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U.S.-Russia Relationship To Improve Under President Trump?; Justice Department Files Appeal to Counter Federal Judge Order; Protests Near Mar-A-Lago. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 5, 2017 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN's BREAKING NEWS.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and all around the world, I'm Micheal Holmes.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Lynda Kinkade, welcome. It's midnight on the U.S. East Coast and 5:00 am in London.

And as we start this hour's breaking news in the U.S., the Justice Department is appealing to a federal judge's decision defending President Trump's travel ban order.

HOLMES: Yes, this move coming as many airlines have began to allow people from those seven blocked Muslim majority countries and refugees with valid visas to go to the U.S. Meanwhile protest against the president's policies broke out in several cities.

KINKADE: This was the scene near Palm Beach, Florida where he attended an event at his Mar-a-Lago state. Mr. Trump told reporters that his justice department would win it's appeal. CNN's Jessica Schneider is in Palm Beach, Florida and has the latest on today's demonstration there.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Out here at Mar-a-Lago, a day of legal rumblings, a Twitter tirade by President Donald Trump and also protesters.

Take a look at some of the remnants out here. At one point, several hundred people making their march as close as they could get to Mar- a-Lago. A mostly peaceful protest with very similar to the ones that we've been seeing over the past two weeks and the past three weekends. These people wanting to get their message directly to the president or as close as they could get now that he's down here at what they're calling the Winter White House.

As far as President Trump goes, he took to Twitter numerous times over the day sticking to his contention that his executive order as it pertains to that immigration ban was lawful, was constitutional and even slamming the federal judge on Seattle several times. In fact, Donald Trump taking to Twitter, I will read you a few of his

post saying the judge opens up our country to potential terrorist and others that do not have our best interest at heart. Some bad people are very happy.

And earlier in the day, President Trump tweeting of this, the opinion of this so-called judge which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country is ridiculous and will be overturned.

So in that case the president calling a federal judge a 'So-called judge' calling the ruling ridiculous. Of course, this is fairly unprecedented for a sitting president to criticize a federal judge. We did see Donald Trump do that when he was candidate Trump during the election when he blasted Judge Curiel who was presiding over his Trump University case.

But now the Department of Justice has made its move, has filed that notice of appeal and does plan to appeal to the Ninth Circuit trying to keep in place President Trump's executive order which has created a lot of chaos and confusion over the past week plus. Jessica Schneider, CNN Palm Beach, Florida.


HOLMES: Chaos and confusion. Well, Alan Dershowitz which is a Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School joining us via Skype from Miami Beach in Florida. Always good to see you sir and get your expertise on this. How do you think this case will be argued, this appeal? And how likely success for the Trump administration?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, there are 29 judges on the Ninth Circuit and three of them get selected to hear a case and so we're playing judicial roulette. The court has some of the most liberal and some of the most conservative judges and it depends on who is drawn in the wheel.

The argument the government will make will be that these states don't have standing to object to the president's executive order, that the president's executive order is constitutional and the president has authorized to make the kinds of judgment he made and it's impossible to predict what the outcome will be.

My own judgment is that part of the president's executive order is constitutional, part of it is unconstitutional. What's required as a calibrated nuanced approach to it. So far none of the courts have given it that kind of approach. The court in Massachusetts said the whole statute is constitutional, the court in Washington said the statute or, that is, the regulation is unconstitutional and we're not clear what the end result is going to be. No predicted outcome.

KINKADE: Now, Alan, Donald Trump has attacked the judge who made this decision; he took to twitter. And the president wrote that judge opens up our country to terrorists. What did you make of this sort of attack from the commander-in-chief of the judicial system?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, first of all, anybody is free to criticize judges. I've criticized judges. I wrote a whole book called


'Supreme Injustice' criticizing the supreme court for Bush vs. Gore. It's the nature of the criticism.

President Trump used words that seemed very injudicious, very likely to alienate some of the appellate judges who might sit on this. But these judges will decide the case on their merits. And it's a closely divided case that reasonable people can disagree about. I think in the end the stay will be at least partly lifted because parts of the executive order are constitutional.

I will give you an example. If you have a family of people in Yemen who have never been to the United States, have no connection and they just want to have a visa and they're turned down, they have no standing. They would have no right to challenge that. On the other hand, if somebody was in the country attending university and their visa was revoked, they would have the opportunity to challenge that.

So the regulation is partly constitutional, partly unconstitutional. And the courts have to give it careful, thoughtful consideration.

HOLMES: I'm curious though. So there's this appeal to that judge's decision. How does it work? Can there be another appeal to whatever decision comes out of the Ninth Circuit? Could it end up at the supreme court where you could end up with a four-four tie?

DERSHOWITZ: It's very likely to end up in the supreme court. And it's very possible it will be a four-four tie, that's what happened last time when President Obama's immigration order was challenged. it turned out to be four-four and that means that the low court decision is affirmed.

But here we have a complexity because you have a judge in the federal court in Massachusetts who ruled in favor of Trump and that might be appealed by the plaintiffs and the cases may come to the supreme court at the same time. And what happens if you have two four-to-four decisions, one of which affirms upholding the regulation and one of which affirms striking down the regulation as unconstitutional.

This is a mess. The president can cure it if he withdraws the executive order and goes back to the drawing board and tries to draft it again, this time with the help of lawyers, experts, national security people. And I think we could get a decent executive order that protects us against terrorism but doesn't raise the kind of constitutional issues that this order does raise.

KINKADE: U.S. presidents, of course, do have broader and sweeping power. Is that rare for a district judge to make this sort of a ruling, a nationwide ruling on an executive action?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, it's rare but it's not unprecedented. It happened exactly that way when a Texas federal court struck down President Obama's broad executive order regulating what happens to people who are in the country illegally and haven't committed crimes. We had similar decisions going to health care.

So it's routine but it has happened from time to time over our history. What's odd is for a stay to be granted so quickly based on so superficial in opinion. The judge's opinion in this case from Washington is extremely superficial, it doesn't really go into the merits of the constitutional issues very well.

He made a statement from the bench saying that this doesn't protect us at all. That's not the job of the judge; the judge isn't an expert of national security, the National Security advisers are.

So I think we're seeing over-broad generalizations both from the president and from the judge. This is not the finest hour of American legal history from any point of view.

HOLMES: And when you look at it -- I mean, you've been doing this for decades. Are you concerned about the speed with which a lot of these orders are coming out? That perhaps time has not been given in due consideration, has not been given and we're just going to end up in this illegal minefield over a whole variety of issues?

DERSHOWITZ: I completely agree. This was done too hastily. It was done without consultation. It was done to satisfy a campaign promise rather than to protect the nation in a reasonable way. It could've been done more carefully and it still can be done more carefully.

And one hopes that perhaps the president will be advised and maybe will have second thoughts and decide to go back to the drawing board. We do need protection against terrorism. There is the possibility of terrorist coming through our visa programs. But we can deal with that problem without confronting problems under the protection clause, the first amendment relating to religion and statutes. There's a statute on the books that it says visas shall not be denied based on religion.

So this can be done much, much more carefully in a calibrated nuanced way. And it can become a win-win. Right now, it's a lose-lose. Right now, we're not getting protection against terrorism. The airports are a mess.


Nobody knows what the outcome is going to be. The courts are divided. The president acted too hastily. This is not a good thing for Americans or for peace or for the protection against terrorism also the constitution.

KINKADE: A lot of problems there. Alan Dershowitz, great to have your perspective on all of that. Thanks so much for joining us.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.

HOLMES: All right. Also on Saturday, President Trump telling Fox News in a brand new interview that he respects the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

KINKADE: That's right. Mr. Trump acknowledged president Putin may be a killer but added that we've got a lot of killers. Take a listen.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX ANCHOR: Do you respect Putin?


O'REILLY: Do you, why?

TRUMP: Well, I respect a lot of people. But that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him. He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.

O'REILLY: He's a killer, though. Putin Is a killer.

TRUMP: There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. Why, you think our country is so innocent?


KINKADE: Well, Clare Sebastian joins us now from Moscow. Certainly some very interesting words there from Mr. Trump. what do you make of them?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Lynda, it's not the first time we've heard this from Mr. Trump, it is certainly the first time since he became president that we've heard him but what's so interesting about it from where I'm sitting here in Moscow is that it sounds a lot like some of the rhetoric that we hear from the Russian side, this moral equivalent.

Putin made a speech back in 2014, for example, comparing what Russia did in Crimea to the U.S. and western actions in Kosovo, we hear it all the time from the Russian media recently comparing protests around the U.S. Election and the inauguration of Donald Trump to the my-then (ph) uprising in Ukraine that toppled that government there in 2014.

So very interesting to be hearing that from a sitting U.S. President. And particularly in the week when there's been a degree of confusion about how the U.S.-Russian relationship is going to pan out. You know, he says he respects Mr. Putin. But we had from his U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley earlier in the week saying that condemning Russian actions in Eastern Ukraine saying that sanction on Russia would not be lifted until it returned Crimea to the Ukraine.

So a lot of mixed messages. To be fair to Mr. Trump, he did said he doesn't know whether he will get along with Mr. Putin but he certainly did say that he respect him. So there's a sudden confusion now about how this relationship will proceed.

HOLMES: And how is that playing out in Russia? I mean, what are you seeing in the Russian media? What's the feedback from the Kremlin to have not this interview, perhaps, which hasn't sifted through maybe into the public domain there. But what do they make of Nikki Haley saying this, Donald Trump saying that? and What's the feeling there? SEBASTIAN: The Kremlin keeping their cards quite close to their chest

on this week. They're trying not to over-hype any of the messages that we're getting out of Washington. For example, the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling CNN a couple days ago on his regular call with journalist that he didn't indulge, he said, in any degree of optimism that the U.S.-Russia relationship would improve dramatically. He did say that they were satisfied with the outcome of the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin last weekend.

As for the media, well, we get the sense they're trying to draw out any positive that they can, certainly this morning, reports of the Trump comments to Fox News, they glossed over certainly the words killers.

As for the Nikki Haley comments earlier in the week, there was a lot of mention of the fact that she did say that she still wanted to see an improved relationship between Russia and the U.S. and they certainly touched on the fact that Nikki Haley and the Russian ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin did meet separately again on Friday in New York and did say that they plan to work together under the auspices of the United Nations.

So they're not touching too much on the issue of mixed messages and they're certainly trying to draw out any positives where they can, particularly in the media, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, indeed.

KINKADE: (Inaudible) you did in there.

HOLMES: Yes, we will keep you on for a bit, Clare, thanks. Clare Sebastian there in Moscow. We're going to take a short break here on the program. When we come back, much more on the Trump administration's legal bid to uphold that travel ban after it was temporarily struck down on Friday.

KINKADE: Plus, how visa holders from the affected countries are reacting to the news that U.S. borders are back open even though things could change yet again.



KINKADE: Well, it's 9:18 pm on the U.S. West Coast. And we're live with breaking news with U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

HOLMES: There is plenty to tell too. The U.S. Justice Department set to appeal a judge's decision that has frozen Mr. Trump's immigration order as protests continue in cities right across the country against the president's policies. About a thousand demonstrators turned out in West Palm Beach in Florida near where Mr. Trump is spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

KINKADE: There were also a handful of Donald Trump supporters demonstrating there as well. And in a string of tweets on Saturday the president blasted the judge who suspended the ban. At a Red Cross Gala Ball in Palm Beach, he predicted that his administration will win the legal battle.

HOLMES: Well, visa holders in the seven affected countries, of course, woke up to the news that they could now go to the U.S. but they have been warned that changes could come. Jomana Karadsheh joining us now from Istanbul in Turkey with the world reaction and, yes, heads must be spinning, they sure are in the U.S.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Michael. I mean, there's a lot of confusion and it's very similar to what happened last week when the executive order went into effect that on Saturday we spent the day reaching out to airlines around the world to see if they had received any updates to these travel restrictions. And it really took that entire day to see various airlines catching up to this change yet again where they were told now that the valid visa holders from these seven countries were now allowed to travel again to the United States.


But we really haven't seen that sort of rush to the airport, people trying to get on planes because of this uncertainty. I think there's that realization that this is a legal battle that could take some time and that things are constantly changing as people have seen this past week.

I mean, this is not an easy journey for so many people. It takes a long time to get U.S. visas. It is a costly trip for some to get these plane tickets to the United States. So people really don't want to risk it. So there is that wait and see, try and wait a bit and see if this decision hold, if there's more clarity on what is going to happen before people try and get on planes. So a lot of confusion and uncertainty really at this point, Michael.

KINKADE: Yes, a lot of confusion for those visa holders. But also a lot of, I guess, cancellations between some of the leaders of Syria and Iraq with the Trump administration. Obviously, the U.S. does rely on help to battle ISIS. Certainly, that is, those sort of relations are now under threat.

KARADSHEH: Well, listen, I think coming on an official line coming from the Iraqi government, for example, they have asked the United States to reconsider the ban. They said they are going to look into measures they are going to take but it's a give and take relationship.

The Iraqis do need the United States also as much as the United States needs Iraq and there's that realization on the official level. But on the street level, when you talk to people, we're hearing the reaction coming out as our Ben Wedeman has been reporting over the past week from the Iraqi capital.

People feel really insulted because, you know, you hear about this travel ban where President Trump is saying that it is about stopping potential terrorists from coming into the United States. And Iraqis would tell you that they have faith that very kind of terrorism on a daily basis for years now and they feel that for the past two and a half years or so, they have been fighting ISIS, they have been at the forefront of this fight against terrorism on behalf of the entire world. So it's quite an insult for them to be as a nation branded as a potential terror threat to the United States.

So a lot of people are feeling this way in this region that you really cannot describe millions and tens of millions of people from all these countries as a terror threat to the United States when they, themselves, are escaping in some cases like Iraq and Syria, from terrorism, from more than their country and are fighting it in their own countries, too, Lynda.

HOLMES: Yes. And also not forgetting all of those translators and others who've worked along side Americans who have put their lives at risk and now caught up in this too as they try to get out with their families. I will leave you there, Jomana, thanks so much. Jomana Karadsheh there on duty for us in Istanbul.

KINKADE: We're joined by John Phillips, CNN political commentary. John, good to have you with us. This is the third weekend of Trump's presidency. The third weekend of protests. You are a Trump supporter. What do you make of this opposition?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTARY: Well, the opposition, of course, didn't vote for him. They didn't like him in the first place and they still don't like him. So I'm not surprised by a lot of it.

The people that did vote for Donald Trump I think are pretty happy with everything that's going on so far. I'm sure that some people voted for him because they were captivated by his performance in 'Home Alone 2' and some people love his hair. But most of us voted for him because we wanted increased border security. We wanted an extreme vetting of those coming to this country. And he's following through with the promises that he made in his campaign.

HOLMES: Yet again the tweets, though, we talked about this endlessly because he keeps on tweeting things. In this case, when it comes to this ban using the phrase, this so-called judge, what do you make of that kind of language? And that's OK when you're a candidate and you're talking about as he did, a judge with a Hispanic background. But this is a federal judge appointed by a Republican and a member of the judiciary. It's not very presidential to be saying so-called judge. What do you make of it?

PHILLIPS: Well, we're used to seeing fights that are partisan fights here in the states, where the Democrats take on the Republicans and visa versa. What we haven't seen in a while is a separation of powers. We have three co-equal branches of government. And we see the president, the executive, fight with congress. We certainly saw a lot of that with Barack Obama and of Republican congress.

What we're seeing now are other battles that go on. And this is something that's been going on in this country from time in memorial where the courts rule against the president and the president lashes out in some way, Trump forces more verbose and certainly has a better sense of humor in my estimation, a lot of -- [00:25:05]

HOLMES: They don't directly criticize judges, though?

PHILLIPS: They do all the time. I mean, they maybe not do it -- they don't do it on Twitter the way that Trump did it. But judges that are getting under the skin of presidents since we had the presidency. So I'm not surprised to see that he is lashing out at this judge.

Now this judge is not going to have the final say. This is going to go to the Ninth Circuit court of appeals on the West Coast, which is a very liberal court. So my guess is they will probably affirm what this judge just did. And then they will end up in the United States Supreme Court and they will have the final say.

KINKADE: I want to bring your attention to this German magazine cover, Der Spiegel, which depicted the U.S. president chopping off the head, beheading the Statue of Liberty. On the front cover it says 'America first'. Now the artist was a Cuban immigrant to America back in the 80s. He describes this situation we're seeing as the beheading of democracy, a beheading of a sacred symbol. What do you make of this depiction of U.S. president?

PHILLIPS: I think the left still hates them. And I think it's a mistake for them to go after him in the way that they're doing. Because they did this with Ronald Reagan when Ronald Reagan was elected in the 1980s where they viscous attacked him and they insulted his supporters.

Well, if you're looking to build a majority, if you're looking to win seats in the senate, win seats in the congress, win the presidency four years from now, you're not going to get there by insulting the people that voted for the guy that won. You have to convince them that your side has the solutions, your side has the answers and get them to subscribe to those beliefs.

And what they're doing now is they're just lashing out in anger and I'm sure it's cathartic for them. I'm sure it makes them feel really good by putting out on the cover of the magazine but it doesn't win them any votes and that's what counts.

HOLMES: All right, John. I'm going to leave it there, unfortunately. It's always good to have you on. John Phillips CNN political commentator, thanks.

Short break now. When we come back, new protests against President Trump's travel ban. More on how the Trump administration is defending that ban. That's when we come back.




HOLMES: And live from Atlanta, I'm Michael Holmes. KINKADE: And hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Thanks for being with us.

Now, let's get you caught up on our breaking news. We are following new protests against the travel ban by U.S. President Donald Trump.

HOLMES: A U.S. federal judge has suspended that ban nationwide as we've been reporting. But now the U.S. Department of Justice is appealing that decision.

In the meantime, many airlines have begun to allow people from the seven-block Muslim majority countries as well as refugees with valid visas to go to the U.S.

Karen Tumlin is the legal director for the National Immigration Law Center. She joins us now live via Skype from Los Angeles.

It's been an interesting week legally for the Trump administration. What do you make of the latest move to appeal this decision?

KAREN TUMLIN, LEGAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER: Well, I think the latest move was preannounced on Twitter, I think. But I'm not surprised. This is certainly been a hallmark of the Trump presidency when he was campaigning, that he wanted to implement a ban on Muslims coming into the United States.

But in just one week's time, we've seen not only immediate and swift protests across the country but very serious decisions in multiple federal courts putting the brakes on this executive order.

HOLMES: And it's one of the curious things I suppose about the system in the U.S. You do have multiple cases going on and one court will rule one way, and another will rule another way as we saw in Seattle and in Massachusetts as well.

So, where do you see this going? Do you think this is going to be a Supreme Court decision ultimately?

TUMLIN: I think with a program this big and certainly with what we've seen in terms of the judicial reaction thus far, it's very likely that the case could end up before the United States Supreme Court.

But I do think that the Massachusetts decision is a bit of an outlier. And what you've seen across the courts in one week's time is a very serious checkmate on the president's executive order.

KINKADE: And of course, Karen, as this legal wrangling goes on there, thousands of people caught up in the middle of it. Initially, the White House said only 109 people were affected by this action last weekend when it was enforced. But we're now learning that tens of thousands of people have their visas revoked.

TUMLIN: That's right, and that's one of the real problems of what's been going on in this situation to be constantly shifting information, coming from the federal government.

So we had a situation last week after the first nationwide injunction was put in place where the Department of Homeland Security said we're only holding 100 people. And then several days later, they came out and said, oh, I'm sorry, that was more like 800 or 900.

And this lack of clarity on what the policy is and how broad it's reached it is, is a part of the problem.

HOLMES: What do you make of the argument so far? The argument that was put to the court in Seattle that was ultimately successful. The argument said no doubt will be put to the 9th circuit on appeal.

What do you make of the arguments? Which way do you think it'll go? What are the valid points here?

TUMLIN: So I should disclose. I'm not an unbiased source. I am council. I'm the National Immigration Law Center's counsel with either organizations and the first class action case filed in New York last Saturday.

I think that the executive order is unconstitutional and illegal from top to bottom. So, I ultimately think they will be struck down by the courts because it violates basic tenets under the constitution, including the fact that the federal government is not to this favor of a particular religious group or favor another group.

HOLMES: Because your argument is it's not a Muslim ban.

TUMLIN: I think that both the words that have been spoken by the president, himself, as well as the text of the executive order belie that notion.

KINKADE: The president, of course, has attacked the judge who made the decision in Seattle, saying that this judge's decision will let in terrorists. What did you make of those tweets?

HOLMES: And so-called judge as well?


TUMLIN: Yes. You know, look, as a lawyer, I thought he has the greatest respect for the judicial system in the rule of law. I disagree with certain judge's decisions all the time.

So what's really important here is that we take the process through the courts. We may disagree at times that there's no need to disagree with the judges and said what we're asking is that these cases be taken seriously, take a full consideration and that we'll ask the courts to do what they do best which is make up calls on important questions to the American people.

HOLMES: Is there a danger in language like the so-called judge, sort of delegitimizing it if you like, the judiciary, or one branch of government. Really not -- it's not just criticism, is it, when you say so-called judge?

TUMLIN: I don't think if it's the oval office, personally. I think that again we may disagree on policy, what's at stakes here is something that hundreds of thousands of Americans and their families and we need to let the courts do their work and make sure it's swift and that we're not causing unconstitutional harm to people and let them be safe.

KINKADE: Trump, of course, Mr. Trump cited 9/11 as a reason for signing this executive order. But as we've seen and as all the research has pointed out, none of the countries on this ban list were implicated in that terrorist attack.

TUMLIN: Yes. The executive order is true to the point of being absurd. It takes this basic principle under U.S. law that says we don't judge people by amenable characteristics, so we don't say that an entire group of people are suspect. And it really turns it on its head. Not to volunteer.

So you can cite 9/11 and raise that specter of fear in the American consciousness, but at the end of the day, to stand up in a court of law, you're going to have to have more evidence than that. And we target people based on where they're from and what they believe.

HOLMES: What has been? You do have an interest in the case from one side of it. What has been the human impact from your own experience, the people that you've talked to?

TUMLIN: Yes. And I was actually saying to my family earlier that I felt like I had post-traumatic stress disorder from the last week from every single day, hour after hour, panic phone calls from loved ones of their family members who are trapped outside of the country trying to come back in for an important family event, who did everything right, had legal paperwork from the United States, gone through all of their screening, can't come home for important family events, for needed procedures, commuter studies and the human toll is real. And it's very ugly.

HOLMES: Karen, can I get you to hang on for a minute? Because we have just gotten some news breaking into us here. And I'd like to ask you about it in a moment, too, the U.S. justice department has now filed its appeal to immediately stay that U.S. district court judge's suspension of President Donald Trump's ban.

I just got the note here, this appeal asking the 9th Circuit for that immediate stay.

Now in the filing, the justice department argues that the district court ruling barring enforcement of the ban, quoting here now, contravenes the constitutional separation of powers, harms the public by thwarting the enforcement of an executive order issued by the nation's elected representative responsible for immigration matters and foreign affairs.

And second guesses the president's national security judgment about the quantum risk posed by the admission of certain classes of aliens and the best means of minimizing that risk. Certain classes of aliens being an important sort of term usage.

Karen, what do you make of what I just read to you, the argument? TUMLIN: I mean, what I make of what you just read, I would say two key responses. First and foremost, the president is not king. He, too, must abide by the U.S. constitution.

And when he take steps, be they by executive order or by directing his federal agencies to take certain courses of action. He will be held for account in the courts as the courts must view to abide by the constitution.

Secondly, in terms of separation of powers, there are things in the executive order that violate the federal immigration laws. Those are laws that were duly written and passed by the congress. The president does not have the power with the stroke of his pen by presidential fiat to override those.

[00:40:00] That is the basic checks and balances under U.S. law.

KINKADE: The president -- all these statements certainly signed the president's national security judgment right along ever since he, I guess, came up with this policy, he has been citing national security as an issue.

Just explain for us the vetting process that people coming to the United States to go through.

TUMLIN: Yes, absolutely. And I think this is really key, particular for example with the U.S. refugee program which is the executive order, they called a halt to across the board for anyone from any country.

The U.S. refugee system is considered one of the most secure in the world. It takes more than a year for individuals who are seeking refugee status outside of the United States to go through multiple layers of extensive security and criminal background checks. It's only after that time that they're given information on an individualized basis to get refugee status and travel to United States.

Of course our process should be up here, but it is. And throwing it away for every single country in the world is beyond cruel. It makes a mockery of the duty that the United States has under its own law and international laws. Be a safe harbor for folk's clean persecution in their homeland.

HOLMES: All right. Karen, thanks so much, Karen Tumlin, the legal director for the National Immigration Law Center. Appreciate you sticking around and give us your thoughts as that news came in.

KINKADE: Yes. Great to have you with us.

Well, as we mentioned moments ago, the U.S. justice department has just filed its appeal of a judge's decision to suspend president Trump's travel ban. Now, we're going to have much more on that after this very short break.


HOLMES: And back now to our Breaking News out of the U.S. The justice department has just filed an appeal of a federal judge's decision to block that travel ban affecting refugees and citizens in seven Muslim majority countries.

KINKADE: Now, on Saturday, President Donald Trump attacked the federal judge who temporarily put a halt on that ban. One of several tweets says the judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do now have that interests, our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy.

HOLMES: Well, a group of women who voted for Donald Trump say he's doing great things for the U.S., in fact, they say the only criticism they have so far is how he's been treated by the media and by democrats. Martin Savidge with more.


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, NATIONAL INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: These Arizona women love everything about President Donald Trump and can't understand it if you don't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody is in this country is against anything he 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: Just incredible people.

SAVIDGE: But some wonder is he moving too fast?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. He's going to move forward quickly because he's going to do exactly what he said he was going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he's moving fast at all. I say keep on going.

SAVIDGE: 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: But doesn't it 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, exactly right. They showed up. These people are actually not showing up for the vote. People really dislike him.

I don't understand that because I love him. I love who he is. I love his transparency.

SAVIDGE: Speaking of transparency, what about the tweeting? Should that have stopped or should he control it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it. You know what it does? It leaves you out.

SAVIDGE: The "you" Eileen is referring to is the mainstream media, which the group blames for what they see as a non-stop 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: 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: Speaking of moving on, what's with Trump's seeming fixation on the inauguration crowd size?

Why does he bother?

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

SAVIDGE: And what about the president's claim of widespread voter fraud for which he's offered no proof and officials say didn't happen?

Do you believe President Trump, when he says he thinks there was 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: 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: But what about refugee children who are now banned from reaching the safety of America?

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

SAVIDGE: 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 -- and it was wonderful. It was just kind of like, yes, this is a transfer of power, peaceful. This is how America is.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Tucson.


HOLMES: Stay with us. When we come back here on the program, why Christians in Iraq are not taking up President Trump's offer to go to the United States saying they'd rather stay where they are.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Breaking news involving U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban. The justice department has just filed to appeal a judge's order that temporarily freezes that ban.

HOLMES: Yes. The President Donald Trump vowing to give priority, meanwhile, to persecuted Christians over other refugees trying to enter the U.S.


Our Ben Wedeman spoke with Christians in Iraq who say they would refuse that offer.

BEN WEDEMAN, LEAD CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The kids at Baghdad's Zayouna camp make due with the little they have. The people here are Christians who fled their town of Qaraqosh in Northern Iraq when ISIS took over, losing homes, businesses, almost everything they owned.

You'd think they'd be rejoicing at President Trump's suggestion, he'll give preference to Christian refugees. Evelynn Meti (ph) and her family get by on an income from their simple shop. She isn't jumping at the offer.

I don't want to go abroad, she says. I love Iraq. My country. It's the country of our parents.

Camp residents have nailed crosses and Iraqi flags to their temporary homes, eager to stress they're Iraqis first, Christian second.

Some of the people here have been in this camp for the last 2.5 years. It's a fairly bleak existence, but despite that, some of them say, even given the chance as Christians to move to the United States, they still wouldn't go there.

Her husband Sameer (ph) shares her skepticism.

Let's say I went to America, what would I get out of it, he asks? No, let me live in my Iraq and die in my Iraq.

Before the U.S. Invasion, almost a million-and-a-half Christians lived here. Since then, as many as two-thirds have left.

LOUIS RAPHAEL I SAKO, PATRIARCH, CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH: Not only Christians suffered, but also others, Muslims, Sunnis, Shiite, Yazidi also.

WEDEMAN: Louis Raphael I Sako is the Chaldean catholic patriarch of Babylon and leads the largest Christian community in Iraq. He said pains to warn, giving preference to Christians over Muslims will only increase resentment.

SAKO: Doesn't it matter, they are Christians, Muslims, as believers or not. They are human beings. So does this, you know, the sectarian language was very bad.

WEDEMAN: A faithful take communion at Baghdad's St. Joseph's Church.

The pews are emptier than before, a sense of loss onto many who have seen loved ones leave, never to return.

Wafatuma (ph) thinks it's a good idea to stop all Iraqis regardless of religion from leaving.

Enough immigration, she says after the service. They shouldn't let our young people go. No one will be left here.

The American president's words cold comfort for dwindling flock.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Baghdad.

KINKADE: Well, we're going to have more breaking news coverage of the U.S. travel ban after the break. Stay with us.