Return to Transcripts main page
U.S. Justice Department Files Appeal to Travel Ban Suspension; Trump's New Praise for Putin Draws Criticism; Iran-U.S. Tensions Escalate After Trump's Travel Ban; Appeals Court Denies Immediate Stay of Judge's Order. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired February 5, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:05] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
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: And Cyril Vanier. And we start this hour with breaking news in the U.S. The U.S. Justice Department has just filed its appeal to a U.S. district court judge's suspension of President Donald Trump's travel ban. A legal victory would reinstate at least for now that travel ban.
CURNOW: And the appeal has been filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which will hear the case. Now the three judges who may hear the case were appointed separately by former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
And the U.S. Justice Department is making several different argument in its appeal to get the suspension of their travel ban overturned.
VANIER: CNN U.S. justice reporter Laura Jarrett told us earlier what those arguments might involve.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: This is a strongly worded legal filing. Just after midnight here on the East Coast the U.S. Justice Department moved for what's called an emergency stay of the sweeping decision out of Seattle that temporarily halted the enforcement of President Trump's travel ban on a nationwide basis. And in this legal filing the Justice Department says that blocking the travel ban, quote, "harmed the public and second guesses the president's national security judgment."
The thrust of the argument here being made by the Justice Department are two different prongs. The first one is that the plaintiffs in the case, which -- the case was brought by the Washington state attorney general and Minnesota. They're saying the plaintiffs don't have standing to sue here. They haven't been harmed in a way that allows you to get into court.
The second argument is that the president's authority in this area is sweeping and quite broad and so he can basically do what he wants in this -- in this area of immigration in an unreviewable way. The court doesn't have authority to review him. So it's a pretty strongly worded legal filing we're seeing right now from the Justice Department.
It's unclear yet whether the other side, Washington, you know, state, will have an opportunity to respond. There is a motion panel set up in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that can hear these types of cases by phone. And so they may do it very quickly.
VANIER: For more on this, Tory Slaten joins us now from Los Angeles. He's a legal analyst, a criminal defense attorney.
Troy, run us through the next steps and how long those may take.
TROY SLATEN, LEGAL ANALYST: So right now that three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is deciding whether or not the temporary restraining order that was put in place by Judge Robart in Seattle should stay in place or whether that temporary restraining order should be lifted and the case just proceed on its merits.
VANIER: Now the arguments that are being put forth by the Department of Justice, we were just hearing the Department of Justice saying essentially that the court shouldn't be second-guessing the president's national security judgment. I understand, it's been explained to me, that that's a very high legal threshold to meet in court. In other words it's difficult for a court to override what a president does on grounds of national security?
SLATEN: That's true. The president has plenary power with regard to national security and immigration. The United States Constitution delegates the author to regulate immigration to the United States Congress and the Congress has passed laws giving the United States president power to enforce and enact immigration laws and policy. So the president -- the Department of Justice is saying has unreviewable authority to deny any class of aliens entry into the United States.
Now that's pretty strong language. The Department of Justice is saying that the court can't even review a president's decision to deny any class of alien entry into the U.S.
VANIER: Does that mean the president is likely to win this case in the end?
SLATEN: I think that he is. But the issue that's most pressing right now is -- and the question that people around the world want to know is whether or not the executive order that President Trump issued stands or is stayed right now.
VANIER: Yes. And of course how long would it take do you think to get an answer on that?
SLATEN: Well, right now the temporary restraining order is in place. The United States Department of Homeland Security has said that they will obey that temporary restraining order. [03:05:03] But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals knows that the world
is watching. And they have procedures set up to decide emergency motions like this. And I imagine that we're going to hear it in hours rather than days or weeks.
VANIER: All right. Troy Slaten, legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
CURNOW: Well, President Trump's travel ban sparked nationwide protests almost before the ink was dry on his executive order. Now those demonstrations both pro and con include outside the Florida resort where Mr. Trump is spending the weekend.
VANIER: And CNN's Jessica Schneider is in Palm Beach, Florida, and she has the latest from there.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Out here at Mar-a-Lago, a day of legal wrangling, 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. Mostly peaceful protest, 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'll 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 out this, "The opinion of this so-called judge which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country is ridiculous and will be overturned."
Jessica Schneider, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.
VANIER: And those tweets that Jessica Schneider just mentioned there, they were ridiculed by Washington's governor as, quote, "beneath the dignity of the presidency."
CURNOW: Well, earlier before the appeal was filed by the U.S. Justice Department the governor spoke to CNN about the importance of the legal challenge brought against the president's executive order. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASHINGTON: This is way America works because in America when executive does something that's unconstitutional thank goodness we have a federal judicial system that can reign that in and that's what this judge did. And by the way this is a judge -- this insult of him, this is a judge appointed by conservative Republican George W. Bush. He was confirmed with a 99-0 vote in the Senate. This is the way democracy is meant to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, let's get some international perspective now from Scott Lucas, professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in England.
Hi there. Thanks so much for joining us. We were just listening to those comments there and the president calling a judge a so-called judge. Does that send a message that it is inappropriate or is this just normally that the tug -- the push and pull the tug between these different branches of government?
SCOTT LUCAS, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: No, this is not normal. You often have a president saying, I don't agree with the decision, but to question the integrity of a judge to say so-called, that is an attack of the branch of that judge. And remember Donald Trump -- during the campaign -- university was reservation he -- judge who was hearing -- referring to his -- this is --
CURNOW: Scott, I'm going to have to interrupt you. I'm sorry. You're audio is awful. And we will try and sort that out, bring you back after the break.
In the meantime, though, we are going to move on.
VANIER: And the travel ban has set off a wave of protests around the world. Even near Mr. Trump's front door. They have been marching in West Palm Beach, Florida, not far from his Mar-a-Lago resort where he's spending the weekend. Supporters of the president and the travel ban has to be said have also been spotted in those crowds.
CURNOW: And in Washington, hundreds walked from the White House to the U.S. capitol on Saturday with a banner saying, "no ban, no wall." Protest has also gathered in front of the Eifel Tower in Paris. And American there says she is speaking out because this is not what her country stands for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being an American, I care about my country and I care about how we are portrayed and are seen from other countries. And I think that we have to be careful of what we're doing right now.
We have French organizers on our team who've been a huge help. And it's been an amazing -- if you see the crowd, the people keep coming. So I think people are ready to fight back and to organize. We're not mourning any more. We're organizing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, still ahead here at CNN, the U.S. Defense secretary calls Iran the biggest state sponsor of terrorism. We'll have more on the escalating tensions between the two countries. Now that's coming up.
[03:10:03] VANIER: Plus President Trump is being criticized for his new praise of the Russian president. Why Mr. Trump said, quote, "We've got a lot of killers" when defending Vladimir Putin. That's all coming up after the break.
VANIER: We're live with breaking news on the court fight over U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.
CURNOW: And just a few hours ago, the U.S. Justice Department filed an appeal. It says Friday's decision by a district court judge to suspend the ban, quote, "harms the public." Protests, meanwhile, continue in cities across the country against the president's policies. About 1,000 demonstrators turned out in West Palm Beach, Florida, near where Mr. Trump is spending the weekend at his Mar-a- Lago resort. There were also a handful of Trump supporters demonstrating as well.
VANIER: In a string of tweets on Saturday the president blasted the judge who suspended the ban. And at Red Cross gala ball in Palm Beach, he predicted his administration would win the legal battle.
CURNOW: OK. Let's get some international perspective on all of this from Scott Lucas, professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in England. We have reestablished sound connection with you. And just before the break you were talking about how this spat between Donald Trump and the judge is not normal you say.
LUCAS: No. I mean, a president can object to judicial decisions. That happens quite often. And then the Justice Department can -- as it is doing now -- file. But to call this judge a so-called judge, to insult the judiciary and to say that it has no right to question executive order, that goes a step further.
[03:15:08] And remember we've got history here. During the campaign Donald Trump talked about a case over Trump University and he called the judge a Mexican using basically an ethnic slur because the judge is actually from Indiana and said he was not qualified. This could be the start of a big challenge. Not just to the judiciary but to the whole idea of checks and balances.
CURNOW: That's what I want to talk to you about. In many ways some observers have been saying is that the court it seems are taking up -- taking up the challenge, essentially, of this presidency, that a lot of the push back is going to come from the court rather than, say, for example, Congress. LUCAS: Well, I think that's going to happen initially because this
executive order in particular was so sweeping in what it is trying to do that it raises constitutional questions. So congressmen right now can question Trump, will tend to hang back. I think rather than try to challenge him directly they are hoping he can be contained and in that sense the court fight is sort of the first round of that attempt.
CURNOW: When we look at all these protests that have been happening, outside of Mar-a-Lago we were just reporting that a thousand people or more were there. Washington, even in Paris we're seeing protests and of course there was that huge women's march the week after the inauguration. And how will that impact President Trump? He is very susceptible to public opinion. He wants to be liked. In many ways, is this still -- is the art of protests still going to be very powerful during his presidency for those who disagree with him?
LUCAS: First, protest is powerful, not because it will affect Trump directly, but I think because it affects others who are watching. Congress, the courts, the media itself will say, look, he's not going to be unchallenged. As to whether this will stop Trump, again, a normal president -- a normal president will probably try to modify the executive order, take a step back. This is something we haven't seen before. He is not used to criticism. He is not used to basically being challenged as in business. And I don't think he's accepted that politics is actually the art of the compromise. Now he's not going to retreat.
CURNOW: When we look at the first two weeks of the presidency, there's been a lot of unpredictability, a lot of chaos, depending on what word you want to use. And some people who look to Mr. Trump say this is in many ways his strategy. He sees foreign policy as being unpredictable but it throws opponents off stick. On the hand others point to it as being inexperienced. Where do you come down on that?
LUCAS: I don't think President Trump is a strategist. I just think he reacts. He has impulses fairly sharp but let's say not exactly developed impulses. A strategist is a person like Steve Bannon. That is a person who came with an agenda into the White House including the approach to Muslims. That's the person to watch in terms of the strategic response. Not Donald Trump.
CURNOW: And in many of the interviews that people have done on Steve Bannon analyzing his own words the element of chaos and disruption plays into Steve Bannon's world view.
LUCAS: Absolutely. It's to try to keep everybody unsettled. You never, you never compromise, you never retreat. Instead you just fire back. The media are our enemy. The judiciary system cannot be trusted. Those who protest against us are extremists. It's not just Steve Bannon's playbook. We've actually seen it in Russian with Vladimir Putin who ironically President Trump praised just a few hours ago.
CURNOW: So our view is in the U.S. and around the world are watching this presidency, trying to take stock of the implications of what has happened in the past two weeks. And even the Iranians trying to take a measured response to the kind of rhetoric coming out of Washington at the moment. Is there a sense of wait and see?
LUCAS: I think a lot of people are being cautious. You mentioned the Iranians, for example. In terms of rhetoric, their military will talk tough. Don't try to attack us, we have our missiles. But the political leadership just is not sure whether it's just going to be more sanctions or whether we're going to see U.S. military pressure.
If you take China, however, which is a huge case. Notice how silent they've been in the last few weeks. They don't want a confrontation with Trump. On the other hand they do see him as unpredictable.
What you're going to see are other countries starting to talk amongst themselves. European are no longer thinking we talk to the U.S. first, they're actually talking to the Chinese or talking amongst themselves to say we've got something different here. What do we do now?
CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much, Scott Lucas. Great to have your analysis and perspective. Appreciate it.
LUCAS: Thank you.
VANIER: Now President Trump tells FOX News in a brand new interview that he respects Russian president Vladimir Putin.
CURNOW: And Mr. Trump acknowledges Mr. Putin may be a killer but responded, quote, "We've got a lot of killers." Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:20:08] BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you respect Putin?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do respect him.
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 them. 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, let's discuss all of this with our Clare Sebastian. She joins us now live from Moscow.
And some observers, Clare, pointed out that using this kind of moral equivalency is actually a familiar tactic used by the Kremlin.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Robyn. This is what's so striking about these comments by President Trump is not that he's made his comment before but not since he has actually been U.S. president which is what has given this such a shock factor, I think, for those watching. But yes, this is a -- this is a familiar part of the Kremlin playbook. We know that, you know, in 2014, Putin gave speech comparing Russian actions in Crimea to U.S. and Western actions in Kosovo.
There was a lot of media coverage in the run-up to the U.S. election that basically took the line that, you know, you accuse Russia of having a weak democracy, well, look at divisive election that's happening in the U.S. This is a very familiar tactic to them.
Now no official reaction from the Kremlin to these comments by Mr. Trump to FOX News. It's still early on Sunday morning here in Moscow. But the Kremlin all this week has taken a very kind of steady line on the issue of the U.S.-Russia relationship, saying Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesman saying to us a few days ago that he had never indulged in any particular optimism that there would be a dramatic improvement in this relationship. So the Kremlin staying steady even amid some usual comments, some mixed messages coming out of the White House.
CURNOW: OK. So we have had these mixed message. We've have this uncertainty, unpredictability. But we also know that a lot of these world leaders are calling Mr. Trump trying get some sense of where he stands on a lot of these issues. And we -- he had a pretty important call today with the Ukrainian leader, no friend of Mr. Putin, by the way. Do we know what happened, what was said in that conversation?
CRANE: Well, we know what they've chosen to tell us about it. We had two statements come out. One from the White House and one from the office of President Poroshenko. The White House statement very short. President Trump saying it was a very good call. And the U.S. is going to work with Russia and Ukraine and all sides in that conflict that now as we know raging in eastern Ukraine. No mention of sanctions at all.
And as for the Ukrainian side, well, they gave us a little bit more detail. They are trying to draw out some more positive elements from their point of view. They said that they appreciated the commitment from the White House to Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity. So, you know, still questions remain and the two men are expected to meet. We don't know exactly when -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Thanks so much. Coming to us live there from Moscow. Clare Sebastian, thank you.
VANIER: The new U.S. Defense secretary has some harsh word for Iran. Calling it the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism.
CURNOW: And this comes a day after the U.S. placed fresh sanctions against Iran which carried a missile test last week and just days after the Trump administration says it's placing Iran, quote, "on notice."
VANIER: Let's bring in "New York Times" correspondent Thomas Erdbrink. He joins us now live from Tehran. Thomas, do you feel that tensions have really shot up dramatically as
it seems or is this perhaps in part posturing?
THOMAS ERDBRINK, NEW YORK TIMES CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely. We are seeing a war of words here. We've got the U.S. responding. Then we have Iran hitting back with a military exercise, if you will, but also with rhetoric, although the Iranians are really making an effort not to entice the Trump administration any further. Some of the harshest statements coming out here were from one, a closer adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Al-Khomeini, and he called Mr. Trump's words -- then there was also a commander who said that in case our enemies make the wrong move, our missiles will reign down upon them.
But at the same we're really seeing the Iranians taking it easy, trying to not entice the Americans any further because they simply don't know how the U.S. administration will respond, Cyril.
VANIER: And Thomas, I want to throw this in the mix, Iran has now decided to allow a U.S. wrestling team to attend a competition in the country. Reversing a previous decision. What do you make of this?
ERDBRINK: Well, this is clearly reaction to the decision by the federal judge in Washington to allow all people from the seven banned countries to come into the United States if they are visa holder or even refugees.
[03:25:08] The Iranians in retaliation, if you will, had said that this U.S. wresting team that is supposed to participate in a wrestling competition here on the 16th and 17th of February in the western part of Iran that they weren't allowed into the country. And now that we see the ban in the U.S. at least temporarily reversed the Iranians are doing the same. This is a tit-for-tat, Cyril.
VANIER: All right. Thomas Erdbrink in Tehran, thank you very much.
CURNOW: And coming up, we continue with our breaking news. The U.S. Justice Department has appealed the suspension of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
You're watching CNN. Stay with us.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
CURNOW: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Robyn Curnow.
VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. And we continue following breaking news out of the U.S.
The legal battle brewing over President Donald Trump's travel ban. The U.S. Justice Department has filed an appeal to a federal judge's decision suspending the ban. CURNOW: Now the news comes as protests against Mr. Trump broke out
again in several cities. This one is near Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday where the president attended an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate. He told reporters there his administration would win its case.
[03:30:06] VANIER: For more on that appeal, here's our Sara Sidner in San Francisco, California.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are three judges, a three-panel of judges who will look at this, who will look through and say do we need to agree on the Department of Justice on legal ground or is the judge's decision in Washington, can that stand as this goes through the court?
The three judges are in three different places. One in Hawaii. One of the judges reside in Arizona. The other judge resides here in northern California. And so they will all confer likely on e-mail or by phone, and decide what is the legally proper thing to do.
At the same time the Department of Justice can decide that they want to go above the Ninth Circuit Court especially if they lose that case and go all the way to the Supreme Court. But first, I'm sure they'd like to hear what the Ninth Circuit Court has to say. Likely the Ninth Circuit Court will take a couple of days, maybe less, to give that decision. We should also look at whether or not their appeal has a good chance to win in this particular court. We talked to a legal expert who is very familiar with how this court runs. He is a law professor at UC Hastings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RORY LITTLE, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HASTINGS: The Trump administration would have to say there's something about this stay that harms us irreparably and I'm not sure they really have any showing on that since the immigration authority still have authority to keep out bad guys whether this order is in place or not. You can always keep out bad guys.
And then they would have to say -- the Trump administration would have to say on the merits the judge was very clearly wrong. In other words when he says there's a likelihood of success on the merits, you'd have to say no, there's no chance of success on the merits. So the standard to get this reversed is really very high and I think unlikely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: If the Ninth Circuit Court does not basically ruling in favor of the Department of Justice allowing it to put travel ban back in place then all of this would go back to that court in Washington and go through that court and maybe we'll finally have a decision. How long that's going to take, we don't know yet.
Sara Sidner, CNN, San Francisco.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks to Sara Sidner for that.
Well, earlier we spoke about all of these critical legal challenges with constitutional expert Alan Dershowitz from Harvard Law School. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 is 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.
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 can get a decent executive order that protects us against terrorism but doesn't raise the kind of constitutional issues that this order does raise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, Mr. Trump says his order is meant to protect the U.S. from terrorism. VANIER: After he got wind of the order's suspension, the president
tweeted this, "Because the ban was lifted by a judge many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision."
Well, on that topic we spoke earlier with CNN security analyst Juliette Kayyem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Refugees do not -- to not to come in through the refugee program, a program that takes about 24 months for people to get through. And also in the United States our biggest threat right now is clearly a homegrown threat as other countries are experiencing as well. A radicalized lone wolf threat. And we are better off focusing on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, still ahead, why Christians in Iraq are not taking up President Trump's offer to the United States, saying they'd rather stay where they are.
[03:38:17] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
CURNOW: And we have new developments in our breaking news on U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban affecting seven Muslim majority countries. A U.S. court -- a U.S. appeals court has just denied a Department of Justice request to immediately stop a judge's suspension of the ban. That means the Trump travel ban will remain on hold for now. The court has asked for both sides to file legal briefs before the court makes additional decisions.
Well, CNN U.S. justice reporter Laura Jarrett is on the phone with us now from Washington. What is this latest judgment mean?
JARRETT (via phone): Hi there, Robyn. So we have seen a flurry of activity in just a few short hours after midnight on the East Coast time on Sunday. The Justice Department filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit essentially asking for them to press pause on the sweeping decision that turned everything upside down on Friday in Seattle. That was the decision that halted the enforcement of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
The government filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit saying, let's take a step back. And in a strongly word filing last night said that the travel ban, quote, "harms the public and second-guesses the president's national security interest." In just a few short hours after that filing, the Ninth Circuit quickly ruled that the government's emergency motion for right now has been denied, that the immediate emergency motion has been denied.
[03:40:04] But the government -- rather, excuse me, the court is asking for further briefing from the other side. So there will be more to come very soon later this afternoon.
CURNOW: So essentially what we have is Trump's travel ban banned now remains in place but once those documents are filed in the next 48 hours or so from both side, could that change?
JARRETT: Well, right now the judge's ruling in Seattle remains in place. So everything as it was, you know, as of Friday afternoon, so to speak, remains in place. So all the steps that the government was taking to unwind the order, the executive order, I should say, will go forward. Until we hear more you should assume that the Seattle order is in place.
CURNOW: So that means people will still continue to be allowed to come into America if they have valid visas?
JARRETT: That's right.
CURNOW: And this of course is going to at least for now not complicate that process. But the actual legal issues about what's at stake or the legality or the constitutionality of the executive order, that still is very much a process that uncomplete and still down the line?
JARRETT: That's exactly right. Well, there will be a long road to go on the overall constitutionality issue. Right now it's just a matter of what happens in the short term and whether there needs to be a temporary restraining order or halt, so to speak, of the executive order.
CURNOW: Now you know more than any of us a legal process is always kind of zig-zaggy, things stops-starts. There is often this kind of process that plays out when something is being heard before the court, but how dramatic, how unusual, how rare is this kind of drama when it comes to an executive order of a president and the practical implications of what we're seeing?
JARRETT: I would say it's fair to say this is pretty high drama. It is not every day that you see this flurry of activity in federal court. Certainly federal courts in the U.S. have evaluated executive orders in the past as they did with President Obama. But we have -- I think it's fair to say we have not seen something quite of this magnitude with such a far reach for so many travelers in a very long time if at all.
CURNOW: So why is that? I mean, "The Washington Post" is calling Donald Trump's immigration order half-baked. Is that part of the problem that this was a hastily put through executive order and that if it had been done better that this kind of drama would have been avoided?
JARRETT: Well, I don't know if it's fair to say that it's half baked. I think the point of this is to realize that there were so many different court challenges being filed right away. As soon as that executive order was signed we saw court challenges, you know, the following Saturday and thereafter. And that kind of created this patchwork, if you will, of different litigation going on throughout the country. And so something like this was kind of ripe to happen, if you think about it. There was a lot of these different cooks in the kitchen on the lawsuit front but this judge in Seattle is the one who took the most sweeping step to bring the whole thing to a halt.
CURNOW: OK. And let's just recap what we know and where we are right now.
JARRETT: So what we know right now is late last evening, just after midnight on the East Coast time, the Justice Department filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit asking the Ninth Circuit to essentially press pause on what the Seattle judge had done. And that Settle judge, as you'll remember, issued that sweeping decision that temporary halted enforcement of the key provisions of Donald Trump's travel ban nationwide. Now the Justice Department had a pretty strong brief, you know, 25
pages, and it had very strong lines in there, saying things such as the judge's order harms the public, it second-guesses the president, it contravenes the separation of powers, and it said that the plaintiffs in the case, the attorney general doesn't even have standing. But at least in the short term, the Court of the Appeal has now ruled that they should not get an immediate stay of the Seattle judge's ruling. And so what they're asking for is for the other side, the state attorney general, to brief this issue now on Sunday so that they can hear a little bit more about this case.
CURNOW: So there's a lot at stake here and this is certainly not over. So, you know, there's the question about the standing, the legality or the rights of immigrants.
[03:45:05] There's also the questions about the constitutionality of the executive order. You've just said President Trump's legal team says that this contradicts the separation of powers. Others say this is exactly what should be happening. That the courts are working exactly as they should be working as a check and balance. There's a lot at stake here, isn't there?
JARRETT: I think that is fair to say, there is a lot at stake here. But what we have seen is how quickly things are moving. And so it is still very much a developing story. We'll have to see now what the state of Washington has to say in their brief in opposition to the U.S. Justice Department.
CURNOW: Laura Jarrett, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
VANIER: We've got a lot of questions on this.
Troy Slaten joins us now from Los Angeles for more. He's a legal analyst, a criminal defense attorney.
Troy, 24 hours ago, a federal judge in Washington state handed the White House a stinging but temporary defeat by suspending Mr. Trump's travel ban. Is this defeat number two?
SLATEN: Well, it is because what the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has said here is that they are not going to stay that temporary restraining order. So the Trump administration's attempt to quickly overturn or rather stop momentarily that judge's --
VANIER: All right, Troy. It looks like we're having a little trouble with Troy's audio. We still got a lot of questions for him, though, so we'll come back to him in just a moment as soon as we get that fixed. We'll go to break. We'll be back in a moment.
[03:50:40] VANIER: Welcome back, everyone. There are breaking developments in the court fight over Donald Trump's travel ban involving seven Muslim-majority nations.
CURNOW: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the U.S. Justice Department's request to press pause on the suspension of the week-old travel ban. It is asking the Justice Department and the states of Washington and Minnesota which requested the suspension to file legal briefs.
VANIER: Troy Slaten joins us now from Los Angeles. A legal analyst, a criminal defense attorney.
Troy, obviously we've got a lot of questions for you right now. Am I correct in understanding that the White House has just suffered a second legal defeat in as many days?
SLATEN: Well, yes. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has said that for now, today, they are not going to overturn Judge Robart's decision that places a temporary restraining order against President Trump's executive order. Now what they've asked is for both the states of Washington and Minnesota to file their paperwork saying why this order should stay in place and that's due midnight tonight, Sunday, Pacific Time. And they ordered the Trump administration to reply to that by 3:00 Pacific Time on Monday. So this --
VANIER: Now, Troy -- Troy, let's take it in stages . First of all, it means -- for the immediate impact it means the executive order which was effectively overturned 24 hours ago, just over 24 hours ago is not in effect. That has not changed over the last 24 hours. That remains the case?
SLATEN: Yes. Well, it hasn't been overturned. The judge has said that you just can't enforce it for now.
VANIER: Right, the -- yes, the text remains but nobody can apply it.
SLATEN: That's correct. Now the Ninth Circuit has said that we're willing to reconsider lifting that judge's temporary restrain order but we need to hear more briefing.
VANIER: So in other words they're going to have to finally decide -- and I suppose this is what we've been waiting for in a sense on the merits of the case. And that overarching question of whether the travel ban is legal or not?
SLATEN: Well, here's where it gets even more confusing. The Ninth Court of Appeals may not be deciding this entire case on its merits but just whether or not that temporary restraining order can stay in place. That's a very narrow legal issue that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is deciding.
VANIER: All right, so help me out here. Wouldn't that be the second time that that same question is being answered? Isn't that a questions that's just answered?
SLATEN: Nom, because --
VANIER: The restraining order that was issued 24 hours ago, that is staying in place. That's what we just found out. SLATEN: Yes. But what happened here was the Trump administration
went in ex parte, which means by themself there was no other argument. The three-judge panel on the Ninth Court of Appeals was asked by the Trump administration to overturn that judge's decision without hearing any other argument from the other side.
So what those three judges are saying is, for now you haven't made enough of a showing for us to overturn that judge, which is a very high bar but we want to hear more from both sides and then we'll give our decision about whether or not that judge's order stand.
VANIER: Right. And how long do you expect that might take to get that answer?
SLATEN: Well, we may hear as early as Monday because the court laid out a briefing schedule saying that we want to hear from the other side by midnight tonight and we want to hear a reply to that by the Trump administration by 3:00 Pacific Time on Monday. So we could hear something as early as Monday night but for now --
VANIER: Now the Ninth Circuit --
SLATEN: -- the executive order --
VANIER: Sorry. Go ahead.
SLATEN: But for now the executive order there is a restraining order -- that temporary order banning enforcement of that executive order.
VANIER: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is considered to be one of the most liberal in the country just because it has a high proportion of judges that were picked by Democratic presidents.
[03:55:08] SLATEN: Well, not just that. But they are the most overturned of all the circuits by the United States Supreme Court. In the legal community they're sometimes referred to as -- pejoratively as the Ninth Circus.
VANIER: How does that factor into the decision that we just found out about?
SLATEN: Well, I mean, that's really irrelevant. I mean, although it is important to note that everything is political. And three of -- I mean two of the three judges on this panel were appointed by Democratic presidents, Carter and Obama.
VANIER: Ultimately who is going to settle the question of whether or not the executive order, the travel ban is legal?
SLATEN: So it will -- it will go back to -- let's say there's a few possibilities. Let's say that the ban is temporarily, the enforcement of the ban is -- the restraining order stays in place from Judge Robart's, that means that there will be a full trial possibly on the merits -- VANIER: All right.
SLATEN: -- in that Seattle courtroom in front of Judge Robart, and then whoever loses will appeal that to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and whoever loses there will appeal it to the Supreme Court. I imagine that the United States Supreme Court will hear this executive order.
VANIER: All right, Troy.
SLATEN: Which is what they do. That's what happens.
VANIER: Troy Slaten, thank you very much for answering our questions. Thanks a lot. We've got a lot more coming up after the break.
CURNOW: And this has been a CNN breaking coverage. I'm Robyn Curnow.