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Senate Showdown over Trump Education Secretary Nominee; Appeals court to Decide on Trump Travel Ban Tuesday; Hawaii Joins Fight Against Trump's Travel Ban; Appeals court to Decide on Trump Travel Ban Tuesday; Tech Companies Join Fight Against Travel Ban; Legal Challenge to Israel Legalizing Settlements in West Bank; Yemeni Brothers Reunite with Father after Travel Ban Suspension. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired February 7, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:39] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. We'd like to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause, in Los Angeles.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isa Soares, in London.
VAUSE: U.S. Senate Democrats are mounting a last-ditch effort to try and stop President Trump's nominee for education secretary. It's gone 2:00 a.m. In the capitol but Democrats are still on the Senate floor. They're taking part in a 24-hour talkathon to try to scuttle the nomination. The confirmation vote is expected Tuesday.
Two Republican Senators have broken from their party and say they don't vote for DeVos. Democrats say they may have a third unnamed Republican who's also ready to vote no, which would block the confirmation. Without the third Republican vote, Mike Pence will cast a tie-breaking vote.
SOARES: Senate Republicans insist they are confident DeVos will win confirmation.
CNN's congress correspondent, Phil Mattingly, has more on the showdown of President Trump's nominee.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The reality on Capitol Hill is this, Betsy DeVos is on track to be confirmed as the next secretary of education. But that doesn't mean Senate Democrats aren't doing everything in their power, procedural or otherwise, to try to stop it from happening. This is a nominee they're opposed to as a party.
This is a nominee that brought the first two Republicans in the U.S. Senate to also oppose a Trump cabinet nominee.
However, as it currently stands, Betsy DeVos has 50 Republican Senators supporting her nomination. Mike Pence, the vice president, would be able to cast the tie-breaking vote as long as no Republicans flip their votes. That's why you've seen Democrats on the floor. 24 hours straight is the plan. They've had rallied outside the capitol building. Thousands of phone calls coming in over the last couple of weeks, trying to find any way possible to get one Republican Senator to flip their vote from a nominee who has become extremely divisive. Said she's out of touch with public education. Says she doesn't have the experience for the job.
Democrats hoping that as they extend this time line, even if they can't block the nomination on their own, perhaps they can help increase the pressure to get one of their Republican colleagues to flip themselves. So far, though, no indication that's happening. Several Senate Republican aides say the nomination is still on track.
Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: A U.S. appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday on President Trump's executive order on immigration. The judges will not decide if the travel ban is constitutional, only whether it should remain suspended.
We get details from Pamela Brown.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The legal showdown over President Trump's travel ban is only heating up. The states are arguing that the travel ban hurts their citizens, breaking apart families, hurting their businesses.
However, the federal government is arguing the district judge overstepped his bounds.
BROWN (voice-over): Justice department lawyers are trying to get an appeals court to reinstate Donald Trump's travel ban --
BROWN: -- as the president, speaking to a military crowd in Tampa, remains confident he'll win the court battle.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been seeing what's going on over the last few days. We need strong programs so that people that love us and want to love our country and will end up loving our country are allowed in, not people that want to destroy us and destroy our country.
BROWN: DOJ's attorneys argue the president, not the courts, should make national security decisions. In part, because courts don't have access to classified information about the threat posed by terrorist organizations operating in particular nations. JAMES ROBART, WASHINGTON STATE DISTRICT JUDGE: We must intervene.
BROWN: On Friday, Washington State district judge, James Robart, set off an immediate chain of events, saying the plaintiff's, Washington State and Minnesota, demonstrated immediate and irreparable injury from the executive order in areas of employment, education, business, family relations and freedom to travel.
The ruling angered Trump, who fired off tweets, even attacking the judge, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush. Quote, "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned." And, quote, "Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens, blame him and court system."
But even lawmakers in Trump's party say the system of checks and balances is working as it should.
[02:05:18] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have so called judges or so- called Senators or so-called presidents. They take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We all want to try to keep terrorists out of the United States but we can't shut down travel.
BROWN: Tonight, 10 high-ranking national security officials, including CIA directors and secretaries of state, have told the appeals court the ban would undermine the security of the United States, endanger U.S. troops --
BROWN: -- and help ISIS.
As the fate of the travel ban hangs in the balance, people from the seven banned countries are rushing to get in under the wire, like this Somali mother and her children who landed at Dulles Airport.
(on camera): What were you feeling when you got on the plane?
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: So scared that we will be turned back after all the hassle to go with two kids alone and the baggages. It's very hard.
BROWN: The ninth circuit court will hear oral arguments over the phone at 3:00 p.m. pacific time on Tuesday. This will be live streamed on the ninth circuit public website. Anyone who wants to listen in to the oral arguments can. After that, the ninth circuit will issue its decision on whether to reinstate the ban during the appeals process. And we expect the losing side to appeal the decision. This very likely could go up to the Supreme Court soon.
Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: For more on this, joining ne now, civil rights attorney, Brian Claypool; and CNN's senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein.
Brian, the argument before the appeals court on Tuesday is to do with the stay issued on Friday. Can you read anything into that decision by this appellate court to have this 30 minutes of oral argument from both sides?
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: John, I think that means the three-panel set of judges wants more information. They don't have enough information yet to make a decision. For example, from Trump's camp, they're going to want to have more evidence that there is irreparable harm that the United States would suffer unless this travel ban is lifted. For example, we've got to have some evidence that immigrants coming from these seven countries pose an actual risk of harm to the United States. Up until now, the Judge Robart -- he was the U.S. district court judge -- he looked one of the U.S. Department of Justice lawyers in the face said, "Where is there evidence those folks are causing a serious risk of harm in the U.S." She couldn't answer the question. I think it's important that the U.S. government gives the judges this information. I think it is of value.
VAUSE: OK. So, Ron, day 17, the Trump administration is now in a full-blown constitutional legal battle over one of the signature promises made by Donald Trump during the campaign. What's the political fallout here?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the first thing people have to understand in looking at this is that this is Democratic states and Democratic attorneys general using it against Donald Trump, a weapon that was essentially created by Republican attorneys general against President Obama. You know, in the 1990s under Bill Clinton, we didn't see Republican states suing against initiatives. We didn't see Democratic states systematically suing against George W. Bush. But beginning under Obama, we saw a pattern where Republican-controlled states would go into federal court on pretty much every major domestic initiative, Medicaid expansion or the Affordable Care Act, the Clean Power Plant, and most directly President Obama's effort to extend legal protection to adults here illegally, not just the Dreamers. What we saw was exactly this, they would have a decision in district court that would be in their favor. It would go up to an appellate court that was favorable to their side, and then reach, I think, a divided Supreme Court. You could see the same pattern here.
I think this tells you that however this case resolves, it is basically a measure of the depth of resistance that President Trump is going to face from blue America. Not only in Congress, but in the states. This is the first act in what I think will be many.
VAUSE: Brian, the government is arguing the president does, in fact, have the authority under the Constitution when it comes to immigration and issues of immigration. The states and many others saying he's overstepped the authority and violated the Constitution, and as Ron said, this could end up in the Supreme Court, ultimately.
CLAYPOOL: John, I think President Trump's heart is in the right place, but I think his head is in the wrong place, and he's gotten bad advice on this. What I mean I think by that, I think he truly does want to ensure that the United States is more safe and secure from terrorist acts. That's for sure.
But I think the way he's going about it -- as a civil rights lawyer, I've looked closely at this. The U.S. government is coming in and saying we've got a threat of safety to this country if we let in people from seven different countries. But what the state attorney general in Washington said and 16 other attorney generals have said, John, is, wait a minute, there's no evidence presented that these individuals pose a risk to our country, number one. And number two, under the first amendment establishment clause, this is a law that unduly favors one religion over another. And number three, under the 14th Amendment, what's called the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment, that this is clearly discrimination against Muslims, against a specific religion. And I will tell you -- I'm going to make a prediction, I think the three-judge panel is going to uphold this suspension of implementing this executive order until there is a full hearing on the constitutionality of this executive order. Why, John? Because two of these judges were appointed by Democratic presidents, one by Obama and one by President Carter, one by George W. Bush. There's two Democrats and one Republican on this three-judge panel. And I think they're going to rule in favor of suspending application of this executive order.
[02:11:23] VAUSE: And from there it could be appealed to a divided Supreme Court. If it's a 4:4 split, they will uphold that decision. All of this, of course, is hypothetical at this point.
Ron, we also saw, over the weekend, Donald Trump lashing out at the judge who issued the original stay on Friday. This is not the first time that Donald Trump has lashed out at a member of the judiciary.
BROWNSTEIN: Right. It was Judge Curiel during the campaign who was the of Mexican dissent hearing the case against Trump University. It's also not the first time he's also lashed out against an institution that's criticized him. We see it with media and Representative John Lewis, and when he accused John McCain and Lindsey Graham of aspiring to create World War III. And this is one of the reasons Republicans are still uneasy about this presidency. On any given day, the willingness of the president to kind of blow past the boundaries of what had previously been considered the acceptable norms of political debate is tested. They don't know what's going to come every day, except they pretty much know every day there will be something they didn't expect.
VAUSE: Brian, this is not the first time Donald Trump has talked about a Muslim ban. He talked about it a lot during the campaign. Could those words be used against him in this court case?
CLAYPOOL: Well, I don't think so, John. And I think what's important to note here is the irony in all of this, is that this three-judge panel, this ruling on this temporary restraining order, whether this should be upheld, they might actually step into the shoes of the United States Supreme Court. Because if this goes all the way to the Supreme Court, it will likely be four to four. That reverts back to the ruling of the U.S. circuit court of appeals. That's important because President Trump needs to be more well behaved. This isn't a boardroom where you can just fire people and yell at people and disparage people. The problem he faces, John, is, in politics, unlike the business room, you have to deal with politicians again. You have to deal with judges again. And I think that's where he's got to be more careful here. And I don't think any comments he's made is going to effect this.
What this is going to boil down to is there any evidence presented to this three-panel judge that refugees and emigrants coming from seven Muslim countries pose a serious safety risk to this country. And up until now, the federal district court judge hasn't seen it. Unless there's a new brief submitted with more evidence, this three-judge panel isn't going to see it either.
VAUSE: OK, Brian, thank you, Brian Claypool, and also, Ron Brownstein, thanks for being with us.
CLAYPOOL: Thank you.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, John.
SOARES: Like several other states, Hawaii has filed suit against Donald Trump. Just ahead, the unique damages the Aloha State says the president's travel ban is causing.
[02:14:15] VAUSE: Also, the latest on the fire fight of Senate Democrats to derail the confirmation of one of President Trump's cabinet nominees.
SOARES: It's 2:17 a.m. in Washington. Usually, the Senate floor is empty at that time. Not now. Democrats are holding the floor for 24 hours in a last-ditch effort to stop President Trump's pick for education secretary. A confirmation vote for Betsy DeVos is expected later on Tuesday. Democrats are hoping to sway a third Republican to vote no which would block her confirmation. Republicans say they're confident DeVos will be confirmed.
VAUSE: Top legal officials in 16 U.S. states are joining the fight against President Trump's travel ban. The attorneys general say the order hurts their states, especially at universities and medical institutions.
Hawaii has also filed its own lawsuit against the travel ban.
Joining me now from Honolulu, Hawaii, Attorney General Douglas Chin.
Mr. Chin, thank you for being with us.
The hearing on Tuesday, this will determine the fate of the restraining order against the travel ban. It's just about the stay issued on Friday. Do you see this as the biggest test so far for the president's executive order?
DOUGLAS Chin, HAWAII ATTORNEY GENERAL: Absolutely. The ninth circuit will be hearing the case tomorrow. We are expecting them to issue a decision very soon. Simply because they've already been putting this on a fast track. I think that's a good indicator that, even for the judiciary branch, they're considering this to be a significant issue.
VAUSE: There's the broader question whether or not the president has exceeded his authority.
VAUSE: This is what the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, told reporters on Monday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Clearly, the law is on the president's side. The constitution is on the president's side. He has broad discretion to do what's in the nation's best interest to protect our people. And we feel very confident that we'll prevail in this matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Clearly, you and the state of Hawaii and many others see it differently.
CHEN: I think it's ultimately going to come down to a decision by the court regarding how much the president's power stacks up against all the checks and balances that all of us who grew up in the U.S. understood to be the checks and balances. A president's power is not completely unfettered.
Our concern here in Hawaii, when we file this law lawsuit, is that any time you have an executive order that discriminates against people based upon their national origin or based upon their religion, that's going to be a red flag. 75 years ago, there was a president's executive order that in the name of national security authorized the internment of Japanese people, whether they were citizens or noncitizens. So, we see this as a dangerous baby step to going in that direction, and the people in our state are very concerned.
[02:20:44] VAUSE: Is there a compromise here? The Department of Justice argued, in the last few hours, the stay on the travel ban should be limited to immigrants who have already been in the country, who may be outside the country right now, but were here legally, they should be allowed to return to the country. This seems like some kind of move for a compromise on at least part of the order.
CHEN: Sure. It's just unfortunate that the way the administration is behaving right now is to start moving into a compromise after they issued an order, after hundreds of people had to protest, and lots of people, hundreds of people were turned away at the airports. I think part of our legal argument that we raise in our lawsuit is the fact that just administrative procedures are not followed. In other words, when the president issues an order or if there's a rule, usually, you have some sort of notice and comment period or some sort of rulemaking that occurs that allows agencies to weigh in, the public to weigh in, and that isn't what happened here.
Now, I understand that a president can do that when there is some sort of national security concern. We're not questioning that. But it really has to do with how much a president can do when there is no justification for that. And that's what's lacking in the current order.
VAUSE: Over the weekend, President Trump lashed out at the judge who ordered the stay on the travel ban. He did a lot of tweets. One of them read this, "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned."
What's your reaction to this tactic by the president to go after the judges or the judge involved in this matter?
CHEN: Right. My initial reaction is it's a form of bullying. I mean, I don't think it's really the appropriate way that any of us learned growing up in the United States as a way to treat our judges or our judicial system.
I, myself, am the son of Chinese immigrants, who fled the Communist regime in order to come here to the U.S. in the 1950s. And my sister and I became citizens or were born in the U.S. because of that courageous move.
And so, I think what we're seeing is a generational shift towards a different kind of the United States that none of us or -- I don't feel comfortable with it. And I think that those of us who are not comfortable need to really speak up against it.
VAUSE: There are a lot of states, a lot of Democratic states involved in this action against the executive order. Is this sort of the way forward to oppose the agenda of the Trump administration? Republicans used it against President Obama. Could you see this as the opposition moving forward against one of the controversial aspects of what Donald Trump promised during the campaign?
CHEN: Here's what I think has really struck me, is that President Trump has only been in the office for two weeks, or a little more than two weeks, and I didn't think that we would be facing this number of -- this flurry of orders and that we would be responding as much as we have been. But I think with all the different decisions that have been made and, just really to our minds, the violations of the Constitution and the statutes, it really is something that we just, on behalf of our states, need to be able to speak up, and that's why we're doing what we're doing.
VAUSE: OK. Douglas Chin, attorney general of Hawaii. Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.
CHEN: John, thank you so much.
SOARES: Tears of joy at airports across the United States as families kept apart by the travel ban are reunited. We'll look at what's at stake at the Tuesday's appeals court hearing.
[02:24:37] VAUSE: Look at that. It is 24 past 2:00 in the morning and they are still at it. The Democrats on the floor of the Senate mounting a last attempt, which has zero chance of succeeding, to try and stop President's Trump's nominee -- well, maybe a small chance -- for education secretary from being confirmed. We'll continue to follow that.
Back in a moment.
SOARES: A warm welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Isa Soares, in London.
VAUSE: Thank you for staying with us. I'm John Vause, here in Los Angeles. It's just gone 28 past 11:00.
Time to check the headlines.
[02:30:09] VAUSE: Well, each side will have 30 minutes to make the case in Tuesday's appeals court hearing on the suspension of President Trump's travel ban. The court will stream the arguments live on the website.
For more details, here's Sara Sidner.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The three-judge motions panel at the ninth circuit court of appeals told the parties involved, the DOJ, Washington and Minnesota, to be ready for oral arguments at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, which is 6:00 p.m. eastern standard time.
Families and those hoping to come into this country with valid visas from the seven countries affected are on pins and needles as they watch this process go through the American courts.
SIDNER (voice-over): The scenes of tearful reunions, from San Francisco to Washington D.C., as people from seven predominantly Muslim countries rush back into the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though my family already came here, we feel for all those who are still in limbo.
SIDNER: After being temporarily banned by Donald Trump's executive order, hundreds of visa holders are trying to legally get into the U.S. after a federal judge temporarily stopped the president's travel ban.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, everybody.
SIDNER: Washington and Minnesota sued the Department of Justice, arguing the ban discriminates on the basis of religion and harms the states irreparably.
Federal Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, took up the case.
JAMES ROBART, FEDERAL JUDGE: The state has met its burden of demonstrating that it faces immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the executive order.
SIDNER: And with that, the travel ban came to an abrupt half, albeit only temporarily as the court hears the merits of the case.
President Trump quickly responding to the order in a series of tweets writing, "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned."
The Department of Justice is appealing to the court of appeals. The DOJ asking for an emergency stay to put the ban back in place while the case goes through the court system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They make one unusual argument. They say the harm to the public, if you will, is the process of judicial review. The harm is that the court intervened and issued a stay. You don't usually see that as harm.
Our constitutional process is supposed to get judicial review happen, almost always.
SIDNER (on camera): But the DOJ also made more arguments. They argue that this particular judge has wrongly decided to take away the president's right to protect the borders. They have also said they believe the federal judge in Washington overstepped his bounds because his decision affected the entire nation.
Sara Sidner, CNN, San Francisco.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get more on this. Joining me in London, Jacob Parakilas. He is the deputy head of the U.S. and Americans Act Program at Chatham House.
Jacob, thank you for joining us here at CNN in London.
We know the Department of Justice basically defended Donald Trump saying the ban is a lawful exercise of authority. How do you excerpt the words? JACOB PARAKILAS, DEPUTY HEAD, U.S. AND AMERICANS PROGRAM, CHATHAM
HOUSE: I think what the DOJ is saying it's within the president's realm as defined by the Constitution as decided by jurisprudence up to this point. That the president has the authority to decide what countries can and can't send immigrants to the United States. And to sort of exercise broad executive latitude over the specifics of immigration policy. And what the plaintiffs will argue, I suspect, is that this is overreach. This is not authority that's been specifically vested in the presidency, and that's it's a broad and discriminatory exercise of power.
SOARES: When you look at this, is there a limitation to authority?
PARAKILAS: Yes. Congress has passed various laws limiting presidential authority. The U.S. does have a history of limiting immigration from specific countries and regions from the '20s to the '60s. And in the '60s, Congress decided that that power shouldn't be vested in the presidency anymore. But that's never really been challenged. So, the idea that the president could just decide these countries cannot send immigrants to the United States could be an interesting test of executive versus legislative authority of the U.S. system.
SOARES: Break it down for the viewers around the world, arguments in both cases. Speaking for 30 minutes. Are they providing evidence?
PARAKILAS: They will provide evidence, but it will be of a limited nature, reflecting the short amount of time both sides have had to prepare. We've seen these amicus briefs, these statements by corporations and individuals and members of the national security community on the plaintiff's side coming out and saying these are the specific harms that we and the people we represent and the people we speak for will suffer from the order.
SOARES: Which way do you think it will go? Three judges, two Democrats, one Republican. Does that have a sway, the fact that two Democrats -- will it go against the order or do you think there is judicial independence here when it comes to this?
[02:35:13] PARAKILAS: This doesn't break down on neatly on partisan lines. The initial stay was a judge appointed by George W. Bush. Judicial independence is taken very serious in the U.S. system. And immigration isn't an executive authority isn't an issue. These aren't issues that break down neatly on partisan lines. So, I'm a little bit wary of offering a prediction as to which way it will go.
SOARES: If this ends up -- I know you're not going to predict, but if it ends up in the Supreme Court, of course, there's appeals, Supreme Court, a very divided Supreme Court, how damaging could this be for President Trump?
PARAKILAS: Well, if the Supreme Court overrules him, it could be exceptionally damaging. His first big executive action, the first attempt to use the power of the presidency in what he sees as the national security interest of the United States, overturned by the highest court of the land, that would be a significant blow. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court supports him, that would reinforce his power, it demonstrates the federal judiciary can be brought into what he sees as the national interests. It's a sort of high-stakes gamble.
SOARES: You have two arguments. One about security, one basically the rights of Muslims to really travel and to travel and to stay in the U.K. (sic). Constitutionally, which one is stronger? Would you say security will always trump the other?
PARAKILAS: The judiciary is generally fairly receptive to security arguments. But, at the end of the day, they're not there to adjudicate security. They're there to adjudicate the law. And the actual interpretation of that will comes down to the way in which the argument is put forward. Trump hasn't done himself a lot of favors. If he wants to argue it's a nondiscriminatory attempt to preserve American national security, he hasn't done himself a favor with his public statements about the necessity of banning all Muslims. You have enormous -- and you've already seen this in the bipartisan national security expert testimony - the idea that this isn't related to national security, this isn't an order that's framed in a way that will improve national security.
SOARES: Unless, Jacob, he has evidence that suggests security, some sort of evidence that paints the light from a security angle?
PARAKILAS: If he has that, that might change things, but the job of the judiciary is to interpret the law. And I couldn't speculate as to what the evidence would be or how it will play.
SOARES: Jacob Parakilas, thank you very much.
VAUSE: Isa, we'll take a short break. When we come back, Silicon Valley is standing up against President Donald Trump's travel ban. We'll how the tech companies are supporting the legal battle against his order.
[02:41:38] SOARES: It is 2:41 a.m. in Washington where Democrats -- nope, they're not sleeping. They are pulling an all-nighter on the floor of the U.S. Senate. As you can see from the live pictures, they plan to keep talking all through the night to try to stop Donald Trump's pick for education secretary. Betsy DeVos is expected to face a confirmation vote later on Tuesday. But Senate Democrats are hoping to convince a third Republican to vote no, and thus, prevent her from being confirmed.
VAUSE: Silicon Valley companies have joined the growing opposition to Donald Trump's travel ban. More than 100 tech companies, from household names to startups, are signing on to the legal battle against the president's executive order.
CNN's Kyung Lah explains why.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, in a rare coordinated legal move, 97 tech companies have filed a brief with the ninth circuit court of appeals. This is a number of companies, recognizable ones, like Apple, Google and Intel, to startup companies. And what they have said in the brief is that they feel that the executive order violates immigration laws and the Constitution.
And this brief signals the deep level of animosity that Silicon Valley has to the executive order. Many of these tech companies are established by and run by on immigrants. They rely on immigrants, in many cases, as their employee base and they have seen their own employees pushing their CEOs, having protests on the front lawns of their corporate offices, pushing them to do something more definitive. So, this legal brief is one definitive move.
We also saw a public definitive move. During the Super Bowl, there were a number of commercials that celebrated multi-culturalism. Many were paid for by tech companies that signed on to this brief. It's a clear sign that the opposition that these companies will spend money to make that point. Many of the companies are based here in California, a progressive state, a state that, in many cases, plans to lead the opposition to the Trump administration -- John?
VAUSE: Kyung Lah, thank you.
Now, Lori Schwartz, co-founder of StoryTech, joins me for more on this.
Lori, has there been anything like this before where the tech companies have come together with a great deal of urgency and speed to oppose an issue and a U.S. president?
LORI SCHWARTZ, CO-FOUNDER, STORYTECH: No, this is an absolute unique moment in time. And the number is up to 130 companies. And it came together swiftly as well. This is a really unique situation.
VAUSE: Some of the companies, the richest and biggest technologies in the world. How much leverage will they have with this lawsuit?
SCHWARTZ: I think they'll have a lot of leverage. They are multinational companies. They are employing hundreds of thousands of people in this country. They also represent some of the greatest technology I.P. globally. They're what Trump would quote as being some of America's greatest. So, I think they will be very powerful.
VAUSE: These companies, in the past, tried to stay out of politics. How vulnerable could they be to a personal tweet or backlash from Trump supporters who agree with the travel ban?
[02:45:04] SCHWARTZ: There is power in numbers, right? We're talking about 130 companies. While he may be able to impact a company with a singular tweet, it is going to be very difficult for him to impact all of these companies, and we're talking about Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Pinterest. All big popular, highly used, big brands in the technology space. I think it's going to be very difficult. These are all fan-based companies, too. These are companies that people love, brands that people love. So, I think it's going to be difficult for him to knock them down in that traditional way.
VAUSE: After the election, we saw the tech CEOs heading off to the Trump Tower and meeting with the president-elect. They talk about a positive, constructive meeting. Is there a sense now that maybe that meeting was smoke and mirrors?
SCHWARTZ: I think there is a philosophy for some to stay in there to try to effect change. We have Elon Musk, who is still staying attached to Trump with the hopes to impact policy. But then you have someone like Travis, from Uber, who, from pressure from his own company and the public, had to step down from being in Trump's group. So, I think it's going to be a little bit of both. You're going to have some folks who stay in there to see if they have impact. And I think that Elon Musk really believes that getting in there and partnering is going to help impact policy. We'll see. He might be the type of executive that can do that. And Trump likes to surround himself with great minds and popular people and folk heroes in a certain way. It's going to be an interesting mixture, I think.
VAUSE: An interesting mixture, absolutely. We have been saying that a lot lately.
Lori Schwartz, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
SCHWARTZ: A pleasure.
SOARES: A legal challenge is expected on the Israeli parliament's vote to legalize homes and outpost on the West Bank. Palestinian officials are calling it a land grab.
We are joined by Ian Lee, from Jerusalem.
Ian, this is a highly controversial bill, which will go before the Supreme Court. What are the chances that will be struck down?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isa, the Knesset approved the bill late last night, legalizing, in Israel's eyes, dozens of outposts across the West Bank, which are homes to thousands of Israelis. A piece now, an Israel NGO says they're going to file a legal challenge. Experts say this law is likely to be struck down by the high court because Israel's Knesset doesn't have legal authority to legislate over land that's not part of Israel, that being the West Bank.
SOARES: What does this mean, Ian, for the two-state solution? Surely this makes it much more difficult.
LEE: It does make it much more difficult. And last night, when this bill was passed, we heard from a minister in the government, and she said that, "Tonight, we made a historic move. This is the first step towards complete regulation, which is applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria." Those being the old Biblical terms for the West Bank. And what we're seeing from at least some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition is they would like to the West Bank annexed.
The international communication has long-condemned outposts, all outposts and settlements as being illegal. And just last December, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution that said these outposts settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem had no legal validity. We heard from an PLO executive committee member who said that, "Israel is authorizing the unlawful act of land theft and its illegal settlement activities, which are a war crime under the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court and an egregious violation of international law."
And last night, when we were watching these debates take place, there were some Israeli politicians who expressed fear that the Israeli politicians or even officers in the army could be brought in front of international courts because of this law passing.
SOARES: Ian Lee, for us in Jerusalem at 9:45 in the morning. Thank you, Ian.
[02:49:40] VAUSE: Two Yemeni brothers were caught in President Trump's travel ban. After the break, we'll have the moment they finally reunited with their father in the U.S.
VAUSE: Six minutes before 3:00 in the morning, and Democrats are holding the floor in the chamber, protesting against President Trump's nominee for education, secretary. They say Betsy DeVos is fundamentally incompetent to lead the Education Department. A confirmation is expected later Tuesday. Two Republicans said they will not vote for DeVos. Democrats say they may have a third unnamed Republican also ready to vote no. That would block the confirmation.
SOARES: Donald Trump's controversial travel ban left many unable to fly to the U.S. Among them, two brothers from Yemen. They couldn't meet their father, despite having the proper paperwork. After the president's executive order was suspended, the family has been reunited.
Amara Walker has the story.
AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a joyful day for these brothers finally able to reunite with their father, a U.S. citizen. But the last nine days have been anything but joyful. They are from Yemen, and among thousands whose valid visas were revoked as part of President Trump's January 27th travel ban. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The brothers were working for a year and a half to
get their immigrant visas. Their father is a U.S. citizen. As every U.S. citizen has the right to do, he petitioned for his sons so they could come here and live here with their father, pursuant to law.
They were taken out of the group. Their visas that they so worked so hard to obtain, a giant cancelled stamp was stamped on top of the visas. They were forced to sign paperwork that they didn't have understanding of the meaning of the paperwork. It says cancelled, WAS, cancelled, WAS, "application withdrawn."
[02:55:28] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What does "application withdrawn" mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Application withdrawn means that supposedly voluntarily withdrew their application for admission. We believe that's the form they were forced to sign.
WALKER: At this point, the brothers are just grateful to be here with their dad.
UNIDENTIIED MALE: I just want to thank all the people who support us, and who were with us. They made me feel like there is a family here, that we have a family, and that's what I love about America. Today, very good. I mean, we never felt like this before.
WALKER: Amara Walker, CNN, Atlanta.
SOARES: Very nice to end on a positive story.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM and keeping us company. I'm Isa Soares, in London.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause, in Los Angeles.
Stay with us. The news continues with the very dynamic Rosemary Church and Max Foster in just a moment.
[03:00:11] MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: A lawful exercise of Presidential authority. The U.S. Justice Department --