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President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive action limiting the flow of refugees into the United States; Vice president Mike Pence just became the first vice president to address the event in person during its 43-year history; Steve Bannon called the media the opposition party; Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 27, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, MICHAEL SMERCONISH SHOW: -- and there he is being sworn in and President Obama is mouthing to him good job, who knows if he believed it, but that everyone could sort of buck up and that's the way we respect the outcome of elections. That move and today move me. I mean, with a name like Smerconish, you know, I got no, no, law-spit (ph) blood in me, right. That's reserve for those among us with the name like Baldwin. But I am an angle of file. I am a sucker for the UK. And I like the special relationship.

You know, I want to go back Harris (ph). So I like the fact that they stood there to have gin martinis. So, that I like.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: OK. I love having you on.

SMERCONISH: Hey, wait. Wait. Wait. I got a countdown clock. I think it's like four hours, 30 minutes and about 15 seconds to my special tonight. There's my countdown clock.

BALDWIN: See? I love the note pad, Smerconish. Do not miss the special tonight on the first of week of President Trump. 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific only on CNN. Math matters to your point. Math matters.

Moments from now, President Trump is, as we just his arrival at the Pentagon, he is expected to sign an executive action limiting the flow of refugees into the United States.

Coming up next, I will talk to the Muslim woman who voted for Mr. Trump. She will join me to weigh on what she make with his promise to enact, his words, extreme vetting.


[15:35:39] BALDWIN: We have just seen the president arrive at the Pentagon. We know he is there. He is about the sign this executive action that will limit the flow of refugees into the United States.

Here was then candidate Trump talking about his proposed Muslim ban that got so much attention in the first place.

(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.


BALDWIN: That was December of 2015. More than a year later, Mr. Trump says he will not ban all Muslims but he has spoken out about what he is calling extreme vetting of immigrants.


TRUMP: Totally extreme and beyond just those countries. We are going to have extreme vetting. We are going to have extreme vetting for people coming into our country. And if we think there is a problem, it's not going to be so easy for people to come in anymore. And these are people that we let in. We don't need this, alright. We don't need this. Some people have come in with evil intentions and, you know, most haven't I guess. But we can't chances. You know, the word gamble is an inappropriate word. It's a big gamble.


BALDWIN: A White House officials tells CNN the order would impose a four month ban on any refugees entering the U.S. It would also block all Syrian refugees indefinitely. And initially, there would be 30- day ban for immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries being Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

I want to bring in a special voice here. She is Asra Nomani. She the cofounder of Muslims reform movement. She wrote a column for the "Washington Post" after the election that got a lot of attention. She called it "I am a Muslim, a woman, and an immigrant, I voted for Trump."

So Asra, thank you so much for joining me. Welcome.


BALDWIN: First, just on the emotional piece of this. You know, I understand you have gotten some hateful at times vulgar comments. How difficult has it been for you to be a Muslim woman Trump supporter?

NOMANI: Yes, thank you for asking. You know, I have been a life-long liberal and I have voted for every Democratic presidential candidate until 2016. It was a difficult decision but I chose to make my vote in part in large part because of my Muslim identity. I have been very frustrated by this eight years that we haven't dealt with the issue of extremism. So it was a very pragmatic decision.

But you know, Brooke, what happened is that people are so emotional and so worked up about this election that it has been shocking to me what I have felt from the left. Many people I thought were friends have decided I had my IQ drop 50 points because of my vote. And I just, you know, the biggest thing for me that I see as concern is the lack of civility in our society today, the lack of ability to have a conversation with others not from an assumption of bad and evil intentions but just the fact that we are all human beings that we come to different conclusions sometimes.

BALDWIN: I appreciate your honesty. And let's have a conversation, you know. Let's talk about this executive action that the president is about to sign, this travel ban. You know, you agree with it. You are OK with it. But I understand you also call it a band aid solution, why?

NOMANI: Yes, Brooke. You know, I came almost 50 years ago from India, my native country. And I was four years old. My brother (INAUDIBLE) was with me. My parents had been separate from us for two years because of just trying to jump over the legal loopholes. Over those 50 years we have a serious extremism problem exported throughout the world and we need to come up with practical solutions. I know the power and magic of being in America. And I know there are so many good intention people from the country that have been identified. But we have to come to terms and find practical solutions and give this administration a chance to deal with the systematic ideological problem of extremism.

BALDWIN: but what do you say, I just have to jump in Asra, what do you say to critics who say this is a flat out, look at those countries, this is flat-out a Muslim ban?

NOMANI: Well, the largest countries that have with Muslim populations is Indonesia, India and Pakistan. Those countries are not on the list because they do not have extensive of a problem as we are seeing. Now, Pakistan has a serious issue. And we have to confront it. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, those are the real exporters of ideological problems.

I understand. And that's why I called this a band aid solution because really we are facing the ideological war of our lifetime. We have a poorest boarder, no bans or vetting is going to deal with that problem and that's where in my heart as a Muslim we have to confront not only for American but also for Muslims.

[15:40:33] BALDWIN: I know you wrote after Election Day that you are a silent voter for Donald Trump. You do still support him. And just quickly your reaction to the president's first week in the White House?

NOMANI: Well, you know, I feel like I'm living in a parallel universe, honestly, Brooke. I know that there are many people who think that we are sort of living on the set of, you know, the hunger games that president snow has come to office and the resistance must stand up.

But there's many other people including myself who kind of fell like we are sort on the set of the twilight zone that there isn't this crazy, you know, anger and hate for the policies that he is putting in place. People understand them. They understand that this is Republican politics. And so, in many ways what we are receiving this last week are the same issues for which many voters cast their ballot issues of security, and ultimately I believe economy. And so, I am not you know raising alarm bells like other people are. And I in fact think that, you know, we should have an open mind and move forward to support our country and our administration.

BALDWIN: Important to hear all perspectives.

Asra Nomani, thank you so much for joining me and sharing your voice.

NOMANI: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up next, the vice president Mike Pence becomes the first sitting vice president to speak at the annual march for life. We are live on the national mall to make sure we are hearing from these men and women speaking out against abortion.


[15:46:03] BALDWIN: Crowds of activists are again filling the streets of Washington D.C. today. Look at these pictures, this anti-abortion movement marking 44 years since the United States Supreme Court ruled abortion legal in the U.S. The march for life is an annual event.

And today, crowds there got their biggest boost yet from the White House. Vice president Mike Pence just became the first vice president to address the event in person during its 43-year history.

So let bring in our correspondent who is covering this march and demonstration, Sunlen Serfaty. And he echo, reminding the crown so that the president will be picking that next Supreme Court pick next week. This is all relevant.

SUNLEN SERFATY, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Brooke. And I can tell you speaking of many of these folks here today that is top on their mind and that in large part why the march, they ended here in front of the steps of the Supreme Court.

But certainly Mike Pence today really trying to send a crystal clear message to the crowd basically saying and many times during his speech that life is winning again in America. That's certainly indicative of what the administration believes that the new era in America in terms of anti-abortion activism and the movement for it to abortion.

Here is what he had to say earlier this morning right below the Washington monument.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of all of you and the many thousands who stand with us in marches like this all across the nation, life is winning again in America. It is no more evident in any way than in the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America, and a president who I proudly say stands for the right to life, President Donald Trump.


SERFATY: Now that message many folks wanted to hear today. Many of the people I spoke to said, though the jury is still out that they are going to be looking to what Donald Trump will do next week in terms of picking a Supreme Court nominee. Many people here sensing an opportunity here to get an anti-abortion justice in place in the Supreme Court, try to tilt the court more conservative leaning, but they say they will certainly be watching that very closely here today -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right. Sunlen, thank you. That Supreme Court pick happening next week as you mentioned.

Now though, we just have gotten some news in Donald Trump doubling down on the comment from his chief strategist Steve Bannon that the media is the opposition. Take a listen to what he just told the Christian Broadcasting Network.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve Bannon, one of your top advisors just the other day at "the New York Times" called the media the opposition party. Do you believe that?

TRUMP: I think to a large extent they are much more capable than the other side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other side s?

TRUMP: Yes, I think the media is the opposition party in many ways. And I think that - and I'm not talking about all media. I know people like yourself, but I know people in the media that I have tremendous respect for. I respect them as much as anybody. So I'm not talking about everybody. But a big portion of the media, the dishonesty, that total deceit and deception makes them certainly partially the opposition party, absolutely. I think they are much more capable than the opposition party. The opposition party is losing badly. Now, the media is on the oppositions' party side. And I actually said to myself, I say they treat me so unfairly it's hard to believe that I won.

But the fortunate thing about me is I have a big voice. I have a voice that people understand and you see it now we're bringing back jobs. Ford is making a massive investment now in Michigan. General Motors is going to be making, you know, just magnificent investment. So many other companies are coming back in. But yes, the media is a disgrace. And they called me wrong from the beginning. I mean, "The New York Times" has called me wrong from the beginning. They actually apologized to their readers. They lost a lot of subscriptions because - not because the readers even like me. They said how inaccurate could you be? Because of you at "the New York Times" there was no chance that Trump was going to win. And yet, we would go out there and I would feel I was going to win based on the crowd. You saw the crowds better than anybody, so it's a very interesting fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [15:50:32] BALDWIN: On The president there.

Carl Bernstein with me, CNN political analyst, legendary journalist.

I mean, it is one thing to hear Steve Bannon, the chief strategist call we, the media, the opposition party. But it takes on a whole new tone when you hear that from the United States - from the president of the United States.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is sad. It's regrettable. This attempt to make the conduct of the press the issue in this country instead of the conduct of the president of the United States. I would hope the president will back off from this.

President Trump has won a great remarkable victory in coming to the office of the presidency, and we have reported on the nature of that great and remarkable victory and giving him remarkable credit for what he has pulled off in this election and becoming the president of the United States. It's just counter factual.

But start with that, who is the opposition party in the one week of this presidency so far? The truth is the opposition party so far.

BALDWIN: The truth.

BERNSTEIN: The truth is because we have seen so many lies and conspiracy theories, unfortunately falsehoods, repeated by the president of the United States, by his ministers of propaganda, by Kellyanne Conway, by the press secretary.

This is not a place where anybody who I know in the media wants to see this go in the first days of this presidency.

BALDWIN: Why do you think -- why do they want to do this? Why do they want to start a war with the media?

BERNSTEIN: I'm not going to get into their heads. I think that -- look, President Trump has an agenda of programs and policies. Fight for them. Fight for them on a factual basis on what you believe, but so far that is not what we are seeing. And to make the conduct of the press the issue in this culture is, I believe, a grave mistake because people want the truth, including Trump supporters. They want the truth.

BALDWIN: They deserve the truth.

BERNSTEIN: They want their president to tell the truth. And the press is a means of sorting out the truth. Our job is the best obtainable version of the truth. We do it sometimes well, sometimes not so well.

Also, Donald Trump is the president of the United States in large measure because of the media, because of cable news particularly and the exposure he got through cable news during the primary campaigns. So, this is -- there is a disingenuous aspect to this. And I would hope that they and the president of the United States would dial this back because it's to nobody's benefit. We need a fact-based debate in this country. And the press is a means of doing it and the presidency is a means of doing it.

BALDWIN: You said it. The opposition party is the truth.

Carl Bernstein, thank you very much.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be here.

BALDWIN: Next, President Trump speaking of, he is at the Pentagon, live pictures there. He is set to sign an executive order shortly to implement extreme vetting of refugees. We will take it live here on CNN.


[15:56:23] BALDWIN: All right. So, here is the split screen for you. On the right side, this was moments ago where we saw the president. We saw the vice-president. Here is his secretary of defense general James Mattis shaking his hand as they walk up those steps into the Pentagon.

The left side is where we will be seeing the president momentarily. It's significant because this is where he will be signing that executive action, you know, limiting the flow of refugees into this country.

A White House official tells CNN it would impose a four-month ban on any refugees coming into the U.S. It would also block all Syrian refugees indefinitely. And initially there would be a 30-day ban from immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries being Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

So, we are going to take that live as soon as we see the president there standing at the podium at the Pentagon.

But before we do that, want to share this extraordinary story of a police officer who went beyond the call of duty. Corporal Kevin Holtry of Boise, Idaho was left paralyzed with only one leg suspect on the run shot him multiple times. But his resilience never waivers and he still hopes to put on his uniform one last time.

CNN's Ana Cabrera tells the story.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To Corporal Kevin Holtry, every breath, every movement is a blessing.

CORPORAL KEVIN HOLTRY OF BOISE, IDAHO POLICE: I kind of approach this as a little bit of a venture.

CABRERA: This new adventure began back in November. Holtry, a 17- year veteran of the Boise police department, was searching for a suspect involved in a shooting and carjacking.

HOLTRY: He was concealed and I was the first guy that really came into contact and ended up being a few feet from him.

CABRERA: He had no time to react.

HOLTRY: I got shot in the femur, the hip, the stomach. And he was so low that they all went under my vest. I knew I was paralyzed, I mean, immediately.

CABRERA: As Holtry lay helpless, shot five times, the suspect kept firing, hitting fellow officer corporal Chris Davis who survived, and fatally wounding police canine Jardo who Holtry calls his hero for jumping on the shooter, distracting him just long enough.

HOLTRY: He saved my life without a doubt.

CABRERA: After two months in the hospital and dozens of procedures, Holtry continues his recovery at Craig hospital in Colorado which specializes in brain and spinal cord injuries.


CABRERA: His days are full of grueling physical therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just lift straight up.

CABRERA: His left leg amputated because of infection, a rod holding his right leg together. He has no feeling from the waist down, except when this happens -- reoccurring nerve spasm.

HOLTRY: Man, they're super painful. It goes through right where I got shot and kind of wraps around into my groin. It's the only spot.

Yes, it's the understatement of a year.

CABRERA: Humor still intact even in the throes of adversity. This military vet and father of two is a warrior in mind and body, facing an uncertain future unafraid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was excellent.

CABRERA: Do you think you will ever walk again?

HOLTRY: Who knows? Nobody knows. I hope that one day maybe I can at least put a uniform on one last time. And that really bothers me that I may not be able to, but at least one last time.

CABRERA: Ana Cabrera, CNN Denver.


BALDWIN: How about that. These stories are absolutely incredible. We are grateful to you.

I'm Brook Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "The LEAD" with Jake Tappers starts now.