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Trump Dismisses Outcry over Travel Ban; World Leaders Condemn Trump's Travel Ban. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired January 30, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:33] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.
President Donald Trump lashing out against claims that his new travel ban targets Muslims and is unconstitutional. Trump dismissing the outcry even as judges step in and some fellow Republicans speak out. Nationwide protests boil up, some at the very airports where people were detained.
And just hours from now, Senator Chuck Schumer says he will call for a vote to repeal that travel ban which he calls un-American and mean- spirited. Tonight, Democratic lawmakers plan their own demonstration on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
And just minutes ago, Mr. Trump says he has decided who he will nominate for the Supreme Court. He'll reveal his pick tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
We are covering all the angles with this fast-changing story. Let's start at the White House with Athena Jones. Good morning.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. After a weekend of chaos and confusion, the Department of Homeland Security said last night that no one who was originally detained as part of this ban is still detained. Everyone has been either released into the U.S. or put on planes back home, but the firestorm over these measures isn't letting up.
CROWD: Let us march. Let us march.
JONES (voice-over): Amid massive and growing backlash, President Donald Trump defending his immigration executive order, insisting this is not about religion, this is about terror and keeping our country safe. His administration pushing back at massive protests and claims of disorganization.
SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: This is an extreme vetting program that wasn't properly vetted.
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We apologize for nothing here.
JONES (voice-over): Asserting they are extremely proud of the order which bans travel to the United States from seven Muslim majority nations for three months, and suspends all refugee admissions for four. Syrian refugees barred indefinitely.
The White House claiming the ban resulted in extremely minimal disruption, despite chaotic scenes erupting at airports around the world.
The Department of Homeland Security issuing one clarification late Sunday night, green cardholders from these seven countries won't be denied entry into the U.S. but will face a secondary screening.
The White House blaming mixed messages on the, quote, "hyperventilating media," insisting the order was successful, citing only 109 travelers being detained in the first 24 hours out of the 325,000 who entered the U.S. in the same period and noting 392 green card holders were granted waivers to center the country. All as 16 Democratic Attorneys General called the ban unconstitutional, un- American, and unlawful.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This executive order -- was mean spirited and un-American.
JONES (voice-over): With a growing number of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle criticizing Mr. Trump's ban.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think the effect will probably, in some areas, give ISIS some more propaganda.
JONES (voice-over): In a joint statement, Arizona Senator John McCain and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham calling the travel ban a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. Trump lambasting the Republican Senators tweeting, "They are sadly weak on immigration. The two Senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration, and border security instead of always looking to start World War III."
The White House now facing mounting legal battles. Federal judges in New York and Massachusetts already temporarily blocking parts of the ban from taking effect.
JONES: And world leaders are responding with concern. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel saying, she told the President, the ban on refugees is against the Geneva Convention.
Meanwhile, the White House is discussing asking foreign visitors for their social media information and web surfing information as well as their cell phone contacts. Those who decline to provide that could be denied entry. An official citing the social media posts of one of the San Bernardino shooters, even though those posts were written under a pseudonym and were protected with strict privacy settings.
In fact, in justifying this ban, the administration has repeatedly cited attacks that the ban would not have prevented, like the San Bernardino attack, 9/11, and the Boston bombings. All 23 people involved in those attacks were either from countries that aren't on the ban list or were U.S. citizens, Carol.
[09:05:09] COSTELLO: Athena Jones reporting live from the White House. Of course, there's been international outcry to this temporary travel ban. I want to bring in CNN Senior International Correspondent Clarissa Ward. She has that for us.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. Well, condemnation has been coming in fast and thick as you heard there from Athena, from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also from the British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson who has called this ban divisive and wrong.
And even from the British Prime Minister Theresa May who is trying very hard at the moment to negotiate a trade deal with the U.S. This is the first time we're hearing her speak out on the ban.
She has said, quote, "As far as the ban goes, we've been clear, we do not agree with it. Where U.K. nationals' rights are affected, we've stood up for them. But we've also been clear that the issue of migration policy is an issue for the U.S. government in the same way that migration into the U.K. is an issue for this government."
Now, Prime Minister May is, in part, responding there to an online petition here in the U.K. that has now been signed by more than 1 million people to cancel the invitation to President Donald Trump to come and visit the U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has said that it's up to the Parliament to decide whether it will, in fact, debate this issue.
But, really, Carol, this gives you a sense of the global outcry that has been caused by this. And for European leaders, one of the number one issues is that they're worried that this plays into the propaganda tactics of extremist groups, like ISIS, who are targeting young European Muslims, who are saying America is at war with you, Europe hates you, you'll never be accepted. And when they hear this type of rhetoric coming from the White House and this kind of a ban, they're concerned that this plays into the hands of those ISIS recruiters, Carol.
COSTELLO: All right. Clarissa Ward reporting live from London for us. The backlash against Trump's immigration travel ban is growing even among Republicans. The Koch brothers, wealthy, influential conservatives say it's the, quote, "wrong approach" and, quote, "counterproductive."
Sixteen Republican lawmakers are also critical of Trump's move including, as you heard, Senator John McCain who spoke out Sunday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: That it is a confused process which -- the good news is that it's only got to do with a pause. The bad news is that, obviously, this process and these conclusions were not vetted. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: I'm joined by Representative Darrell Issa. He's a Republican from California and a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, thank you, Carol.
And, you know, just to put it in perspective, for more than a decade, three separate presidents banned Americans from going to Lebanon, temporary bans for reasons of security, lack of vetting capability go both ways. As you might know, Jimmy Carter banned people coming from Iran, one of the seven countries we're dealing with.
So, although I don't want to say that this was perfectly executed by any means, and there has been some confusion, I think we have to put it in perspective, that it's temporary. That it does not target people, per se, based on religion and --
ISSA: And, quite frankly, most of the critics are saying that other countries should be added if you want to catch all terrorists. That's sort of a counter message that I keep hearing.
COSTELLO: But, see, here's the thing. It's a combination of things that make people believe that this will become a permanent ban on Muslims coming into this country, and I'll tell you why.
Friday, Trump's White House deliberately excluded mention of Jews from its statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day. And then on Friday, of course, Trump, of course, signed that executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven majority Muslim countries. And he also gave an interview to the Christian Broadcasting Network that the goal here, ultimately, was to help Christians.
So how can you say that his executive order, his temporary travel ban, isn't specifically targeting Muslims, and perhaps the underlying goal is to make this country aggressively Christian?
ISSA: Well, I think we have to divide those two for a moment, if you don't mind, Carol. The order says that there's an exception for minorities. And I think it's important that you realize that there are lots of --
COSTELLO: But you know what the minorities mean.
ISSA: No. No, no, no. No, I --
COSTELLO: It means Christians.
ISSA: Carol. Carol, no.
COSTELLO: Yes. ISSA: Unfortunately, there are Muslim minorities. I take the letter
of it as its word --
COSTELLO: In those seven countries?
ISSA: You know, I'm sorry, but my grandfather emigrated from what was then Syria in 1914 under the Ottoman Empire. He was an Orthodox Christian as am I, so you can be an Arab Christian.
[09:09:55] As a matter of fact, if anything, there is a bit of a backlash that people aren't realizing that, under the Obama administration, it did seem like Christians, even though they were the targets of having their heads chopped off, they were finding it harder to get into the United States than were Muslims.
So I think we have to be religious blind other than majorities are not refugees. Minorities are refugees. And that's an important one.
When you look at Syria, there are over 10 million displaced people in Syria. Regardless of their religion, they're going to be displaced. That's not the same as people being persecuted, people who fear for their lives because of their faith.
So I don't want to get into a religious discussion because I do think, in the case of Syria, it's not about religion, it's about whether we can verify these people.
COSTELLO: Doesn't it all boil down to that, Congressman? Doesn't it all boil down to that?
ISSA: No, it doesn't. First of all, there are, I think, 46 countries that are Muslim that were not on the list. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Muslims don't even live in the Arab world.
And so when we look at Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, if you were targeting Muslims, you could do it by adding a few very large countries. That's not what the President's order did.
And whether we debate, did he have the right seven? Was this the right time? What he's doing is reacting to an administration that took a very laissez faire attitude toward the incredible exodus of people particularly from Syria and Iraq, people who were fleeing because we were not dealing with the situation there.
You mentioned john McCain.
COSTELLO: No. Let me interrupt, sir, just a second.
ISSA: John McCain just called for a safe zone in Syria for more than five years. If we establish a no-fire zone, a place for Syrians to be safe there, then we actually do more for people of my grandfather's ancestry than we do by letting a few in the United States.
COSTELLO: It's too late for that. Most of Syria is destroyed. There is no safe zone in Syria. There will be no safe zone in Syria.
ISSA: Ma'am, I've been to Syria many, many times.
COSTELLO: Well, then you know the carnage that's going on there.
ISSA: You know, the shelling, I do know. And the shelling of large cities is very different than when you go to the mountains of Lebanon. You find over a million Syrians that are crammed into rural areas, areas that didn't even have what you would call an urban area. So I am aware of where they are. And the only way to --
COSTELLO: Congressman, I want to interrupt you for just a second because I really want to get to the crux of the matter before I run out of time because I do want to ask you these questions. Do you know --
ISSA: I'll stay for as many segments as you have, Carol.
COSTELLO: Thank you so much. Do you know exactly who is advising Mr. Trump on this executive order? Because we hear it was Steve Bannon, who served in the Navy, what, 30 years ago, has no governmental experience, no experience in Homeland Security or Defense. Is that who is advising Mr. Trump on this matter?
ISSA: You know, I wasn't in the room. Were I to advise the President, I might have been more narrow in the number of countries initially. But I'm deeply concerned that we've got to get this Syria policy right.
COSTELLO: Does that concern you, though, sir? Does that concern you, that Steve Bannon was advising the President, and he didn't reach out to lawmakers like you? You're on the Foreign Relations Committee.
ISSA: Well, I don't know that it was Steve Bannon again. Look, the President is trying to react to a crisis that has been ongoing for a period of time. And, you know, as I travel around the world -- I was in Davos for the World Economic Forum -- and there's one thing that we know as Americans --
COSTELLO: But, please, does it concern you that he's not consulting lawmakers when he does these things? Or his Defense Secretary or his Homeland Security Secretary?
ISSA: Carol, you know what concerns me? He doesn't have a Secretary of State because the Senate won't do its job. The fact is --
COSTELLO: That's deflection.
ISSA: No, Chuck --
COSTELLO: He has a Defense Secretary.
ISSA: No. Chuck Schumer --
COSTELLO: Yes, he does.
ISSA: No, this is a State Department --
COSTELLO: And he has a Homeland Security Secretary.
ISSA: Carol, he's had them for about a day. This is, in fact, in no small part, because Chuck Schumer has deliberately slow rolled the rollout of the people the President needs. He needs those people confirmed --
COSTELLO: So should he have waited then for the Secretary of State to be confirmed, so he could have consulted with Rex Tillerson?
ISSA: You know, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, used two B-2s to bomb with less than a week left in his administration. You are the President every day you're the President. He made a decision, and I'll tell you, I'm used to traveling around the world and knowing there are two mistakes Americans are blamed for, what we do and what we fail to do.
But I would rather deal with what the President is doing and make adjustments than to have a President who does nothing.
COSTELLO: Just to be clear --
ISSA: We need to deal --
COSTELLO: Just to be clear --
ISSA: -- with a massive refugee problem --
COSTELLO: Just to be clear, it is OK that the executive order was rolled out and chaos ensued? There were protests all across the country. The Department of Homeland Security didn't know quite what to do. American businesses were thrown into a state of confusion because they employ --
ISSA: Carol, you're --
COSTELLO: -- many of these green cardholders were threatened --
ISSA: Carol, you're delivering opinions. You're delivering opinions. No --
COSTELLO: I'm not. This is what happened.
[09:14:56] ISSA: Carol, I listened to CNN this morning. I watched. This morning, basically, you said out of 300,000, you had 100 people who were detained for a period of time.
COSTELLO: That's what the Trump White House is sending out.
ISSA: Carol, I go through security every single week at least twice a week. The TSA cannot get a standing order that's been around for years -
915 REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA, HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: -- basically you said out of 300,000, you had 100 people who were detained for a period of time.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: That's what the Trump White House is sending out.
ISSA: Carol, I go through security every single week at least twice a week. The TSA cannot get a standing order that's been around for years as consistent as less than a tenth of 1 percent that had some confusion. The fact is, 100 out of 316,000 is not a lot of people to go through a secondary. Would we prefer --
COSTELLO: So no big deal?
ISSA: No, would we prefer it be zero? Of course. But any American who has flown through an airline in the last years knows that you're more likely to have confusion and secondary detaining --
COSTELLO: It was OK for Iraqi interpreters who helped us during the wars and were heroes, by the way, saving many American lives, it was OK that they went through some temporary hardship because in the end this was a good thing?
ISSA: Carol, we brought in two Iraqi murderers and had them I think in Kentucky because we didn't have a good vetting process. Those interpreters want to be safe in America. They've helped America. I know --
COSTELLO: I understood that act and I understand what you're saying, but that's not what I'm asking you right now.
ISSA: What you're asking is, is it, in fact, possible to never catch anyone with some secondary confusion -- you know, I deal with my office every day with people who are unfairly stopped coming into this country, green cardholders, Chinese-Americans, UC-Berkeley grads who can't get a fast pass and get a secondary every single time. Lebanese-Americans living in Houston who go through a secondary every single time.
COSTELLO: But isn't our government's jobs to solve those problems without the chaos?
ISSA: Carol, I don't want to argue. You're conflating what happens every day to people of this color, every day at the airports and has been happening for 16 years. You take these anecdotal examples, that's what you're doing.
The numbers are relatively small. I think Americans like myself who have been stopped, even as a congressman, secondary check or even refused to be boarded on an airplane once. This sort of thing happens.
The question is the core question of dealing with countries that we do not have good diplomatic relations with, we do not trust, we cannot verify the documents for these people, is a reset and a slowdown appropriate? The president thinks so.
The sooner he gets a secretary of state, the sooner he'll have an additional adviser. He needs those advisers. Chuck Schumer should be ashamed of himself for not providing those advisers in realtime. It needs to happen now and the Senate needs to do its job and stop stalling.
COSTELLO: All right. Congressman Darrell Issa, thank you for sticking around. I do appreciate it.
ISSA: Any time, Carol. Thank you.
COSTELLO: You're welcome. Still to come in the NEWSROOM, outrage intensifies over Trump's controversial travel ban. Up next, we'll talk to a Marine Corps veteran who says the ban isn't just unjust, it also goes against the American ideals he swore to protect.
COSTELLO: The White House is standing by a controversial travel ban that triggered chaos over the weekend. Trump insisting this is not about religion. He appears to be unfazed by protests across the country even though tens of thousands of people marched many cities all across the globe.
With me now is Corporal Mansoor Shams, who served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is also the founder of muslimmarine.org, and Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Welcome to both of you.
Corporal, I want to start with you. I don't know if you heard anything from my last segment with Congressman Issa. Did you hear?
MANSOOR SHAMS, MUSLIM-AMERICAN: Yes, I heard a portion of it. First, I just want to say thank you for having me. I think it's very important to educate America. First you're having me here and allowing people who look like me who are living in the United States of America to feel a little more empowered, to see that we're not alone. And I think you're also helping the masses that perhaps feel the other way around to help educate them and see another perspective.
WHITFIELD: You heard Congressman Issa said this is kind of -- this is like not that big a deal, not many people were detained, all the detained people have now been released, and it's for the greater good. Your thoughts?
SHAMS: Well, I think the country is speaking for itself if you look at all the airports and what's going on. Obviously there's some issues. People are not very excited about it. I think what people need to remember is that we're all a country of immigrants.
Back whether you came here in the first generation, the second generation, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, we're all immigrants. I came here a little after you. You came a little before me.
I think we need to remember that, you know, what we're doing right now this sort of religious -- in fact just yesterday I watched a tweet that Jake Tapper sent out, I would have called this an executive ban.
After he sent out a tweet regarding Rudy Giuliani which pretty much states he was watching -- President-elect Trump at that time came to him to say help me out, I want to do this, how do you make this legal. That's extremely disturbing.
What we've done is taken seven countries, handpicked them and pretty much painted a broad brush that even a 3-year-old or 5-year-old or a mother in this war torn country now feels like they're in the same category as a terrorist.
COSTELLO: Corporal, it's funny you mention Rudy Giuliani. I want to play you exactly what Rudy Giuliani said in regards to this executive order and how he supposedly helped Mr. Trump craft it. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: When he first announced it he said Muslim ban. He called me up and he said put a commission together and show me the right way to do it legally. I put a commission together with Judge Mukasey (ph) with Congressman McCaul, Pete King, and whole group of other very expert lawyers on this and what we did was we focused on instead of religion, danger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: OK. So Dan, you heard Rudy Giuliani there say how can we make a Muslim ban legal and they found a way. So is this really constitutional?
[09:25:11]DAN STEIN, PRESIDENT, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM (FAIM): Well, first of all, the executive order, the way it's drafted is certainly constitutional because Congress and the Constitution have given the president broad authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens on any basis the president deems are important for national security or the national interest.
But all these people keep talking about a Muslim ban and yet all those same people have said we're playing into the hands of ISIS if we call it a Muslim ban. Anybody looking at the executive order can see that it's not a Muslim ban. It's a temporary --
COSTELLO: Wait a minute.
STEIN: -- suspension of immigration in order to view vetting procedures at countries where we cannot vet --
COSTELLO: Rudy Giuliani said Mr. Trump reached out and said I want to do a Muslim ban. Help me make it legal. Whether it specifically states that, does it matter? STEIN: Donald Trump obviously walked that back a year and a half ago at this point. What he talked about over the campaign trail was extreme vetting. He went to every middle sex town and village and said this is what we're going to do.
And now elections have consequences. We are having big changes in immigration policy. Lo and behold a lot of new things are happening and people are surprised.
A temporary suspension to review vetting procedures in countries that are universally recognized as having difficulty in verifying documents and ascertaining who they are is good sense. Don't we all want to be safe? Now a lot of people want to second- guess the administration.
COSTELLO: Dan, no one from those countries committed a terrorist act on American soil, doesn't that prove that the vetting process is indeed extreme?
STEIN: Are we all Nostradamus and we all happen to have the ability to decide whether or not people who come from some of these countries and have committed terrorist acts in Europe. I mean, we have to look at the lens of history and see what's happening in Europe.
What Donald Trump is saying is we don't want to happen here what's happening in Europe. We need to take a pause, to figure out how to better vet people. Sure, it's a needle in a haystack. But if you can't find the needles in the haystack, then you have to stop the haystack until you can figure out how to get the needles.
COSTELLO: OK, I just one last word from Corporal Shams. So as you're listening to Dan, you are thinking what?
SHAMS: I'm shocked. You know, this is a problem here. I think we are just twisting this crazy narrative and we keep saying these things that are not even true. What's happening in Europe? Please tell me. I'm sort of confused.
What's happening in the United States of America? Let's look at the statistics. I listen to Fareed Zakaria, he said 11,000 people die through homicides from 9/11 to now, 45 people -- 45 people committed some sort of act of terrorism associated with a Muslim. There's 1.6 billion plus Muslims in the world.
I happen to be a United States Marine. When you say these kind of things -- what you're saying right now is false and untrue and you're scaring the heck out of people. It's completely wrong. Don't do that to the people. At the end of the day, you know, if you divide us, we are going to end up --
STEIN: Loud is not consensus. Most Americans support what the president is doing. Loud is not a consensus. Most people who are quiet in this country basically agree with what the president is doing.
WHITFIELD: All right, I have to leave it there. Thanks to you both for being on with me this morning. We have to check in with Cristina Alesci now. She is keeping an eye on Wall Street. Good morning.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. So Wall Street doesn't like to see a lot of confusion over these executive orders that really some critics would say plays to Trump's base. He's delivering on the promises that he had on the campaign trail.
What Wall Street wants to see is Trump focus on the important things that are going to drive growth as far as companies are concerned, like tax cuts, reducing regulation. They don't like to see all of this confusion over these executive orders like the immigration restrictions that we're seeing over the weekend.
WHITFIELD: So what might happen?
ALESCI: Well, what may happen is Trump may actually get ahead of himself a little bit and get in the way of the Trump rally if more confusion and more uncertainty is a result of these executive orders. At the end of the day, we've seen quite a strong response from the tech community over the weekend in opposition.
The CEOs of major tech companies say they don't agree with this ban, some of them putting their money where their mouth is. Google and Lyft, for example, are committing funds to the ACLU helping to raise money for that organization.
We'll have to see how this plays out. Clearly, companies are going to have to walk a very fine line between perhaps sticking up for the values that their consumers and employees have and not getting on the wrong side of the president. It's going to be a very tricky line.
COSTELLO: Goldman Sachs came out against this temporary travel ban and so did the tech industry. So we'll have to wait and see what happens.
COSTELLO: Cristina Alesci, thanks so much. I'll be right back.