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Shooting Leaves 6 Dead, 8 Wounded at Quebec City Mosque; Trump Responds to Critics of Travel Ban; Middle East Leaders React to Trump's Travel Ban; World Leaders Step Up, Speak Out on Trump Travel Ban; Statement of Reassurance from White House to South Korea; Roger Federer Wins Australian Open. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 30, 2017 - 02:00   ET



[02:00:06] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Following the breaking news this hour out of Canada. I'm George Howell.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm rosemary church.

Six people are dead after gunmen opened fire at a mosque. It happened at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City. Eight people were wounded.

HOWELL: Here's what we know at this point. Police say that two suspects have been arrested. This attack is being investigated, an attack on a mosque, as an act of terrorism.

CHURCH: For the latest, we want to go to Brynn Gingras in New York.

So, Brynn, Canada's prime minister called this a terrorist attack. He has condemned this, of course. What more did you learn from the recent news conference, and has there been any additional information since then?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yes. We actually learned some good news, if there is any, out of this. That is that 39 people that were inside that mosque were able to escape unharmed. The big news there though is that we know six people were killed and eight others injured right now at the hospital with those injuries. It is unclear the extent of those injuries at this point.

We do also know they called the situation under control. It is just a few hours into the investigation and it is being investigated as a hate crime. The prime minister there, Justin Trudeau, saying his thoughts are with the victims and their families. The premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, saying that he and the country stand in solidarity with Muslims. This is, of course, effecting the entire country.

The facts that we don't know, of course, are exactly what happened inside that mosque. We know it was attacked during a time of prayer last night and six people were killed during that attack -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: And, Brynn, you are in New York. What has the mayor said about this attack, and what plans does he have for protecting mosques in New York?

GINGRAS: The mayor has gone to Twitter, using social media to say that New York City stands in solidarity with Muslim people and saying that they will be protected in New York City, saying that those team, those highly trained, heavily armed teams that often circulate around the city when attacks like that happen all over the world, they will be used to protect mosques around this city and also to protect those of Muslim faith to make sure they feel safe at this point. But we will be seeing teams circulate around the city. Certainly, those will be boosted in the coming days as this investigation is continuing to unfold -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: Indeed.

All right, Brynn Gingras bringing us details from New York. She said 39 people inside that mosque were able to escape, one element of good news there. Many thanks to you.

HOWELL: The other big story we are following this hour, the Trump administration's travel ban and the widespread protests that have erupted over it. The president signed the executive order Friday temporarily banning travel to the United States from seven Muslim- majority countries. Ever since that, there has been a great deal of confusion on how far reaching it is. The White House is trying to clear things up, saying that green card holders, people with permanent resident status, will be allowed in.

CHURCH: But they will go through extra screening if they are coming from one of the banned countries. Homeland Security officials say no one is now being detained from the initial group who was stopped at U.S. airports. They have either been released or put on a plane back home.

HOWELL: There has been international backlash. In a telephone call over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Trump the ban on Syrian refugees violates the Geneva Conventions.

President Trump is pushing back at the criticism of his travel ban saying he is trying to keep the country safe.

HOWELL: He also had sharp words for Republicans who said the ban likely will not improve U.S. security.

More now from Athena Jones.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing from Trump, justifying and defending this move, these travel bans and refugee restrictions, in the face of criticism, including from some in his own party. I'll read to you part of his statement. He said, "We will continue to

show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and voters." He added, "This is not a Muslim ban as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion. This is about terror and keeping our country safe." He said his "first priority will always be to protect and serve our country but, as president, I will find ways to help all of those who are suffering." And so, that is the president responding.

What's clear is that the White House very much feels these moves are necessary. Senior administration officials said that the vetting process, the current vetting process on screening people from these countries and refugees, in general, is inadequate to protect the U.S.'s national security. They believe they are taking steps that the Trump supporters, the people who elected him to office, would applaud.

But it seems they are taken aback by the criticism they're receiving from many quarters, including from their own party, by, for instance, Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who put out a statement slamming this move. The president taking to Twitter to respond to those two Senators, saying, "The joint statement of former presidential candidates, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, is wrong. 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."

So, that is how the president is responding to a growing list of critics.

[02:06:06] HOWELL: Athena Jones reporting there for us.

People are voicing their outrage across the United States over the president's travel ban.




CHURCH: In Texas, people gathered at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport chanting, "I believe that we will win."

Protesters also flocked to San Francisco's airport, saying, "Refugees are welcome here."

HOWELL: And a "Stand with Immigrants" rally was held at a park in downtown Seattle, Washington.

CNN's Polo Sandoval was at the world's busiest airport, Hartfield- Jackson International in Atlanta and has this report for us.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is quiet now here at one of the United States busiest airports. But Sunday, it was a very different situation as crowds lined the curbs. These were demonstrators that had gathered outside one of the airport's terminal with a message for President Donald Trump. They felt this latest executive action that called for travel restrictions on not just people from Muslim countries but also refugees, people here called that not just unconstitutional but also un-American. Protesters here having their voices heard.

And at one point, Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed, also joined the chorus.


KASIM REED, (D), ATLANTA MAYOR: You can't be outside and not understand that people are getting it. You can identify seven countries if you want, but the fact of the matter is that this is a Muslim ban. I don't believe that the majority of people in the United States of America want to see a Muslim ban, tied to a religious test, being the standard for our country. The only way that that won't be the standard is if we stand up.


SANDOVAL: Mayor Reed also called for accessibilities for attorneys that could potentially be able to speak to some of these individuals that may be detained here in Atlanta. We understand there were 11 individuals detained by authorities over the weekend but they were eventually released.

The question, some of the refugees, that could still be headed here to the south, will they be able to -- through customs -- will they be able to make it to their new home?

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.


CHURCH: The U.S. Senate's top Democrat is among those denouncing the immigration order.

HOWELL: Chuck Schumer, visibly emotion, as we'll show you, said that, "Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty." And he vowed to get the president's order overturned.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: This executive order was mean spirited and un-American. It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the country. And it will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who will do us harm. It must be reversed immediately. Senate Democrats are going to introduce legislation to overturn this and move it as quickly as we can. And I, as your Senator from New York, will claw, scrap and fight with every fiber of my being until these orders are overturned.


CHURCH: Earlier, Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway, said the airport detentions are a small price to pay for the safety of Americans.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENOR TRUMP ADVISOR: I was stopped many times, weren't you, after 9/11. I didn't resemble or share a name with or be part of any kind of terrorist conspiracy. But this is what we do to keep the nation safe. This whole idea they are being separated and ripped from their families, it is temporary and it's just circumstantial in terms of whether you're one of those 300-some who were already on the aircraft, or trying to get on an aircraft, as opposed to the over 3,000 children that will be ever-more separated from the parents that perished on 9/11.


[02:10:09] HOWELL: Kellyanne Conway's take there.

Some counterterrorism experts say extremists could use the travel ban as propaganda to recruit more followers.

In the meantime, leaders across the Middle East and beyond are reacting to the ban.

CNN's Ian Lee is following this story live in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ian, the president of the U.S. saying this is an order designed to keep the United States safe but, again, from your experience, reporting, and contacts throughout the region, how is that being perceived? Some say that it's playing into the terrorists' hands.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORESPONDENT: Well, when you look at the different countries, George, for their reactions, it's really depends who you are. If you're targeted in this ban, then you're angry.

We are hearing from countries like Sunday who said that they regret this decision. They said the United States and Sudan were having warmer relations. It could affect that.

You also have Yemen coming out saying that this will only support terror and sow divisions, and it's not justified.

You also have Iraq. Iraq was looking at Donald Trump and his rhetoric during the campaign, and after he was elected president, saying he is going to be tough on ISIS, as possibly an opportunity for warmer relations.

It's not a secret that across the Middle East a lot of countries, a lot of leaders here felt that they were neglected by the Obama administration. But this new order is going to shake things up a bit, especially with countries trying to figure out how they keep their name, their country off of this banned list. We heard from the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, saying that they could add more countries.

HOWELL: Ian, we just heard from Kellyanne Conway a moment ago, saying these are moments where families might have been detained, that it was a temporary inconvenience. From what you have seen, what you have seen and heard what are the stories about the families who found themselves stopped for a moment with a great deal of uncertainty?

LEE: You know, from the people I have been able to talk to, a lot of them have jumped through the hoops. They have done everything they needed to do legally to enter the United States. They don't have criminal records. They are productive members of society. They pay their taxes. There is a lot of concern here.

One person I talked to said he probably won't be able to get married now because his wife is in Iran. She has the proper paperwork to come to the United States but there's a lot of uncertainty now. He, being from Iran as well, but legally working in the United States, can't leave because he is afraid he won't be able to come back in.

You just get a lot of stories like that. And these are people that are PhDs, scientists, doctors, not people that you would expect to be carrying out any sort of attack like this. So, I mean, this is the story that you're hearing.

Of course, there are people who support this in the United States. The government, the Trump administration, making their case. But when you talk to these people, it's really hard to connect how these people, productive members, could be a threat to the country.

HOWELL: CNN international correspondent, Ian Lee, live in Istanbul, Turkey. Ian, thank you so much for the reporting.

Still ahead here on CNN, Donald Trump's travel ban puts dozens of people in a great deal of legal limbo, but other world leaders are stepping up and speaking out about it. Stay with us.

CHURCH: And a statement of reassurance from the White House to South Korea. The details still to come.




[02:17:53] HOWELL: Thousands of protesters have been rallying from New York City to Los Angeles in response to the U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

CHURCH: His executive order temporarily bans travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries. Many are at airports where dozens of people were detained and later released.

HOWELL: Some are speaking out about Donald Trump's travel ban and even welcoming those turned away by the United States.

The prime minister of Canada, Justice Trudeau, just tweeted this, "To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength." CHURCH: Scotland's first minister, Nicolas Sturgeon, had a similar

response. She tweeted, "The prime minister must make clear our obligation to give refuge to those fleeing war, persecution and opposition to banning people based on origin or faith.

HOWELL: Joining us now live on set is CNN contributor Frida Ghitis. She is a world affairs columnist for the "World Politics Review" and the "Miami Herald."

It is a pleasure to have you with us.

From your perspective, what message is the United States sending with this travel ban?

FRIDA GHITIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think there is one inescapable message here. There is a measure of incompetence in this new administration. The Trump administration came into office, Trump came to power promising to do something like this. It should not come as a surprise. The way it was rolled out has been chaotic. It is difficult to avoid the impression that they have thought this through very carefully, that they didn't look at the ramifications of what they were doing, that they didn't coordinate well across the different departments that are involved. They didn't communicate well with allies, with countries that would be effected. It is very negative impression just from that standpoint.

HOWELL: There was also in the writing of the order a statue that was incorrect. So, that was pointed out in reporting as well.

But this question, as far as the families that have been involved, we have been reporting about this today, mothers who were separated from children, families who had to cancel their plans. Kellyanne Conway, with the Trump administration, said, hey, this is just a temporary setback. I've been delayed, she said. But is there more to it? What's your take on that?

[02:20:17] GHITIS: There is a blend here of domestic politics and international politics. Many of the things we're seeing the Trump administration do have this combination of factors. Trump is playing to his base but he's also sending a lot of really troubling messages. He is really turning his back on some of the basic principles of America's identity as a country. I think that's a troubling message. This dismissal, this casual dismissal of the hardship it is causing is very unbecoming, very cold. There are so many cases of families, of individuals that are having major, major disruptions to their life.

HOWELL: You've written about this issue, other issues. You have a great deal of knowledge and context on this. I pose the question to you, when it comes to nations like Syria, nations like Iraq, where there are people on the ground who the United States has relied on with regards to conflicts, with regards to gathering intelligence, how does it affect those relationships?

GHITIS: People have said it, it will be so harmful to the relationship that the United States has with other countries. It's going to be difficult for -- America still has troops, forces fighting in Iraq. It will make it difficult for them. It will make the United States a country whose values and standards command less respect around the world. It is going to cause so many people to look on the United States differently. Again, it is making it look unpredictable, chaotic, unpredictable, impulsive. The fact that the Trump administration didn't discuss this with the key cabinet members that were going to be charged with enforcing it, the fact that Great Britain had to send in emergency communication to find out how this would affect their citizens, the fact they didn't know if green card holders would be effected by this, people who have lived in the United States, some for decades, who have fulfilled all of the requirements for living here, and then, suddenly, if they are on vacation, they may not be able to reenter the country. It is unclear, we have had mixed messages about whether or not this applies to them, it is really an embarrassment of the United States.

HOWELL: You talked about a great deal of the uncertainty that we have reported on here throughout the day, here on CNN.

Frida Ghitis, thank you so much for your time and your insight. We'll continue to stay in touch with you.

GHITIS: Thank you.

CHURCH: Meanwhile, President Trump is reiterating Washington's ironclad commitment to defend South Korea against threats from the North. Mr. Trump spoke with South Korea's acting president by phone on Sunday.

Alexandra Field joins us from Seoul with the details.

Alex, an ironclad commitment, but that wasn't the case during the election campaign when he threatened to withdraw U.S. forces if South Korea didn't step up its financial support for defense. What has changed here?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. That ironclad commitment certainly does sound like a change of tune from the rhetoric that was, quite frankly, concerning. Officials here in South Korea and really allies around the world, everyone was listening to that inaugural address in which he said American first. And throughout the campaign trail, as you point out, there was that very harsh rhetoric, that foreign allies should be paying more for defense and the threat to withdraw troops. But the readout on the call from both sides was that President Donald Trump and South Korea's Acting President Kyo-ahn had a conversation in which they talked about the importance of this alliance, the importance of strengthening this alliance. According to the Blue House, at one point, President Trump said the relationship between South Korea and the U.S. would be better than ever before. That was the line, according to them, from President Donald Trump. But the Blue House did say, after the call, that the issue of who pays for what, when it comes to sharing these defense costs to main U.S. troops here, was something that did not come up during that call.

So, this conversation, of course, the first official conversation between the U.S. leader and South Korea's leader. And it happened against the backdrop of this increasing threat from North Korea. Just back on New Year's Day, a few weeks ago, you had Kim Jong-Un coming out and saying that the country was in the final stage of preparing for another nuclear test, a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. So, all eyes have been on what could be happening inside North Korea. And the line from both parties was they would work together to counter any potential nuclear threat from North Korea.

CHURCH: Alexandra, in fact, new images suggests North Korea has restarted a reactor at the plutonium site. What are you learning about that?

[02:25:09] FIELD: Right. These are images being released by a monitoring group based in the U.S., 38 North. They've released an image that they say shows a water plume coming off of a cooling water outlet. They say it is indication of activity at what they believe is the primary nuclear facility within North Korea. They say that's the place where plutonium has been produced in the past that was used in previous nuclear tests. And this doesn't exactly come as a major surprise. These were being were recorded and are being released on the heels of previous images released earlier this month, which 38 North says shows there were preparations to get the facility back up and running. In those images, we saw snow had melted on some of the rooftops of some of the buildings in the facility, and that suggested to analysts closely watching the facility with this satellite data imagery that the buildings were being occupied or at least heated, which was a change in what they previously observed at that facility -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Alexandra Field, joining us there live from Seoul, South Korea, where it is nearly 4:30 in the afternoon.

HOWELL: Still ahead, a story about options that are limited for one Iranian man who has been studying in the United States. Coming up, how the immigration ban affects him.

CHURCH: Plus, tennis super start, Roger Federer defeated his arch rival, Rafael Nadal, and won the Australian Open. How Federer is breaking records, that's still to come. Stay with us.

HOWELL: Live across the U.S. and around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.


[02:29:47] HOWELL: A warm welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It's good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church.

We want to update you now on the main stories we have been following this hour.


HOWELL: More on the breaking news we're following this hour here on CNN, this deadly shooting at a mosque in Quebec City.

CNN's Paula Newton is on her way there and now joins us live by phone.

Paula, what more do you know from the officials and authorities you have been in touch with?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORERSPONDENT (voice-over): Well, Philippe Couillard is the premier of Quebec and just wrapped up a press conference. I have to say it was an emotional press conference. His message was, of course, what we already know, which is they confirmed six dead, eight injured. Six of the eight injured remain in critical condition. And people describe it as they are battling for their lives.

Of course, there is profound shock here. I think he wanted to make sure he got through to the province and the country and the world as a whole that we will stand together in what they call unity and solidarity, making a clear point to say to the Muslim community, look, you are home with us, you are home, we are with you through this terrible act.

They say the investigation continues. Two suspects are in custody. They do not know if they had any co-conspirators. They do not believe they were other attackers at the mosque at that time. But, of course, they are reviewing all of their information to see how they could have gotten help.

A key note here as well is many people are speculating that they used firearms that would have been banned in Canada.

HOWELL: Paula Newton reporting for us here. Again, six people dead and eight people injured. Of the eight injuries, they are very critically injured.

I would like to draw on your context, your base there in Canada, as our correspondent. You indicated this particular mosque has been targeted before. Can you give us context and background on what happened there before?

NEWTON: There was quite a bit of shock last year during Ramadan when the bloody head of a pig was left on the doorstep of the mosque. Police investigated that thoroughly. They don't know who did it. Of course, there had been extra vigilance at the mosque. But I guess in terms of crossing the line into violence, this is something no one saw coming. And I have to say that community leaders in many communities throughout Canada, there is a lot of support for each other. There's community outreach on both sides. So, it would be people from the Islamic society and this mosque who will be reaching out to people in the community and vice-versa. There seems to be that very good dialogue throughout. George, I really can't tell you the devastation. The head of the Islamic society called it carnage. The people are in shock. I mean, there were families in there. It was a time of evening prayer. And they really did not foresee this kind of violence around a house of prayer.

HOWELL: And important to point out the backdrop, it is all happening at a time there are tensions just south of the border, here in the United States, over a travel ban.

Paula, I would also like to get the latest information from what you know on the people that have been detained here. Again, initially, there are reports from witnesses there were two people involved. Do we know anything more about the people behind this?

NEWTON: No, not at all. And authorities were incredibly careful to say, look, you need to avoid speculation. The investigation continues but we can't tell you anything about it. There have been media reports, people even trying to identify the two. But police refuse to do that.

I will say in the province of Quebec, they had been investigating certain incidents that involved far-right groups. They were investigated namely in terms of hate speech and for the potential for violence but nothing on this scale.

HOWELL: Paula Newton en route to the scene there, live, by phone, with the latest details. Again, six dead and eight injured.

Paula, we'll stay in touch with you as we follow this breaking news.

[02:34:54] CHURCH: We'll take a short break. Still to come, the White House is defending the U.S. travel ban amid growing protests. We'll hear from both a supporter and a critic of the executive order. That's coming up next.





HOWELL: It's known as the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You see the protests that took place there. People shouting, "Let them in." They are joining other demonstrations around the country condemning the new U.S. travel restrictions.

The president's immigration ban effects some 220 million people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Despite the protests at airports across the United States and plans for more protests due to this ban, the White House is defending the president's actions.

Here is his chief of staff.


REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It wasn't chaos. The fact of the matter is 325,000 people from foreign countries came into the United States yesterday and 109 people were detained for further questioning. Most of those people were moved out. We have a couple dozen more that remain. And I would suspect, as long as they are not awful people, they will move through before another half a day today. And perhaps some of these people should be detained further. and if they're folks that shouldn't be in this country, they're going

to be detained. So, we apologize for nothing here.


HOWELL: Reince Priebus saying there is no need to apologize, saying that it was not chaos.

Let's get more now from CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem.

And for our viewers around the world, Juliette wrote an article published to that, based on her own counterterrorism and national security experience, describes this latest executive order -- Juliette, I think you said as "sloppy and incompetent." Explain your assessment.

[02:40:22] JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, this is what we have seen come out of the Trump White House right now. They make a big deal of something, it ends up being a big deal, in particular, this executive order. And when people are saying, you haven't planned out the details, they say it's not that big of a deal. This is a perfect case in point.

You know, there were -- it wasn't just the people detained in airports that were impacted. Every single person, from not just those seven countries, but green-card holders, refugees coming in from other countries. There was no clarification in the executive order. Specifically, it took until late Sunday night, over 48 hours after the executive order was released, on whether the hundreds of thousands of green-card holders were actually subject to the exclusion and the Department of Homeland Security said no. It's no way to run a government. It's in way to support the first responders on the front line, like we have seen in with the Custom and Border Control agents.

HOWELL: Juliette, I would like to read just a bit from that op-ed. You say, "Even assuming that the executive order is justified and sound, the implementation of the policy has sowed confusion, different interpretations, and lack of consistency. This is no way to run national security strategy."

The question here, is the Trump Team making it up as they go along, is what you pose there.

KAYYEM: I think they are. I think there's a general distrust by the Trump administration of what they call the bureaucracy. They did come in as the disruptive candidate. I think they view governance as the same.

The problem for them is that ideas and sound bytes are just that. They have to be implemented. You saw the desire to come out quickly with the ban as promised, the Muslim ban. Which I should say, for the record, I am against. But even assuming that you're for it, there was no interaction with the inner agencies. The Department of State had no insight into it. There were no thorough legal reviews. It has mistakes in it. There are questions about, what about people who are detained at the airports? What about people on flights? What about people with green cards? Those are things that have to be answered before you impact hundreds of thousands of peoples' lives.

HOWELL: Juliette, the question here, Donald Trump said this executive order is designed to keep America safe, to make it safer. But given your own expertise and knowledge, in your opinion, does this make America safer?

KAYYEM: I don't think it's just my opinion. I think it's the opinion of any serious counterterrorism, national security expert, Democrat, Republican, throughout the United States and throughout the globe, that this action, in fact, will do less to support our safety and security. It will cause great antagonism with countries that we share information intelligence with.

And to just pick up on what ISIS has said since the executive order, applauding it for helping them recruit and inflame the Muslim world.

We've had two presidents since 9/11, President Bush and President Obama, and both understood that the Muslim world could not view America's actions as a war on Islam. I think, with one executive order, President Trump has change that narrative. And those of us in counterterrorism believe it won't make it more safe, it likely increased the threat environment not just for us but for our allies abroad.

HOWELL: Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much for your insight.

Again, your report has been published on We send our viewers to check it out.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

CHURCH: Let's get more on all of this from CNN political analyst and radio talk show host, Ben Ferguson. He supports President Trump's actions on immigration and borders.

Thanks for joining us.


CHURCH: There has been a lot of confusion and chaos at airports across the United States. And many are questioning how constitutional and moral this travel ban is. How do you reply to that? And how concerned are you that choosing refugees on the basis of religion will be challenged legally going forward?

FERGUSON: Well, I think you can see today from the Department of Homeland Security, one, they say, we are not choosing refugees based on their religion. We're going to give priority to those that are Christians and also give priorities to those that are Muslims that are being persecuted in other countries.

But let's be clear, there are 325,000 people that came into America yesterday from other countries. Only 109 of them were stopped. The majority of them have already been let go at this point and are free. We are also allowing people with green cards, who are coming from these countries that are listed, to allow them to come back into this country if they previously had a green card that is active. I think a lot of this has been overexaggerated and it's actually moved pretty smoothly thus far.

[02:45:14] CHURCH: What about a 5-year-old? Why would a 5-year-old be held for a number of hours before he is united with his mother? What's the logic behind that?

FERGUSON: I think you have to have everyone that is being held from these countries, because that's what this says. I'll give you a great example. Back in 2011, we had a six-month ban from the Obama administration, with Hillary Clinton involved in that as well, from Iraq. And there was no one out there protesting. There were 5-year- olds that would have been held then, or anyone who was coming in from these countries, until they were able to vet them fully and move forward.

No system is ever going to work perfectly. There are always going to be exceptions to the rule, especially when dealing with something this big of an issue.

But let's put this also in context. What Donald Trump just did as president was, say, for three months, 90 days, we are going to have a ban from seven nations that have been sponsoring terrorism. That's is --


CHURCH: I do want to ask you about that, though. I want to know the logic and reasoning behind the choice of those seven nations on this ban. Many are questioning whether it's targeting the right countries, given no attackers who have hit the United States come from those seven countries listed. But 9/11 attackers came from three nations that aren't on that list, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Pakistan is not listed either, despite the fact that one of the San Bernardino attackers came from that nation. So, again, people are wondering and they want to know the reasoning behind the choice of these seven nations.

FERGUSON: That's a great question. These seven nations were put on a list in 2015 by the Obama administration under the Department of Homeland Security. This list originated from President Obama because, it's not necessarily where the people are born, it's where they go to train as terrorists under al Qaeda and under ISIS. You may have been born in one of the nations that you just mentioned, and those people have attacked us in this country on 9/11, but they ended up training in Afghanistan. Why did we go into Afghanistan after 9/11? Because the 9/11 attackers were being funded and had gone through Afghanistan, not their through original nation where they are born. It is a complex issue, but if you look at it and say, where were they trained, where were they getting their funding, where were their safe haven to learn their tradecraft of terrorism? It is the seven countries that were on this list. And this same seven countries -- this list is not something Donald Trump made up. Barack Obama and the Department of Homeland Security put this list together in 2015.

CHURCH: All right. So also, the president's plan has been getting pushed back from very prominent Republicans. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham issues this joint statement that reads, in part, "Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation. It is clear from the confusion at airports across the nation that President Trump's executive order was not properly vetted. Such a hasty process risks harmful results. Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflected wound in the fight against terrorism."

So, Ben, could the president's immigration crack down actually be a gift to Islamic extremists and make American less safe by emboldening terrorists and playing right into their narrative about Americans hating Muslims?

FERGUSON: Yeah, if I use that logic, then explain to me how 9/11 happened. We weren't having any bans before 9/11. We weren't in Iraq or Afghanistan before 9/11, and yet, those terrorists had no problem finding a motive to kill us. When you're dealing with Islamic extremists, they will always find a motive.

I'm very disappointed in the comments there from those two Senators because they didn't say anything about a six-month ban when it happened in 2011 under Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. We also didn't see any of these protesters out there and they had a six-month ban on Iraqi refugees coming into this country. So, I think there's a little bit of hypocrisy from that one.

This is a 90-day ban at this point. It is very measured. It's not an absolute ban. There's also more than one billion Muslims in other countries that are more than welcome to come into America, tomorrow or tonight, who have not been banned. So, when people say it's a religious ban, a billion Muslims around the world, a billion-plus Muslims are still welcome to come to America tonight or tomorrow or the next day. This is going after hot-bed terrorist countries.

CHURCH: Clearly, there is so much more we need to discuss about this but we'll have to leave it there.

Ben Ferguson, thank you, as always, for joining us. Appreciate it.

FERGUSON: Thanks for having me.

[02:49:48] HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, Hollywood stars grace the red carpet for this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards. We'll show you who won big, including a few surprises.




CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The stars of film and television honored Sunday night at the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

HOWELL: Tonight's big winners and also one of the biggest surprises was the film "Hidden Figures" for best motion picture ensemble.

CHURCH: Some others winners include Denzel Washington for best actor in the film "Fences." Emma Stone won best actress for her performance in the movie musical, "La La Land."

HOWELL: Best TV drama ensemble went to the sci-fi series, "Stranger Things." And "Orange Is the New Black" won for best ensemble in a comedy series.

CHURCH: And we'll have more on that next hour.

But to tennis, and super star, Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open for his 18th grand-slam singles title.

HOWELL: That's right. Becoming the first player in history to win five or more titles at three different grand-slam tournaments.

CNN's tennis contributor, Ravi Ubha, has more from Melbourne, Australia.


[02:54:53] RAVI UBHA, CNN TENNIS CONTRIBUTOR: It's what tennis fans had been hoping for, for a long time, but maybe thought they would never get again, long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meeting again on the Australian Open final in a match with huge implications. Federer last won a slam at Wimbledon in 2012. Nadal's last grand-slam triumph was at his beloved place in 2014. Both overcame injuries and some time away from the tour to earn a spot in Sunday's final.

In this showdown, while momentum shifted many times, Nadal squared the match with two sets off. In the end, it was Federer who prevailed to win that 18th grand-slam title, helped by some timely serving on break points.

ROGER FEDERER, TENNIS CHAMPION: It is definitely very special. I said that before the finals. If I were to win against Rafael, it would be super special and very sweet because I haven't beaten him in a grand-slam title for a long, long time now. Last time was 2007 at Wimbledon. Now I was able to do it again.

RAFAEL NADAL, TENNIS CHAMPION: I was happy I was able to play a great quality of tennis. That's a great news for me. The only thing for me is to keep going

UBHA: He is 35, but Federer continues to prove, in tennis tournaments, he is ageless. His win captured the remarkable Australian Open where the old guard brought in plenty of new fans.

Ravi Ubha, CNN, Melbourne.


CHURCH: That wraps up this hour. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell.

The news continues after the break. Stay with us.