Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Defends Controversial Travel Ban; Protesters at Airport Demonstrate Against Travel Ban; 11-Year-Old Syrian Refugee Reacts to Ban; Underground Smuggling Tunnels at U.S./Mexican Border; George Orwell's "1984" a Best Sellers Based on Trump Fears; Trump Chief Strategist Tells Media to Shut Up; What Kentucky Trump Supporters Think of Possible Voter Fraud Investigation. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 28, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:59:50] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Athena Jones live at the White House. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks.
HARLOW: Top of the hour, 5:00 p.m. Eastern. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Breaking news, President Trump speaking about his controversial executive order. One that bars 134 million people from seven Muslim majority countries from coming to the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not a Muslim ban but we are totally prepared, it's working out very nicely, you see it at the airports, you see it all over. It's working out very nicely, and we're going to have a very, very strict ban and we're going to have extreme vetting which we should have had in this country for many years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: This comes as protesters gather outside of New York's JFK Airport right now. After word spread that at least two Iraqis were detained there despite holding valid U.S. visas, a lawsuit has been filed on their behalf. One of the men has been released and addressed the media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a special immigration visa in my passport, me and my family because I work with the U.S. government, I support the U.S. government from the other side of the world. But when I come here they say no. And they treat me as if I break the rules or I do something wrong. I'm surprised, really.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: New York Congressman Jerry Nadler saying that 11 others are stilling being detained at this hour at JFK Airport. Part of this travel ban that targets Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. But not included in the ban, the four countries where the 9/11 hijackers came from. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon. Reaction is pouring in from across the globe including from Iranian officials who say they will reciprocate by banning U.S. citizens to their country. All of this as the President signs three more executive actions.
Let's begin this hour with Rachel Crane, she is live at JFK Airport. The protests still very much on going on behind you.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This crowd is growing, Poppy. I mean, we've seen this crowd grow from just a handful of people to what seems like hundreds and hundreds of people here. Protesting, calling for the release of the detainees that are being held here at JFK. Also for President Trump to reverse his controversial executive order. And it's very peaceful here and very spirited, Poppy. We've seen children, we've seen puppies, families. One family spoke about saying how this is the best civics lesson they could ever give their child. Bringing them here to this protest.
We've also recently learned that this is terminal four right here where this protest is being -- where this protest is taking place, and we know that 11 detainees are still being held here. We also have learned that a terminal one, at least six people have been detained today. Several of whom are students. One of which is a student at NYU. Also we heard a student from Stony Brook being held. We're hearing this from a lawyer that's working with families over there. I had an opportunity to speak with the daughter of a family that's being held. Her parents came to visit her. She goes to Stony Brook University. Her parents coming here for the very first time. They've been held since 11:00 a.m. -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Rachel, what are they chanting behind you?
CRANE: We're having some technical difficulties. Yes.
HARLOW: I just said, what are they chanting behind you?
HARLOW: Okay. She can't hear me. Rachel Crane, at JFK, thank you.
Iran's response to the travel ban, they're slapping their own, no U.S. citizens will be allowed to enter Iran, they say it for as long as President Trump's order is in effect.
Joining me from Washington, CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. And Nic, let's begin with this. Because President Trump has signed several new executive actions just moments ago. One of them gives a deadline to his top generals to deliver their plan aimed at destroying ISIS. Do we know anything else about what this new plan will be? Because as you well know, the President was incredibly critical of the former administration's plan to defeat ISIS and the generals themselves.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well prior to the signing, we were expecting, we've been told the details would include that there's a 30-day deadline for the generals to come up with this plan. The other details we have at the moment, really what we have from President Trump as he read it out, and I found that very interesting. Because he said this will be to tackle ISIS, in Iraq and Syria. As we know, ISIS is manifesting itself in other countries such as Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan. These countries as well.
But he said specifically here, these were his words. ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And he has said absolutely he's going to double down, bomb ISIS, essentially off the face of the map. That he will eradicate and get rid of ISIS. But it appears as if now he is limiting that in what he is asking in his executive order to ISIS in Iraq and Syria. This of course is the biggest grouping of ISIS. But not all and they've been growing in Libya recently.
[17:05:25] HARLOW: What is not included in the executive order signed this week on, with this travel ban, Nic, is a safe zone in Syria. This is something that the President campaigned on. He said we should have a safe zone in Syria, so that refugees could go there. Rather than necessarily coming to the United States. Talk to me about that and also how this ban will impact the already-strained refugee programs in other countries? Like Jordan for example. Like Turkey?
ROBERTSON: Well that tiny valve that allowed refugees out of Jordan, out of Lebanon, out of Turkey, that allowed them to sort of go through a screening process against the United States or other European countries, it throttles back that valve so that exacerbates the situation for them. The difficulty of course for those governments is, is now they have potentially an even more angry population of refugees on their hands. Who feel that their, you know, their opportunities are limited and curtailed here -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Nic Robertson in Washington. Nic, thank you very much for that.
Joining me now, California Congressman Adam Schiff, he is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you for joining us.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: You bet. Good to be with you.
HARLOW: Your reaction to the President and this travel ban. It essentially would impact, you know, 134 million people, if you look at it in totality of those seven countries. Your reaction?
SCHIFF: I think it's a terrible mistake. And a terrible irony that on holocaust remembrance day he would issue a ban, effectively a religious test for people coming here as refugees. It's an awful decision and it plays right into the ISIS and al Qaeda narrative that the west is essentially inhospitable to Muslims. There's a clash of civilizations. It's going to make relations with Muslim countries that we depend upon, in this war on terror much more difficult, much more front. So, I think it's going to be deeply counterproductive. If you look to
the problems that we've had in the United States, the attacks that we've had that come from home-grown radicals. They have not come from refugees. And so I think it's a very poor decision. I'm writing today, our letter will go out within the hour to Secretary Kerry. Kelly, rather. Demanding information about anyone being detained at Los Angeles Airport. And my constituents that may be detained or family members of my constituents because we want to make sure that they can have access to legal regress.
HARLOW: Congressman, let's listen to what the President said about the need for better vetting procedures. Because his team has pointed to attacks for example in San Bernardino. As sort of a ground for this, even though those attackers were not from any of the countries included. Let's listen to the President's justification.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We've taken in tens of thousands of people, we know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn't vet them. They have no papers, how can you vet somebody when you don't know anything about them and they have no papers? How do you vet them? You can't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Why do you think he's wrong?
SCHIFF: Well, unfortunately it's the President that knows little about the vetting process. These refugees that we've taken in often have to go through a year and a half, two and a half years of vetting, where their backgrounds are checked out. Where their stories are checked out. In fact the people that he's targeting are the most vetted people coming to the United States. If he wants to pay attention to those that may pose a threat, there are Europeans that can come to this country without a visa, as part of the visa waiver program.
We know that there have been a great number of foreign fighters that have left Europe and gone to join the fight. Have come back to Europe. Some of which we know who they are, some of which we don't. That's probably a much greater likelihood of a problem ultimately than those that are going through this two-year vetting process. So I think he needs to familiarize himself exactly with where the threats are coming from. This is again the President shooting from the hip. Going on his gut. When unfortunately these decisions are ill-informed and are going to have serious repercussions.
HARLOW: The attackers in San Bernardino who took 14 lives. You know, they were carried out by a woman who came to the United States from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. She moved there to Saudi Arabia when she was 20. Better vetting, the argument is, may have stopped her, right? She and her husband took these 14 lives.
Does that bolster Trump's argument? Noting that those countries by the way, the man in the attack was born in America, she was born in Pakistan. Pakistan is not included on this ban. Does that though help bolster Trump's argument that there should have been better vetting?
[17:10:13] SCHIFF: No, not at all. And as you point out, Pakistan is not even covered by this order. It's not one of the Muslim countries that's singled out. Moreover, you have one assailant who was born here, another didn't come as a refugee. But came as part of the fiance process. And yes, there are always ways to improve vetting of anyone. This order isn't going to help improve vetting. It is going to cause a lot of distress and a lot of I think animosity within the Muslim world. We're already seen people that have risked their lives for the United States, people serving as interpreters in Iraq, being detained.
Now, some of them have been released apparently, but only because of public attention. How many others have been detained around the country, prevented from getting here, that have not gotten the benefit of publicity and are still in detention, we simply don't know. But the fact that these orders would not have prevented San Bernardino, indeed none of the 9/11 hijackers came from these countries. Tells you that the examples that he gives really don't support the orders he's signed.
HARLOW: We know that President Trump will give this country, will give priority to Christian refugees. Here's how he put it to the Christian broadcasting network just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRODY: As it relates to persecuted Christians. Do you see them as kind of a priority here?
PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES: Yes.
BRODY: You do.
TRUMP: Yes. They've been horribly treated. You know, if you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, very, very, at least very, very tough to get into the United States. If were you a Muslim, you could come in. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: I should note that is not factual. Because when you look at the number of refugees that came to this country last year, you had almost an exactly equal number according to pew of Christians and Muslims. Forty six to 44 percent. But do you believe that, do you believe that he's going to correct an unfair system as he puts it?
SCHIFF: No. And I'm glad you called the President on this. He is someone who makes up his facts as he goes along and we're going to have to continue to call him out on this. Because unfortunately the basis for a lot of these misguided policies is a misstatement of the facts. But you know listen, Christians have been persecuted in the Middle East. They have been the victim of terrible atrocities.
We ought to try to help the Christian populations. But Muslims have also been the victims. In fact more Muslim victims than any other religious group in the region. And I don't see us have a religious test where we say we're not going to accept refugees from Muslim countries. Or if we do, we're only going to accept Christians. That would be a terrible turn of affairs for country that was founded on the idea of religious liberty.
And to announce this policy on Holocaust Remembrance Day just adds additional salt to the wounds. This is a man who has learned very little from history. And we don't want to repeat the mistakes. Because frankly, this is how it starts. It starts with a ban on certain countries and then it becomes a very overt ban on a certain religious group.
HARLOW: Obviously there's other religious minorities, including the Yazidis who have been persecuted there as well. Congressman, thank you very much for being with us.
SCHIFF: Thanks, Poppy.
HARLOW: Coming up, we will get a Trump supporter's take on this controversial travel ban. Also an 11-year-old Syrian refugee reads her thank you letter to America. In front of an audience filled with those who have supported the President through the campaign. You'll hear about her dream of being a doctor. And this, we take you inside the vast network of tunnels under the U.S./Mexico border. Our special series on the promised border wall is ahead.
[17:17:28] HARLOW: Protesters gathered right now outside of JFK Airport protesting the President's executive order suspending the entire U.S. refugee program temporarily and banning people from seven Muslim majority countries. Well today refugee families are pleading with the President, urging him to remember the people affected by this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We send a message to President Trump as a helpless people who want to stay away from terrorism and war. Away from all these problems. We want to live in peace. We do not want to go to the United States to carry out terrorist operations. We are against terrorism. Our religion, Islam, is a religion of peace. Not a religion of terrorism or killing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Reaction from many Democrats has been swift, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy tweeting out the now iconic and deeply painful photo of the three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up on that beach in Turkey as his family tried to flee the civil war in Syria. The senator's message, "To my colleagues, don't ever again lecture me on American moral leadership if you choose to be silent today."
In the meantime, House Speaker Paul Ryan commented, commended Trump rather, noting our number one responsibility is to protect the homeland.
Joining me now, CNN political commentator and former Reagan White House political director, Jeffrey Lord. Nice to have you on, Jeffrey.
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Hello, Poppy.
HARLOW: The President says this is solely about protecting the United States and Americans from radical Islamic terrorism. His ban, however, does not include Saudi Arabia. And as you know, Saudi Arabia is where the vast majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from. Sixteen of the 19 of them to be exact. How do you square the two?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, maybe you should. I don't know. But Poppy, you know, this kind of thing has a very, very long history. I mean, when George Washington was president, the United States began enacting all kinds of immigration reforms in terms of who could come in the country and who could not. So this is been going on for the entire existence of American history. The problem is here, Poppy --
HARLOW: Jeffrey Lord, that's not my question. My question to you is, did he get it right? I mean he's saying this is to protect Americans from terrorists. But can you point to one single terror attack on U.S. soil from refugees, from these countries?
LORD: Right. Right.
HARLOW: And you can point to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Lebanon and Egypt for having attackers on 9/11.
LORD: Sure. I take your point. And that's a question I'm sure that the National Security team will be happy to answer. But, you know, something has to be done here, Poppy. And, I mean, I listen to your last guest.
LORD: And I have to say, in October of 2015, 198 Syrian refugees appeared on the island, the Greek Island of Leros, I think it was, among them were four ISIS terrorists. Two of whom made their way to Paris and killed 130 people. We cannot have that kind of situation here in the United States. That is unacceptable. People have a right to be safe. To go to a Christmas party of all things in San Bernardino and be murdered by somebody who came in here, deliberately to commit Jihad, we have got to start to get a grip on this.
HARLOW: Jeffrey Lord, the San Bernardino attackers --
LORD: And it's only temporary Poppy --
HARLOW: San Bernardino attackers -- okay Jeffrey Lord, point of fact, the San Bernardino attackers, the husband was born in Illinois.
HARLOW: And the wife was born in Pakistan and lived in Saudi Arabia and came to this country.
LORD: Right. Right. Again, I take your point, Poppy. But we have to begin somewhere. And again --
HARLOW: But Jeffrey Lord you can't just say, yes, yes, but. Because you're using San Bernardino as justification for this. And yet, San Bernardino, the attackers were not from any of these countries in this ban.
LORD: Poppy, you've got to start somewhere. You must begin somewhere.
HARLOW: But don't you have to get it right? Don't you have to get it right?
LORD: Well, of course you do. Of course you do. He's been in office eight days. Let's, you know, give him some slack here. Get this exactly --
HARLOW: Then Jeffrey Lord, should he be issuing this executive order if it's not right? If you're saying this isn't perfect, this isn't totally on, there are some questions, then why issue an executive order affecting 134 million people until you have it right?
LORD: Well, because -- Poppy, all we're talking about, you're talking about adding two more countries. That's not saying exclude the others that he's already, the seven that he's named here.
HARLOW: No. I'm only asking you what's the rationale behind choosing these countries.
[17:22:05] LORD: Poppy, I don't know, I'm not on the National Security team, I do not know.
HARLOW: Some as you know are arguing today, Jeffrey, that this ban makes Americans in essence more vulnerable to attack. That it could enrage would-be terrorists, you have Iran's government calling it out. Calling it a gift to extremists and to their supporters. Do you believe this could make America more vulnerable?
LORD: No. No. Poppy and I'll tell you, there's an exact historical analogy. When Winston Churchill famously was criticizing Adolf Hitler as a danger to the world in the 1930s, Neville Chamberlain who was the appeasement maunder (ph) Prime Minister said something to the effect that if only Winston would shut up. That he could deal with Hitler, because he was making Hitler angry. Trust me, Hitler was angry. He was going to do what he was going to do regardless of what Winston Churchill or anyone else said. ISIS is beheading people, Poppy. They're not going to stop because Donald Trump says nice words. They didn't stop when Barack Obama was saying all sorts of nice words.
HARLOW: You would know as we look at live pictures -- protests at Dulles Airport. You would agree that much of this radicalization of terrorists in this country is happening online and happening to U.S. citizens, correct? LORD: You mean so far in America, yes, I think that's probably true.
But that doesn't mean that people aren't going to try to come in here, Poppy. The idea is to prevent this kind of thing. To prevent a Paris attack, from somebody who has come in, look most of these refugees, that was, are innocent. I'm not disputing that.
HARLOW: Yes. The Paris attack, none of the Paris attackers in the last year's attack or "Charlie Hebdo" came from any of these countries.
LORD: There were in a group of 198 Syrians and my source for this is the "Washington Post," who came into the Island of Leros, four of them went on to, were terrorists and two of them executed or were responsible for executing the attacks in Paris. So says the "Washington Post."
HARLOW: Jeffrey Lord, we have to leave it there. You'll be back with us, thank you.
LORD: Thanks, Poppy.
HARLOW: Coming up, a side of this refugee story, the children. An 11-year-old girl, a Syrian refugee reacting to the sweeping changes and what they mean for her and her family and her American dream.
[17:28:04] HARLOW: Tonight, as the Trump administration defends an executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim majority countries, an 11-year-old Syrian girl in this country is speaking out about her first year in America. And the American dream that she hopes will come true.
Our Nick Valencia reports.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're one of the best students, huh?
NAWROZ, SYRIAN REFUGEE: Yes.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Looking at all her school merit awards, it's amazing to think that 11-year-old Nawroz has only been in the U.S. for a year.
(on camera): Why are you such a good girl?
NAWROZ: I don't know.
VALENCIA (voice-over): In fact it's only a few months since she learned English, but if you ask her, she is already making America better.
NAWROZ: My name is Nawroz and I am a Syrian refugee, and thank you for welcoming us to our new home in America. VALENCIA: That's her reciting this letter that she recently read at a
nearby church. Her family says an estimated half of those in attendance were Donald Trump supporters. Why does that matter? Nawroz and her family are Syrian refugees. Under President Trump's newly proposed immigration plan, families like hers wouldn't be able to come to the U.S. or, as she says, they wouldn't be able to make America better.
NAWROZ: My dream is I want to become a doctor because I want to help all the children in the world. And I want to make America better.
VALENCIA: Her family fled war torn Syria three years ago. They asked us not to use last name because they're still nervous after all they've been through. Life has been especially difficult for her 14- year-old brother Allen who has cerebral palsy. It's because of him Nawroz says that she wants to be a doctor.
[17:30:00] For two years Nawroz and her family lived in a refugee camp in Turkey. They resettled just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, with the help of Paedia Mixon at the Georgia nonprofit New American Pathways.
PAEDIA MIXON, CEO, NEW AMERICAN PATHWAYS: We are actually proactively going to refugee camps, working with the United Nations, setting up resettlement centers, and going through a careful thought out process.
VALENCIA: Mixon says Americans who fear terrorist refugees coming to the U.S. have legitimate concerns. But she says the strict 18 to 24 months vetting process for refugees headed to the U.S. should temper any worries.
MAYOR TED TERRY, CLARKSTON, GEORGIA: We've been receiving refugees for the past 35 years.
VALENCIA: Ted Terry is the mayor of Clarkston, Georgia, population 13,000, half of the town's residents, are foreign born. Refugees who are the economic backbone of his community. He sees them not as a burden, but as an investment.
MIXON: If you're thinking about the people around you, as assets and as true -- truly valuable and contributing members of our community, it's not draining at all. It's very, very energizing.
VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, Clarkston, Georgia.
HARLOW: Nick, thank you so much.
And our thanks to the family for letting us in their home.
Coming up, the unintended consequences of President Trump's border wall. Smugglers building tunnels from Mexico to the United States. Our Ed Lavandera takes us inside of them.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LANCE LENOIR, OPERATIONS OFFICER, CUSTOMS & BORDER PATROL: The imagination of people trying to illicitly come north is something I don't try to second-guess, it is - they're incredible, some of the methods they use.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Welcome back. You're looking at live picture, One, outside of JFK Airport. The other picture inside of Dulles Airport. Protesters gathering by the hundred, protesting the president's executive order banning travel to the United States from seven Muslim- majority countries. We're tracking that this hour.
And also, the issue of who will pay for the wall that President Trump wants to build along the U.S./Mexico border remains unresolved now.
But we want to show the reality of what's happening along the southern border. In part three of Ed Lavandera's report on the wall, he got access to an underground network of drug-smuggling tunnels, that exist from Mexico right underneath the border into the U.S.
[17:35:24] ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, the vigilance along the U.S. southern border have been growing. Hundreds of miles of fencing, Border Patrol agents crisscrossing the remote terrains and urban streets, ground centers and high-powered cameras keep constant watch.
But now smugglers go where the cameras and eyes can't see them.
(on camera): We are in a tunnel underneath Otay Mesa, California, south of San Diego, on the border with Tijuana, Mexico. This is a tunnel that stretched about 760 feet from Tijuana into a warehouse, or would have stretched into a warehouse on the other side of the border. And we're about 70 feet underground right now.
LENOIR: That's one of the deeper tunnels we've ever found.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Lance is part of a specialized team of Border Patrol agents known as the Tunnel Rats. They work underground, navigating tunnels and sewer systems.
(on camera): Do you think these tunnels started appearing as a response to more fencing going up in the area?
LENOIR: I'm sure it probably did.
But we're also still talking, there's a lot of stuff they have to move.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Homeland Security officials say, in the last 10 years, nearly 30 of these tunnels have been discovered, just in the San Diego area alone. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will continue to go up. Between here and the
U.S./Mexican border, they will.
There's a way that these drug trafficking organizations to stay undetected and by tunneling, they will.
LENOIR: This is usually a high-dollar, high-risk/reward enterprise. It's a lot of stuff that they got to move in a short amount of time.
LAVANDERA: Lenoir says the tunnels are used to move large packs of marijuana and cocaine and are often lined with electrical power and ventilation.
LENOIR: This one had a rail system in it.
LAVANDERA (on camera): How long does it take to build something like this?
LENOIR: Depending on the resiliency of the digging crew, they can go fast, really far.
LAVANDERA: By hand? By shovel?
LENOIR: Yes, basically, almost exclusively by hand with power tools.
LAVANDERA: When these things started popping up, what was your reaction to that?
LENOIR: The imagination of people trying to illicitly come north is something I don't try to second guess. It is - they're very incredible, some of the methods they use.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Fighting this ingenuity below ground has fundamentally changed life on the border above ground.
Alicia and Chris Martin spend their lives straddling both sides of the border. They own organic farms in Mexico and a produce distribution business and one of the most unique restaurants in Nogales, Mexico.
(on camera): The restaurant is called The Rock?
ALICIA MARTIN, OWNER, THE ROCK RESTAURANT: Yes, it is. La Roqua.
LAVANDERA: La Roqua.
MARTIN: La Roqua, yes.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Rock.
LAVANDERA: Because your uncle built it this into the side of this mountain?
MARTIN: That's me.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): As a child, Alicia remembers crossing freely over the border into Mexico.
MARTIN: We had farms.
We would come down in our bathing suits, come down, buy the popsicle and go back.
LAVANDERA: But with immigration controls tightening on the U.S. side and the fear of cartel violence, the Rock has struggled to keep its doors open.
MARTIN: It was all of a sudden, somebody came in and hit the light switch and there was nobody, there was nobody in town, nobody on the streets.
CHRIS MARTIN, OWNER, THE ROCK RESTAURANT: They are difficult problems to solve. Throwing up trade barriers, putting up a wall. They're such harsh approaches to the problem. Once again, you're treating a symptom, not going after the root cause of the problem.
LAVANDERA: Perhaps no place symbolizes the impact of tightened border security quite like this place, Poquillas, Mexico.
(on camera): This one of the smallest legal border check points you're going to find, the Poquillas Crossing in Big Bend National Park. Literally, two little boats and a guy who rows you across.
(voice-over): Poguillas is small town of 200 people. Its lifeline is the tourists that venture across the Rio Grande for the tamales at this Jose Falcon's restaurant.
LILIA FALCON, RESTURANT OWNER: It's very nice to live here.
LAVANDERA: Lilia Falcon runs the restaurant her father opened in 1973. After 9/11, the United States closed this border crossing and the town slowly started drying up. The Falcons had to close.
The entry point reopened almost four years ago, and the restaurant is back. But Lilia Falcon worries about Donald Trump's crackdown on immigration and border security.
(on camera): If the border crossing goes --
LILUA FALCON, RESTAURANT OWNER: Then the town again will be dead again. It would be hard. It would be very hard again. We wouldn't like to go through it again.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): It's the chance of taking this row boat to the other side that just might be the best $5 you'll ever spend.
[17:40:16] HARLOW: What an incredible series.
Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.
Coming up next, the book first published 70 years ago is a best seller again today. Some say President Trump is the reason why. Next, why there's so much interest in George Orwell's "1984." Brian Stelter is with us, live.
HARLOW: For critics of President Trump, the executive order banning millions of people coming to the United States temporarily is an example of everything that they fear. And those fears may be reflected in the bestseller list. George Orwell's famous novel "1984," where Big Brother controls a totalitarian future, is a hot read once again. Some analysts think it may be a response to the new White House administration.
The book, which shot to number one on Amazon's bestseller list, depicts a government that distorts reality and wipes out evidence of what really happened in the past.
Let's bring in our senior media correspondent, host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter.
1984, hot again. The administration spent its first week battling with the press over their -- the administration's own exaggerated claims about say how big the inaugural crowd size was, et cetera. Let's take a moment and listen to Kellyanne Conway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:45:07] CHUCK TODD, NBC MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: You did not answer the question of why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood. Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISOR: No, it doesn't. Don't be so -- don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What it -- you're saying it's a falsehood and they're giving -- Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point --
TODD: Wait a minute, alternative facts?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Alternative facts.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: There it is.
HARLOW: They don't exist.
But let's just make the connection from that to 1984.
STELTER: It was that sound bite that phrase "alternative facts" that caused "1984" to start spiking up the Amazon's bestseller's list. It's been number one for a few days now. It's sold out on Amazon. The publisher says they're rushing to print more copies of the book.
The reason that people are associating alternative facts with "1984," there's an idea of new-speak. That war is actually peace, the ideas that words and language are manipulated by this all-powerful ruler. Obviously, differences between the fake book and the fictional book is resonating with lots of people.
It's not the only one. Today on Amazon, Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here," about a fascist takeover of the United States, is actually number four. Maybe it will creep up to number three. A few other books with similar themes are all on the Amazon bestseller's list.
This is partly in reaction to President Trump's presidency. I would assume mostly liberal readers buy these books, wanting to read these stories about what can happen in place like the United States.
HARLOW: Is Ayn Rand doing better?
STELTER: What's that?
HARLOW: Do you know if Ayn Rand is doing better?
STELTER: I should look. I haven't seen that. I have to say, though "The Art of the Deal" is also on the list. Trump's own book also on the list.
HARLOW: I would assume so.
Look, Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, gave a rare interview this week, speaking to "The New York Times." Part of what he said is this: "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while."
Here's my question in the context of the news today, about the executive order on that travel ban. We have not seen the president tweet about the media's coverage yet of that. There has been quite a lot of outcry from many Americans about it. Some supporters are applauding it. What do you expect that we'll hear from the president or Steve Bannon on the media coverage?
STELTER: Let's see what the morning papers say. This morning Donald Trump woke up, maybe read the morning papers and tweeted criticism of "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post." But both front pages had tough stories about him this morning. We'll see if tomorrow morning, same thing.
I'm also curious to see if he reacts to "SNL."
But in this context, Bannon, on one level, saying something important, when he says listen for a while. That's absolutely right. Your recent trip to Kentucky is an example. Listening to the voters is crucial. I understand his sentiment about that. But he also went further by saying, shut up, and by saying, the media is the opposition party and that was obviously taken badly.
HARLOW: Obviously, you cover, in your show, all about the press, right, and freedom of the press. When you read that from Bannon, did it -- how did it sit with you as someone -- and I think all journalists and all the American public should be concerned and aware of press access and limiting press access. The president, after this week, gave quite a bit of access. He let reporters come into his office on Air Force One --
STELTER: Yes, he did.
HARLOW: -- which is a rarity. He had reporters cover his signing the executive orders.
STELTER: They want the pictures. They don't always want the words. We've seen a lot of photo ops from Trump's meetings. And this has been effective. Trump as being the president, playing the president very effectively. Sort of how he was a businessman and he played a businessman on "The Apprentice." We're seeing them use the power of pictures, but be frustrated by the words, by the coverage.
My reaction to Bannon was -- this is only week one. The news coverage could get more critical, could get more skeptical. As plans are not put into place, as policies are delayed. They're going to be times where the media coverage is probably going to frustrate this White House a whole lot more than it did on week one. My thought was, if he's already sighing this on week one, it's time for us to put our backs up, make sure our spines are straight and cover this administration very strongly.
HARLOW: You know how I judge it? If you're getting knocked on both sides on twitter, we're doing our jobs.
STELTER: You're getting knocked but also getting praised.
[17:49:41] HARLOW: I get both all the time.
Brian, thank you very much. Look forward to "Reliable Sources," tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
We'll be right back.
HARLOW: Welcome back. You're looking at live pictures of protests that are growing by the hour here in New York at JFK International Airport and also as Dulles Airport. We'll keep an eye on all of these protests for you.
In the meantime, we are waiting to see whether or not the president will sign an executive order beginning an investigation into what he calls voter fraud. He continues to assert, with no evidence presented, that he lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal voters.
What do his supporters say, especially in the deep-red country of Kentucky? We went there this week and asked them.
HARLOW: President Trump has made the assertion that millions of people voted illegally in this last election.
DONNA COOMER, KENTUCKY TRUMP SUPORTER: I think it's very possible.
HARLOW: Why? Where's the evidence?
COOMER: I didn't say there was evidence. I said I think it's possible. There's a lot of illegals. I think a lot of them might have voted. But there's no proof.
HARLOW: President Trump has talked about voter fraud and said millions of Americans voted illegally, he believes.
LEIGHANDRA SHOUSE, KENTUCKY TRUMP SUPPORTER: Sure.
HARLOW: Do you believe that?
SHOUSE: Probably not. And I don't care. I don't care. It's over. It's said and done. Now, if they want to go back and look and see how they can repair things that might be screwed up, then do that. But I don't want to turn on the news and hear that from anybody. It is what it is.
HARLOW: You think the news shouldn't be talking about it?
SHOUSE: I think they should talk about it but don't wear me out on it. There's more important things to me than that.
HARLOW: The president this week talking about voter fraud, saying some three million to five million people he believes voted illegally. He hasn't presented evidence to that. What do you guys make of that?
[17:55:11] JOHN SMITH, KENTUCKY TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think we just need to get past it. The Electoral College elected him and I think we really just need to get past it. We need to move on.
HARLOW: Why is he talking about it?
STEVE MAYS, KENTUCKY TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't know. I can't speak for President Trump. I supported President Trump more than I supported any candidate for president since I've been able to vote. But I agree with that. He just needs to get past that and move on.
HARLOW: You don't want him to be focused --
MAYS: That's the least thing. I'm concerned about the economy that I think will be on the uptick because of him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it's going to be an issue. A lot of people were freaking out that they weren't registered at this election so they came straight up here and got registered.
I don't think there's people that voted that shouldn't have voted.
HARLOW: All right, that's the take from Kentucky. Much more of that coming up for you next weekend.
I'm Poppy Harlow, in New York. I'll see you back here live at 7:00 p.m.
We will be on live until 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight covering all of the breaking news.
But now, a special edition of "SMERCONISH" starts right after this.