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Attorneys General Slam Travel Ban; Trump Talks Business Regulations; Trump Meets Small Business Leaders; Trump on Schumer Crying. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 30, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Be right back.


COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

Sixteen attorneys general are now banning together to fight back against President Trump's executive order. The group condemning Mr. Trump's travel ban. In a joint statement that reads in part, quote, "religious liberty has been and always will be a bedrock principle of our country and no president can change that truth."

With me now is Karl Racine. He's the attorney general for the District of Columbia.

Welcome, sir.


COSTELLO: Good morning.

President Trump says he, as president of the United States, has every right to implement this temporary ban. And here's why. He has wide authority under the Immigration and Nationality that gives the president that wide leeway to make decisions about who gets to come into the country. He's right about that, isn't he?

[09:35:13] RACINE: In fact, the president does have wide authority on matters of national security and immigration, but what's not being talked about is a 1965 congressionally passed law signed into law by President Johnson that specifically precludes any president from making distinctions on immigration based on national origin. That's what motivated the Democratic attorney generals who signed that letter to voice our concerns. That's why we're monitoring the situation carefully. And that's why we'll be prepared to join or file our own lawsuits if the administration does not change the executive order.

COSTELLO: Well, here's the thing. The order was hastily put together and ineloquently executed, let's say. But that doesn't mean it violated the Constitution. They've already amended the executive order in part, especially when it comes to green cards. Is that enough? RACINE: Well, the green card amendment certainly was tardy. I don't

believe that is enough. As you know, five separate federal courts have ruled that essentially, for now, they view the executive order as unconstitutional. I think the real problem is the specific focus on those countries of national origin. It's overbroad, over inclusive and it needs to be narrowed.

COSTELLO: You know, 16 attorneys general, 16 states -- well, 15 including the District of Columbia --


COSTELLO: It just seems that, you know, the democratically-led states are pitting themselves against the Trump administration and it's going to be this constant, ugly fight.

RACINE: I don't really think that it's going to be a constant ugly fight for no good reason. What we're focused on are issues of law and here bedrock principles of the Constitution. Again, we're not being partisan in this. Five distinct federal district judges have agreed that there are constitutional concerns with this executive order. It's, in fact, our responsibility as the chief law enforcers of our states to defend our people. Many, many of the 121 or so folks who were unlawfully detained were detained in the states that signed our order. And we're going to be there for them.

COSTELLO: Members of the Trump camp have already come out and described the protestor (INAUDIBLE) protesting across the country in airports, right? She just said they were Obama supporters. And it's really meaningless because these people are obviously all Democrats and all liberal and they're resisting a Trump presidency and it would be best if they did not.

RACINE: Well, I don't agree with that characterization at all. In fact, as you know, increasingly Republicans are expressing concern over the executive order. Senator John McCain certainly is not a Democrat. Senator Lindsey Graham is certainly not a Democrat. As you saw this morning, a wealth of some of the best CEOs in the world are expressing concern. They're not Democrats. They're expressing concern because they care about America's traditional values.

I, myself, am an immigrant. My family left Haiti during a tough time in Haiti in the 1960s. I benefited from the American dream. It's important for us to respect and embrace immigrants and make sure that any vetting that we have is consistent with the law.

COSTELLO: D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, thank you so much.

We are --

RACINE: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: You're welcome. Thank you for being here.

We are awaiting tape out of the Trump White House. He's meeting with small business leaders. When we get that tape in house, of course, we'll play it for you live on the air. I'll be right back.


[09:41:10] COSTELLO: All right, as I told you before the break, President Trump is meeting with small business leaders. We have tape of that meeting right now. He also talked about his executive order and the Democrat Chuck Schumer. Let's listen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's why over the last many years nothing got done in this country. But we're moving things along and we're moving them along fast.

And we actually had a very good day yesterday in terms of homeland security. And some day we had to make the move and we decided to make the move. It would be nice again if we could have our cabinet, because our cabinet, which is outstanding, is going through a lot in terms of what they're being put through in the Senate. Jeff Sessions, they made him wait an extra week. And they did that only for political reasons. He's only -- they just made him wait. I said, why did they do that? Just politics.

I noticed Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears. I'm going to ask him, who is his acting coach, because I know him very well. I don't see him as a crier. If he is, he's a different man. There about a 5 percent chance that it was real, but I think they were fake tears.

We have a big decision and -- that I have made. A very big decision on the United States Supreme Court that is going to be announced tomorrow night from the White House at 8:00. A person who is unbelievably highly respected, and I think you will be very impressed with this person. So that will be 8:00 tomorrow night at the White House, from the White House.

And today we have with us people who are very successful in the world of small business. And I love small business. I started as a small business. My business got big. And I've dealt with the small businesses and the big businesses. And I love you all the same. The big business folks have been fantastic. They're bringing jobs back. I say, where was the outrage of the Democrats when all of our companies were fleeing to Mexico and to other places far away and leaving jobs behind? Now they're all coming back. They're coming back by -- by big numbers, bigger numbers than people have seen.

You saw Ford is announcing, and has announced, big plans coming back into Michigan and Ohio and different places. General Motors has made big announcements. Fiat Chrysler, the head, Sergio, flew all the way from Italy just to make our meeting last night. You look at what's happening with Lockheed. Number one, we're cutting the price of their planes by a lot, but they're also expanding. And that's going to be a good thing. Ultimately they're going to cut -- they're going to be better off. Boeing also is very much involved in new hirings and also coming in with good pricing.

So we're cutting pricing. We all know about that. The people at this table know about that. You could have done that. But we cut approximately $600 million off the F-35 fighter. And that only amounts to 90 planes out of close to 3,000 planes. And when you think about $600 million, it was announced by Marilyn, who's very talented, the head of Lockheed Martin. I got involved in that about a month ago. A lot was put out. And when they say a lot, a lot meant about 90 planes. They were having a lot of difficulty. There was no movement. And I was able to get $600 million approximately off those planes. So I think that was a great achievement. That really means much more than that if you think about the fact that that's 90 planes out of close to 3,000 planes that are being ordered.

[09:45:05] So I appreciate Lockheed Martin for being so responsive. And that will be appreciated very much. I appreciate Boeing for coming in and competing and now they'll be competing during the process for the rest of the planes because there are thousands of more planes coming. We have a lot of planes coming. These are contracts that everybody knows about. The F-35 fighter jet, a great plane, by the way, I have to tell you. And Lockheed is doing a very good job as of now. There were great delays. About seven years of delays. Tremendous cost overruns. We've ended all of that and we've got that program really, really now in good shape. So I'm very proud of that.

I actually started working on that before I -- when I was president- elect. And the reason I was working on it -- and you folks would understand it -- because we love doing that stuff, right? Somebody said, why don't you take a vacation before you become president? I said, because I like doing this. But we're saving -- we will be saving billions and billions and billions of dollars on contracts.

As you know, we approved the pipelines, but as I sitting there and looking at the approval, I said, where is this pipe made? These are massive pipes bigger than this room. And a lot of it is made in other countries, including China. I said, you mean you can make pipe in China and other places far away, ship it to the United States on massive boats, put it on trucks and deliver it to the middle of the country, and we can't make it cheaper? Right?


TRUMP: I'm saying, what are we talking about here?


TRUMP: So -- and these are big pipes. Now, the only way I can imagine they do that is they must have to cut them because they're so big I can't imagine -- they take up so much room. I can't imagine you can put that much pipe on ships. It's too -- it's not enough. It's not long enough. So I assume they have to fabricate and cut, which hurts the pipe, by the way.

So I said to myself, if they're going to do the pipe in the United States using the powers of the United States, including eminent domain, for those that used to criticize me about, oh, eminent domain. I said, did you ever ride on a highway before they used eminent domain? But if you remember, especially during the primaries, I was criticized about the use of eminent domain. Well, they need eminent domain to do pipelines. But if we're going to use our powers of eminent domain and all the

other powers, then I want the pipe to be manufactured with United States steel. That doesn't mean the company United States Steel, that means steel from the United States. United States Steel will be absolutely a bidder. And I also want it to be fabricated in the United States. So if we're doing these massive pipelines, I want workers in the United States to fabricate the pipe. And that sort of makes sense, don't you think so as small business owners? And so we're doing a lot of things -- a lot of really great things, and we're really proud of it.

The small business is a big part of American economic success, although lately there hasn't been too much success because we're having our products made everywhere in the world so much. But we're bringing that all back. It's coming back. It's coming back fast. You see the difference already, right?


TRUMP: More than 28 million small businesses in the country -- 28 million. Small business equals fewer than 500 employees. That's what's considered a small business. Anybody have over 500 employees here? If you do, we're getting you the hell out of here.

Fifty-six million small business employees. Think of it. Fifty-six million. Small business is really our biggest business. We employ 48 percent of private workforce. The private workforce, big percentages employed by small business. So we read about General Motors and Ford and Boeing and Lockheed and all of these great companies, but a big percentage of them are small business.

We want to make life easier for these small business owners. That's what we're here for today. Last week we had the big businesses. This week coming we have the really, really big businesses set up by Steve Swarzman (ph), a great Wall Street person. A man who's done a great job. We have some of the -- we have the greatest businesses that (ph) are set up. And that's happening very soon.

But the small business, we are going to simplify, reduce, eliminate regulations. We're doing that for big business, too, by the way. Can't be any discrimination, right? But big businesses are thrilled with what's happening. The stock market has gone up massively since the election. Everybody's saying, oh, the market will go down. I said, well, it's going to down. You know, the smart people know me. The business people know me. They know what I'm about. So the market went massively up. In fact, when I was elected, a lot of the really smart people went out and bought a lot of stock. And they've been rewarded.

[09:50:09] We want to simplify and lower taxes, unless you would rather have high taxes, right?


TRUMP: So small business owners can spend more time and money finding and responding to customers and expanding markets. They have more money and more opportunities to hire more employees. So essentially we're getting rid of regulations to a massive extent, could be as much as 75 percent. Could be even slightly more than that.

We're going to have great protections for the consumer. We have to. But we don't need 97 different rules to take care of one element. Their individual economic success will support American success. We want to end the unfairness between small and big business caused by regulation. Regulation that's actually been horrible for big business, but it's been worse for small business. Plus, small business can't hire the kind of talent that the big businesses can hire. So it's really very unfair.

Big business so often can afford compliance with the costly new regulations, but I don't want them to. I want them to build new plants and sell more cars. We're going to be doing tremendous favors. If you saw the head of Ford and the head of General Motors leaving here last week, they couldn't believe -- one of them said, one of the greatest meetings we've ever attended. The unions were here last week, the workers, representing workers, whether it's union or not, they said it was the single greatest meeting they've ever had. That was a nice statement. I didn't tell them to say it, but it was a nice statement. But I understand what they mean.

It's unfair to small business. Small business has been treated very, very badly. As you people know better than anybody, it's almost impossible now to start a small business. And it's virtually impossible to expand your existing business because of regulations.


TRUMP: And because if the banks don't loan you money, you know, Dodd/Frank is a disaster and we're going to be doing a big number on Dodd/Frank. So that's one big reason why I'm taking this action and I'll be taking an action later this morning. If you like, you can join me at the signing to begin our effort to dramatically reduce federal regulations. And we'll be reducing them big league. And their damaging effects on our small businesses, our economy, our entrepreneurial spirit. And it's been very badly damaged.

So the American dream is back. We're going to create an environment for small business like we haven't had in many, many decades. This isn't a knock on President Obama. This is a knock on many presidents preceding me. It's a knock on everybody. In fact, particularly bad in the last eight years. But it's not a knock on anybody. It's a knock on many.

So I just want to thank you all for being here. And now let's talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, thank you --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, what did you make of the protests --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Hey, thank you, press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there legal challenges to your executive order -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.



COSTELLO: All right, Jared Kushner there, Trump's son-in-law, sitting in with the -- in the meeting with those small business leaders.

So let's talk about what we just heard. With me now is Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief for "The Hill," and Paul Singer, Washington correspondent with "USA Today."

OK, we have a lot to digest. Let's start with this executive order that Mr. Trump issued on Friday, you know, temporarily banning refugees and other immigrants coming from these seven largely Muslim nations. You heard what he said, he's sticking by it. Doesn't regret it. He blamed it on the Democrats. He said that, you know, had -- had they moved quicker to confirm his secretary of state, maybe things would have gone smoother. He called Chuck Schumer a fake crier.

Bob, what do you make of it?

BOB CUSACK, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "THE HILL": Well, it's Donald Trump, the president, going on offense. This is what he campaigned on. It is interesting, though, that in the wake of the uproar that he moved his Supreme Court pick up a couple of days. I think they want the headlines to have a different type of feel. They want to move on from this. But without a doubt, he's sticking by this. And it's upset some Republicans on Capitol Hill. He's using some political capital. And it's just -- this is what the Trump White House is going to do, throw a lot of news at the same time.

COSTELLO: Well, he's also going to sign another executive order, Paul, this time for what he calls job killing regulations. He's going to sign an executive order supposedly getting rid of those. So he's moving along quickly. Is he -- is he just trying to change the subject or is he trying to keep his campaign promises?

[09:55:02] PAUL SINGER, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "USA TODAY": Well, I mean, it's a little bit of both, obviously. I mean if he's talking about this regulatory reform executive order now, which he has not yet issued, he obviously wants this to be the news of the day. There was one sentence in -- and I haven't seen the order, obviously. There was one sentence in there when he said, you might be able to cut 75 percent of regulations. That's an awful lot.

Keep in mind, part of the complaint he got from Republicans in Congress about his immigration -- refugee ban, executive order, is it was not run through the agencies that manage that process, and so there was confusion about exactly how it would be implemented. I'll be curious to see whether the regulatory rollback executive order he issues has some of the same problems. Have they vetted it with the various agencies? Have they talked to people on Capitol Hill? Some of these regulations may be in place for a good purpose but people don't want to see them go away. COSTELLO: OK, so, Bob, back to that because you heard Mr. Trump say,

you know, Jeff Sessions, he's going to be attorney general, at least that's what Mr. Trump hopes. He says Democrats are delaying that. And that was the biggest reason why he didn't, you know, consult with someone before he issued this executive order. Had the Democrats do that -- h ad the Democrats done that, then everything would have been OK?

CUSACK: Well, I mean I -- maybe he would have consulted with various agencies had the cabinet -- but I -- this White House is going to be calling the shots. There's no doubt about it. The only thing that I've seen where Trump has backed off is with Mattis and torture. He says even though he agrees that enhanced interrogation techniques work, he's going to defer to the Pentagon. I don't think we're going to see a lot of deferring from the president. He's the one who got elected. He's got -- he says he's got a mandate and he's going to be carrying it out. But without a doubt, Republicans, they just -- their -- on Capitol Hill, they want to be consulted more. Now, the White House says, well, if you do too much of that, then you're going to have leaks. But -- but you need Republicans to be united. If they're going to get stuff done this year, you can't be fighting all the time.

COSTELLO: Yes, you can't be fighting all the time.

I did want to ask you about Stephen Bannon. And I'll pose this to you, Paul. So supposedly Bannon was the one who was -- who conferred with President Trump before he issued this executive order on the travel ban. And this morning Sean Spicer defended that by saying this, quote, "Bannon was a former naval officer. He's got tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical world that we have now. I think the chief strategist for the president, who has a significant military background, is crucial." So Sean Spicer appears to be saying, you know, Stephen Bannon is eminently qualified to advise the president, not only on immigration issues, but on national defense.

SINGER: Yes, I don't think that I would argue that Steve Bannon is not qualified to advise the president. I think the issue is, is Steve Bannon the only person qualified to advise the president? The concerns we saw over the weekend where the discussion of President Trump putting out a new sort of structure for the National Security Council that appears to elevate Steve Bannon while excluding the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that is a different issue. Now you're saying not only that Bannon has a role, which, by the way, the political adviser did not have a role in previous administrations at the NSC, but now you're saying that Steve Bannon is central and some of these other actual national security professionals are not central. That's where the questions, I think, and the concern comes in.

COSTELLO: All right, I have to leave it there. Bob Cusack, Paul Singer, thanks so much.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a break.

SINGER: Thank you.