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Judge Orders DHS To Accept New DACA Applications; Source: George H.W. Bush Doing Much Better After Injection; First Lady Steps Into Spotlight During State Dinner; Republicans Hold Onto House Seat In Arizona; Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Trump Travel Ban. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 25, 2018 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:01] JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: John, she said two other things after that exchange. She said this really is an out of the box President. She also said who knows where his heart of hearts is?

So indicating there that the liberal justices at least are somewhat troubled about President Trump's comments on the campaign trail and whether or not this really amounts to a Muslim ban. You know, the justices will consider this case after these arguments, and we are expecting some sort of ruling in this case, probably by the end of June. John?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: End of June. Jessica Schneider, I appreciate, there in the courtroom today. A big day, fascinating day to be there.

The travel ban hearing comes one day after another big administration setback on another consensus White House policy. A federal judge in Washington, D.C. became the third to block the President's plan to end the so-called DACA program, the legal protections to the Dreamers. So the administration is in court, defending a number of its policies.

Let's come back to the travel ban in this case. Because part of the challenge for the court, it is well established law that the President has power when it comes to national security. The President cease a threat, precedes a threat, the President has the power to do so. The court seems to be arguing over that broad power for any president, and the application for it during this President's term, because of the things he said during the campaign.

MICHAEL BENDER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, this was the -- one of the defining issues of his campaign. It's been a central piece of his presidency. And, you know, to take a step back, I hope it doesn't have a chilling effect on future politicians who may hesitate to implement their campaign promises. I say that jokingly, but -- I mean, that was the entire campaign of Trump.

I mean, he was running to be a different politician. He was complaining about people who didn't -- who ran for office said one thing, did another. He was going to do the opposite. And now that he's in office, his attorneys are arguing that what he said on the campaign trail shouldn't be part of what he's actually -- NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. And a big

part of the campaign too, and one of the things that he says is one of his big accomplishments is getting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. And so if this happens in June where there's a big victory in this white house, you can imagine it will sort of revive that talking point about this victory with Neil Gorsuch and how important the Supreme Court, the makeup of the Supreme Court is to Republicans going forward.

KING: And for all the legal arguments about the historical treatment of the President's powers, the Justice Department's argument essentially is that the clock starts running when the hand comes up the Bible in January of 2017 and does not count any of this.

(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.

The protection of the nation from foreign terrorists entering into the United States. We all know what that means.

This is a watered down version of the first one. This is a watered down version. And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way which is what I wanted to do in the first place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The first campaign promise, you know, he said that. He read from a script. It ceased other remarks when the lawyers are quick (ph) during the case, during the presidency, during the challenge, they were trying to say, you know, ignore the campaign. And the critics then say, well then listen to the President.

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: Yes, as we're finding out in the Mueller probe now and the sort of separate litigation or testing of some of these policies. On the one hand, part of what makes the President popular with the people who love him is that he speaks his mind when he's thinking it. But the problem is, you have this very long record of things that are like impossible to undo. You can't unsay it after you've said it.

And so I think this is another example, and it's a very interesting, you know, matter how this plays out. It's going to have impacts beyond this presidency, but it sort of another example of, you know, decades from now when all is said and done, how this administration overtly is going to be an incredible test case for broadening or changing or expending the powers.

KING: You use the word interesting. Also interesting is this third decision about DACA, because it's more sweeping than the prior two. The prior two said the administration did not make a case for why DACA was illegal when they said withdrawing it out. We're getting rid of it. This case also says there's a 90-day stay to allow the Justice Department to come back in and argue again essentially, but to make its point about why did she lose, essentially says the reopening the application process.

So how does that affect things? So everyone, you know, we talked about this for month where they get a legislative solution to this. The answer is no. I think right still in an election year. No. Not going to happen, no. So now you have another court case, this one perhaps to reach the Supreme Court as well, in which these federal judges, and this one is a George W. Bush appointee, saying the Justice Department suddenly did not make a case that what President Obama did was illegal. Therefore you can't just throw it out without an explanation.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Which I think is one of the most interesting kind of endpoints here because I think people thought the Justice Department was probably on pretty solid ground when they decided to move forward, when Jeff Sessions decided to move forward with this. And so that's what I think, to your point, we makes this most interesting. I think the difficulty right now is just the uncertainty that this continues to throw into things.

[12:35:04] You have individuals who received DACA protection, that has since run out, that have been trying to reapply, because they were able to previously. Now they're saying that they can take new applications. Nobody is actually sure if the application process is moving quickly.

Meanwhile, people are continuing to lose their DACA protection. And there are open questions right now, short of a legislative solution which, as we all know, isn't happening anytime soon. As to what is going to happen with those individuals. And I think the frustration right now, as everybody kind of waits for the obvious which is this is going to end up in the Supreme Court, that's where the decision would be made. Is that nobody on Capitol Hill is going to do anything until there is a new deadline.

And right now, there are no new deadlines, a lot more confusion, and people trying to figure out really lives are -- really kind of sitting in the balance right now in terms of what are the actual next steps for that you can take as the politicians sit around and say we'll just wait.

TALEV: Or is it dangerous to stake any steps? Do you just hunkered down and not make eye contact.

KING: And whatever your view on the issue, that's the most important part is 700,000 people plus sitting at home saying, what's the deal. What happens to me, what happens to my life, what happens to my children, what happens to my job, what happen to my family? Legal and political arguments, all important 700,000 people plus would like some clear directions. They're going to have to wait for it.

Up next, Melania Trump is having a very busy big week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[12:40:26] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just a bill, yes, I'm only a bill, and I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill. Well, it's a long, long journey to the capitol city. It's a long, long wait while I'm sitting in committee but I know I'll be a law someday at least. I hope and pray that but today I I'm still just a bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Makes you smile, right? Who can forget the very first civics lesson for a lot of us when we were kids. On a political radar today, we remember the musician behind this and all the rest of the Schoolhouse Rock cartoons, Bob Dorough. Bob dies this week at the age of 94.

Congressional Republicans back on the baseball diamond today. It's been 10 months since a gunman ambushed their practice, remember wounding the majority whip Steve Scalise and members of his security detail. Just a day before their annual charity game against the Democrats last year. That game went on his plan, but this was their first time back on the practice field.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R), GEORGIA: We never got to finish the practice that we started. And that's why I wore the same uniform I was wearing on the field that day, because it was important to come out here and show the world that we're not going to be deterred. This is victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Some encouraging news for the Bush family and for the country. A source close to the family says former President George H.W. Bush feeling much better, this, after being hospitalized for a serious infection that's spread to his blood. That hospitalization just today after his wife's funeral service.

The senior Bush tweeting just a short time ago, yes, thanking the Houston City government, local churches and, "Really all Houstonians for your professionalism and obvious care in making Barbara's visitors and funeral guests feel so welcomed. Thank you all." That's from George H.W. Bush. We wish you well, sir.

First Lady Melania Trump stealing the spotlight again. Earlier today, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, yes, this is real, helped unveil a new wax figure of the First Lady at Madame Tussauds in New York. First Lady also getting some praise from the commander in chief this morning who says, quote, every detail was done to perfection during last night's state dinner, welcoming the French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife to the White House.

The First Lady planned the event selecting everything from the flowers to the China, even the menu.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: President Macron, Brigitte, Melania and I are profoundly honored to host you and your entire French delegation for our first official State Dinner. And to America's absolutely incredible First Lady, thank you for making this an evening we will always cherish and remember. Thank you, Melania.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: As always, a lot going on in town. But this has been the week of Melania in many ways. She was represented the administration at Barbara Bush's funeral, in a picture that was spread around the world of her standing there with the former presidents and the Bush family after the service there. Very high profile during all of the state visit. The hat got a lot of buzz yesterday during the greeting.

If you see this play out, she has slowly, I guess, stepped into a more public role, but this past week has been the most.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, in many ways, it was sort of her coming out, and she very much I think met the moment. I mean, the hat was spectacular, a lot of buzz about that. It was sort of Chang (ph) hat, a Beyonce hat, lots of means online about it.

She's a first lady that people don't quite know, so we're still getting to know her. She isn't great in terms of wanting to be a public figure, in terms of speaking a lot or even having a platform. But this week I thought was a real get to know you kind of week for her so far. And I think especially that hat really catapulted her into kind of a buzzy place that she hadn't been before.

BENDER: And she seems to be enjoying herself.

HENDERSON: Yes.

BENDER: The weirdy (ph) in this Trump White House or someone involvement in a day to day basis on the White House, enjoying their time there. She had a big smile at the funeral that turned into an internet meaning (ph). Sitting next to President Obama and a lot of people had fun with on Twitter.

But yesterday I was at all the public event at the White House for the state visit and she could not have been happy. I mean, every event she had a big smile. She was really happy to welcome the French first couple to the White House first thing in the morning. And by the end of the night, again, she was radiant and had a huge smile as they showed up and just could not have been enjoying the moment more, which is a fun thing to watch.

TALEV: You know, I would say that her cues so far are mostly visual for all of us and that's why I think there's been so much interpretation of what does it mean if she pushes his hand away, or if she's texting (ph), or if there's an -- you know, what is she wearing?

[12:45:06] Part of it is also that of course she loves fashion, has a career in fashion beforehand. So it's hard to believe anything is ever accidental. A lot of questions about what it means when she's wearing white, what a certain hat signals on a certain TV show wearing a hat signals, you know, you're with the forces of good.

Does she want us to be reading into all of this? Certainly she knows the press will be reading it to all of this, special people who cover pop culture and fashion. And nothing is by accident.

KING: I could tell you, the Bush family very much appreciated her visit to the funeral. Number one, in the private setting, she was described as very gracious and polite. And they also were very thankful she brought too longtime White House staffers with her on an official government plane who worked in the White House who were close to Barbara Bush and that was very much appreciated by the Bush family.

When we come back, Republicans get a win in this midterm election year. But with the win, also comes a message.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[12:50:07] DEBBIE LESKO (R), ARIZONA CONG.-ELECT: I won! This is awesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Yes, a win is a win, but is there a message in the margin? That's the conversation today after Republicans hold on to a red congressional district in Arizona. We just saw Debbie Lesko there. She edged out the Democrat, Hiral Tipirneni by five points in Arizona's 8th Congressional District.

Five points is too close for GOP comfort. President Trump won Arizona 8th by 21 points in 2016. And back in 2012, Mitt Romney carried the district by 25 points. Last night's special election, no fluke. In nine special congressional elections this cycle, Democrats have outperformed the partisan baseline based on the last two presidential elections. Outperformed, their past performance in all nine, all nine of the special elections.

Make no mistake, the Democratic Senate candidate in Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema among those taking notes. And that's the key point here. Yes, the Republicans held it. They had to spend a couple million dollars. They had a little bit of a panic at the end. And again, we are seeing Democrats are coming out of the woodwork even in places where they're outnumbered, they're coming out of the woodwork to vote

MATTINGLY: So I think there's -- one of the most interesting elements about this race, in two point, a win is a win, there's now a new member of the Republican Conference (INAUDIBLE) there. Is the dynamics of this race were different than some of the other specials. You've had other specials, whether it was Pennsylvania 17, whether it's Roy Moore, whether it's -- any number of things where you can say the candidate was terrible, or we hated the candidate or there were fund-raising issues or there were turnout issues on the Republican side.

None of those dynamics were the case. Every Republican I talked to said, Debbie Lesko was a good candidate, she raise good money, they felt like the turnout from the Republican side of things based on kind of a historical moments is right along the line of what they were expecting, and yet there were still a dramatic shift from the Democratic side of things. And that I think is a warning sign for a lot of people to your partners. And Sinema, if she gets those numbers in that district, it's going to be a major win for her in Arizona.

KING: Makes her much tougher statewide. Look around the country, look around suburbs out to the exurbs, Democrats are doing much better in traditional Republican territory. Arizona polls were saying this, "Republican shouldn't be hitting the alarm, they should be slamming it."

Six months from Tuesday, the midterm elections. We've got some more audio on that big Supreme Court hearing today, arguments on the President's travel ban, more of that. We'll take you inside the arguments right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:56:58] KING: Take you back inside, a rare chance to go back inside the Supreme Court chamber today, arguments about the President's travel ban, a bit early in program, we played you Democratic Appointed Justice Elena Kagan voicing skepticism about the President's travel ban. Here's conservative Samuel Alito saying it sounds OK to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMUEL ALITO, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: Would any reasonable observer reading this proclamation, without taking into account statements, think that this was a Muslim ban? I mean, there are -- I think there are 50 predominantly Muslim countries in the world. Five countries, five predominantly Muslim countries are on this list.

The population of the predominantly Muslim countries on this list make up about 8 percent of the world's Muslim population. If you looked at the 10 countries with the most Muslims, exactly one, Iran, would be on that list of the top 10. So would a reasonable observer think this was a Muslim ban?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Interesting to hear. There's the conservative perspective. And the key line is at the beginning, would any reasonable observer reading this proclamation, without taking into account statements. Meaning, this argument is where you start the clock. President Trump or Kennedy-Trump, that's what he means without taking into accounts. If you just push the Trump campaign aside, would you think it was a Muslim ban?

BENDER: It sounds like Alito was taking Trump seriously but not literally here. And also just brings up all of the -- This case just wraps up so many things into it here. I mean, the Muslim ban on the campaign was such an emotional moment, and really had the support from a lot of people.

Trump may not win New Hampshire primary without that Muslim ban, according to some polls. But the nuance that the justices are showing here is not going to be the nuance people read this in. People are going to read this in as whether the Muslim ban was a good or bad this. What the justices are looking at here is a very specific line of whether President had the power to implement it.

KING: And here's another key question, Anthony Kennedy open the swing vote asking here, well maybe if I don't like this, but isn't a temporary, isn't a constantly reviewed?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY KENNEDY, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought it has to be re-examined every 180 days?

NEAL KATYAL, AMERICAN LAWYER: No, that's not what it says. It says there is a report that has to come in at 180 days and nothing happens at the end of the report.

KENNEDY: That indicates there will be a reassessment?

KATYAL: Well, in --

KENNEDY: And the President has continuing discretion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It's hard to read, but some would take that Kennedy trying to find his way to a yes.

MATTINGLY: Look, my hot take is as a Supreme Court watcher is, keep your eye on Justice Kennedy.

HENDERSON: Right.

MATTINGLY: Look, I think that actually brings up really interesting though and I think people probably recognize it, but also need to keep in mind, this is the third iteration of this. This is very long way. In terms of substance and the policies, a very long way from what the Muslim ban was.

The time really kind of changed out what we saw initially, which was a bit of a disaster, to now. And that's what's being looked at right now.

TALEV: A watered down version, yes.

KING: Fascinating case. Always love. We're getting glimpse, not quite a glimpse, we're listening to the court Sunday, maybe a camera.

That's it for us on INSIDE POLITICS today. See you back here this time tomorrow. Wolf starts right now.