively.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you are literally the president of the United States, we're going to take you seriously and we're going to take you literally.
MOOS: Trump supporters are always berating the press.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're taking literally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should definitely take him seriously because he's a man of his word.
MOOS: Make that "words", plural.
TRUMP: I know words. I have the best words. I have the -- but there's no better word than stupid.
MOOS: Literally. TRUMP: Right? There is none.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And next, breaking news. President Obama moments away from taking a stage at a rally in Nashville. How will he respond to a federal ban blocking his travel ban?
BURNETT: And thanks to all for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow night. Anderson is next.