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Mosque in Quebec Attacked; Trump Defends Executive Order; Federal Judges Blocks Travel Ban; Confusion Over Green Card Holder Status; World Leaders Condemn Travel Ban; Trump Talks to Putin. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired January 30, 2017 - 04:00   ET



ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, a deadly rampage at a mosque in Quebec being investigated as a terror attack. What was the motive and what are police are learning from two people in custody.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New anger and new questions over President Trump's historic executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority countries. Now the president is defending the move and going after his opponents. Good morning everyone.

Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's Monday, January 30th. It's 4:00 a.m. in the east and we begin with breaking news out of Canada.

A shooting at a mosque in Quebec City being investigated as an act on anti-Muslim terror. Now authorities in several cities here in the U.S. are stepping up security. Let's go live to CNN's Brynn Gingras live with the latest on those breaking details. Brynn, what's the latest on this? Any new details coming out?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well authorities are now saying let's not speculate. Let's learn what these -- what's going on. What do the suspects have to say about exactly what happened? So that's what they're saying at this point right now, but they are reporting six people were killed. At least eight people injured during this attack, which took place during a time of prayer at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center. Of those at the hospital, they are described as being in critical condition -- critical injuries.

Authorities report -- here are some good news out if this -- 39 people who were inside that mosque at the time of the attack were able to escape unharmed. Now police say two people were arrested. Authorities are saying on social media that the situation is now under control, but it is being investigated as you said, Alison, as a terrorist attack.

Witnesses actually said it was a coordinated attack. Authorities have not released a motive or any further details of exactly what happened inside. It's still unclear. This isn't the first time though that the mosque has been targeted. Leaders there reported actually a hate crime in June when a bloody pig's head was left on the doorstep during Ramadan.

So, right now, authorities are saying it's too soon to tell if those two incidence were a (INAUDIBLE) attack of anything to do with that, but of course, condolences at this point in the morning, they're just pouring in from the country's prime minister, from the country's president. Justin Trudeau, the prime minister said his thoughts are with the victims and their families.

And here closer to home and New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio also took to social media -- he expressed sympathy adding, "Muslims here will be protected. The NYPD Special Teams, those heavily armed, highly trained officers, they're going to be now paying particular attention mosques in the city while will be paying particular attention to mosques in the city while continuing to just keep an eye on information as we get more out of it, this investigation in Quebec City. It's still news out (ph) so we're still learning it really by the minute.

BERMAN: All right. I think the people will wake up to really, you know, a lot of sadness this morning outside that city as Canada comes to terms to what happened there. Brynn Gingras, thanks for the --

GINGRAS: Thanks.

BERMAN: I know you'll be staying all morning for us. All right, this morning, confusion reigns after a weekend of chaos, protests, not to mention clarification after clarification about President Trump's executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim majority countries. The president is defending the move.

He wrote, "America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. We will keep it free and keep it safe as the media knows but refuses to say."

In a moment, we're going to have more on the president's comments which followed a growing wave of political and legal complications. Democratic House and Senate leaders, they have scheduled a protest outside the Supreme Court today. And in an emotional statement, minority leader Chuck Schumer announced senate Democrats will introduce legislation to try to overturn the ban.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: This executive order -- was mean-spirited and un-American. It was implemented in a way to create chaos and confusion across the country and it will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who will do us harm.


BERMAN: Today, the Muslim advocacy group CAIR is set to announce a federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 people (INAUDIBLE) the travel ban. That's on top of 16 Democratic state attorneys general who called the ban unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful. They put that at a joint statement on that. They vow to file their own court challenges.

KOSIK: And already federal judges across the country have issued temporary stay blocking parts of the travel ban. The Department of Homeland Security says it will comply with judges' orders not to deport travelers detained after they landed. But an administration official calls the ruling as a non sequitur noting they applied to the one-time situation of travelers in the air when the president signed the order. Immigrants overseas, they will still be banned.

[04:05:04] BERMAN: So some of the harshest criticism of the ban that it seem to come out of nowhere with little planning and haphazard implementation. The White House denies that. A senior administration official says that months were spent drafting the order and that several of the top immigration staffers on Capitol Hill participated but others familiar with the matter said the circle involved was really pretty small.

Now the agencies most effective, Homeland Security for one had little input and were given a few details until just before the president signed the order.

KOSIK: New demonstrations against the ban are planned across the country today from US San Diego to the Ohio State House to Columbia University in New York. These follow huge protest at landmark locations that happened on Sunday. Demonstrators packed Boston's Copley Square chanting "No hate. No fear. Immigrants welcome here." In New York, City Hall estimates the number of people jammed into Battery Park at more than 10,000.

BERMAN: In Washington, protesters marched from the White House to the Trump International Hotel to the capital, went back toward the White House. At the airport in San Francisco, one international security checkpoint was shut down due to a crowd of protesters that an airport official estimated was about 1,500 strong. The other demonstrations are in Orlando, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, most of them at airports.

KOSIK: And overnight, word that the number of travelers subject to the ban has dropped to zero. A Homeland Security spokeswoman tells CNN everyone has now either been sent home or released into the U.S. Those who have been let go include are 392 green card holders, so-called lawful permanent residents.

And there was much confusion about green cards this weekend. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus contradicting himself on "Meet the Press" saying the travel ban does not affect green card holders but moments later saying, "of course it does."

BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE), the Homeland Security Department seemed to settle matter saying that green card holders will get extra screening, but barring (ph) links to terror or criminal history they will be allowed in. CNN has learned that administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all social media website that they visit and share their cell phone contacts. Sources tell CNN the discussions are preliminary and how this would all work is still being sorted out. KOSIK: OK, and amid all the confusion and anger swirling around the statements made by administration officials, President Trump himself spoke out on the travel ban trying to calm things down. CNN's Athena Jones has the latest from the White House.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Alison. President Trump responding to the criticism -- the travel ban he's imposed has been getting -- issuing a statement saying in part, "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 those who are suffering."

Those comments from the president coming as he's facing criticism including from members of his own party. People like Texas congressman Will Hurd, who was a former undercover CIA officer. Hurd released a pretty lengthy statement that says in part, "that this move, this travel ban does not make us safer, rather it decreases the security of our homeland and endangers the lives of thousands of American men and women in our military, diplomatic corps and intelligence services. There are 10,000 Americans serving in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. A target has been placed on their backs by increasing tensions in an already volatile region."

The White House is saying that they are extremely proud of what we've accomplished so far. That's from a senior administration official who said it really is a massive success story in terms of implementation on several levels. But clearly, it's a move that is continuing to come under fire, John, Alison.

BERMAN: All right Athena Jones and of course the White House brief last night was some unnamed senior administration officials who are trying to put out their version of what was going on. The president's travel ban has been met with widespread global condemnation. Leaders from Europe to the Middle East have described as cruel and shameful.

We're going to get the latest from CNN's Ian Lee live from Istanbul. We are hearing from world leaders who say they're going to take action of their own, Ian.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Let's start here in Turkey, John, from the Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek saying that -- tweeting a jab saying, "Refugees welcome in Turkey. The world's largest refugee hosting country. We'd happily welcome global talent not allowed back into the United States.

[04:10:00] We're also hearing from Yemen, one of the countries on this travel ban. They are saying that this supports terror and sows division. Sudan, another country says that it is regrettable and that also pointed to the warming of relations between the two countries.

We're also -- one thing that's quite noticeable right now in the Middle East is the silence from other countries probably not wanting to attract the ire of President Trump especially when Reince Priebus, the chief of staff saying that other countries could be added to it. But the strongest condemnation is coming from Iran who summoned the U.S. Interest Section in Tehran.

That is the Swiss ambassador since the U.S. doesn't have an embassy there. They said this was faceless and discriminatory. There's also a bit of tit-for-tat. They're saying that there is a 90-day travel ban for Americans to Iran, but we're also hearing condemnation from America's closest allies.

The U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May saying that we don't agree with this kind of approach. The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, saying that this is cruel and shameful. And finally, we have German Chancellor Angela Merkel who called President Trump herself to remind him of the United States obligations to refugees under the Geneva Convention, John.

BERMAN: Ian Lee for us in Istanbul. But a lot of the confusion here has to do with the fact that with the dual passports holders, if you have another nationality including one of the seven countries listed there, you too could be banned from entering into United States. Ian Lee. Thank so much.

KOSIK: The son of President Trump's national security advisor has abruptly deleted his twitter account after referring to the administration's refugee order as unnecessary Muslim ban. Michael Flynn Jr. has a history of spreading conspiracy theories and making racially charged comments. As protest broke out Saturday, he tweeted, "make American great with the #Muslimban and @reaDonaldTrump. The White House has vehemently rejected the term Muslim ban to describe Mr. Trump's tavel ban.

Lots of business leaders speaking out against the travel ban. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking suggestions on how to amend the executive order and he plans to present them to President Trump. Details coming up next.


KOSIK: Some of the biggest names in business are condemning the travel ban and some of them plan to take their complaints right to President Trump. General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt wrote this note to employees, "Our priority at GE is our people and customers. We have many employees from the named countries and we do business all over the region. These employees and customers are critical to our success and they are our friends and partners."

And this from Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeting, "Please read immigration order. Let me know specific amendments. Will seek advisory council consensus and present to president." Musk and Immelt are two of 28 executives on President Trump's manufacturing advisory council. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon put out a statement saying "He's reached out to employee who may be affected." And Uber CEO Travis Kalanick called the ban unjust saying, "He would urge the administration to change it." Dimon and Kalanick are on the president's business and economic council. Hopefully they have his ear. >

BERMAN: All right. In the midst of political chaos surrounding the travel ban, sources inside the White House tell CNN that the announcement of the president's Supreme Court pick will likely be moved up. Two officials say that the president has already made this decision -- made his decision -- and that a confirmation team made of top Republican advisors is prepared for a possible announcement as early as today.

Now the President has been tweeting and saying that he plan to make the announcement on Thursday, but clearly that White House wants to change the story that everyone's talking about. They want to change the white hot focus on the travel ban to something else. So, that announcement could be coming within hours.

KOSIK: We shall see. OK, a raid in Al Qaeda in Yemen has resulted in the first U.S. combat death under President Trump. Six other service members were wounded in the operation and we are told 14 Al Qaeda members were killed; three of them are described as senior leaders. A U.S. Defense council confirms the mission was authorized by the president. Mr. Trump released a statement claiming the raid yielded important intelligence that will help the U.S. prevent future terror attacks.

BERMAN: All right, lost in all the drama of this weekend -- and there was a whole lot of drama -- the long anticipated phone call between the President and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. What was said? How did they get along? Next.


BERMAN: President Trump spent a good part of the weekend working the phones. He spoke to Saudi King Salman. The White House said the two leaders agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen to protect the refugees, but there was no mention of such an agreement by the Saudis.

And then there was the highly anticipated conversation between President Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. I want to bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian live from Moscow this morning. I think what everyone wants to know Clare is how did the two men get along after all this waiting?

CLARE SEBASTIAN. CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well John, it seems they got on pretty well. Both sides describing it as a positive discussion. But I think it's important to note that there was a lot of things that were not mentioned. First of all, there was no mention of sanctions. Obviously, President Trump had talked about that a lot during the campaign, that he would be willing to consider lifting sanctions.

That was not discussed. The issue of alleged Russian hacking in the U.S. -- election wasn't discussed. NATO wasn't discussed. They stayed away from controversial topics like that. This was still extremely significant. They did pledge to work together on issues such as North Korea, the Iranian nuclear program, non proliferation in general.

And in particular, this was a key priority from the Russian side in combating international terrorism particularly in Syria eluding a type of cooperation that was not possible for the Obama administration and Russia. And (INAUDIBLE) John, they did say that they are now planning a face to face meeting -- when or where, that will take place, and we don't yet know. But suddenly very positive notice from both sides.

[04:25:00] BERMAN: But no discussion of sanctions, I think, which would be of note to a great many people here including lawmakers within his own party. All right, Clare, thanks so much.

KOSIK: All right, the shooting at a mosque in Quebec being investigated as an act of terror. The latest details from Canada along with the continued fallout from President Trump's travel ban after the break.


BERMAN: All right, breaking overnight, a deadly shooting at a mosque being investigated as an act of anti-Muslim terror. We'll tell you what police are learning from two people in custody.

KOSIK: Anger boiling over as new questions emerge over President Trump's executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations. This morning, the President defending the move and slamming his opponent.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Great to see you this morning. About 30 minutes after the hour and we do have breaking news out of Canada.

[04:30:00] Six people are dead after what appears to be a coordinated attack on a mosque in Quebec City. This is now being investigated as an act of anti-Muslim terror.