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Trump Travel Ban Triggers Global Condemnation; Confusion Following Trump's Travel Ban; Six Dead, 8 Wounded in Mosque Shooting. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired January 30, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMEROTA: -- a Muslim ban. We have it all covered for you. So let's go first to CNN's Athena Jones. She's live at the White House with the very latest. Good morning, Athena.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
After a weekend of confusion, the Department of Homeland Security said last night that no one in the initial group of people affected by the ban remains detained. Everyone has been either released into the U.S. or put on planes back home.
Still, the firestorm over these measures isn't letting up.
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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was an extreme vetting program that wasn't properly vetted.
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Apologize for nothing here.
JONES: Asserting they're 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 card holders from these seven countries won't be denied entry into the U.S. but will face a secondary screaming. 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 enter the country.
All as 16 Democratic attorneys general called the ban unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: This executive order was mean-spirited and un-American.
JONES: 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: 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.
TRUMP: And world leaders are responding with concerns. 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 provide their social media and web surfing information as well as their cell phone contacts. Those who decline could be denied entry. And officials citing the social media posts of one of the San Bernardino shooters, even though those posts were written under a pseudonym and were protected by strict privacy settings.
In fact, in justifying this ban, the administration is repeatedly citing attacks the ban would not have prevented, including San Bernardino, 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 -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. This criticism about how well-thought-out the executive order was continues. We have, from CNN International, the E.U. saying it has conflicting input as to whether or not the Trump ban impacts E.U. citizens with dual nationality.
Let's bring in CNN's justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, live in Washington with the latest -- Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, we learned that this refugee executive order was so closely held that the policy team at the White House largely avoided the traditional interagency process that would have allowed homeland security agencies to provide the operational guidance ahead of time.
And according to numerous officials we spoke with, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and career officials with operational experience didn't see the final details until shortly before that order was signed on Friday, sending those officials in charge of enforcing this scrambling to figure out what this executive order meant, especially for the newly-banned passengers on U.S. bound planes at the time the order was signed, as well as those green card holders from those seven countries.
And we've learned that Friday night DHS arrived at the interpretation that the executive order restrictions apply to those 7 countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen did not apply to green card holders. And then the White House overruled that guidance overnight. According to officials familiar with this roll-out, their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS would allow green card holders to enter the U.S.
Now administration officials have defended the process. They said the people needed to be briefed ahead of time on that plan were briefed, and that people at the State Department and DHS were involved in the process, were able to make those decisions about who to talk to and inform about this.
But officials we've spoken with say a lot of the chaos and confusion could have been avoided, if officials involved with the enforcement of the border, were given more advance notice.
Back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK, Pamela. Thank you for all of that background.
Joining us now, Democratic senator from Delaware, member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Chris Coons.
Good morning, Senator.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE. Good morning, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: How do you see this travel ban?
COONS: Well, Alisyn, the thing that wasn't vetted properly was this travel ban, as your reporter just commented. The Trump administration didn't consult with leaders in their own administration, with the agency required to enforce it, and certainly not with their Republican allies in Congress, from the comments I've heard from many.
I see it as illegal, unconstitutional and un-American. I don't think this ban will make us any safer. I frankly, think it will be a propaganda bonanza for ISIS. It has outraged number of our close allies on whom we are relying to be our partners on war in terror, and it has sent the wrong message to our allies around the world about what we stand for as a country.
Some of the first people caught up in the misguided ban just over the last 48 hours were Iraqi translators who risked their lives for American troops in the war in Iraq. And I think the symbol that sends is a strong one. And I look forward to joining others who will be protesting this ban and challenging it, both with statutory actions and legal actions.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that, Senator, because what can you do? We understand that your colleague, Senator Dianne Feinstein from California, said that she's going to introduce legislation today that would seek to reverse it or stop this ban. But as we all know, Democrats are not in power in Congress. What can you do?
COONS: That's right, Alisyn. We don't control either the House or the Senate, so we have to have Republicans join us in order to be able to either stop the funding for the implementation of the ban or to be able to pass legislation repealing the ban. Mostly what we can do is to express the voices that I've heard from.
Thousands of Delawareans have reached out to my office expressing concern about this. Frankly, the congregation I grew up in helped send to me an important signal about what it means to be a community of faith by welcoming a refugee family from South Vietnam when I was a young man. That very congregation was set to welcome a Syrian refugee family this Thursday. And I heard by e-mail, by Twitter, my phone call from folks all across Delaware that they want me to be standing up against this ban; and they want to make sure that religious discrimination isn't enshrined in how the Trump administration carries these actions forward.
CAMEROTA: Your colleague, Senator Chris Murphy, suggests the Democrats try to slow down the approval process of the cabinet nominees. Can you do that? Are you considering that?
COONS: We'll have to talk about that as a caucus. We have limited tools to do that. We have, I think, made reasonable efforts to slow down those cabinet nominations that were being rushed through to make sure that we get our questions answered, to make sure that they complete their background checks. We're going to have to talk as a caucus about the consequences that we start filibustering nominees and what happens next.
We do expect a Supreme Court nominee from President Trump this week. Frankly, Alisyn, this is going to be a very challenging first 100 days of the Trump administration, given how many different things they're moving around.
CAMEROTA: So during Senator Sessions' confirmation hearing, you were obviously a part of that committee, he said, I believe -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that he would not support a Muslim ban. Did you hear him say that?
COONS: That's my recollection. But I also think it's telling that Rudy Giuliani on CNN said that now President Trump called him up and said, "How do I get a Muslim ban done?" And he coached him through a group of legal advisors on how to craft a Muslim ban that might be legally defensible.
I point out to Senator Sessions that the way this ban was crafted specifically encourages religious minorities from these countries from which immigrants are banned to make applications. And President Trump went on the Christian Broadcasting Network and spread some alternative facts about the numbers. We welcomed nearly as many Christian refugees as Muslim refugees last year.
And this ban, although many say it is not a Muslim ban, is targeting only majority Muslim countries and has a specific carve-out for religious minorities. I don't think it's good policy when we start picking specific religions and specific nationalities for us to welcome or admit. That hearkens back to the dark days of our immigration policy as a country eight decades ago when we blocked Jewish refugees from coming here during the Holocaust.
[07:0:14] CAMEROTA: Senator, very quickly, I just heard you use the term "alternative facts" that you say the Trump administration was using in terms of numbers of refugees. What's that a euphemism for?
COONS: That's a euphemism for a lie. That's a euphemism for spreading false facts. I probably should have said "alternative facts."
Frankly, when the administration puts out things that are not factually true, I'm going to call them on it. And I think it's important that we put the record straight about what the numbers are here as CNN has been reporting. Not one American has been killed in a terrorist attack carried out by someone who is a refugee from one of these seven countries. So if the key focus on this executive order is to makes us safer, I don't think it meets that test.
CAMEROTA: That is such an important point for you to reiterate, and I'm glad that you did. One more thing. You know, the Trump administration says, "Hey, we didn't make up these seven countries that we're now suggesting for this travel ban, actually, ordering for this travel ban." This came from 2015 from the Obama administration. These are the countries that they identified as being terror prone. What's your response to that?
COONS: Alisyn, that is correct that the state sponsors of terror lists, roughly, in states that are considered harbors of terrorism are these seven countries.
But if the stated goal of the executive order, what it says on its face, is that it's designed to protect us from the threat of infiltration of those who might do us harm. The three countries from which people have come who committed the 9/11 attacks and other attacks are pointedly excluded from this list. And it's unclear why they were excluded from this list. And it suggests that's not really what's going on with this, I believe, Muslim ban.
CAMEROTA: OK. Senator Chris Coons, thank you very much for your perspective on all of this. We'll talk soon.
CUOMO: We are following breaking news from Canada, gunman going on a deadly rampage at a mosque in Quebec. Police say six people were killed, eight others wounded at the last count. The Islamic cultural center was the target. Canada's prime minister did call it a, quote, "terrorist attack."
CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Quebec City with the latest. Is there any more now? We heard that there were reports of arrests.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are two arrests right now, Chris. They are continuing, though, to search the files that belong to cell phones and the files that belong to those two that are arrested. They're also continuing to speak to them.
What they want to know, Chris, is if there are any more co- conspirators. Especially when it comes to the way this is getting out. This has so shaken the community here, because this was a coordinated attack and using what were likely to be banned firearms.
An incredibly chilling, six -- eight are in the hospital. Six are now fighting for their lives. The community here trying to come together, saying they really didn't think this could ever happen here. You know, they have very cherished secular values here. That they were trying to do a lot of outreach with the diversity of the community but just never thought it would come to this. Police should have an update in the next couple of hours.
CUOMO: All right, Paula. I'll take it. Paula Newton, thank you very much. President Trump beginning his second week in office. Is there more drama in store? He has been unprecedentedly productive. We've got Tom Friedman coming in for some perspective, next.
[07:17:26] CUOMO: The Trump White House facing growing political backlash after the president's executive order banning travel to the United States from seven Muslim majority nations that caused mass confusion at the airports over the weekend as administration defending critics, calling this media hysteria and nothing more.
Joining us now, "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman and author of the new best seller, "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations." I'll tell you what's accelerating, my friend brother Friedman, is this tension between what the White House does and how the media is covering it and the reaction to the saying. Do you believe that this is media hysteria, or is there cause for concern?
TOM FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": You know, Chris, the question of immigration in this age of acceleration when we have a lot more states collapsing, there's 65 million migrants and refugees on the road in the world today, there's actually more than at any time. I mean, even before World War II.
So this is going to be a long-term challenge for every stable developed country and the European Union and the United States in particular. The question is how do you approach that?
If what you'd expect from a president is to get his Commerce Department to weigh in on what are the commercial implications, his secretary of state to weigh in on what are the diplomatic implications, the secretary of defense to weigh in on the strategic implications and so on down the line. Then you'd net all that out, and you'd come up with a policy. That was not done here at all.
We know that Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, was not consulted in the process of this, that Homeland Security was only showed it a few days before. We don't even have a confirmed secretary of state. So why was this rushed out?
And we have to be very clear about that. This -- this emerged from a campaign promise that Donald Trump made in order to steal a march on the other Republican candidates. This is a man who has trucked in fear on many different fronts. And then when he came in, he wanted to quickly, you know, show his supporters that he was living up to his promise and did that without proper consultation.
And the fact that members of his own party. Not just, you know, John McCain and Lindsey Graham but Rob Portman. The problem with this vetting thing is that it wasn't properly vetted. And I think that's the issue, and that's what the press and many people are calling out.
CAMEROTA: Is there another issue, which is that this is a very aggressive solution to a problem that doesn't exist. In other words, nobody can find any -- name the terror attack where refugees have been at -- the culprit.
FRIEDMAN: And people have done the research, Alisyn, just as you say and of these seven countries, if you go back to 9/11 and before 9/11. The number of refugees admitted from these countries who have been involved in terrorist attacks in the United States have been zero.
[07:20:09] CUOMO: Cato Institute did it back to 1975.
FRIEDMAN: Yes. So there's no issue here. And you have to admit, be more secure as an American is if someone who is on our own terrorist watch list in America, so much so that they cannot board an airplane in this country without being checked, couldn't buy an assault weapon.
Now, the whole Republican Party will be under the pressure of the NRA and refuses to do that as does Trump. That would actually make me feel better, if somebody that was on our terrorist watch list in this country of any nationality couldn't buy an assault weapon.
And, you know, and so that's what is so fraudulent about the whole thing. The whole thing is utterly contrived to make you and me afraid, because Trump has basically run his campaign.
CUOMO: People are afraid, though. Right? I mean, what we see in the push back here is feeling not fact. It's not that people are arguing the facts. We did a segment on it today. We're sending it all over social media. The facts don't support the policy, but the phobia does.
FRIEDMAN: Yes. The phobia does. And Chris, as well on trade. Be afraid of Mexicans when, in fact, it's microchips that have taken your job. You know, it's always looking for a target "the other." And then Donald Trump comes in as the hero who will protect you. He'll protect you from these forces.
CAMEROTA: Except that the rollout was so -- the rollout -- the announcement at the airport was not; it was so messy. I mean, we heard Reince Priebus say, "We didn't want to telegraph what we were going to do. Because then there would be people trying to make it in." But that's not how it works.
FRIEDMAN: It's not how it works. I think, again, it goes back to your point. It's not like we were sitting here facing multiple imminent threats from these countries.
And again, I go back to the point: there is a larger question and this is one of the themes of my book and really destabilizing a lot of countries. The big divide in the world today is no longer east-west, north-south, communist-capitalist. It's increasingly between the world of order and the world of disorder. So you've got to cross Central Africa, all the way through the Middle East. You've got a rising zone of disorder, and people are clambering out of that to get into the world of order.
What is actually the biggest challenge for us right now is not from Mexico. It's from Central America, the Northern Triangle; Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador. That's where the upsurge of immigration is coming from.
Wait a minute. Who do we need to help us on that? Mexico.
You know, and my broader problem with Trump is that nothing is connected in his world. I made the point yesterday. In my book, I quote Lynn Wells (ph), a systems analyst who says you shouldn't think in the box in today's world. You shouldn't think out of the box. You have to think without a box, because everything is connected to everything else.
So Trump says, "Let's build a wall on the Mexican border. I promise you, then they're going to pay for it." How many Americans know -- does Trump even know -- that if you fly from Baghdad to Mexico City, you know your name pops up in American Homeland Security? We have such cooperation with Mexico and with Canada. We've created an envelope of security.
Now, why did we do that? Because after 9/11 what did we do? We shut the Canadian and Mexican borders. What did that do? It almost brought the U.S. auto industry to a halt, because the supply chains came from both to make our cars. So in the wake of that, what did we do? We created a North American security envelope. Are they going to cooperate with us?
On every front -- you know, Trump says, "I'm going to take on China." If I were going to take on China, I'm going to stand up to China, what would I do? You know what I'd do, I'd form an 11-nation trading block of people in Asia who share values. I might even call it Transpacific Partnership or TPP. Let's -- and what does Trump do? "We're going to get rid of that. But then we're going to take on China."
By the way, why does Mexico have lower wages than America? For a couple -- many reasons but one is they have lower environmental standards, because they have lower labor standards in terms of unionization and whatnot. What did TPP do? And Mexico is a signatory to TPP. It forces them to raise their labor and environmental standards.
So nothing is connected in their world. Everything is a box, a one- off. And do we get a buzz today with our constituency? And do we get a rise out of the press. And I think that's ultimately what's going to do them in, because to understand these linkages, you have to understand the world. You have to read. You have to have done your homework, and they have not done that.
CUOMO: Makes you think, this guy.
Let me ask you something else about this. So look, this could be nothing, but it just -- it seems so odd. The administration puts out a Holocaust remembrance message. It doesn't mention the Jews or who was killed in the Holocaust being the Jews in the main. And Hope Hicks came out, one of the press staff for the president, came out with an explanation.
CAMEROTA: Well, when it was pointed out to Hope Hicks, one of the communications staff, why didn't you mention any Jewish people being killed in this genocide, she then directed, I believe it was Jake Tapper, to a link online at The Huffington Post that said, yes, 6 million Jews were killed, but also 5 million other people, including gypsies and communists and anarchists and trade unionists.
[07:25:14] CUOMO: A lot of non-Jewish Germans, as well. But I've never -- have you ever heard of a Holocaust remembrance message from the White House that didn't mention Jews being killed?
FRIEDMAN: Chris, it's obviously odd. And people have gone back and looked at how the Bush administration did it, how the Obama administration did it. And of course, the Jews were central to it, as -- because they were the central victims of this.
And Hope Hicks's, you know, reaction is just wacky, basically.
You just never know with these people. Is there some weird thing playing out in there from Bannon and these hyper-American nationalists? Or is this just rookie errors that they -- no one talks to anybody?
You know, they came to Washington with this kind of attitude of "We've got it. We've got it. In fact, we really don't need to consult with you very much." They've already lopped off the senior level of the State Department. Now these are the people who actually run embassies, you know, organize trips and whatnot. You just say, like, why would you do that? These are not political people. These are just people who run the infrastructure.
But there is a sense, like, "We've got it. Everything you did was wrong. We have nothing to learn from you." And it's a little -- it's a little scary. CAMEROTA: I mean, it's also scary, because when you look back at
Steve Bannon and some of the things that were peddled on Breitbart: "Bill Kristol, Renegade Jew," you could think that there's a method to this.
FRIEDMAN: You certainly could. I don't want to accuse anyone of anything.
I actually covered the first year of Bill Clinton. It was Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.OK? Gays in the military. Then we have Travelgate. And so really I'm struggling to be fair and to say, like...
CUOMO: People make mistakes. They're getting their sea legs. But part of being generous to them also requires generosity on their part. You don't just come in guns blazing, change a fundamental American policy about immigration without even consulting your own, you know, experts on this.
CUOMO: You do if you want everybody else to be the enemy.
FRIEDMAN: Right, exactly. And I -- and you do have a feeling that they...
CUOMO: You think Bannon being put on the NSC should be a higher priority story than it is?
FRIEDMAN: You know, I find it just disturbing as an American citizen. I don't know Bannon. I don't know what he knows. Maybe he's a genius. I have no idea. He was in the Navy. Maybe he knows a lot about the world.
But the idea that you would make it invitation only, in a sense, for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and I believe the DNI to be part of the meeting, that's just nuts. I mean, why wouldn't you want the input of our senior coordinator on intelligence and our senior coordinator on the military? I would want their -- I wouldn't want to make it by invitation only. I'd want their input on every issue.
CAMEROTA: And look, one of our panel made the point of what would have happened if Valerie Jarrett...
FRIEDMAN: That's right.
CAMEROTA: ... had been put in and elevated to that level at the expense of the chairman of the joint chiefs? I mean, the hue and cry is unimaginable. So this is a political move, and it's a consolidation of power. Who knows what it means? But we just have to note it.
FRIEDMAN: My biggest worry about President Trump is that this man came out of a very narrow real-estate background. Every profile of him says he doesn't read books. He learns from watching the shows and from the last person who talked to him. Ad I think as a result, he's easily manipulated. Because I don't think he knows, in depth, a lot of these issues. And when an ideologue like Bannon comes along or people on any number of other issues -- the oil companies, the coal companies -- I think he's easily manipulated.
CAMEROTA: I mean, persuadable is a different word for it.
FRIEDMAN: I -- I hope so. I hope it's just early on. I hope it's rookie mistakes.
This is -- the morning of the president's election, I quoted a friend of mine who said, "You Americans, you kick around this country like it's a football, but it's not a football. It's a Faberge egg. You can drop it, and you can break it."
There's so much at stake for us, because Alisyn and Chris, if we go weak as a country, if we get distracted, if we get knocked off our values, your kids won't just grow up in a different America. They will grow up in a fundamentally different world.
CAMEROTA: Tom Friedman, we really enjoyed having you and talking to you and getting your perspective on all of this.
CUOMO: Not easy to get you on the show. You've got a lot of suitors. You've got a lot of suitors.
FRIEDMAN: Always happy to be here.
CUOMO: Good to have you.
CAMEROTA: A major national security shake up. President Trump's top strategist, Steve Bannon, as we've been saying, is getting a seat at the table while two major principals are being demoted. What does it mean? That's next.