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PROTESTS Against President Trump's Travel Ban Continue; Interview with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Interview with Congressman Seth Moulton. Aired 8-8:30 ET

Aired January 30, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, January 30th.



CAMEROTA: I'm not going to say June 30th.

CUOMO: I almost called you Frank earlier.

CAMEROTA: President Trump defending his executive order banning people of seven countries from traveling to the U.S. The order triggering lawsuits, protests in the streets, and worldwide condemnation. The White House, though, claims that this is not a Muslim ban.

CUOMO: All right, even some of the top Republicans are distancing themselves from the administration's move. Others slow to oppose and distancing may even be generous. We'll see if party or patriotism wins out on this one. CNN's Athena Jones tracking the latest developments for us live from the White House. Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. 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 either been released into the United States or put on planes back home. But the firestorm over these measures isn't letting up.


CROWD: Let us march! Let us march! Let us march!

JONES: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 missions 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 screening.

The White House blaming mixed messages on the, quote, "hyperventilating media." Insisting the order was successful, citing only 109 travelers being detained in the first 24 hours out of the 325,000 who entered the U.S. in the same period, and noting 392 green card holders were granted waivers to enter the country, all as 16 Democratic attorneys general called the ban unconstitutional, un- American, and unlawful.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D-NY) SENATE 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 week on immigration. The two senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration, and border security instead of always looking to start World War III."

The White House now facing mounting legal battles. Federal judges in New York and Massachusetts already temporarily blocking parts of the ban from taking effect.


JONES: And world leaders are responding with concern. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel saying she told the president the ban on refugees is against the Geneva Convention. Meanwhile, the White House is asking foreign visitors to provide their social media and web surfing information as well as their cellphone contacts. Those who decline could be denied entry, an official citing the social media posts of one of the San Bernardino shooters even though the posts were written under a pseudonym and protected by strict privacy settings.

In fact in justifying this ban the administration has repeatedly cited 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 not on the ban list or were U.S. citizens. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Athena, let's talk now with a Republican lawmaker who does not support President Trump's travel ban, congresswoman from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She is also a member of the House intelligence committee. Congresswoman, it's good to have you with us.

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, (R) FLORIDA: Thank you so much, Chris.

CUOMO: Why are you against this ban?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I'm against this temporary ban on these seven named countries and on the suspension for 120 days of our U.S. refugee program, which hasn't gotten as much attention, because I think we could have accomplished our objective, which is a good objective, of keeping our homeland safe if we had just implemented different screening methods, different vetting measures if that was what President Trump wanted to do.

[08:05:09] CUOMO: That's what he says he's doing.

ROS-LEHTINEN: That's right.

CUOMO: He says he needs these stoppages in order to keep it safe while he's putting in new procedures. Do you accept that?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I worry this temporary ban may become a permanent ban. People will say, gee, we've had these 90 days, these 120 days, and we've been kept safe, so let's keep it up, when in fact that ban and prohibition would have nothing to do with keeping us safe.

Let's start a new vetting program. Let's work with the different agencies. Let's run these executive orders through the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that has to implement them, before they're written, before they're signed, and then they're told, OK, do it. Now, thank goodness we've had the head of DHS already say, oh, legal green card, U.S. permanent residents of the United States are allowed in. Well, gee, that's an incredible clarification. Yes, we are a country that honors the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. These are agreements that we've given to certain people, certain rights, and we shouldn't yank them away by fiat.

CUOMO: It seems at a minimum it was certainly rushed. There are probably good and bad reasons for that. Now, you are, as of yet in the minority in your party. Congressman Nunes, he just put out a statement why he supports this. We can put it up. I'll read it. "In light of attempts by jihadist groups to infiltrate fighters into refugee flows to the west along with Europe's tragic experience coping with this problem, the Trump administration's executive order on refugees is a commonsense security measure to prevent terror attacks on the homeland." How is he wrong?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I like Devin. He's my chairman of the intelligence committee, so I value and I trust his judgment. But I disagree on the conclusion. We could put a ban on every country in the world from coming into the United States, and that will certainly keep us safe. But when President Trump cites 9/11 and cites certain attacks on our homeland and says that's why I'm putting the temporary ban on these particular countries, how many of those individuals from those countries have committed in any of those acts, on 9/11 or the other terrorist acts?

CUOMO: None.

ROS-LEHTINEN: So it just doesn't seem to be -- the argument and the conclusion is just not a fine line.

CUOMO: Right, but this isn't about the facts. This policy is about phobias. We do know, to Congressman Nunes's statement, there has been reporting and that is intel supposedly that supports the notion that jihadis, ISIS, are trying to infiltrate refugee programs. We just haven't seen it made manifest here at home. You've had three people killed by refugees since 1975. You've had no citizens of these seven countries ever kill anybody in America since 1975. So it's not about the facts. It's about the phobia. And this is something that president Trump promised as a Muslim ban during the campaign, and now he's going to make good on it. Is that enough justification?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I congratulate President Trump for making good on his promises. I wish that he wouldn't because some of those promises I don't like, like deporting the dreamers, et cetera. And this is one of them. We need to have strict vetting criteria. We need to be tough on the people who are coming in. But once you have your green card, once you're a U.S. permanent resident of the United States, how can we say to you no, you don't have the right to come in when you've been already accepted as a refugee into this country? How can we say, for no reason, no, you're no longer welcome, just an arbitrary broad brush? It's just not in the American way, and I hope we take a step back. And I think the courts will review this for times to come.

CUOMO: It gets tricky there. The executive is given a lot of latitudes by courts, especially when it comes to keeping people safe. That's how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell couched his own statement. He said he won't apply a blanket criticism. He basically punted and said let's see what the states do.

Let me ask you about another issue while I have you. You're on the intel community. The director of national intelligence was removed from the National Security Council in favor of Steve Bannon, a man with some military history. He served in the Navy, but he is better known for his work with propaganda and Breitbart, a nationalist website, a site that puts out their propaganda very often. Does that concern you?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I'm not so much concerned about a certain individual being allowed in the meeting as I am about certain individuals being pulled out of the meeting, the head of DNI, or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

[08:10:03] The president has a right to do that. But just because he has a right to put people in and keep people out does not mean he should exercise that right. I don't know what intelligence expertise Steve Bannon would add to this mix -- CUOMO: Isn't that a concern? If you don't know what he adds to it

and you know what he does represent as a risk, right? This is a man who is a self-identified right wing nationalist. Doesn't that matter as part of your analysis of whether or not it's a concern?

ROS-LEHTINEN: It does matter. I agree that the president has a right to make these changes, but that doesn't mean that he should. I don't think that's a change that is in agreement with keeping our homeland safe, I think he's more of a political operative, could give him sound advice. President Trump is making good on his promises, but let's tone it down both on reaction and as well as executive orders. Let's try going to Congress for a change and try to do it the old-fashioned way. We're the legislative branch. Everything seems to be getting done through executive orders these days. We are a coequal branch of government. He's forgotten that.

CUOMO: New administration, new rules, and to be fair, Bannon is a political operative. He didn't go through any confirmation process with the Senate. And I don't know how he describes himself. But he is described as a right wing nationalist, and certainly that's what his media propaganda site does.

Congresswoman, thank you very much for being with us.

ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Chris, we do have some breaking news now. Gunmen opening fire in worshippers at a mosque in Quebec City, killing six people, wounding eight others. Canada's prime minister calling it a, quote, "terrorist attack." Two people are under arrest. Let's get to CNN's Paula Newton in Quebec for the latest. What have you learned?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. We're going to have a press conference within the hour with police. We're hoping to learn more about the two suspects that have been arrested. Again, this is a continuing investigation. What they really want to know is if they had any accomplices and how they got ahold of those firearms, firearms they believe are banned here in Canada.

Behind me, the forensics investigation continues. It's the ballistics experts, again, that they really want to get in there. Everyone is trying to hold together here, Alisyn. But this has been a very unnerving event for many here. Again, the coordinated style and the way it was done, and, again, really shaking to the core of what people believed was a very peaceful community. There were a few incidents at the mosque, talk about getting hate letters, but nothing that they thought would actually materialize into any kind of violence.

And what's really telling here is that there had been no extra security at that mosque or any others. That is not the same situation here this morning here as well as across the country. More security not just at mosques, but at various sites of religious prayer. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Paula, let us know what develops in that investigation, appreciate it.

A Democratic lawmaker and Iraq war veteran calling the travel ban, quote, "un-American." Why he thinks the controversial policy could endanger U.S. troops serving abroad next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's travel ban triggering nationwide protests. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer gave an emotional appeal calling the president's executive order, quote, "mean spirited and un-American."

Joining us now is Congressman Seth Moulton. He is a Democrat and an Iraq war veteran, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman, good morning.


CAMEROTA: I've read that you said that you believe that this executive order puts U.S. troops' lives in danger. How so?

MOULTON: That's absolutely right and it's not just U.S. troops. ISIS and other terrorist organizations are going to use this, in fact, ISIS already is in their propaganda. It gives them ammunition in this idea that America is at war with the Muslim faith. That's what they use to recruit terrorists and insight attacks against Americans so that's the first thing.

The second thing, it's going to make it much harder for us to work with our allies overseas. These critical Muslims who are so important in the fight against terror, our translators, our sources, our intelligence, these people I worked with every single day on the ground in Iraq and we would be completely lost without them.

We made a promise to them. We made a promise that, if we put our lives in their hands, they could put their lives in our hands, and now we're abandoning them.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, you know what you're talking about. You know the intricacies of this better than most anyone because you did four tours of duty in Iraq. You did use one of those translators, and you say that he exemplified everything that are sort of the pillar of American values, and you put the money where your mouth was and welcomed him into your home. Can you tell us a little bit about him and that experience?

MOULTON: That's right. You know, over the course of four tours, I worked with numerous translators and sources, but the one you're talking about is Mohammed. We worked together every single day back in 2003. He was attacked by the terrorists. He was threatened, his family actually had to pick up and move to a different city because they called him a collaborator, called him a traitor for working with the Americans. And they said they wanted to kill him and his family. So he

was able to come to the United States and actually live with my family at home in Massachusetts while he was seeking asylum. He's become a great American citizen.

He was one of the first Arabic teachers at a local high school. He's done an awful lot to support this country and, in fact, now helps the State Department. He wouldn't even be alive today if we weren't able to get him out of Iraq.

CAMEROTA: Look, President Trump says that he is trying to keep America safe and what we need is extreme vetting of people coming in from these terror-prone areas. What's your response?

MOULTON: He's not keeping America safe at all. He's making things a lot more dangerous and that's the problem with this executive order. It's not just un-American and un-constitutional, which it is. It flies in the face of our values. But it absolutely is making us less safe because it's hurting our ability to fight the war on terror.

You know, when I was in the First Marine Division serving under General Mattis, we had a division motto, no better friend, no worse me, the United States Marine. Everyone knows what the second part means, you don't want to be an enemy of the United States Marines.

But the part that came first was no better friend. If you were willing to work with us, like my friend Mohammed to put your life on the line not just for your country, but for ours, then we will be your best friend. We will protect you.

[08:20:09]And now we're abandoning these people across the globe. That's going to make it much harder for our troops overseas right now to prosecute the war on terror.

CAMEROTA: But Congressman, help people to understand, people who are afraid, see what happens in San Bernardino and with the -- one of the culprits of San Bernardino who came in on a fiancee visa who obviously wasn't vetted enough. There were red flags on her social media. Can you explain why you think that refugees are already vetted extremely well?

MOULTON: We've actually had a lot of briefs. I'm fully supportive of anything to improve the vetting process. There's nothing in Donald Trump's order that improves the vetting process. It just sets us at war with the Muslim faith, and that is going to make us less safe.

So if Donald Trump wants to have a comprehensive review of the vetting process, do something to actually improve it, then that's reasonable. But right now already today refugees go through the most comprehensive vetting of any traveler to the United States.

Frankly, if you're a terrorist and want to come to America, going through the refugee path is the worst thing you can do, that's the toughest vetting. It's much easier to come through other means.

So we need to stand up for American values. We need to show the world that we can be allies in the war on terror. This does everything wrong. It doesn't make us less safe. It doesn't improve vetting and it actually makes it harder to work with our critical allies overseas.

CAMEROTA: So Congressman, how are you feeling about President Trump now on day ten of his administration?

MOULTON: Well, he's the most unpopular new president in American history. That's very clear. Not only did hardly anybody show up for his inauguration, but he now has --

CAMEROTA: Hold on. It wasn't that hardly anybody showed up. There were hundreds of thousands of people who were lining the streets and were excited. It may not have been as much as Barack Obama's but that's not hardly no one or anyone.

MOULTON: Well, it's not even close to Barack Obama's inauguration, but more importantly, there were far more people over the next few days protesting him. Now we've seen an unprecedented spree of protests across the country.

This past weekend it was at airports. Before it was in city squares and on the Washington Mall and the women's march. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands -- I mean, literally millions of Americans coming out to protest this administration. That's never happened before in American history.

It just shows what he's doing is not acceptable to Americans. It's not consistent with our constitution, and it's not just Democrats who are standing up. It's Democrats and Republicans because these aren't Democratic or Republican issues. These are American issues.

CAMEROTA: So you think, Congressman --

MOULTON: Look, I've received so much outreach from Republicans saying, Seth, keep up the fight. This guy is not representing our values.

CAMEROTA: And are those Republicans in Congress willing to stand with the Democrats to overturn these executive orders or stop them somehow?

MOULTON: That's a very good question. This weekend we saw some courageous Republican, people like Senator Graham and Senator McCain come out and sharply criticize this order and say the same things that I'm saying, but we need more people to do that.

I've had Republicans reach out to me on Twitter and say keep doing this. But what we really need to see is Republicans in Congress, especially fellow lawmakers in the House of Representatives being willing to join with me and other Democrats on legislation to do the right thing by our Constitution.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Seth Moulton, thank you very much for your service. Thank you for joining us on NEW DAY.

MOULTON: Thank you, Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, up next, we'll hear from Americans who have worked alongside refugees about the impact they say the president's executive order will have. Facts, not fear.



CUOMO: Time now for the five things to know for your NEW DAY. Gunmen randomly opening fire on worshippers at a mosque in Canada, six people lost their lives, at least eight others injured. Two suspects arrested. Canada's prime minister calling it a terrorist attack.

The White House insisting President Trump's seven-nation travel ban is not a Muslim ban. The controversial executive order triggering nationwide protests, global condemnation, and chaos at airports. Demonstrators outraged over Mr. Trump's travel ban, expected to protest for a third straight day. This as Senator Chuck Schumer announces Senate Democrats are introducing legislation to overturn the ban.

Delta canceling another 80 flights today. The airline working to get back on track one day after a computer outage forced the airline to ground 150 domestic flights.

Hollywood and politics colliding again. Stars at the SAG Awards blasting President Trump and his travel ban. The show itself featured a couple of surprises. Denzel Washington won for lead actor in the movie "Hidden Figures" taking the big price for outstanding cast ensemble. For more on the five things to know, go to for the latest -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, Chris, we've been talking a lot about the political fallout, the legal fallout, from President Trump's travel ban, but of course, there is also a human toll.

We want to talk about that now. Joining us now is Brandon Friedman. He worked with one detainee, Hamid Dharweesh (ph) while serving in the U.S. Army.

Also we have with us (inaudible) University professor, Kate McCaffrey and Molina McCall, a professor at William Patterson University. Both helped refugee families assimilate into the U.S. Great to have all of you here for the personal stories.

Lieutenant, I want to start with you because I want to hear your personal story about the interpreter that you worked with who was detained this weekend at an airport and what happened.

BRANDON FRIEDMAN, WORKED WITH HAMEED DARWEESH AT LT. IN U.S. ARMY: I worked with Hamid Dharweesh in 2003 when I was in Iraq. I was in the 101st Airborne Division, and he was one of the first Iraqis to sign up to help us. This was when we were doing patrols all the time. It was very dangerous and --