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New Protests Erupt Over Trump's Travel Ban; Trump's New Tweet Warns of "Bad and Dangerous People"; Trump Voters in Wisconsin Firmly Behind Him; New HBO Film on Warren Buffett; Mike Pence Weighs in on Travel Ban Legal Battle; Countdown to Super Bowl LI. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 4, 2017 - 17:00   ET



[17:00:14] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Five p.m. Eastern. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. We begin this hour with breaking news.

The Department of Homeland Security suspending, quote, "Any and all actions related to President Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim majority countries." Airlines today being told go back to business as usual. As if the ban never happened. Protesters meantime taking to the streets in major U.S. cities across the country.

Here's Christine Quinn, a former New York City council speaker just moments ago in New York.


CHRISTINE QUINN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: I'm glad they don't know and can't understand our depth of humanity. Our depth of empathy. Our depth of solidarity with each other. Because that's our hidden strength. They don't know it. They can't understand it. And that is why over the next four weeks, four years just as we have already, in these two weeks, we will beat that, we will beat them and we will win as long as we stay together.


HARLOW: That comes as the White House promises a challenge to the Federal judge's ruling blocking the ban nationwide. President Trump tweeting a short time ago, what is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into the United States? Of course, he did not mention the extensive vetting process already in place in this country.

The President also tweeted the judge, "The opinion of the so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country is ridiculous and will be overturned." I should note a sitting president publicly criticizing a sitting federal judge -- pretty unprecedented.

Jessica Schneider joins me night live from West Palm Beach, Florida, that is where the President is at Mar-A-Lago this weekend. What is the White House going to do next to fight this legally?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, right now we're waiting for the Department of Justice, to make its move. It's a move that promised by the White House, where we expect at some point, potentially today, the Department of Justice will file for that emergency stay of the federal judge's order out in Seattle. That is yet to happen. But that could be in the works right now. Of course, this is really all just becoming a legal maze and really a patchwork of different decisions from different federal court judges all over the nation.

The practical effects, though right now, is that this executive order, by President Trump, has been halted for the time being. And Donald Trump taking to Twitter nine times in the past 24 hours, all but two of those tweets defending his actions last Friday, his executive order, I'll read you the latest tweet that came out just a few minutes ago. President Trump tweeting this, "Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision."

Now several things to note about that tweet. President Trump yet again for the second time today, referring to this as in fact a ban. Despite the fact that that language was sort of batted back and forth over the past week. Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying no, this was not a ban. So now President Trump referring to this as a ban also alleging that dangerous people might be pouring into the country. We do know that airlines have gone back into business as normal mode.

They are allowing those passengers. But many of these passengers, all of them really, have visas that have been approved. The State Department now in the process of reinstating those visas. Any refugees that were to come over, they have a very long process of this extreme vetting. So President Trump taking to twitter multiple times over the past 24 hours, the White House also issued a statement late last night saying that they would fight this order. That Donald Trump's executive order was in fact lawful.

That's something that they've been sticking to throughout the week. But of course, a lot in addition to the legal process, there's a lot of rumbling out here at Mar-A-Lago as well. I'm standing not far from Mar-A-Lago. And we have a lot of people out here, some holding signs in support of Donald Trump. But now several hundred people mobilizing over at the Trump International Hotel in West Palm Beach.

They plan to begin a protest march around 6:00 tonight making their way toward Mar-A-Lago because tonight at Mar-A-Lago, President Trump expected to attend the International Red Cross ball at the staple here at Mar-A-Lago, an annual event. So, a lot to relay to this White House, a lot they've had to deal with both in the legal realm and for the third straight weekend, Poppy, we see those protests popping up all over the place, including now right here in Palm Beach. Back to you.

HARLOW: Jessica Schneider, thank you for the reporting. Agencies are reacting, immediately to the suspension of this ban. A customs and border patrol official telling airlines to act as though it never existed. And allow people to, who were previously blocked by the ban to board U.S. bound flights as well as refugees with valid U.S. visas.

[17:05:14] Joining me to talk more about this, CNN political commentator Steve Israel, he's a former congressman from the great state of New York. Nice to have you on.

STEVE ISRAEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks for having me on, Poppy.

HARLOW: We're seeing these protests in major cities in New York and Washington, in Miami, all around the country today. In your state of New York as well. Here's the polling that CNN has out just out yesterday. It shows 47 percent of the country does support this ban. Fifty three percent does not. But it's pretty evenly split along lines. And very split evenly along party lines. You've got 88 percent of Republicans support it, 88 percent of Democrats oppose it. Is there any middle ground here that you see where you believe that this administration could make a move to enhance the already very tough vetting that goes on, that would please those that want to see this ban? But also not be the extent of the ban that he had put in place last week?

ISRAEL: Yes. And the middle ground is to have a very careful vetting, you want vetting that keeps the bad guys out that is strategic. That is smart that is targeted. You do not want a blanket ban that is loose and sloppy. That is resulted in chaos among agencies and the chaos we have at airports. And so I'm hopeful that President Trump, if he has the capacity to understand the consequences of his decisions will formulate a policy, as has engaged in judicial ping pong that is simply smart and targeted. There is nobody who believes that bad people should simply come into the country and they don't. There is a process that keeps them out. I happen to believe that we do need to tighten up our procedures and our process. I agree that we need to do that.

HARLOW: You do?

ISRAEL: But this executive order does not do that.

HARLOW: Well, so, what needs to change? Let's pull up on the screen if we have it guys, what it takes for example for a Syrian refugee to come into this country. Because they go through 18 months to 24 months of pretty extreme vetting. Hopefully we have this. But it takes 18 to 24 months. They're screened by the Department of Homeland Security. D.O.D. National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, they do an enhanced review of Syrian refugee cases, they have iris scans, they have fingerprints that are done. Their background documents are scanned multiple times. What do you think needs to be added on to that? Because do you say something needs to change.

ISRAEL: Well let me give you an example. In the Obama administration, when based on real-time threat assessment, it appeared that some refugees from Iraq were trying to penetrate our country, we tightened our review and our vetting of those people. That's what you've got to do, you've just got to be targeted. You've got to be smart, use all the tools in our tool box. This executive order, not only does it not make us safer. It actually makes us more dangerous. Because it inflames the Muslim world, it antagonizes our allies and it helps recruiting.

HARLOW: So, what do you say to those like Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist I had on the program last hour who said look, you know, this may not be a perfect ban in any way, shape or form, but these are the seven countries that the Obama administration outlined as countries where we needed better documentation to vet people coming into this country. Does she have a point?

ISRAEL: You know, Poppy, I heard him say that. But what he left out was that in those countries where there was a specific threat, the Obama administration targeted the response against that threat. They did not say we're going to put a blanket ban on seven countries, by the way leaving out three countries that actually represented a threat.

HARLOW: Right.

ISRAEL: Even supporters of this ban realize it was sloppily done, it was not thoughtful. When it comes to our national security. You don't want sloppy and you don't want thoughtless.

HARLOW: I want to talk about one of your tweets. Because you just tweeted, talking about this tweet that the President put out there, he called a judge a so-called judge. The federal judge that ruled against him. You tweeted, first you go after the media. Then the judges, then what? Explain to me what you meant.

ISRAEL: I think we are seeing a very dangerous pattern here. You know I never pretended to be the smartest member of the Congress. But I know my history and throughout history where you have people who are trying to accumulate power, where you have people who are trying to reign in a tyrannical way, they do two things. First, they delegitimize any kind of independent media and secondly they delegitimize any kind of independent law enforcement and judges.

And so, I think there's a yellow blinking light on the kinds of, on the tone and the tenor, the statements and the policies that we're seeing from the Trump administration. Going after the press, going after judges. You can disagree with a judge, but when we start vilifying our judges, we get into very dangerous territory.

HARLOW: Former Congressman Steve Israel, I appreciate you joining me. Thank you.

ISRAEL: Thank you, Poppy.

[17:10:14] HARLOW: Coming up next, the politics behind the travel ban. I will be joined by a Trump supporter, and a Muslim American who committed to resisting the new president at every turn. Their debate is coming up live here. Next.


[17:13:34] HARLOW: Welcome back. President Trump taking to Twitter just a few moments ago, still clearly unhappy with a federal judge's motion to halt his seven-nation travel ban. Here's what the President tweeted quote, "Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision."

With me now, Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist and CNN political commentator. Also with us, Wajahat Ali, a contributor for "The New York Times." He has a new piece out, he is resistance to the President during the campaign. Thank you both for being here.

Alice, it's not atypical for a president to criticize a decision or say they're disappointed in the decision, President Obama did it. He called certain decisions frustrating, et cetera. But it's another tweet today that's getting a lot of attention, let's pull that up. That is when the President called this judge a so-called judge, the opinion of this so-called judge which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country is ridiculous and will be overturned. Even as a Republican strategist, someone who eventually supported the President in this race for the White House, do you believe that that language, questioning the legitimacy of a sitting federal judge, is dangerous to our democracy?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Poppy, look, I have a tremendous respect for the legal system and judges in general. And I don't think it's appropriate to be critical of a judge based on a decision that they make. That being said, I think clearly this is how Donald Trump acts and this is how he behaves. And he communicates through twitter. The good news is that in all of this, he has the law on his side. He believes that the executive order was sound and just and was in the best interests of this country.

And was to protect American sovereignty. And I think the Justice Department issuing a stay in response to the judge's decision will be forthcoming and it will be the right thing to do. But I think the good news is despite what he says on Twitter and despite how frustrating it is, he has the law on his side and I think he will prevail in the end.

HARLOW: And I understand -- I think people have a tendency to sort of write off what he says on Twitter and say, well, that's just him, he's just tweeting. But, you know, my last guest, Steve Israel, a Democrat from the state of New York said, you know, essentially you criticized the media. You take on the media, then judges, then what's next? I mean, he's concerned about what this means for our democracy. Do you see any danger in it to our democracy, Alice?

Because as you know, it's not the first time that he's sort of lambasted a federal judge. He did it to Judge Curiel in the Trump University trial. Saying because of his Mexican Heritage, he was basically not fit to do his job. Which is the textbook definition of racism. Do these attacks on the judicial branch concern you?

STEWART: They, any attack on the judicial system is a concern. Without a doubt to me and I think to many people. But look, as to the broader aspect and what Israel said, I heard what he said, I think it's a little reading too much into it. This is strictly Donald Trump, this is how he behaves, this is how he acts. A lot of people don't like it. But at the end of the day, he won the presidential election. People didn't have a problem with the way he communicated via Twitter. This is his way of bypassing the media and getting his message directly to the people. And I don't think it's going to be a big harm to the democracy of this country. This simply how Donald Trump behaves and I think people need to just get used to it.

HARLOW: Wajahat, does Alice have a point? I mean, I just got back from spending time in Kentucky where people love the way that the President talks.

WAJAHAT ALI, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, AFFINIS LABS: Well listen, we elected a president, we didn't elect an emperor. And the President is a servant of the people. And is one of the people, who was going to be ignored in Trump's America, let me just say as a recovering attorney, I want to applaud my so-called Judge Robart and his my so-called defense of the constitution in defiance of my so-called President Bannon who did a my so-called travel ban which is actually a Muslim ban, for my so-called security.

Which of course is protected from my so-called massacre such as the bowling green massacre. Which didn't happen, but if it did, probably happened by the three million illegals who voted for Clinton. But thankfully, Poppy, that guy Frederick Douglass probably stepped in and saved the day. Look, nothing about this is normal. We should be outraged because our constitution, our freedoms are liberties, are under threat.

The fact that he did this Muslim ban, look, I'm not like Kellyanne Conway. I don't see what's in his heart. I follow him based on his words. I'm not a cardiologist. He said I'm going to do a Muslim ban. He said, I'm going to do extreme vetting of Muslims. He said that there was going to be a Muslim registry. So what's next? Probably a Muslim registry. And we know what happens when --

STEWART: Poppy, Poppy --

[17:18:18] HARLOW: So, Wajahat. Let me jump in, guys. Wajahat, as you know, he said that I think we should have this sound that I can play for you, was December 7th, guys. Let me know if we have it. That the President said that. We don't have that. But Alice, to Wajahat's point, Wajahat, he did walk back those comments and he did say it's not a Muslim ban. It is extreme vetting. Alice, what do you say to Wajahat who says, you know, the intent of this he believes is to ban Muslims from this country?

STEWART: So, his point about our freedoms being under threat is our nation is under threat from radical Islamic terrorism. And if this was a Muslim ban, this would apply to the 51 Muslim majority countries in the world. However, this applies only, it's a temporary ban, an extreme vetting on seven countries that while identified under the Obama administration mind you, that were countries of concern. And this has strictly to do with the fact that they are concerns of terrorism in these seven countries. And a concern that these countries don't have the proper vetting --

HARLOW: Alice --

STEWART: When you talk about a Muslim ban, it's strictly not true.

Let's just listen to the President in December.


PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. Until our country's representatives, can figure out what the hell is going on.


HARLOW: So Alice, that's what Wajahat is talking about.

STEWART: Absolutely. But clearly he's walked that back. This is not a Muslim ban. As I said, if this was about keeping Muslims out of this country, this temporary ban would have been permanent and it would apply to every single of the 51 Muslim majority countries in the world. That is not the case.

HARLOW: Wajahat, does she have a point?


HARLOW: Does she have a point? For example, Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, that's not included.

ALI: I will give you three quick reasons why it's a Muslim ban. Rudy Giuliani just earlier this week admitted that Donald Trump came to him and said, I want to do a Muslim ban. Show me the legal way to do it. This is after the Muslim ban. Number two, seven Muslim majority countries, number one, they are on the ban. And number two, he said no refugees. And we'll make an exception for Syrian refugees, only the Christian refugees. And number three --

HARLOW: That's not exactly his wording, Wajahat. He said he would give Christian persecuted minorities priority.

ALI: But what we know from his base is it's going to be for Christians. And number three, Steve Bannon openly and thank God people are finally paying attention, has called almost for a civilizational clash between the Judeo Christian west and Islam. The people that he has concerted with, are extremists called out by the Southern Poverty Law Center and also the ADL. Steve Emerson, (INAUDIBLE) --

HARLOW: All right. Guys, I'm getting -- I'm getting the wrap. I have to leave -- I have to leave it there, you'll both be back for this very important conversation.

Alice Stewart, Wajahat Ali, thank you very much.

STEWART: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Next, we hear from President Trump supporters, who are behind this travel ban. They represent 47 percent of the country who told CNN in our polling they support this. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:25:15] HARLOW: Protests draw cameras, but those lashing out at President Trump's policies reflect only one side of the national mood. Many Americans are behind the President 100 percent.

Our Jason Carroll traveled to Wisconsin to speak with some of the President's biggest supporters in a state that was key to his victory on election night.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you look at the reason why Donald Trump unexpectedly flipped the state of Wisconsin, look no further than this bar. Right outside of Milwaukee. It caters to a lot of Harley-Davidson employees who come from the plant just a few miles away. The patrons have plenty of praise for the President and find little tolerance for those protesting against him.

KIM GAMROTH, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Get over it, he's in. He's in. And just stop it. Stop it.

CARROLL: Kim Gamroth owns this bar and says her feelings mirror those of many in the community. A community that voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by nearly two to one. Donnie Balusik is a Trump supporter. Balusik says, he worked at Harley-Davidson for more than 40 years before he retired and was also a small business owner.

DONNIE BALUSIK, TRUMP SUPPORTER: They cost me a good business I had. A bar like this. You know or some certain people moving in the area and -- people move out.

CARROLL (on camera): You mean certain people, people who look like me?

BALUSIK: Well, the neighborhood changed. Like 90 percent, within two years. The way people won't come in. And I had to sell it.

CARROLL: Undergoing forward, does it leave you with an unfavorable view of black people, Mexican people?

BALUSIK: Yes, it does. I'll be honest with you. I'm very prejudiced. And a lot of people know that.

CARROLL (voice-over): Balusik says his point of view is unedited. One that he says few people like him share publicly.

(on camera): Do you believe that a lot of other people who feel the way you do also voted for Trump because they feel the way you do?

BALUSIK: They do. Trust me.

CARROLL (voice-over): Jennifer Murray and Kim Gamroth said they don't share Balusik's views and that they welcome all who come to the bar, no matter their race, but they support Trump and are happy what they have seen so far.

JENNIFER MURRAY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He is backing up what he has said. You know, he's standing up for America, for the citizens of America. For small businesses. For -- for everybody who voted for him. He said what he was going to do. And he's doing it.

CARROLL: They also hope the President will keep pressuring U.S. companies to make more products in the United States. Harley- Davidson, for example, assembles bikes in the United States. But makes many parts overseas. In countries like Mexico. Ross Winklbauer, the head of the Local Steel Workers Union is encouraged by Trump pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he says was not good for U.S. workers, but he's personally troubled by the administration's immigration ban.

ROSS WINKLBAUER, LOCAL DIRECTOR OF UNITED STEEL WORKERS: The green lady, the Statue of Liberty, you know, welcome. And I just believe that's the way it should be.

CARROLL: Patrons such as Donnie Balusik are on board with what Trump has done so far and hope he continues to fulfill his promises.

BALUSIK: I hope he gets another four years after this one. Got to be better than Democrats.


HARLOW: Jason Carroll reporting from Wisconsin. Jason, thank you.

Coming up next, a Democratic senator slams the President for criticizing the judge who blocked his travel ban. Calling the President's tweet embarrassing and dangerous. I will be joined live by David Gergen, adviser to four presidents for his take on all of it.


[17:31:47] HARLOW: It's no exaggeration to say there are no billionaires quite like Warren Buffett. The Oracle of Omaha may be worth billions of dollars, but he lives less like a tycoon and much more like an Average Joe. Even as someone who I've interviewed many times over the years and learned a lot about, there's a lot that i did not know about Warren Buffett that I've learned from this new film, "Becoming Warren Buffett," that looks at the life of this extraordinary businessman.


WARREN BUFFETT, CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: I'll have the sausage McMuffin with egg and cheese.

$3.17 is a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. The market is down this morning so i think I'll pass up the $3.17 and go for the $2.95.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Warren Buffett is the only person who from scratch built a company that is in the top-10 of the fortune 500.

BUFFETT: I love playing around with numbers. I find it enjoyable. There were two points, one when came out of the womb and one when i met Suzy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Warren is smarter than anyone even knows. I think sometimes geniuses are, by default, lonely and isolated.

BUFFETT: I was a lopsided person. She put me together. I thought i would pile on money and she would un-pile it running a foundation, and therefore, society would benefit.

99 percent of everything i make will go to others. The largest gift ever given was completely amazing.

Investment problems, they're easy. It's the human problems that are the tough ones.


HARLOW: "Becoming Warren Buffett." The director, Peter Kunhardt, joins me now.

Thank you for being here.


HARLOW: It's an extraordinary film. And it's remarkable in so many ways. What struck me the most, you could have spent the entire time talking about his business successes and lessons learned. This is so much about his family.

KUNHARDT: Well, fortunately, I'm not a financial guy. I don't know much about finance. So, when we decided to make the film, it was always from the beginning, who's the man behind the fortune? How did he get that way? What was his childhood like? I always find it very interesting to go back to the childhood to see what influences led to them becoming, to people becoming what they become.

HARLOW: What do you see as his most defining moment personally? Because so much of this is a tribute to his late wife, Susan.

KUNHARDT: I think his defining moment was coming out of his shell. And i think that is directly attributable to Suzy. He was, he was not socially together when he was a young man. And his father instilled in him principles and ethics that still to this day drive him forward. But it was Suzy who when he was in his early 20s, he met and married. Who realized that he couldn't really talk to people and trust people and open up to people. And she just, she had, if he had an enormous brain, she had an enormous heart and she used it to change him. And i think by the end of the film he says, i would never have been a successful as i was, had it not been for Suzy.

[17:35:00] HARLOW: I think that's so important for everyone to hear. Because behind every successful man and woman, there's a partner that is as much a part of that as they themselves are. As we know, Warren Buffett started along with Bill and me Linda Gates, the living pledge, he's giving away almost all of his wealth by the end of his life. Do you think that Warren Buffett ever really cared about being rich, or becoming rich, so that he could literally give it all away and help the world?

KUNHARDT: I think he always treated it as a game. And as a score card. Money is his score card. So, he, he didn't care about the amount of money as long as he was winning, he's very competitive. He wants to make more money than the people he's competing against. But it wasn't for the sake of then spending that money or living richly. He doesn't care about any of that. So, he -- he lives by his own set of rules and his father taught him, each of us have either an inner score card or an outer score card and his mother lived by her inner, her outer score card. Which how do we look to the neighbors, are we, are we fitting in? His father lived by an inner score card, which is, is this working for me? Am i doing the right things? And Warren is the same way, he always planned to give his money away. But he didn't think about it that much. He just, it was kind of, he was so focused on making the money that he knew the day would come when he would give it away. But he --

HARLOW: You only interviewed 10 people in the film. Now a lot of people you know, famous and not as famous, have met Warren Buffett or would claim to know Warren Buffett. You chose the 10 people most important to him. What does that tell us about the man?

KUNHARDT: I think it tells us that he surrounds himself with a very tight circle of family and trusted friends. Those people can tell you more about Warren than even Warren can tell you. We started out with the expectation that Warren would tell this entire film in his own words. But he's so humble and reserved, that quickly we realized, we couldn't get him to brag or to kind of take credit for things. So, we expanded our circle to his close friends and family. And they were able to set the context up and give insight to Warren that, Warren just couldn't give himself.

HARLOW: How did you get him to say yes to making this film?

KUNHARDT: You know, i wrote him a letter. i do know his son, Peter. And Peter put it on his desk and said, it's up to whether he wants to do it or not. And a week later, i got a letter back saying he would like to do it. But he only had one hour. So i took the risk and we went out to Omaha. And after that hour, i said, i know you told me one hour, but i want to ask you for more, very quickly. He gave us more.

HARLOW: He was incredibly gracious.

KUNHARDT: Very gracious.

HARLOW: We know he will leave the world with so much. He will have made it a better place because of all he has given. He will have made us, i think all smarter and changed the business world. But what do you think his legacy will be?

KUNHARDT: I think his, his legacy right this minute is that we have very few people in this country who exude trust and confidence. And a sense of positivism. So, that when 9/11 happens, or the stock market crashes, Warren comes out and makes us all feel comfortable and --

HARLOW: He writes op-eds that say, "Bet on America."

KUNHARDT: That's right. So i think to me, that's one of the most important things he's doing right now. I think in the future, somehow his, his philanthropy and his incredible brain for investing will merge, morph together and he will be remembered as one of the remarkable minds that went on to change the world for the better.

HARLOW: You ask him a poignant question at the end of the film.

KUNHARDT: I did. I asked him if he's afraid to die. Or if he thought about death much. And he answered that, he was agnostic. So, he was not afraid to die. But he was very, very curious about it. He is so logical, he wonders what will happen upon his death. And he goes on to joke that he's down to salvage value, and there's not much left. But he's, he also said at a different point in the interview, that he would love to get an extra year to sit around and watch, because he's so curious what he'll miss once he does die.

HARLOW: It's a remarkable film.

Peter Kunhardt, congratulations.

KUNHARDT: Thank you, Poppy.

[17:39:55] HARLOW: Thank you so much.

The HBO documentary, "Becoming Warren Buffett," debuted last week. It's available right now on HBO Go and HBO On Demand.

We'll be right back.


HARLOW: Moments ago, Vice President Mike Pence weighing in on the legal battle over the president's travel ban. Take a listen to what he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think it does. I think the American people are very accustomed to this president speaking his mind and speaking very straight with them. And it's very frustrating when -- when scholars on the left and the right, people as distinguished as Jonathan Turley, of George Washington University, have said while he doesn't agree with the executive order, he recognizes the president has the full authority to put the security of the homeland first in determining who comes into this country.


PENCE: And a sitting judge actually suspended that order across the country -- (CROSSTALK)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: The "so-called judge." This is a judge.


HARLOW: That was in response to George Stephanopoulos, asking the vice president if he took issue at all with the president tweeting today "so-called judge," questioning the legitimacy of the federal judge who handed down that decision.

Let's talk with David Gergen, who has advised four presidents, Democrats and Republicans.

Thank you for being here, David.

George Stephanopoulos got right to the point. Is it problematic in the eyes of the vice president, that the president question the legitimacy of this federal judge, Vice President Pence says no. What say you?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I -- i think he's very ill- advised. It's inappropriate. I think particularly we had -- he attacked a judge earlier during the campaign --

HARLOW: Judge Curiel, yes.

[17:45:53] GERGEN: It caused a big brouhaha. I would think that -- what's striking to me, Poppy, is that the staff around him and his cabinet officers are trying very hard to present to the world a more moderate, moderating kind of approach, more -- the statement they put out last night, was, was very legalistic and what a president would normally do. But Donald Trump is sitting there privately, still sending out these tweets. He had another tweet storm today, attacking a judge, attacking "The New York Times," saying how unsafe it's going to make the country. We now have the picture that's emerging of the man in the center is unhinged at times, whereas, people around him are trying to sort of settle things down and put it away. We had a direct conflict last night. He first issued a statement calling the judge's order outrageous and, within minutes, they edited, a second statement, taking out the word "outrageous." I've never seen that happen before --

HARLOW: Right --

GERGEN: -- but I think it suggests the tensions inside.

HARLOW: They didn't address why they took that word out. Here's how Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, put it. He said, "The president's hostility towards the rule of law is not just embarrassing, it's dangerous."

So, he's talking about not only saying that this federal judge ism you know, illegitimate in some way, "so-called judge," but also as you mentioned, he did this to Judge Curiel, saying that his Mexican heritage made him unfit to be the judge over the Trump University case. We know Judge Curiel is an American born in Indiana. And no one's race is determinative of their ability to do their job.

That aside, do you see it as dangerous, the way that Senator Leahy does?

GERGEN: I think it's potentially dangerous. I think it's -- we should quickly add that the administration is handling this in exactly the way you would want a president to handle that. They're going to appeal. Of course, they're going to appeal. But they're reinstating those visas and letting people in. They're not challenging that. I worry that the White House, what it tells the Customs folks, you're not doing this, we're not going to fully obey this judge, and they're not.

HARLOW: No, they're not.

GERGEN: They're going ahead obeying the judge. That's reassuring. I think we should underscore that. But the actions they're taking are very much in comportment with, consistent with tradition. The tweets that are coming from the president himself are not consistent with that tradition.

HARLOW: David, let's talk about the three weeks that we have seen play out since the president took office. In terms of the response or backlash of some of the country, week one, you have the women's march, right, and then the argument over the crowd size at the inauguration. Week two, the protests, live on this show last Saturday, after this ban was announced. Week three, now, uncertainty around what happens to it because of this federal judge's ruling. Is this normal? Is this par for the course? Is this just the administration settling in.

GERGEN: No. We go from No Drama Obama to Total Drama Trump. It's been sort of like a -- it's - I think for a lot much people this has been an unsettling period.

My sense Poppy, i may be wrong, but my sense is there are forces within the administration who want to have a revolutionary change- oriented Donald Trump but they want to slow the revolution down. They want to go it a little better pace, do things in a more orderly fashion. Not have the kind of chaos they had after the executive order went out and then to have a second round of near-chaos when the court stayed his hand. I think there are people around the president who want to get -- there are sometimes that the president himself would like to do that. But we also have learned over the last few days, there are a lot of tensions inside the administration now about which way to go, that the cabinet officers, Homeland Security, Defense, State, heavyweights and the cabinet are not going along with everything Mr. Bannon and some of his colleagues in the White House want.

HARLOW: David Gergen, thank you. Nice to have you on the program.

GERGEN: Poppy, good luck with your new programs. You have lots and lots of viewers. You've got a great time slot and all this news. It's going to be really -- good luck. HARLOW: I have to leave -- i have to leave the best team in

television, which is my weekend team. So -- but i get to sit next to John Berman, starting Monday morning, 9:00 a.m., so I am a lucky woman.

GERGEN: Exactly. Terrific.

HARLOW: David Gergen, thank you so much.

Quick break. We'll be right back.



[17:53:21] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the things that i heard this morning in watching the news was that, amazingly, it's never happened before that politics has become a much bigger subject than the Super Bowl.


HARLOW: That was President Trump yesterday. Only time will tell if he is right.

Super Bowl LI is tomorrow night. The Atlanta Falcons face the New England Patriots. And as divided as the country is right now politically, well, a majority of Americans, 53 percent, want the Falcons to win the game. That is according to one poll. Not sure about the sourcing on the polling.

Coy Wire, who joins me from Houston, who are you hearing they want to win? And the big guest, who is going to be at the game, the vice president.

CORY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORESPONDENT: Yes, that's true. Three of my nine years i played for the Atlanta Falcons, so unbiased is not me. I'm taking the Falcons, Poppy.

Mike Pence will be at the game. The Department of Homeland Security already tagged the Super Bowl as a top-tier security threat. Federal officials have been working for months to make sure that the NRG stadium will be nice and secure on Super Bowl Sunday. And George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, will be there as part of the honorary coin toss.

I have never made it to a Super Bowl. I can only image what the players are feeling right now. A huge stage. 115 million people watched the Super Bowl last year and that was just in the U.S., not including worldwide

Here are a couple of guys who have been there before and know all about the emotions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM BRADY, ATLANTA FALCONS QUARTERBACK: You kind of have to be right on the edge. It's such an emotional game. You don't want to be out of control but you can't play with no emotion.

DWIGHT FREENEY, ATLANTA FALCONS DEFENSIVE: This is a big moment and the one thing you don't have to worry about is your emotions, bringing it on Sunday because that's going to come. You don't have to all of a sudden get hyped up for the game because the hype is already going to come.


[17:55:25] WIRE: All right, Poppy, one last story, they're lean, mean and fierce, NFL legends, baby style. The NFL dressed up a bunch of babies and had them do their best version and best impressions of NFL stars. past and present. You had Mike Ditka, Joe Namath. The cuteness is just too much. I think all we needed to see was a little baby Poppy popping somewhere and my weekend would be complete. But it's a great day in Houston.

Back to you.

HARLOW: My baby, Siena (ph), can star in that commercial any day. Those are cute kids.

Thank you, Coy Wire. Have fun, my friend.

WIRE: You're welcome.

HARLOW: Thank you all for being with us. Coming up on CNN, Michael Smerconish digs into the politics of the Super Bowl.

Also, the legal battle over President Trump's travel ban, and when the White House will bring their legal challenge. That's still up in the air.

I'll join you back here in one hour, at 7:00 p.m. eastern time, as we have live coverage of the president and first lady attending a black- tie fundraiser at their Mar-a-Lago estate. I'll see you then.

Stick around for "SMERCONISH."