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White House Gears Up For Legal Fight on Travel Ban; Trump Administration Hits Iran With New Sanctions; Ukraine Hopes For More Clarity on White House Stance on Russian Occupation of Crimea; Trump Pick for Army Secretary Withdraws His Nomination; U.S. Defense Secretary Wraps Up Trip to Asia; Growing Confusion Surrounding Sunday's Deadly Raid by US special forces in Yemen. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired February 4, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:00:00] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Live from CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: My name is Cyril Vanier.
CURNOW: We're live, of course, with this breaking news on US President Donald Trump's travel ban.
VANIER: The White House is gearing up for legal fight. This could go all the way to the Supreme Courts. On Friday, a US federal judge in Washington State temporarily blocked enforcement of the president's immigration order.
CURNOW: In response, White House said it would seek an emergency stay of the judge's ruling. The travel ban sparked huge protests in the US and around the world. It temporarily bars travel to the US from seven Muslim majority nations and suspends admission to the US of refugees. But in the wake of the judge's order, US customs officials are telling airlines canceled visas will be reinstated.
VANIER: Now, at least one airline says the passengers with valid visas or green cards can now board flights down for the United States once again.
CURNOW: And the judge's ruling comes as the US president is at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Here's Jessica Schneider with more.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN NATIONAL 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 likely will not be in the overnight hours 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's 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.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks to Jessica for that. Now, here are some more details about what's in Trump's immigration order at the center of this legal battle. It bans travel to the US for 90 days from these seven Muslim majority countries - Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
VANIER: The order also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until so-called extreme vetting procedures can be put in place. And Syrian refugees are barred indefinitely. Also, people holding certain visas will have to undergo in-person interviews in order to renew them.
CURNOW: And Qatar Airways is now letting passengers from those countries, though, board its airplanes heading to the US right now.
VANIER: A statement on its website reads, nationals of the seven affected countries and all refugees seeking admission presenting a valid, unexpired US visa or green card will be permitted to travel to the United States and will be processed accordingly upon arrival.
CURNOW: So, people in the region directly affected by the travel ban have been waking up to this latest news. Let's go to Baghdad. Ben Wedeman is standing by. And, of course, Iraq is one of the countries listed in that travel ban and we've just heard this breaking, developing news that Qatar Airways will be allowing people on these flights. Any sense of what else is - what other airlines are doing or planning to do in the region? [04:05:00] BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, from here in Baghdad, we don't know because there are no direct flights from Iraq to the United States. I've been told that the situation at the airport here is normal. Most people will transit through Qatar, through Turkey if they're flying to the United States. But it appears that, even though the news is coming out about this federal judge's restraining order, it does appear there is confusion. I spoke to one Iraqi this morning. He thought this was a decision by the US Justice Department. I had to explain to the best of my abilities it was actually a federal judge. One Iraqi we spoke to this morning, who had read the news, said simply Americans demonstrate Iraqis (INAUDIBLE 00:30). Most people realize that there's a very good chance perhaps that this decision could be overturned as a result of an appeal by the White House.
Keep in mind, of course, Robyn, that it is very expensive to apply for a visa to the United States, very time-consuming, and tickets are very expensive. So, people are probably going to take a wait-and-see attitude before jumping on a flight to the United States. In fact, this morning, the attention of people here in Baghdad is not on the United States and the latest contortions coming from Washington, but rather on the Baghdad marathon, which is being run on a very nice crisp and sunny Saturday morning.
CURNOW: I can see. It's just after mid-day there. So, of course, the information is filtering through. I mean, it's a week off to those people, I know you say are focusing on this marathon, but how are Iraqis feeling. Iraq is a US ally working hand-in-hand with the US to fight ISIS. Is this being seen as a slap in the face?
WEDEMAN: It's an insult. In fact, one Iraqi former official I spoke to called it disgusting. He said it is like spitting in the face of Iraq. Keep in mind that Iraq has suffered greatly as a result of terrorism. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers have fought and died in the war against ISIS. Millions of Iraqis have been displaced as a result of the war against terrorism and, therefore, to be included with countries like Iran and Syria, which do have problematic relations with the United States, is very frankly an insult to Iraqis, who see themselves as really the tip of the spear in the fight against terrorism. So, no, you are not going to find too many kind words about that executive order being uttered here in Iraq. Robyn?
CURNOW: So, quickly though, how is this going to play out? I mean, like you say, wait and see for many Iraqis, but is there any sense push back at least politically here?
WEDEMAN: Well, certainly we did know. We know, for instance, that on Monday the Iraqi parliament voted to implement reciprocal travel restrictions on American citizens desiring to come to Iraq. However, the government has not taken action on that. It was not a binding vote. And, therefore, certainly the sentiment is out there.
There are many Iraqis who would like to respond in kind to the United States, but I think cooler heads are prevailing within the Iraqi government, well aware, of course, that there are more than 5,000 US military personnel in the country providing critical backing to Iraqi forces as they battle against ISIS, for instance, in the City of Mosul, an operation that's been going on since the middle of October. The Iraqis need the United States in this war on terror.
So, I think at the higher levels of government, even though there is consternation at the position of the new administration, there's a hesitance to actually take concrete action as a result. Robyn?
CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much. We'll leave it at that. Ben Wedeman there in Baghdad. Appreciate it. Earlier, (INAUDIBLE) spoke with legal analyst, Paul Callan.
VANIER: And he explained the significance of the case and how the Washington State ruling is different from other state rulings on this travel ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There are 1,200 sitting federal judges in the United States and this is a ruling by one judge who is essentially overruling the President of the United States and has issued an order to bind every court in the United States. So, usually, you don't see that. Usually, they just sort of stay to their own federal district when they issue a ruling. So this is a very unusual ruling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have seen a number of courts issue a ruling on this executive order. How is this one different? Is this nationwide?
CALLAN: Yes. This one is different. The other judges simply issued orders that pertain to their districts. So, for instance, in New York, New York has one order. Boston has a different order. But this Seattle judge said, you know something, the rules about getting into the United States affect the entire United States. So - and I find it's unconstitutional what the Trump administration has done. And for the 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 is not a local judge. But it's unusual. Usually federal judges don't do that.
[04:10:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it was only a matter of time before the Trump administration responded. The White House calling the order outrageous, vowing to defend it. Can they succeed?
CALLAN: That's a great question. The Boston appellate court that looked at the order up there ruled in favor of the Trump administration. So, on balance, the Trump administration has some good arguments that they can bring to a higher court to say that this lower court judge made a mistake. But the appellate court out on the West Coast, the Ninth Circuit Court, is a liberal court and it's a court that might rule against the Trump administration. And if that happened, it will all wind up in the United States Supreme Court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: We're joined now by CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott, who joins us live from New York. Eugene, at this stage, we don't know who's going to win the court case on the executive order. No one has actually settled the matter of whether or not it's constitutional and it's going to be a while until that happens and until we have that final answer. Until then, where do you think this leave the Trump White House politically in terms of their ability to roll out their policies?
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I think it puts them in a rough place in terms of trying to communicate that what they did is in the best interest of the American people, which has been the primary argument of the entire ban. As you mentioned earlier, both sides are claiming that what they decided was within the boundaries of the US constitution. So, what I do believe both sides are trying to do, even probably as we speak, is make their argument approve that what they are doing isn't in violation of that. But I think what's most interesting for the Trump administration is that Donald Trump ran on the idea that President Barack Obama constantly signed executive orders that were unconstitutional. So, the idea that just less than a month into his administration, he's being faced with the same accusation is just a situation he probably did not want to find himself in.
VANIER: I was going to ask you, do you think this is done by design or by amateurism?
SCOTT: In terms of Donald Trump, the reality is he does not have much foreign policy experience beyond doing business dealings overseas. What we saw Republican lawmakers repeatedly say this week is that the way that this ban was implemented was very different from the ways that foreign policy is determined in the past. There was so little information. We even saw people figuring out answers to the questions they had by looking at the media, looking to the media. And so, in terms of whether or not this is the most experienced and orthodox approach to putting into place policy like this, that's just not what we've seen historically.
VANIER: But do you think that means somebody is going to get the heat for this in the White House? Might there be a reassessment of how, you know, that team around Donald Trump is going about making decisions and rolling out policies or not?
SCOTT: Well, absolutely. CNN reported earlier that the president was very frustrated with the rollout as he looked back. This was not the reaction that he expected this to have, these nationwide protests, resisting the executive order. But critics want the Trump administration to know that it wasn't the rollout that was most problematic, it was the policy, it was the actual proposal. And I think that is what the federal judge is responding to as well.
VANIER: So, look, if you look at the first two weeks of this new administration as a whole, what's your early assessment?
SCOTT: My early assessment is that we are dealing with a Donald Trump administration, a White House that is facing challenges that many people working in it have never worked in before and are just quite unfamiliar with how policy is shaped, how people respond to it and what some of the biggest challenges with it will be. We've repeatedly seen people from team Trump say that they believe they have a mandate. The reality, in addition to them receiving not the popular vote, is that the protests and that now even the judicial side of our government is showing that perhaps that is not as true as they believed.
VANIER: CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott live from New York. Thank you very much.
CURNOW: And, of course, we have much more on the breaking news we've been following for you. A US judge suspends the travel ban on passengers coming from Muslim majority countries. Plus, global reaction to the US president, including Iran's moves after new sanctions.
VANIER: Also after the break, the US ambassador to the UN goes after Russia for its role in Ukraine. What renewed fighting there means for US-Russia ties when we're back.
[04:15:00] CURNOW: And we're live following breaking news. A big setback for President Trump's travel ban. A US federal judge temporarily halted the order nationwide. It had suspended travel to the US from seven Muslim majority countries.
VANIER: The White House again defended its ban as legal and said it plans to fight the ruling as soon as possible. In the meantime, at least one carrier, Qatar Airways, says it is allowing passengers to board US-bound flights as long as they have valid documents.
CURNOW: Now, the White House says the days of turning a blind eye to what it calls Iran's hostile and belligerent behavior are over.
VANIER: Donald Trump's administration hit Iran with new sanctions on Friday over a recent ballistic missile test. And Iran is firing back. Michele Kosinski has more.
[04:20:00] MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A week of fist shaking at Iran over its ballistic missile program ends with action, sanctions on 25 people and entities the US says support Iran's missile program and its Revolutionary Guard, a move seen as mostly symbolic, not likely to have much effect. But the administration moved quickly and message sent. Iran has already responded calling the sanctions illegal. There was also a Twitter back and forth with Iran this morning from President Trump. "Iran is playing with fire. They don't appreciate how kind President Obama was to them. Not me."
From the Iranian foreign minister, "Iran unmoved by threats. We will never use our weapons against anyone except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement."
Diplomacy by tweet aside, President Trump's first weeks have yielded foreign policy confusion. From a president who only days ago said he hopes for a fantastic relationship with Vladimir Putin who might even lift some sanctions on Russia, who while campaigning said he would look into recognizing Ukraine's Crimea region as part of Russia, now comes his new ambassador to the UN sounding a much different, harder, clearer line.
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the Peninsula to Ukraine.
KOSINSKI: Something we have not heard from the president himself. Those sources tell CNN the White House was aware of what she would say and was fine with it.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Ambassador Haley made it very clear of our concern with Russia's occupation of Crimea. We are not - and so there is - I think she spoke very forcefully and clearly on that.
KOSINSKI: Not clear is how this meshes with President Trump's views into a cohesive policy.
And on the Middle East, President Trump had blasted the Obama administration for not voting against a UN resolution condemning Israel's ongoing building of settlements in the West Bank. Yet now this surprising statement from the White House. "While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond our current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal." But the Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussion. It's not exactly tough criticism, but a stronger statement against the highly controversial settlements than we've heard from this administration.
What exactly is the policy? So far, the White House said this:
SPICER: The president is committed to peace. That's his goal. At the end of the day, the goal is peace.
KOSINSKI: So, in response to these new sanctions, Iran is now saying that it's going to do virtually the same thing to the US. It will take legal action against Americans and American companies that in Iran's view help terrorist groups in the region and kill and suppress defenseless people in the region. Iran says it plans to name names soon.
Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department.
CURNOW: Thanks to Michelle for that report. And Mr. Trump's calls for better ties between the US and Russia are being put to the test. Violence has flared again in Eastern Ukraine and the new US ambassador to the UN slammed the Kremlin at her first Security Council appearance. Now, for me, including Mr. Trump's expected phone call with Ukraine's president, let's go to Moscow. Clare Sebastian is standing by. Hi, Clare. Let's talk about that phone call. What does the Ukrainian leader want from this new White House?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, I think initially he'll be looking for some clarity because this really was quite a pivot this week from some of the comments that we had from Mr. Trump during the campaign as you heard in Michelle's package, things like he was considering recognizing the independence of Crimea. That was extremely worrying to Ukraine. So, I think in the context of the comments from the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley this week and what seems to be a slight shift in Mr. Trump's stance when it comes to sanctions on Russia, Mr. Poroshenko will certainly be looking for clarification of that from Mr. Trump, from the White House. Obviously, there's pressure, of course, from Mr. Trump's party. John McCain sending him a letter this week urging him to arm the Ukrainian forces, to send lethal aid. The White House did not know whether or not Mr. Trump would be keen on that. So, as such, there is a lack of clarity really. There's a bit of confusion about where Mr. Trump stands on Russia and on the issue of Ukraine and the violence there escalating all the time, Robyn.
CURNOW: Well, tell us about that. What is the situation on the ground? How bad is it?
SEBASTIAN: It's extremely serious, Robyn. This is what the OSCE, the international monitors there, described it as unprecedented level of cease-fire violations this week. This ceasefire has been in place for almost two years now, the Minsk agreement brokered by France and Germany between Ukraine and Russia. And this is really some of the most mysterious escalation that we've seen in that - in that past two years. The Ukrainian forces overnight reporting 115 instances of shelling death among their soldiers. We're hearing of 18 deaths this week from the Donetsk People's Republic, the Russian-backed separatists, and civilian deaths. And this is particularly crucial because this is now a mounting humanitarian catastrophe. Aid agencies are warning that people are facing a very serious situation. The shelling has knocked out critical infrastructure. They're there without heating and electricity in the middle of winter. So, this is a very serious challenge for Ukraine and, in particular, for Mr. Trump will respond to this when he speaks to Mr. Poroshenko later.
[04:25:00] CURNOW: And as you say, he'll be looking for some clarity. Thanks very much. Clare Sebastian there in Moscow. Well, still ahead, you're watching CNN. An the attorney general for Washington State is vowing to go all the way to the Supreme Court to get President Trump's travel ban overturned. He talks with CNN. That's next.
VANIER: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Cyril Vanier.
CURNOW: And I'm Robyn Curnow. We are live with this breaking news that a new court ruling has knocked down US President Trump's controversial travel ban. A US judge in Washington State temporarily halted the travel ban nationwide. But the Trump administration defended the ban and says it will challenge the court order.
VANIER: Meanwhile US Customs and Border Protection told airlines that the government will begin reinstating US visas to affected international travelers. And at least one airline, Qatar Airways, says it will now allow people with valid documents to fly to the United States once again.
CURNOW: Well, the attorney general for Washington State spoke earlier with Anderson Cooper.
VANIER: And he explained what it took to file the order and why he did it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB FERGUSON, ATTORNEY GENERAL, WASHINGTON STATE: The standard is very explicit to get a temporary restraining order, and that's not easy to get for all sorts of obvious reasons. But part of the standard is we, the State of Washington, I had to show, to demonstrate that we were likely to prevail on the merits when the judge eventually gets to that point.
[04:30:04] The judge had to reach that conclusion that we were likely to prevail on the merits. That's a high hurdle, obviously, a few days after filing a complaint, but the judge did grant that in order to grant our motion for that temporary restraining order. So that is just a part of the order today.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Why was this something that you filed? I mean, Washington State, obviously, I assume there are a number of businesses in Washington, obviously, Amazon and others, did they play a role in this?
FERGUSON: They did. I guess in terms of why I filed it, a couple of thoughts. Number one is we are a nation of laws, right? And I had a clear view and opinion that the executive order was unconstitutional and my legal team agreed. And we moved very, very quickly, literally working around the clock - and that is not an exaggeration, around the clock, since last weekend to prepare our complaint and our motion. The reason I feel so strongly is the executive order of such a magnitude that the president signed just is a violation of our constitution and different statutes and it impacts so many Washingtonians in such deeply personal ways.
Moreover, to your point about businesses, I deeply appreciate businesses like Expedia and Amazon here in Washington State that last weekend, when I reached out to them, quickly wrote declarations for our filing before the court in support. And their motions - their declarations go to issues of how this impacts their employees adversely and adversely impacts their business. And so, I think that helped us make our case that there's an adverse impact not just to Washingtonians here in my state, but also to businesses in my state as well. COOPER: Obviously, a lot of people are going to see this through a political lens, no matter what side of the aisle they're on, you are a Democrat, but you're pointing out that the judge who has made this order tonight, he's a Republican appointed by George W. Bush, right?
FERGUSON: That's correct. And one more thing I'll say about that is whenever folks say that this is a political thing, that's what's someone says when they don't have an argument honestly. And I'll just point out that I'm in my fifth year as attorney general of the state. In the last four years, my first term, I twice sued the Obama ministration, things I don't do lightly. I deeply respect and admire the president. But that respect and admiration is irrelevant to my decision on whether to file a lawsuit against the federal government. If they're violating the law in an unconstitutional way or unlawful way, it is my responsibility, Anderson, to defend the rights of Washingtonians. It does not matter who the president is. It does not matter if he or she is a Democrat or Republican. Irrelevant. And so, folks who want to say this is political, A, they don't know what they're talking about and, B, they don't know my record and, C, they do not understand the constitution.
VANIER: And the governor of Washington State says he's very proud that his state has pushed back against Mr. Trump's executive order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASHINGTON: 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, frankly, I'm proud that Washington State has led the country in standing up for the basic values and we'll not allow anyone, including the president in Washington DC, to contravene those values. And we had today a federal judge who was appointed by 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 test of religion to determine who comes in 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 11, and not one - not one incident has occasioned where people from these seven countries caused a fatal terrorist act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Washington's governor speaking here as the legal battle over President Trump's travel ban grows. There is still uncertainty over what will happen to people affected by the ban if and when they arrive in the US.
Our colleague Lynda Kinkade spoke earlier with CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [04:35:00] DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's important to understand that this judge didn't strike down an executive order. All he did was issue a TRO, a temporary restraining order. But it's important to understand that the only thing a temporary restraining order does is preserve the status quo. It's like hitting the pause button. But the standard that the litigants, that the plaintiff had to get is very, very high in a case where they're seeking a temporary restraining order. You have to show likelihood, substantial likelihood of success on the merits. And in this case, that's exactly what the judge found. Most lawyers will tell you that it's very difficult and rare to get these TROs granted. But in this case, the judge, in a very short opinion, ruled that there was a substantial likelihood that they would prevail on the merits and that's why he issued this stay, this temporary restraining order.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And has the idea that this immigrant ban is unconstitutional - has that case been made?
CEVALLOS: It's been made and very well made. The state here argued - the State of Washington argued several constitutional claims. One was the equal protection clause, for example. The idea that any law that treats classes of people differently based on race, national origin, religion is subject to strict scrutiny and likely unconstitutional. Another tack is that this executive action violates the establishment clause and they listed other federal laws that potentially violates as well. But the thorny issue is this. This very short written opinion by the judge only essentially says, I find substantial likelihood on the merits. It doesn't really address which of those merits. And for that reason, in the coming days, this actual opinion raises more questions than it answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Coming up after the break, President Trump has lost one of his cabinet picks. Why his army secretary nominee is out of the running?
CURNOW: Plus, the new US defense secretary wraps up his trip to Asia and takes a parting shot at China. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Welcome back. We're live with breaking news. Qatar Airways says it will allow people from the seven Muslim majority countries affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban to board flights to the US.
[04:40:00] VANIER: It's also allowing refugees with valid visas or green cards on its US-bound planes. This comes after a US federal judge in Washington State temporarily lifted the week-old ban on Friday. The Trump administration is promising to fight that and says it will request an emergency halt to the judge's order as soon as.
And President Donald Trump's pick for army secretary is withdrawing his nomination. Vincent Viola says it would be too difficult for him to untangle his business ties. The billionaire from New York owns a US hockey team and founded several companies.
VANIER: And Viola says he is still offering his support to Mr. Trump and the administration.
The new US defense secretary says China has "shredded the trust of other nations in the South China Seas region."
CURNOW: And China has expanded sand walls in the area into heavily armed islands. James Mattis left Japan just a few hours ago after his first tour to parts of Asia as part of the Trump team.
VANIER: Mattis reiterated US support for Japan's claim on disputed islands, which China also claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Today, the minister and I discussed the security situation and I made clear that our long- standing policy on the Senkaku Islands stands. The United States will continue to recognize Japanese administration of the islands; and as such, Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty applies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: China's Foreign Ministry responded telling the US to "stop making wrong remarks" and affirming that the islands are indeed theirs. And the US military on Friday released a terrorist training video recovered in last Sunday's raid on Al Qaeda compound in Yemen. But then, it abruptly withdrew the video. It turns out the video was nearly a decade old and already public. CNN's Jim Sciutto has our reports. And I should warn you that some of these images that you're going to see are disturbing.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Growing confusion surrounding Sunday's deadly raid by US special forces in Yemen and just how successful it actually was. Central Command released this captured video showing Al Qaeda training fighters to make explosives. An instructor in a black mass in white lab coat says "we would like as many people to graduate with this knowledge and expertise as possible." The military said it was releasing the video to illustrate the "sort of intelligence information that was obtained." But hours later, CENTCOM had to walk that back and admit the video was actually nine years old and had been circulating widely before, not the new intelligence the Trump administration says the raid had collected. A military spokesman admitted the video had not been properly analyzed.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We recovered a tremendous amount of information and we killed an estimated 14 members of Al Qaeda -- AQAP individuals.
SCIUTTO: This fumble follows earlier conflicting accounts of who originally approved the raid. The Trump administration claims President Obama gave the OK months ago. Obama administration officials deny that to CNN. Regardless, the White House says that President Trump and his closest advisers were deeply involved in the decision-making before giving the final OK three days before the mission. The Trump administration still touting the raid as a success.
SPICER: When you look at the totality of what was gained to prevent the future loss of life here in America and against our people and our institutions and probably throughout the world in terms of what some of these individuals could have done, I think it is a successful operation by all standards.
SCIUTTO: The target of the assault was a compound of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Al Bayda, Yemen. Fierce fighting left US Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens dead along with as many as two dozen civilians, including an eight-year-old girl. Three US service members were also injured in the operation and a $70 million Osprey aircraft destroyed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a risk of doing nothing because people can leave. There's a risk of doing something because the raid can go wrong. It's all a second guess.
CURNOW: Jim Sciutto there.
VANIER: Yes. On a related note, President Trump will visit US Central Command in Florida on Monday. We're going to take a very short break, but when we come back, the US West Coast is preparing for yet another series of major winter storms. In fact, let's not go to break now, let's go to Derek Van Dam at the CNN International Weather Center. Derek?
[04:45:00] (WEATHER REPORT)
VANIER: All right. Derek Van Dam at the International Weather Center. Very happy, we didn't go to break.
VAN DAM: Me too.
VANIER: We go that. Thanks a lot, Derek.
CURNOW: Thank you. Well, an Iraqi couple unable to reach their young son in the US. This story coming up, why his life depends on what becomes of the White House's travel ban. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.
VANIER: We're live with breaking news on CNN. A US judge in Washington State has temporarily halted President Trump's controversial travel ban on refugees and migrants from seven mostly Muslim countries. The Trump administration says it will challenge the ruling because it considers its travel ban lawful. CURNOW: Still US Customs and Border Protection told airlines the government will begin reinstating US visas to affected international travelers. And we're hearing Qatar Airways now says it will fly those who are eligible to the US if they present valid documents.
And the Trump administration's executive order severely limited travel from seven countries, among them Iraq. And the human impact of that move has certainly been well documented.
VANIER: Yes. We've been telling you over the last week how it impacts people around the world. Here's a story told to us by Sanjay Gupta of a young Iraqi boy separated from his parents.
ADLAY KEJJAN, DILBIREEN MUHSIN'S CARETAKER: They give you these little gas heaters to heat up. And if you don't unclog, a fire breaks out. And by the time they got him, the plastic melted and fell on his face and feet.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was Dilbireen Muhsin's first birthday. Iraq, January 4, 2016. In an instant, the soft cartilage of his nose, his lips, and most of his face ravaged. The images are tough to see.
KEJJAN: You realize there's something different about caring him and it's really, really sad because these kids, they run away. They're already scared of him.
GUPTA: The name Dilbireen means wounded heart and his story is complicated. It's a story of being trapped. His Yazidi family fleeing from ISIS to this refugee camp and now trapped in the United States without his parents. You see, Adlay Kejjan, is not Dilbireen's mother. She is not even a relative. She is simply a kind stranger. Dilbireen's parents, a world away, but we tracked them down in northern Iraq.
GUPTA: 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 Dilbireen and his father Ajeel 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 his chin and his lower lip, allowing him to take a bottle again. But with his wife about to give birth back in Iraq, Ajeel couldn't stay and he begged Adlay to watch after his son.
And at that point, they say to you, please take care of Dilbireen, we'll be back.
KEJJAN: So, you know, they said we will be back in four to six weeks the most because they weren't sure of the exact due date for his wife. Six weeks ago and then a month, two months, and now we're at three months.
GUPTA: When Dilbireen's little brother was born, the after the election, his parents grateful that the United States had provided medical care decided to name their newborn son Trump. That's right, Trump Ajeel Muhsin.
AJEEL MUHSIN, DILBIREEN'S FATHER (through translator): We want to show our appreciation to America for what they're doing for our boy. That's why we named him Trump. Then despite being initially approved, in early January, Ajeel and Flosa's visas were revoked. They were in Iraq; 2-year-old Dilbireen was in the United States.
GUPTA: 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 a comment and we were told, "we are not able to discuss the details of any visa case." And then things got even worse.
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Secondly, 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 that his namesake, along with mom and dad, will travel to the United States anytime soon.
[04:55] KEJJAN: That's what we're afraid of, is they have to wait 90 days, which baby Dilbireen doesn't have that. He needs his surgery as soon as possible.
GUPTA: What's the sentiment or emotion? Are they angry?
KEJJAN: Not really. Just sad and hopeless. They don't know what to do.
GUPTA: You think there'll be an exception made.
KEJJAN: We're praying for that.
GUPTA: And 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 their concern was they might to the United States and not leave. And the family says, look, we had visas, we could've come to the United States, mom was pregnant at the time, baby Trump (INAUDIBLE) could've been born in the United States, would've been a US citizen, but they chose not to do that and they want to go back to Iraq. So, that's the case that they're making. They're going to go 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: Thanks so much to Sanjay for that report. And from that heartbreaking story in Iraq to some good news for a family in Iran. An infant girl in Iran in need of heart surgery should be allowed into the US early next week. The child and her parents were on the way to Portland, Oregon to consult with pediatric surgeon. VANIER: But then the Trump travel ban went into effect and they were suddenly turned back. Late Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the girl and her family have been granted permission to come to the US.
CURNOW: Well, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Robyn Curnow.
VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Another hour of CNN "NEWSROOM" starts in just a moment. You're with CNN.