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Federal Judges To Hear Travel Ban Argument Today; Trump: Media Covering Up Terrorism; Dems Mount 24-Hour Blitz Against DeVos; Source Says al Qaeda Leader Targeted In Yemen Raid. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired February 7, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:03] LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And the Justice Department filed a legal brief last night basically doubling down on their previous arguments we've seen before about theproblems with a federal judge in Seattle second-guessing the president on immigration like this.

But they've also now come up with a new fallback position, saying if you're going to uphold the Seattle court then at least limit it to the people who've been previously admitted to the U.S., like somebody traveling on a student visa. This is the group that the government says is at the heart of the state's complaint. Now, the state says at this point reinstating the travel ban in any form would just unleash chaos again for foreign travelers and so the judges can't reinstate the ban.

So, the Appellate Court has several different options for how it could rule after tonight's hearing but either way, everybody knows this is headed to the Supreme Court one way or another, given the stakes --


JARRETT: -- and if the Supreme Court splits down the middle, 4-4, as it only has eight justices right now, then whatever the Ninth Circuit rules is going to be the law, which it really underscores the importance of this Appellate Court's decision.

ROMANS: Yes, absolutely. So when do we expect, Laura, a ruling from the Ninth Circuit?

JARRETT: Well, given how things have been going I would say pretty fast. So, we're going to hear from them later tonight -- the oral argument at 6:00 and then a decision could come down later tonight or tomorrow morning, first thing.

ROMANS: All right, Laura Jarrett, we'll look forward to that. We'll look forward to having you report it for us. Thank you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, is the media ignoring or downplaying terror attacks around the world? The president made that highly specious argument speaking to the military in Florida. Let's get the very latest from CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, President Trump is once again lashing out at the news media, this time in front of a military audience of the U.S. Central Command in Florida. The president accused the press of intentionally downplaying terrorist attacks. The president did not specify which attacks he was referring to in his remarks but here's what he had to say.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You've seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe it's happening. It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported and, in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.

ACOSTA: As for an explanation of the president's comments, the White House produced a list of 78 terrorist attacks that have occurred since 2014. The White House claims most of these attacks did not receive enough coverage, but on the list are some of the worst acts of terrorism in the last two years, including attacks in Paris, Nice, France, San Bernardino, California, and the Orlando nightclub shooting. The White House did not explain what the president meant when he said the press has its reasons for why it doesn't report on terror attacks -- John and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Jim Acosta. Thanks, Jim. Senate Democrats launching an all-night blitz against Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. A confirmation vote for DeVos is scheduled for noon Eastern Time. At least one Democratic senator believes a third Republican senator may cross party lines and vote against DeVos, effectively killing her nomination. But this is -- this is just a remarkable show of force on the floor right now.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty joining us live from Capitol Hill this morning where it has been a very long night. And, you know, they want to peel off one more Republican. The phone lines have been just burning up from people around the country who are protesting this nomination. They want their senators not to vote for her. Mostly teachers' unions and teachers who are against her. What's happening right now?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christine, and the reality of the situation that Democrats are now facing is that although they want and are trying to get that additional Republican to flip their vote to a no and break ranks with other Republicans, the reality is that they have not found that vote yet and that's what led to this marathon overnight session. They're now in hour 18 of this 24-hour protest, you know, blasting Betsy DeVos, speaking out, trying to ratchet up pressure to find and squeeze one Republican vote wherever they can.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: I feel a personal responsibility to ensure that if I cast my vote as a senator that whoever takes that office will be tireless in the defense of all the rights and privileges and liberties of our students. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D), HAWAII: So, you have people left, right, and center. I mean, you can ask the Senate Republicans whether they're getting phone calls, too. They're getting phone calls, too. This is not a Democratic strategy. What's happening is we have the wrong person who may be confirmed as the Secretary of Education.


SERFATY: Now, despite this Democratic protest, Republican officials up here on Capitol Hill say that they are very confident that Betsy DeVos will be confirmed later today. They're expected to vote around 12:00 noon today. They do not expect any additional Republican to break ranks here. That would usher in Vice President Mike Pence up here to Capitol Hill to cast a tie-breaking vote and this is historical because no other sitting vice president has ever cast the deciding ballot for a cabinet nominee.

[05:35:07] ROMANS: It just shows you how divided and how strong the opposition has been to her, you know. In her first hearing there, Sunlen, she didn't seem to understand about the federal funding of the education system in a way that satisfied senators and they were really worried about having her represent all those millions of students. Ninety four percent, I think, of students in this country are public school students. All right, thank you so much, Sunlen Serfaty. Nice to see you.

BERMAN: All right. I want to bring in right now political analyst, author of "Trump's America" column for the metro papers, Ellis Henican. Ellis, thanks so much for being with us.

ROMANS: Good morning, again.


BERMAN: We've got a big legal showdown --


BERMAN: -- this afternoon or this evening. A conference call hearing from the Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco. It's very interesting that this is going on this way. Also interesting, the White House says it's confident. Listen to Sean Spicer.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Clearly, the law is on the president's side, the constitution's 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.


BERMAN: Now, I don't know whose side the law's on here, I'm not a lawyer. I think that's up to the judges to decide tonight. But let's play "what if," Ellis. What if the court does rule against the White House?

HENICAN: Well, it's going to be, first of all, the first significant actual, factual defeat that this new administration has faced. There's a question of what else they're going to do. They're already, from what I'm hearing -- already making plans for other ways to rein in immigration, whether that be legal immigration and, of course, the discussions of illegal immigration. This will not end the issue remotely. It's one of the things that elected Donald Trump president and if they get stopped on this approach, believe me, they will find five other approaches.

ROMANS: We think that they're working on H-1B visa, you know.

HENICAN: Are they?

ROMANS: They're looking into H-1B visas and other things, and that's one of the reasons why the tech companies are so nervous here because they have been hoping for pro-growth policies and tax reform, right?

HENICAN: That's right.

ROMANS: And now they feel that they want to pivot back to pro-growth and away from the immigration side.

HENICAN: Right, and they make an interesting argument, you know. They say listen, if you make it harder for us to get the workers that we need in America, that just encourages us to set up our facilities overseas where we don't have those kind of barriers. So if you really want America first, help us bring the best and the brightest right to our shores.

BERMAN: Back to the travel ban, though. You mention this would be the first defeat, whether it be in Congress, of course, or otherwise.

HENICAN: The first significant, yes.

BERMAN: It would be big.

HENICAN: Big, big.

BERMAN: It would be a big setback for one of his signature movements that he did run on, in a way, and it would be the court saying no, you can't do this.

HENICAN: Right, and for the very reason that Sean Spicer was just talking about, which is that, in general, presidents get great leeway --


HENICAN: -- when it comes to establishing immigration policy. However, they can't do something that is unconstitutional or otherwise illegal. And, boy, if this is where that ends up, they stumbled into something that was an unnecessary failure.

ROMANS: Well, we don't know how it's going to turn out but you heard our reporter, Laura Jarrett, say it could be maybe tomorrow morning --


ROMANS: -- you know, if this goes quickly.

HENICAN: -- real quick.

ROMANS: We also know that Donald Trump has already had a very contentious relationship with the judiciary. Let's take a look at what "The New York Times" is writing in an editorial this morning called "President Trump's Real Fear" -- the courts. "Coming from a candidate, this was merely outrageous. Coming from the president, it is a threat to the rule of law. Mr. Trump's repeated attacks on the judiciary are all the more ominous given his efforts to intimidate and undermine the news media and Congress's willingness to neutralize itself, rather than hold him to account."

I can only imagine that if President Trump loses this case he's not going to be mending fences with the judiciary.

HENICAN: He might have some -- talking about some so-called appellate judges. But this thing goes to the Supreme Court either way, right, and it's oddly because we've got this 4-4 tie there right now gives Democrats anadded incentive to go slow in confirming another justice to the court because listen, if this is coming up through the Ninth Circuit, that is as good an appellate court as the Dems are going to get.


HENICAN: And boy, they'd like that decision to hold.

BERMAN: And look, whatever decision the Ninth Circuit makes it is likely to hold, frankly, because even if it does go to the Supreme Court, if there is a 4-4 split --


BERMAN: -- on ideological lines --

HENICAN: It stays where it was.

BERMAN: -- it stays where it was. And even if, you know, the president gets his Supreme Court nominee confirmed it will take two months. I mean, this thing is going to have to happen at the Supreme Court before that takes place.

HENICAN: Yes, John. One of the reasons that even many Republicans are shaking their head and saying do you really want to alienate these judges who are going to make this decision?

ROMANS: I don't want to make it about us but I'm going to ask you one question about the attacks on the media -- the fact that Donald Trump said that we cover up and don't report, for our own reasons, terror attacks. You know, we've been criticized for covering too much --


ROMANS: -- on terror attacks.

HENICAN: You sensationalized it as a hit, right?

ROMANS: We're going wall-to-wall when there's something terrible that happens around the world.

HENICAN: Yes. I -- listen, I just don't think the facts support it. I mean, we've covered that stuff exhaustively and I think is a thing of work (ph), you know. Some have gotten more coverage than others, of course, but I don't know. I don't know how much more of it we can do.

ROMANS: All right, keep writing about it in your column --

[05:40:00] HENICAN: We shall.

ROMANS: -- and we'll keep reading about it.

HENICAN: Thanks so much. Good seeing you guys.

ROMANS: Thanks, Ellis. Come again. Nice to see you. All right, to money now. The Trump rally on Wall Street has been curbed. That's according to Goldman Sachs. The bank's chief credit strategist says he sees several signs of cooling sentiment in the wake of President Trump's election. The conference board's measure of consumer expectations for the economy over the next six months fell in January to its deepest decline in more than a year.

Goldman also says retail investors' preference for stocks over bonds after the election has almost fully reversed. And the bank says Trump's trade and immigration crackdowns could be disruptive for financial markets and the real economy.

Now, President Trump has filled some of his top spots with former Goldman Sachs employees, including his Treasury Secretary nominee and his chief strategist. President Trump, of course, campaigned to represent the working class. So far, Wall Street has made the most money from his presidency, as he has signaled he's going to start moving to gut Dodd-Frank regulations.

BERMAN: The gutting of Dodd-Frank regulations, though, is popular with some big stocks that do tend to move Wall Street, too, so --

ROMANS: Oh, yes, absolutely.

BERMAN: All right. What was the target of the raid in Yemen that cost one Navy SEAL his life? We have new CNN reporting which raises new questions, next.


[05:45:25] ROMANS: CNN has learned the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was the intended target of the recent raid in Yemen, a raid that cost a Navy SEAL his life. This comes despite earlier comments from military officials that the al Qaeda leader was not the focus of the operation. CNN's national security reporter Ryan Browne is live in Washington this morning with these new developments and new reporting. Bring it to us, Ryan.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Hi, Christine. Yes, that's right. We -- a senior military official has told CNN that Qasim al-Raymi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was kind of -- was a target in this raid and that they'd hoped to capture him as part of this raid.

Now, officials at Central Command, which oversees U.S. military forces in the region, have kind of pushed back on that a little bit, saying that the primary goal of this mission was intelligence gathering. Now, if senior leaders like al-Raymi were there they would have captured him -- they would have taken him. They would have used that to gather additional intelligence.

They say that the raid was also targeting intelligence that could lead to al-Raymi's capture down the road. Now Raymi released an audio message taunting the U.S. a little bit after the raid, saying that it was a slap in the face of America and kind of talking about President Trump's failure to capture him.

Now, the raid was -- it was a costly one, as you mentioned. It cost the life of a U.S. Navy SEAL. Three additional Navy SEALs were wounded, 14 al Qaeda fighters were killed in a firefight, and some NGO's are estimating up to 23 civilians were killed as a result of the battle.

Now, U.S. military officials say that the intelligence that was gathered is already yielding valuable insights into the terror group, which is considered al Qaeda's most capable franchise in terms of carrying out external attacks on west, like the 2015 Charlie Hebdo office massacre in Paris. U.S. military officials also are saying that while al-Raymi wasn't captured, it's possible that some of the intelligence gathered could lead to his -- finding him down the road and targeting him in additional strikes -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Ryan Browne for us this morning from Washington. Thanks, Ryan.

BERMAN: All right, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota joins us now. Good morning, Alisyn.

ROMANS: Good morning, sunshine.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Good morning, guys. Great to see you. I am holding in my hands the list of the terror attacks that the White House put out yesterday and it is a peculiar list so we're going to be talking about how they compiled this. On this list of what they say the media did not pay attention to are the Bataclan attacks in Paris -- I covered those. The San Bernardino attacks, the Brussels attack -- I was in Brussels to cover that. The Orlando Pulse nightclub attack. Chris and I were there for days.

So, we're going to talk about why the White House put out this list and the alternative reality in which this list was compiled. All of that, plus much more when we see you at the top of the hour.

ROMANS: OK. Chief alternative reality person Alisyn Camerota this morning.

CAMEROTA: Yes, well-equipped.

ROMANS: All right, thanks. Nice to see you. All right, 48 minutes past the hour. Tech giants Facebook and Google are taking on fake news. We'll tell you what the companies are doing ahead of some key European elections this year.


[05:52:40] BERMAN: New questions about where President Trump stands regarding the fighting in Ukraine and how much pressure, if any, he's willing to puton Russia for backing separatists there. Why are we asking this? Well, he seemed to cast doubt on the entire Russian role in the recent fighting. Listen to this.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Within 24 hours of you on the phone with the Russian leader, the pro-Russian forces step up the violence in Ukraine.


O'REILLY: Did you take that as an insult?

TRUMP: No, I didn't because we don't really know exactly what that is. Their pro forces. We don't know -- are they uncontrollable -- are they uncontrolled? That happens, also. We're going to find out. I would be surprised, but we'll see.


BERMAN: Are the uncontrollable? Are they uncontrolled? He's talking about the pro-Russian forces fighting in Ukraine. That language very interesting. I want to get the latest on this from CNN's Phil Black who, I think, joins us live. Yes, now live from Ukraine. So, Phil, when that language is heard where you are where this fighting is taking place what's the reaction?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it represents a huge departure in American policy and it triggers a great deal of fear and concern here on the ground. I'm in Avdiivka, Ukrainian-controlled territory, a front-line town, very much the epicenter of the recent escalation and violence.

Behind me is where an artillery shell landed a few days ago, in front of the home of a 65-year-old woman, blasting off the roof, blowing in the windows. Fortunately, she'd left only about 15 minute earlier. She was lucky. So many other people here were not. Among the dozens killed there have been many civilians. They're fighting knocked-out electricity heating to this region. Thousands of people have been enduring bitterly cold conditions here in the depths of the Ukrainian winter without heat, electricity or running water.

That's been going on here and it all started not long after President Donald Trump spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart. Ever since then both Ukraine and Russia have been accusing each other of triggering this latest escalation. They've both accused each other of trying to trigger some new reaction -- response from the new American president. Here in Ukraine there was already a great deal of concern about Donald Trump's flattery towards President Putin. His talk about perhaps lifting sanctions. His willingness to make a deal of some kind.

Now, for Donald Trump to suggest that those pro-Russian separatists are not controlled by Moscow -- well, that is very much a parroting of Moscow's position which says regularly, it is not a party to this conflict. That is a position that has never been held with any credibility by international governments, particularly Western governments who have long believed that Russia controls arms -- trains those pro-Russian separatists.

[05:55:20] So, for Donald Trump to continue watering down support for the Ukrainian government in this way, the fear on the ground is it will make the Russians more emboldened, the Ukrainians more desperate, and the result could only be greater violence, John.

BERMAN: Phil Black for us. Again, that message about them not being controlled, that means something very, very specific when it's said by the President of the United States. Thanks so much, Phil.

ROMANS: All right. The speaker of the British House of Commons offering up a strong rebuke of President Trump. John Bercow says he is strongly opposed to letting the president address Parliament during his state visit to the U.K. later this year.


JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITAIN'S HOUSE OF COMMONS: Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would, myself, have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump.


ROMANS: Nearly two million people in Britain have signed a petition calling for Trump's visit to be canceled or downgraded.

BERMAN: All right. It is a big day in Boston -- a hard-earned day -- a much deserved day in Boston. The Super Bowl parade -- the Patriots, they will parade down the streets in the duck boats. This, of course, following their incredible upset victory -- come from behind victory in Super Bowl LI. The parade will start in the Back Bay, wind its way to city hall. The police say it's all going to be great.

ROMANS: Yes. Someone stole Tom Brady's jersey. Someone stole your voice. Is it-- is it related?

BERMAN: It's with Tom Brady's jersey.

ROMANS: He's -- all right, 11:00 a.m. in the Back Bay and wind up in the city. All right, thanks for that. Let's get an early start on your money this morning. Week three of the Trump presidency and fights over immigration and travel bans have the market rally on pause. Asian markets closed lower. European markets are up slightly. U.S. futures are flat. I'll be watching Wall Street stocks, frankly -- bank stocks. They did very, very well last week when the president said he was going to start moving toward dismantling Dodd-Frank.

After being criticized for not doing enough to curb fake news during the U.S. presidential race last year, tech giants Facebook and Google, they're taking a different approach in Europe ahead of some really important elections in France and Germany this year. Facebook and Google are unveiling initiatives and tools to slow the spread of online misinformation by flagging false or hoax news articles for readers. Facebook says news stories can be tagged as disputed and plans to show them less frequently on users' newsfeeds when outside news organizations rule them to be false.

Some supporters of President Trump are not happy at all with some of the ads featured during the Super Bowl. Allies of the president are calling for boycotts of several companies including Budweiser, Coca- Cola, Airbnb, KIA, Tiffany. Those company's ads featured messages about multiculturalism, immigration, equality, environmentalism, inclusion.

Beer giants -- beer giant Budweiser's ad showed one of the founders of Anheuser-Busch journeying to the United States as an immigrant, only to be told he was not welcome. And now, a spokesman for Budweiser tells us 78 percent of the social media reaction that company tracked was positive.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "NEW DAY" starts now.


TRUMP: We have to defend our nation and we will do that, believe me.

JOSH SHAPIRO, PA ATTORNEY GENERAL: The executive order is unlawful and unconstitutional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has nothing to do with religion. It's about national security.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We are one vote away. That's all we need.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: They sound like a bunch of crybabies.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Now is the time to put country before party.

TRUMP: The very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it.

SPICER:Protests will get blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn't necessarily get the same coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are tuning in, Mr. President, do your job and stop pointing to the media. It's not the media's fault.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, February 7th, 6:00 here in New York.

Up first, the Trump administration faces its first major legal test today. A federal appeals court will hear arguments on the president's controversial travel ban that his Justice Department says is to protect national security.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Two states are suing the president, supported by briefs from scores of former State Department and government officials and over a dozen attorneys general from major states, all saying Trump's executive order is unconstitutional. President Trump attacking all those who don't agree. Attacking the courts and the media, falsely claiming we underreport terror attacks.

We're now on day 19 of the Trump presidency. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House. Good morning, Joe.