Return to Transcripts main page


White House Gearing Up for Legal Fight Over Travel Ban; Customs Officials Telling Airlines Canceled Visas Will be Reinstated; Lawmakers Back Continued Russian Sanctions; Trump's Approval Plummets; Trump Rhetoric Worrying Cubans; Steadfast Women Trump Supporters. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 4, 2017 - 03:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, everyone, thank you so much for joining us. From CNN's World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Cyril Vanier.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Robyn Curnow. We're live with breaking news on U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

VANIER: The White House is gearing up for a legal fight that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Friday, a U.S. federal judge in Washington State temporarily froze the president's immigration order.

CURNOW: In response, the White House plans to request an emergency stay of the judge's ruling. The travel ban sparked huge protests in the U.S. and around the world. It temporarily bars travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority nations.

But in the wake of the judge's order, U.S. Customs officials are telling airlines canceled visas will be reinstated.

VANIER: The attorney general for Washington State sought the order and says it's the White House that's causing the chaos.


BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: The question went to me because this happened at 4 o'clock, where there would be some confusion.

I'll tell you where there's been confusion: the president's executive order. That's what caused confusion. I'm sorry; there's no other way to put it. It's Keystone Kops. It really is.

That's not just me speaking, that's Republican members of Congress, right. That's what's caused the confusion. And, so, no, I don't worry about the confusion. There's nothing confusing about the judge order. And the federal government will be expected to abide by it -- and then they will. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: The judge's ruling comes as the U.S. president is at Mar-a- lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Here is Jessica Schneider with more on that.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after one week of being caught up in the courts, President Trump's executive order banning immigration from those seven Muslim majority countries is halted tonight.

A federal judge in Washington State put the brakes on the order, issuing a temporary restraining order that does halt this executive order.

But the White House tonight saying that they are fighting back. They say that the Department of Justice plans to issue an appeal. The White House has continued to maintain throughout the past week, continues to maintain now even in the wake of this ruling from a federal judge, that what President Trump did in issuing that executive order was completely lawful.

Now we understand that the Department of Justice will file an appeal but it will not be immediate. We are waiting for that. It will likely not be in the overnight or early hours tomorrow.

Of course, this entire issue has been in the courts front and center for the past week. We've seen numerous judges ruling on this, whether it was the day after President Trump issued that executive order or numerous civil rights groups filing lawsuits in the federal courts all over the country.

This is just the latest legal wrangling that has come up. And now this puts that executive order out of commission. So what the Customs and Border Protection Agency has said, they said that it is now back to business as usual.

In fact, they had a conference call with the airlines and they said that airlines should begin resuming as usual, that the government will begin reinstating those visas that they had actually taken out of commission over the past week.

And that airlines should remove some of those travel ban alerts from their websites. So, going forward, Customs and Border Protection says that they will be moving forward as if it is business as usual, as if this executive order from President Trump was never signed.

But the White House vowing to fight back. The Department of Justice, they say, will be filing an appeal. So to be continued -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.


VANIER: The strongest opposition to the order yet is coming from an unlikely source.

CURNOW: Washington State is pushing back on the president's sweeping order. And the governor said he is proud of that.


GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASH.: This president is totally bound by this order. We expect him to abide by this order. We will not accept any deviation from this order whatsoever.

The Constitution is supreme in this country and I'm -- frankly I'm proud that Washington State has led the country in standing up for the basic values and will not allow anyone, including the president in Washington, D.C., to contravene those values.

And we had tonight a federal judge, who was appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush, decide in a very forceful decision, frankly, that this is a country that -- we are not going to allow the tests of religion to determine who comes into our country. We are not going to allow decisions that actually jeopardize our national security.

Look, the fact is, in this case, that the people from these seven countries -- there have been 700,000 refugees admitted since the disaster of September 11th. And not one -- not one incident -- has occasioned where people from these seven countries caused a fatal terrorist act.


VANIER: We spoke earlier with legal analyst Paul Callan. He explained how the Washington State ruling is different from other state rulings on the travel ban.


PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This Seattle judge said --


CALLAN: -- the rules about getting into the United States affect the entire United States. So -- and I find it's unconstitutional what the Trump CNN administration has done.

And we, for sake of uniformity of approach, I'm going to apply this to the entire United States. And technically he has the right to do so because he's a federal judge, he's not a local judge. But it's unusual. Usually federal judges don't do that.


VANIER: Scott Lucas joins us now from Birmingham, England. He is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham and a founder and editor of EA Worldview, a leading website on foreign policy in the Middle East. So he's also got that angle on the story.

Scott, it's not unprecedented for the three branches of government in the U.S. to quarrel over something.

With things as they stand right now, with what we know, how big a dent do you think this is going to make in the Trump administration and its overall creditability?

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Well, this is a poker game. The judicial system has just put more chips in the pot and it's calling on the Trump administration to decide whether to fold or go all in.

Let's be very clear here. The Trump administration would impose this ban so quickly and did so without consulting agencies, carried out what is effectively an unprecedented move, even for executive orders.

And that was a challenge to the system. It very much was a challenge to its own agencies. Enter the judiciary, which said, if you don't like it, come back at us. Well, that has happened gradually over the past week. Then this ruling from Washington State has made the stand. This is unconstitutional.

Now will Trump's advisers, notably Steve Bannon, Steven Miller, who drafted the order, will they continue, even though the administration fired its own attorney general, Sally Yates, when she said this cannot be legally defendable?

That's where we are now.

VANIER: Look, you put it mildly, I think, when you said it was a challenge to the system.

But didn't Trump's voters send him to Washington to do exactly that, to challenge the system?

LUCAS: Well, with respect, America is not founded just simply on voters determine what is legal. Our founding fathers said in the 18th century, it is not tyranny in the majority or not tyranny in the minority. This has to be legally right what we do in defense of freedom.

And I think we are making an assumption here that all of Trump voters would like to see him go this far.

But in the end, you don't use polls to determine what is right and what is just.

VANIER: No, but, Scott, my question wasn't so much about the legality of this. And of course the courts are going to have to settle this. And I should point out, this has happened to other administrations in the past, including Barack Obama, for something especially executive orders and the realm of executive orders, for those to be challenged in court and even to be struck down.

This has happened to many other presidents before. My question was, on the politics of it and how much this helps or hurts Donald Trump, it seems to me -- and again, I get back to the same point, that Donald Trump has a mandate to go ahead and pick a fight? LUCAS: Yes, we don't know where the politics will wind up. And I would be a fool to make a prediction given how much American politics has changed in the last 18 months. But what I can say is that this is a fight which is continuing to escalate. This isn't the same as, say, a challenge to Barack Obama's executive orders, where, at the end of the day, you knew we'd get to some kind of resolution.

The Trump administration has pretty much said we're in office, we're going to do whatever we say we want. Come back at us. Now that really has ruled out the possibility of compromise, not only with the judicial system but politically they've signaled that with Congress as well.

So I'd have to say this is an important moment. If the Trump administration backs down in the face of this judicial ruling, it signals a significant change in its approach politically.

If the Trump administration carries on and can defy the courts or win a favorable court ruling, then that is a significant marker that maybe it does sink, a minority of American voters, it can succeeded with its agenda.

VANIER: Well, following up on that, that's what I wanted to ask you.

Do you think this is causing or going to cause a rethink in the White House of how to handle things going forward, how to govern?

Might this be a learning experience or, on the contrary, getting back to that earlier point, are they just going to want to take that fight to Washington and the courts and the establishment going forward?

LUCAS: You know, the hopeful side of me would say, yes, perhaps it's time for everyone, especially the Trump administration, to take a step back. But not based on what we observe.

Remember, this is a president who, when he has been challenged in the courts in his personal affairs, has insulted judges and has not been backed down. He has a chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who has criticized the judiciary for being out of touch with America. He's got a press spokesman, effectively Kellyanne Conway, who has been willing to say -- play with "alternative facts" if she doesn't like them.

So, no, they don't back down. So far they don't.

VANIER: All right, Scott Lucas, thank you very much, professor of international politics at Birmingham University. Thanks for your time.

LUCAS: Thank you.


VANIER: The Council on American Islamic Relations welcomed Friday's ruling. It's urging travelers to contact the airlines about rebooking flights but to -- [03:10:00]

VANIER: -- keep in mind the situation is fluid at this stage.

CURNOW: Meanwhile, U.S. airlines are being told to return to business as usual for now. Here is Rene Marsh.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Customs and Border Protection spoke with all of the U.S. major airlines and essentially told them that things are going back to the way they were prior to this executive order going into place.

On that call, I'm told by a source who was on that call, Customs and Border Protection also said that the government was starting the process of reinstating those visas.

How long will that process take?

How long will it be before people can show those visas and board planes?

That part is unclear. But that is the word given to all of these major U.S. carriers, that the government was starting this process of reinstating those visas that were revoked.

If you're a passenger who falls into this category, of course, you're watching this and you have no idea what this means for you.

All of that being said, based on all of the information about what was discussed on that conference call tonight between Customs and Border Protection and airlines, I would say that would mean, at some point, once their visas are reinstated, yes, they can come to the United States.

Again, that is based on the information that I have from that source, the guidance that CBP has given airlines.


CURNOW: Rene Marsh speaking to us a little bit earlier.

Now people in the region directly affected by the travel ban are waking up to this latest news. Ben Wedeman joins us now from Baghdad in Iraq, one of the countries listed in that travel ban.

Hi, Ben; I think it's just after 11:00 am in the morning there.

Has there been any reaction?

I mean, is there a rush to the airports, for example?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, there's no rush to the airport. I'm told that the situation at Baghdad International Airport is as usual. Certainly an keep in mind there are no direct flights from Baghdad to the United States so they would have to transit somewhere else, should they decide to go.

But I think Iraqis after the bitter experience of the last week are rather skeptical. In fact, one Iraqi friend we spoke to this morning said, in reaction to this news from the United States, Iraqis -- or, rather, Americans demonstrate; Iraqis wait.

And, in fact, today is the first warm and sunny day in about a week here in Baghdad. The people are enjoying the Baghdad marathon this morning. Certainly the whole question, the latest contortions on this executive order from the United States haven't really sunk in.

Iraqis were initially very insulted to be included on this list of seven predominantly Muslim countries. They will insist to you, when given the opportunity, that Iraq is not a terrorist nation. It's not a nation that exports terror.

It's a nation that has been for many years the victim of terrorism. So I think people are just going to wait and see what happened. Keep in mind, there's significant expense to getting an American visa, to buying a ticket to United States.

Most people probably aren't willing to risk it on the basis of this news that people have woken up to here. They are probably going to wait and see what happens next -- Robyn.

CURNOW: You do mention, though, even though Baghdad doesn't have a direct flight to the U.S., a number of Iraqis, a number of people were stuck in airports around the world on their way, en route there. They're sort of in between the U.S. and their home.

Do we know what's happening to them?

An also, is the Iraqi government providing any information?

How confusing is it for those who were in the middle of the process?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think it's just as confusing to Iraqis as perhaps it is to Americans. Keep in mind that this executive order came last Friday. White House officials said that green card holders would be included.

Then they said they would not be included. I think the Iraqi government is having as much difficulty as the rest of us, trying to figure out what is going on. Now some countries like Turkey, for instance, have offered those people stranded in Turkey, those Iraqis, any nationals from the seven countries on the list in the temporary travel bank, the Turkish airlines has offered return tickets to where they came from for free because oftentimes those who are turned back from the United States are compelled to pay for their return tickets.


WEDEMAN: So that sort of assistance is being provided. But I think for the most part, people are just sort of stunned. All these back- and-forth contortions, the lack of clarity when it comes to this executive order. CURNOW: Certainly is. And while you were talking, we were just getting a wire, Ben Wedeman there in Iraq, Qatar Airways has announced that they plan to actually board all passengers with valid visas, passports, green cards to the U.S. on flights after this blocking of this travel ban.

So that also certainly an indication that things are moving, at least in the opposite direction, that they were moving yesterday. So keeping an eye on all things there in Baghdad and across this region, Ben Wedeman, thank you so much.

Well, the Trump White House is also setting a new tone for both domestic and world affairs. We'll discuss all of that ahead.

VANIER: Plus what renewed fighting in Ukraine means for Mr. Trump's ties with Russia. We'll go live to Moscow when we come back.





CURNOW: Welcome back.

President Donald Trump's pick for Army Secretary is withdrawing his nomination.

VANIER: Vincent Viola --


VANIER: -- says it would be too difficult for him to untangle his business ties. The billionaire from New York owns a U.S. hockey team and founded several companies. Viola says he is still offering his support to Mr. Trump and the administration.

CURNOW: And Mr. Trump has been quick to establish a new tone for American diplomacy to fit his personal style. We are seeing much of the same at home in the U.S. Our Jim Acosta reports on all the action out of the Trump White House.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump delivered a brief but stern message to Iran from the Oval Office.

TRUMP: They're not behaving.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The Trump administration is backing that warning with new sanctions on Iran, hitting 25 individuals and companies connected to that country's ballistic missile program, punishment for Tehran's missile launch from last weekend. While officials caution the sanctions won't impact the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration, the White House is weighing its options.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: I think the president's been very clear, he doesn't take options off the table.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP COUNSELOR: Does he have the right to?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Insisted they agree with him.

CONWAY: Well, he has a right to form a team.

ACOSTA (voice-over): That tough rhetoric is competing with an embarrassing gaffe from a top spokesperson for the White House, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who tried to justify the administration's travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries in a mistake-filled moment on MSNBC.

CONWAY: I said it's brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program, after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.


CONWAY: -- because it didn't get covered.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But here are the facts: President Obama did not ban the Iraqi refugee program. And there was never a Bowling Green massacre.

In fact, in 2011, two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, were arrested on a series of terrorism charges.

Conway later clarified on Twitter, "Honest mistakes abound."

But critics are pouncing.

Hillary Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, slammed Conway for a completely fake Bowling Green massacre. "Please don't make up attacks."

Conway fired back, "I misspoke. You lost the election."

The pro-gun control Brady Campaign ripped Conway for promoting fake news about a shooting that never happened to justify the reprehensible actions of this administration.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIF.: Apparently, according to the Trump administration, fake news is synonymous with any bad press they get. So if they get bad press, it's fake. At the same time, they've seen -- they demonstrated a ready willingness to invent facts at will.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But the White House did embrace some real news, declining to quarrel with the Labor Department's new jobs numbers: a low 4.8 percent unemployment rate, cheered by the president as the sign of a strong economy.

TRUMP: And I think that it's going to continue big league. We're bringing back jobs.

ACOSTA (voice-over): That's a major departure from the campaign, when then-candidate Trump repeatedly blasted the unemployment rate as phony.

TRUMP: Don't believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 percent and 5 percent unemployment. The number's probably 28 percent, 29 percent, as high as 35 percent; in fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.

The unemployment number as you know is totally fiction.

ACOSTA (voice-over): And despite his campaign rhetoric promising to be tougher on Wall Street, President Trump today signed an executive order scaling back the financial regulatory reform known as Dodd- Frank.

TRUMP: We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank because, frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine, that had nice businesses they can't borrow money. They just can't get any money because the banks just won't let them borrow because of the rules and regulations and Dodd-Frank.

So we'll be talking about that here in the terms of the banking.


CURNOW: Now Mr. Trump's calls for better ties between the U.S. and Russia are being put to the test. Violence has flared again in Eastern Ukraine. And the new U.S. ambassador to the U.N. slammed the Kremlin at her first Security Council appearance.

Well, for more on all of that, including Mr. Trump's expected phone call with the Ukrainian president, is CNN's Clare Sebastian, joining us from Moscow.

Hi, there, Clare. Let's talk about the phone call.

What does the Ukrainian leader want from this new White House?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, I think he is looking for support from the U.S., the kind that he was used to under the Obama administration. I certainly think that Ukraine's hopes for that will have been raised over the last week, particularly given those comments at the U.N. by the U.S. ambassador, Nikki Haley, who said that not only does she blame Russia for the escalation of violence in Eastern Ukraine but said that sanctions on Russia would not be lifted until Crimea had been returned to Ukraine, a dramatic pivot from the comments that we heard from Mr. Trump, particularly during the campaign.

He said at one point that he might even consider recognizing the independence of Crimea, which was extremely concerning to Ukraine and to Mr. Poroshenko. So a lot of these phone calls that Mr. Trump has been having with foreign leaders have been largely congratulatory or lacking in detail. But I think this is happening at a very pivotal moment for -- not only for Russia-U.S. relations but for the situation on the ground in Eastern Ukraine -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Well, let's talk about that.


CURNOW: What is the situation?

How bad is it?

SEBASTIAN: It's pretty serious on the ground there. The OSCE, the international monitors, who have been watching the situation for a while now, they are there on ground. They say there's an unprecedented level of cease-fire violations. The Ukrainian side have said that they have seen the worst violence there in a year.

This is now a two-year-old cease-fire agreement, the Minsk agreement, signed in February 2015, very much hanging in the balance, Robyn. Overnight, the Ukrainian side saying 115 instances of shelling, three soldiers killed.

On the Russian-backed rebel side, they say that 18 of their air forces have been killed in the Donetsk area over the last week since this latest escalation (INAUDIBLE).

And this is leading to a humanitarian crisis, raising the stakes in that area. Aid agencies are warning that civilians are being left without heat and electricity; this is obviously in the middle of winter, freezing conditions. A couple of hundred have been evacuated from the flashpoint town of Avdiivka, just north of Donetsk.

But it is a really kind of mounting -- kind of civilian crisis there but still a stalemate between the two sides, between the Ukrainian forces and the Russian-backed separatists -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, thanks for that update, you're going to have it at that. Clare Sebastian, there in Moscow, thanks so much.

And stay with us as we cover breaking news over Trump's travel ban.

Still ahead, still a matter of politics?

Washington State's attorney general explains why he moved to stop the ban for now.

VANIER: Plus the heartbreaking story of a young boy, waiting for surgery in the U.S. while his family remains trapped in Iraq. Stay with us.




CURNOW (voice-over): Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow. VANIER (voice-over): And I'm Cyril Vanier and we're live with breaking news. A new court ruling, knocking down U.S. President Trump's controversial travel ban. CNN has been following this story since it broke late Friday, when a U.S. judge in Washington State temporarily halted the travel ban nationwide.

CURNOW: The judge's ruling basically resets to before Mr. Trump's executive order. U.S. Customs and Border Protection told airlines the government will begin reinstating U.S. visas to affected international travelers and it'll allow refugees with valid U.S. visas to enter the United States.

VANIER: Also, this information, we just found out; Qatar Airways has just announced that those eligible will be allowed to travel to the U.S. if they present valid documents.

CURNOW: Now the White House initially called Friday's court order "outrageous." But it released a later statement with that word removed.

It said, "At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the executive order of the president, which we believe is lawful and appropriate." VANIER: It continued like this, "The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people."

Democrats are praising the suspension of the ban. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, "This ruling is a victory for the Constitution an for all of us who believe this un-American executive order will not make us safer."

CURNOW: He continued, "President Trump should heed this ruling and he ought to back off and repeal the executive order once and for all."

Well, the travel ban affected seven countries, among them, Iraq, and the human impact of that move has been well documented.

VANIER: But this story of a young Iraqi boy, separated from his parents, is particularly affecting. Here is Sanjay Gupta with that story.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They give you these little gas heaters to heat up. And if you don't unclog it, the fire breaks out. And by the time they got him, it's -- the plastic melted and fell on his face and feet.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was Dilbreen Mussin's (ph) first birthday, Iraq, January 4th, 2016.

In an instant, the soft cartilage of his nose, his lips and most of his face, ravaged. The images are tough to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He realizes there's something different about him and it's sad because these kids, they're scared of him.

GUPTA: The name Dilbreen means wounded heart. And his story is complicated. It's a story of being trapped. This Yazidi family fleeing from ISIS to this refugee camp and now trapped in the United States without his parents.

This woman is not his Dilbreen's mother or a relative. She is simply a kind stranger.


GUPTA: Dilbreen's parents, a world away. We tracked them down in Northern Iraq.

"It's really hard," his father said. "He's a little boy. He needs his parents."

So, what happened here?

Well, after the fire and burns, the British aid group Road to Peace arranged for Dilbreen and his father, Ajeel (ph), to come to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston. That was for the first of a series of operations to slowly release the contractures of chin and lower lip, allowing him to take a bottle again.

But with his wife about to give birth back in Iraq, Ajeel (ph) couldn't stay and begged Ablay (ph) to watch after the son.

And, at that point, they say, "Take care of the bairn. We'll be back."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they say, we'll be back four to six weeks, the most, because they weren't sure of the due date for his wife. Six weeks go by and then a month, two months and now we're at three months.

GUPTA (voice-over): When Dilbreen's little brother was born, the day after the election, his parents, grateful the United States provided medical care, decided to name the newborn son Trump. That's right, Trump Ajeel Mussin (ph).

"We wanted to show our appreciation to America for what they're doing for our boy. That's why we named him Trump."

Then, despite being approved, in early January, their visas were revoked. They were in Iraq. 2-year-old Dilbreen was in the United States.

His father said, "They didn't give us visas because they thought we would go there and stay. We want to finish our son's treatment and then return home."

CNN did reach out to the State Department for comment and were told, quote, "We are not able to discuss the details of any visa case."

And then things got even worse.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.

GUPTA: President Trump likely made it impossible --


GUPTA: -- that his namesake, along with mom and dad, will travel to the United States anytime soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what we're afraid of. They have to wait 90 days, which Baby Bairn (ph) doesn't have. He needs it as soon as possible.

GUPTA (on camera): What's the sentiment or emotion?

Are they angry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really. Just sad and hopeless. They don't know what to do.

GUPTA: Do you think there will be an exception made?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're praying for that.

GUPTA: It's worth pointing out again exactly why these visas were revoked. According to the immigration officers, they say these parents could not show that they have strong enough ties in Iraq, that the concern was they might come to the United States and not leave.

And the family says, look, we had visas; we could have come to the United States. Mom was pregnant at the time. Baby Trump, that you just met in the piece, could have been born in the United States, would have been a U.S. citizen. But they chose not to do that and they want to go back to Iraq.

So that's the case that they are making. They're going back on Sunday to the immigration office once more and try and make this case and say they should be the exception to the rule. They should be the exception to this 90-day ban. They want to be with their son. We'll see what happens. Back to you.


CURNOW: Wow, Sanjay, what a story.

VANIER: Yes, and that's one of the examples of how people have been affected by the travel ban. Of course we'll continue to look at examples across the world and here in the U.S. when we come back.

Also when we come back, relations between the U.S. and Cuba took a dramatic turn under President Barack Obama but President Trump is promising a very different approach. We'll look at the reaction in Havana.

CURNOW: Plus we'll talk to a group of voters about how President Trump is doing so far. Their answers may surprise you.




CURNOW: Welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us.


And Donald Trump is just two weeks into his presidency. Yes, just two weeks. But according to one poll, most Americans are not happy with what they see so far.

A new CNN/ORC poll shows only 44 percent of people surveyed approve of how Mr. Trump is handling his job while 53 percent don't approve. That's the highest disapproval rating for any newly elected president since polls began tracking those results.

VANIER: There may be several specific reasons for that. According to the poll, 53 percent of Americans are against the travel restrictions that the president put in place last week while six in 10 opposed his efforts to build a wall along the Mexican border.

CURNOW: And Donald Trump has also promised a tougher stance on Cuban than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

VANIER: And that's being met with anxiety in the island nation. Our Patrick Oppmann has the pulse in Havana.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama finished. I love the Obama.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The street performer known as Pio (ph) and his dog, Chocolate, sum up how many in Cuba these days feel about the new U.S. president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump today is president, good.

You like?

Oh, my dog didn't like Trump.

Who do you like, Trump?


OPPMANN (voice-over): Trump's Latin America policies and a promised harder line on Cuba have so far been received negatively on the Communist-run island.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dog said bark.

"We are watching him," Pio says, "except he wants to build a wall. To do this, to do that, a lot of strange things."

Former President Obama dramatically changed the U.S.' Cold War-era policy towards Cuba, reopening the American embassy in Havana and became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island since 1928.

Direct flight service was reestablished in 2016 between the U.S. and Cuba. U.S. cruise ships are making frequent stops here and the island is again crawling with American visitors.

But during the presidential campaign, Trump promised to take a tougher stance on Cuba.

TRUMP: But all of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro region were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them.

And that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands. Those demands will include religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Members of Trump's administration say Obama's Cuba policy is not helping regular Cubans, just the government that oppresses them.

OPPMANN: Take a walk down just about any street in Old Havana and you will see the country's economy changing before your very eyes. More Cubans are beginning to open up restaurants, beginning to rent out their homes.

And that's economic activity that's being driven in large part by the new U.S. policy towards Cuba, many people here say they are starting to see benefits of that policy.

OPPMANN (voice-over): One of them is Nelson Rodriguez Tamayo (ph), who last year opened his restaurant, which serves all-day breakfast that seems to always be full of visitors from U.S., something that could change if Trump retitles (ph) travel restrictions to Cuba.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love many, many American who come.

OPPMANN: What would you like to see happen between our two countries?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they have a good relationship. They come make business together, fair business together. And, yes, I think to continue. I don't know what going to happen with the new president.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Cuban president Raul Castro says he wants to work with Trump but there could be clashes. Castro also says Cuba won't make any concessions to the U.S. and, in January, staged a rare military parade.

Even comedians like Pio say Trump's tough talk on Cuba is no laughing matter.

"If he is tougher, he is going to find a tougher people here," Pio says. "The people will resist him here and he will be just one more that goes into history. He should loosen the screws, like Obama."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama good, yes, Obama good. And Trump, oh, (INAUDIBLE).

OPPMANN (voice-over): Time will tell, though, if Trump's stance on Cuba has more bark than bite -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


CURNOW: Great perspective there from Patrick Oppmann in Cuba.



VANIER: All right, we're following breaking news here on CNN. As you know, a U.S. judge suspends President Trump's immigration order. Plus we'll hear from a group of voters who say that the president's flurry of executive orders is a great thing. All that and more when we come back.






VANIER: Welcome back. We're live with breaking news. And new court ruling knocking down U.S. President Trump's controversial travel ban. CNN has been following this story since it broke late on Friday when a U.S. judge in Washington State temporarily halted the travel ban nationwide.

The Trump administration says it will challenge the ruling because it considers that his travel ban is lawful.

CURNOW: Still, the judge's ruling basically resets to before Mr. Trump's executive order. U.S. Customs and Border Protection told airlines the government will begin reinstating U.S. visas to affected international travelers. And we've just heard Qatar Airways has just announced those eligible will now be allowed to travel to the U.S. if they present valid documents.

VANIER: A group of women say this travel ban is one of the best things that President Trump could have done for the United States.

CURNOW: In fact, they say everything so far has been great except for the media and the Democrats. VANIER: That's us.

CURNOW: As Martin Savidge now reports.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so elated I could hardly stand it. It was like the best early Christmas present I could have gotten.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These Arizona women love everything about President Donald Trump and can't understand it if you don't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody in this country is against anything he said he's going to do, I really worry about their judgment.

SAVIDGE: Has he made any slip-ups, blunders, any mistakes in your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at this point for me.

SAVIDGE: The people he's surrounding himself with, the cabinet choices?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Incredible people.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just incredible people.

SAVIDGE: But some wonder, is he moving too fast?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he's going to move forward quickly because he's going to do exactly what he said he was going to do. I don't think he's moving fast at all. I say keep on going.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): They see nothing wrong with the president but plenty wrong with everyone else, beginning with Democratic opposition in Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think that's a terrible thing that the Left is doing to hold things up. And it's so purposeful.

SAVIDGE: Doesn't that sound so much like what the Republicans were doing during the Obama administration?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they showed up.

SAVIDGE: How is it different?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she's exactly right. They showed up. These people are actually not showing up for the vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People really dislike him. I don't understand it because I love him. I love who he is. I love his transparency.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Speaking of transparency...

SAVIDGE: What about the tweeting?

Should that have stopped?

Or should he control it.



And you know what it does?

It leaves you out.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The "you" Eileen (ph) is referring to is the mainstream media, which the group blames for what they see as a nonstop barrage of negative news about the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and you push and you push and you push. And you don't back off. And, frankly, I'm fed up with it.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's not the only thing these Trump voters are fed up with. They're also sick of the demonstrators, who they say can't accept that Hillary Clinton lost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get over it, move on. Let the man get to work and better our country. Stop with the protests.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Speaking of moving on, what's with Trump's seeming --


SAVIDGE (voice-over): -- fixation on the inauguration crowd size?

Why was he bothered?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's fair for him to defend himself. That's all.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): And what about the president's claim of widespread voter fraud, for which he's offered no proof and officials say didn't happen? SAVIDGE: Do you believe President Trump, when he says he thinks there were several million votes cast illegally?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And I'm really glad that he's checking that system out, just like he's checking out the immigration problem.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Trump's immigration executive order is another issue these supporters see differently, seeing the move not as discriminatory but rather about safety for Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, as a mother of four kids, I feel that it is the right of my children to grow up in a country where they feel safe.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): But what about refugee children, who are now banned from reaching the safety of America?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lead with our emotions, this country's sunk. You can't lead with your emotions.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's not all gloom and doom, despite the differences they see, these women believe we can unite as a nation under President Trump. In fact, they say, we already did for a brief period Inauguration day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just touching and everybody -- it was a wonderful two or three hours. And everybody was just kind of like, yes, this is a transfer of power, peaceful. This is how America is.


CURNOW: Thanks to Martin for that, great perspective there.

I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining us.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. And we're back with more of our breaking news coverage at the top of the hour. Stay with us.