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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Senate Voting Now On Sessions Nomination For Atty. General; Trump's Supreme Court Pick: Attacks On Judges "Demoralizing"; WH: Nordstrom Dropping Ivanka Line A "Direct Attack" On Trump; Sen. Jeff Sessions Just Confirmed As Attorney General; I Wanted to Delay Travel Ban; Was Told No; President Trump: "I Wasn't Kidding" About Border Wall; Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 8, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for me. Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next, breaking news, the senate voting right now on Senator Jeff Sessions nomination for attorney general. We're live on Capitol Hill. And more breaking news. The president Supreme Court picks says President Trump's attacks on judges are demoralizing. More on what he's saying about Trump behind closed doors. Plus, Trump says he's serious about the wall even as his homeland security, his secretary is raising flags.
What's the reality on the ground? We go. Let's go OutFront. Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront this evening. The breaking news. At this moment, the senate voting on the nomination of President Trump's pick for attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, tonight's vote capping off an especially bitter fight marked by allegations of racism. That partisan fight boiling over last night, a stunning moment when the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used a rarely invoked senate rule to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren was reading a 30-year-old letter from Martin Luther King's widow opposing Jeff Sessions' nomination for federal judge. Today an angry Warren spoke out to our Manu Raju.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: You knew it was potentially a violation when they warned you, why not just move on?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I was moving on. I was moving on to talk about the facts of what Jeff Sessions had done when he prosecuted civil rights workers who were trying to help black citizens vote. And I thought quoting Coretta Scott King's letter to the United States Senate about what was absolutely relevant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Manu is OutFront on Capitol Hill for us tonight as we of course starting to see that those votes are coming in, moments away from Sessions' confirmation. Manu, as the senators are voting but despite incredibly vocal opposition from democrats and that Elizabeth Warren moment. RAJU: Yes. He's going to be confirmed. It's just a matter of
moments. We're expecting one democratic senator to vote with the republicans as a Conservative Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. But other than that, democrats strongly opposed that letter that Elizabeth Warren tried to read from the floor yesterday before she was silenced from republicans actually saying that as the U.S. Attorney in Alabama in the early 1980s that Jeff Sessions tried to, "intimidate and frighten elderly black voters."
Now, republicans believe that was an effort to impugn the integrity of a standing United States senate which is why they invoked that rarely used rule. But Erin, I asked Elizabeth Warren, do you think that as attorney general, Jeff Sessions would intimidate and frighten elderly black voters and she said, "Yes." So it just shows how deeply personal this has become. Republicans coming to her defense and coming to Sessions' defense and saying that they have no regrets about silencing Elizabeth Warren because they believe she was out of line. But to no avail this is going to be -- he's going to be confirmed in just a matter of moments as Donald Trump gets most of his cabinet nominees confirmed here, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. As we await that final confirmation, we said incredibly controversial, Jeff Sessions, and of course then the swearing-in. We're waiting to find out exactly whether that happens tonight or in the morning. We have more breaking news. Stunning criticism from Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court about Trump. Jeff Zeleny is OutFront at the White House. And Jeff, we're talking about Judge Gorsuch. What are you learning?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it was only eight days ago that he was nominated here and now we are hearing these sharp words from the judge. Of course, this comes after the president has said so-called judges. He's been going on a firestorm against the judicial branch. Well, tonight of course Judge Gorsuch speaking out in a meeting with a senate democrat here, he's saying he is disheartened by these comments from the president but the president is so focused on that court ruling on his key immigration order.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I've learned a lot in the last two weeks and terrorism is a far greater threat than the people of our country understand. But we're going to take care of it. We're going to win.
ZELENY: Stark words today from President Trump raising the specter of terror threats as he takes legal challenges to his travel ban into the court of public opinion.
TRUMP: I listened to a bunch of stuff last night on television that was disgraceful. It was disgraceful.
ZELENY: At a meeting of police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country, the president lashing out against the judicial branch and a three-judge panel considering challenges to his immigration order.
TRUMP: I don't ever want to call a court biased so I won't call it biased and we haven't had a decision yet, but courts seem to be so political.
ZELENY: The president clearly souring at his first taste of checks and balances in the U.S. Government after judges from the Ninth Circuit court of appeals raised sharp questions Tuesday night over the order restricting travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
JUDGE WILLIAM C. CANBY, JR., NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: Could the president simply say in the order we're not going to let any Muslims in?
ZELENY: Defending his action is a way to protect the nation's security, the president belittled the judges.
TRUMP: A bad high school student would understand this. Anybody would understand this. Suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants.
ZELENY: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to defend the president's tone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kind of disgraceful, is that the type of language --
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that the President, when you look at the U.S. code and how clear it's written and the authority and power it gives the President to do what is necessary to keep this country safe and regulate who comes into this country, I think it's a very, very clear reading, and the President was very, you know, I think he further went on and said, it doesn't matter what level of education you're at, I don't think you could misread this.
ZELENY: So Erin, late in the day, Judge Gorsuch making those comments to Senator Richard Blumenthal in a meeting with him and he said he was demoralized and disheartened by all the comments we saw right there. This could be a bit of strategy here at play as well. If he is to be confirmed which most people believe he will, he does not want to be tied too closely to this president or these comments here. The White House was quick to confirm that the judge made those comments but really the reality here is lawyers here at the White House and at the justice department cringing at some of what their own president was saying here about the judicial branch.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much. And OutFront now, the Independent Senator Angus King who sits on senate intelligence, armed services and budget committee. Senator, thank you for your time. You just heard Judge Gorsuch calling Trump's tweets about the, "so-called judge" in Washington State, disheartening and demoralizing. Does this make you more likely to support Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court?
ANGUS KING, (I) INTELLIGENCE AND ARMED SERVICES COMMIITTEE: Well, I think it's a good -- a good indication that he is going to call them as he sees them. I haven't yet met with him and I'm about to dive into the reading of his opinions as a circuit court judge so I can't say that this changes my mind in any way because my mind isn't made up. But I think it so striking that he was willing to say what he did, which by the way was totally appropriate.
But I think it's important that he would say that today. Apparently the White House didn't deny it. Listen, I used to practice law. The first thing you tell your client is don't talk about the judges before the decisions are in, that's number one. And number two, the utter disrespect for the separation of powers for the constitution, for the independent judiciary to try to delegitimize the courts and use things like so-called judge and anybody with a high school education could make this decision. That's out of bounds. It's inappropriate and it goes to the heart of what our system is supposed to work.
BURNETT: You know, we are watching the vote on Jeff Sessions for attorney general, and I know, and thank you for talking to us, because I know when you're done you'll cast your vote against his nomination.
BURNETT: You along with the democrats, so far have failed to stop any Trump nominee so far. Are you going to succeed in stopping any of them? I know you oppose some of the ones on the docket here.
KING: Well, I've supported a number. I voted for General Mattis and General Kelly, Rex Tillerson, Elaine Chao, but I've also voted against several including last night on Betsy DeVos or the night before. So, you know, I'm calling them as I see -- as I see them. I'm taking them one at a time. Will any of them be rejected? It doesn't look like it. It looks like the republican 52-vote majority is going to stay right where it is. They had to bring in the vice president, first time in history, to take Betsy DeVos across the finish line.
But I think as a practical matter they have the vote and that's what's going to happen, but on the other hand, I think it's important if you think that a nominee is not qualified or is not the appropriate nominee for that job, you've got to say no, and that's what I'm going to do.
BURNETT: So you think that they're all going to -- that they're all going to end up prevailing and not be reject as you say. Last night Senator Warren read a letter from Coretta Scott King. That letter was criticizing Sessions, in her words, reprehensible conduct to black voters. Here's Elizabeth Warren. There were others though who read other parts from the same letter. This is Senator Sanders you see. Three men, three men go on -- go there and read parts from that same letter from Coretta Scott King yet only Senator Warren was reprimanded and told she was not able to speak after doing so. Was this sexist? Do you think this was because of her being a woman?
KING: I don't know if it was directly the cause but you can't avoid the conclusion. And I understand that two or three men read parts of the same letter today and nothing happened. What really bothered me about last night was the selective enforcement of this rule. I've been on the floor and heard a senator call another senator a liar and if that isn't a violation of the rule of not impugning your colleague, I don't know what it is.
And no censure event, no vote, no silencing then and to have suddenly pulled it out last night, and it was a pretty questionable call, I think, the fact that it was a woman, but I think more importantly I just don't think it was appropriate, particularly when it had been ignored in other situations fairly frequently and since I've been around here.
BURNETT: So GOP leadership aides are telling us, Senator that she was doing this to fund raise for her own base, for her political ambitions. Manu Raju, our reporter, as you know, asked her about that today. And here's how she responded.
RAJU: What do you say to some of your critics who think that you are doing this to help position yourself for a possible run in 2020?
WARREN: I say I'm doing my job. It is my constitutional responsibility to debate Jeff Sessions as Attorney General of the United States.
RAJU: That's something --
BURNETT: Do you think, Senator that she did the right thing in reading that letter?
KING: Well, I think it's a close call. And here's an important -- maybe this is too lawyerly, but the whole Rule 19 is about not casting aspersions on a fellow senator in a debate. This is a little different. This is a senator but who's a nominee for the cabinet and how do you talk about a nominee if you don't think they're appropriate without somehow saying some negative things if you think those what the --that's what they were.
But, you know, in terms of the fund raising, what they did to Elizabeth Warren last night was a gift. I have no idea, I haven't seen her today but my guess is it was a bonanza but not because of what she said but because of what they did. I think it was a terrible mistake.
BURNETT: So the Mayor of Chicago, former Obama Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel spoke out today about the situation. You talk about the 52 votes that the republicans haven the senate. He said it's just not going to happen even in midterms, it's not going to happen that democrats are going to take power anytime soon. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, (D) CHICAGO: It ain't going to happen in 2018. Take a chill pill, man. This is a -- you got to be in this for the long haul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course you're an independent. You do caucus with the democrats, though, Senator. Are you powerless against the Trump administration for at least the next four years? If you're also the mayor?
KING: Well, there are a number of items that are going to require 60 votes. Legislative changes, significant legislative changes, a justice of the Supreme Court, that still is going to require some level of bipartisan support. And ultimately I think that's going to be necessary and I think we are going to find our way back to some bipartisanship. This has been a very rough and tumble difficult two weeks and I think we're going to have a little bit more of this. But hopefully we'll be able to get back to working together and finding some solutions.
BURNETT: All right, senator. Well, thank you for being with us and we're watching those votes. I know you're going to go in there and cast your vote on the Sessions nomination. And thanks for your time tonight
KING: Thank you, Erin. Glad to be with you and I'm going to head to the floor right now.
BURNETT: All right. And as we watch that floor vote, we are waiting any moment for that confirmation. We will be bringing that to you. I'm going to squeeze in a quick break. When we come back, the president tweeting, "My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom. The retailer dropped her clothing line. The President of the United States intervenes. Is he abusing the office? Plus, President Trump now says he wanted to wait a month before rolling out his travel ban. Could saying that actually hurt him in court? And comedians around the world with a question for Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be America first. But can we just say the Netherlands second.
BURNETT: Breaking news. A showdown between President Trump and Nordstrom. Escalating tonight after the luxury retailer dropped Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessories line. We've just obtained a new statement from Nordstrom and here is part of what it says. We made this decision based on performance. Over the past year and particularly in the last half of 2016, sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn't make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now.
President Trump though has jumped into this this morning, six days after Nordstrom announced his decision to drop the line. The first time Trump complained, my daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom. She is a great person, always pushing me to do the right thing. Terrible. I don't know what he's admitting when he says that but moments later the official POTUS account retweeted that attack. So it's not just the @realDonaldTrump, but @POTUS which is supposed to be less inflammatory. After White House briefing, the Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended it all.
SPICER: I think this was less of a family business and an attack on his daughter. For someone to take out their concern with his policies on a family member of her -- his is just -- is not acceptable and the president has every right as a father to stand up for them.
BURNETT: OutFront now, Our Senior Political Reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston, Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel. Mark Preston. Mark, this whole thing is shocking.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Is it? I mean, are we -- I guess the -- I was surprised.
BURNETT: I suppose one must have a relative evaluation here. Yes.
PRESTON: Let's put us where we are in the moment in of time. It is -- first of all, it's egregious, it's outrageous and he shouldn't be doing it but it's not shocking in the sense that this is Donald Trump and for all the times that we thought that Donald Trump would turn the corner, Erin, he would act more presidential, we're still waiting and I think we're still going to be waiting on that street corner waiting for him to make that turn. It's never going to happen.
BURNETT: I mean, Jamie, it is of course not surprising, you know, when we say shocking but not surprising that Donald Trump would do this. And yet -- and yet it is. He's taking on a company because the company said his daughter's clothes weren't selling. He's slamming a company. By the way, most companies when you slam them go down in the stock market. I want to note for the record Nordstrom went up four percent today.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: First they went down but they closed up. But look, there are people in the White House who know better and should be saying, stop, slow down, wait, count to ten, don't do this. But reality check. First of all, I'm not sure Donald Trump asked anybody before he did -- he did this. Secondly, there are a lot of new people working for him in the White House who are feeling their way and then there are loyalists who have been there forever who frankly just don't say no to him.
So should there be people who -- just like any CEO who has people around him to say this is good, this is not good, stop, he needs someone to tell him for something like this. He should not be retweeting this on the @POTUS official White House account.
BURNETT: Right. And it does seem that the people who are willing to stand up to him are in the Oval Office every single day. I think that's pretty clear at this point. Nia, Sean Spicer was asked about this in his press briefing today. You know, why? Why would the president attack Nordstrom? Because -- by the way, his daughter supposedly is no longer involved in that fashion brand, right? Supposed to be completely divorced. No interaction whatsoever. Here's how Sean Spicer responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: She's not directly running the company. It's still her name on it and there's clearly efforts that -- to undermine that name based on her father's positions on particular -- on particular policies that he's taken.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: So, Nia, it sounds like what Sean Spicer is trying to say is Nordstrom is dropping the line because it doesn't like Trump or doesn't like Trump's policies. Nordstrom saying no, maybe the people who stop in our store don't like your policies and that's why they're not buying it and it's just not performing financially. Is there any evidence to support what Sean Spicer is saying?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: No. There isn't any evidence, I mean, there is this boycott effort going on online and looking at particular businesses that carry Trump brands and people saying that those stores should be boycotted. But this also just seems to be about fashion, right? The whole idea of that one day you're in and one day you're out. And, you know, here is the president weighing in on this.
Obviously, Ivanka Trump is his daughter but she's also a White House employee now, right? She's representing the country, she's working on behalf of the country. For him to be wading in on this is quite odd and I think it brings to mind all of those conflict of interest concerns that democrats have had, republicans at this point don't seem to have those concerns. But, you know, it doesn't do him any favors. I still don't think it does his daughter any favors either.
I mean, she's trying to in some ways cultivate her own brand, separate from the Trump brand in some ways, I mean, sort of have it both ways, both -- I think profit from the Trump brand but also be something different. So, I don't think this does her any favors or for him to be this sort of helicopter dad commenting on the clothes she sell. And remember, these are clothes that are made in China, right? And sold in these stores. And this also doesn't seem to be of great concern to Donald Trump either.
BURNETT: Well, you know, Jamie, I want to get back to this issue. It's not just that he's spending time getting angry about this and actually tweeting about it and no one telling him not to do it. Serious issue. But you raised the secondary and equally serious issue which is that -- so he either tweeted himself or he had -- he dictated and someone tweeted, problem number one. Problem two, @POTUS retweeted. Let's talk about that.
That means people who are tasked with the sole responsibility of managing the formal outward facing account as President of the United States thought in their judgment that this was appropriate to retweet.
GANGEL: right. And it's not. And I spoke to -- look, he's gone to a war with the department store and in the end their stock went up. But I spoke to a CEO of a big company today, a republican, who said from a business point of view, this is a nightmare. To have the power of the White House, and that's -- @POTUS is the White House, that's official, going after you is --
BURNETT: For a personal reason. For personal reason.
GANGEL: Is potentially a nightmare. Businesses do not like unpredictable. This is very unpredictable. I just -- I don't know who retweets @POTUS. We put the question to the White House. We haven't heard back. But the head of White House social media is Dan Scavino who has worked for Trump, known him since he was a teenager, a very loyal person. I don't know whether he was involved at all, but the @POTUS account, there needs to be a firewall between these two accounts.
BURNETT: I just want to note, the breaking news here on your screen, Jeff Sessions has been confirmed as Attorney General of the United States, a-52-47 vote as you see on your screen. Jeff Sessions will be the Attorney General of the United States. Awaiting details on when that swearing-in will happen. A crucial position given what is happening at the Department of Justice right now. Mark Preston, when this comes though to what happened to Nordstrom, right?
The stock ended up going up. The president has been waging these individual wars against companies. And so far most of them at least have been bringing jobs back to America. Still concerning because it's a president going after singular companies, but this is obviously completely different. And this is the kind of thing that gives fodder to those who say that he is running an autocratic more Putinesque- style government.
PRESTON: And there's probably some truth to that actually. You know, when we talk about the POTUS account, just to put in a perspective for our viewers, that's 15.1 million people had an opportunity to see Donald Trump tweet from a federally taxpayer government Twitter account where he would defend his daughter and talk about her line. That's outrageous. You know, to your point, we talk about how Nordstrom stock rebounded. This happened very early in the day. It had time to rebound.
But Erin, for someone like yourself who has covered Wall Street extensively for many years, what if this had happened at 3:52 p.m. Eastern Time, right before the market closed? It probably would have had no time to rebound. And then that's the big question, and to the CEO that spoke to Jamie, just think about it. If you are a CEO of a business and you have the president attacking your company, what can you do? You're in a no-win situation. The lines are absolutely blurred and he really needs to -- really needs to take control of himself and not do things like this.
BURNETT: Right. And start -- and start seeing perhaps the power of his office in a way he doesn't even when it comes to the judiciary, right? Sees himself as a businessman where they're the guy against you as opposed to part of governing this great nation. Thank you all.
And next, the man some say could take down Donald Trump, he is my guest right here OutFront. And only on OutFront, a reality check on the border wall.
TRUMP: A lot of people say, oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall. I wasn't kidding. I don't kid.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:30:22] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: President Trump claiming tonight that he wanted to wait a month to roll out his controversial travel ban. He says his advisers told him that wasn't possible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The law enforcement people said to me, oh, you can't a notice because if you gave notice, if you're going to be really tough, one month from now, or one week from now, I suggested a month and I said, well, what about a week? They said, no, you can't do that, because then people are going to pour in before the toughness --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It comes as the White House anxiously awaits a decision on the fate of the travel ban from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT.
Pamela, some people thought that decision could come really immediately after the arguments last night. Pretty significant whichever way it's going to go, that they've waited this long.
Could the remarks that President Trump is now making impact the ruling?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, anything he says right now since he's part of this lawsuit could be used against him essentially by the other side in the sense these states of Washington state and Minnesota. You've already heard them do that. In fact, yesterday, during the oral hearings, they talked about the comments made on the campaign trail about the Muslim ban and what other Trump surrogates have said to make their case that this executive order is discriminatory.
And so, what they could do now is use those comments that President Trump made that he had asked for a delay, he wanted a grace period with the implementation to bolster the argument that this was a sloppily put together executive order, that this was a hastily done, and so that could be something we see moving forward, Erin.
BURNETT: And, Pamela, you know, let's say the Trump White House wins, right? They prevail in the Washington state case, that's not it now, right? You have state after state attorney generals filing other challenges that would do the same thing, right?
BROWN: Right. In fact, just tonight, 17 attorneys general filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia against the executive order, asking for a nationwide injunction of the executive order. People may be wondering, well, why is that? Well, basically, they want to be prepared. It's part of this strategy for people opposed to this executive order in case the circuit court decides to let the ban reinstate it, they want to make sure these other lawsuits that we're see across the country are still moving forward and accomplish the same thing that Washington state judge, who as we know halted the ban -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who, of course, is one of the attorneys general tonight.
You just filed that amicus brief supporting Virginia.
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Right.
BURNETT: You also, of course, filed in Washington. President Trump today said he is confident he is going to win. How worried are you that he could be right?
SCHNEIDERMAN: After watching the argument last night, it seemed that the judges were honed in on precisely the right issues, and that, frankly, Trump's lawyers were unable to respond to some very fundamental questions. The judges honed right in on the most constitutionally offensive part of this order, which has a lot of constitutional problems, but really was this violation of the Establishment Cause that prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another and from discriminating based on religion. So, they honed in on that.
The government's lawyers really couldn't answer the question when they said, are you saying the government -- the president could ban, issue an order banning all Muslims and they couldn't really answer that question. So, I think what we're looking at is a court that is very focused in on the power of the judiciary to review presidential action and on his power to enact discriminatory orders.
BURNETT: OK. As you point out the court here, at least on the constitutional issue is whether it discriminates against Muslims. Flentje, the lawyer for the Department of Justice, did have some issues answering those questions but so did Noah Purcell, the solicitor general of Washington. He was under some intense questioning by Judge Clifton on whether this actually is a Muslim ban at all.
Here's that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE RICHARD CLIFTON, NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: The seven countries encompass only I think a relatively small percentage of Muslims. I mean, do you have any information as to what percentage or what proportion of the adherence to Islam worldwide are citizens or residents of those countries? My quick penciling suggests something less than 15 percent.
NOAH PURCELL, WASHINGTON STATE SOLICITOR GENERAL: I have not done that math, your honor.
CLIFTON: I have trouble understanding why we're supposed to infer religious animus when in fact the vast majority of Muslims would not be affected as residents of those nations. And where the concern for terrorism with those connected with radical Islamic sects is kind of hard to deny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:35:02] BURNETT: He says he has trouble understanding why someone would call this a Muslim ban. The vast majority of Muslims are not affected by it.
SCHNEIDERMAN: I understand and I think it was a very well-honed question by a smart judge. But the Establishment Clause prohibits you from favoring one religion over another even if you're only doing it in a few locations. You cannot discriminate against people based on religion
BURNETT: Even if it's one person or one mosque.
SCHNEIDERMAN: One mosque, right? I mean, one location, you're not allowed to favor one religion over another. As the argument moved on they came back to that point.
As to the intent of the order, I think the judges were very well- focused on the fact there is language in the order that indicates it's directed at Muslims, language refers to honor killings or preferences for religious minorities from these countries and they also went outside the order and looked at statements that Trump has made outside of the order --
BURNETT: During the campaign.
SCHNEIDERMAN: Not during the cam pin. On the same day he issued the order, he said I'm going to keep radical Islamic terrorists out. So, he threw Islam in on the same day he issued the order. And other people in the Trump administration and around him have made similar comments.
BURNETT: So, you have been persistent about pursuing Donald Trump on legal issues, right? There's the Trump University lawsuit which you filed. You investigated his charitable foundation.
The other day, "Politico" ran a headline about you, your picture and it said, "Will this man take down Donald Trump?" There you are.
Do you think you could build a case to do that right now?
SCHNEIDERMAN: I -- all due regard, I think people who write headlines a tend to get a little hyperbolic at times. We're not out to take down Donald Trump. We're out to enforce the law and that has to be made very clear. I mean, we investigate for-profit colleges that rip people off and foundations that don't follow the rules and we defend the Constitution.
If someone is going to discriminate based on religion, we have to go -- we have no choice but to go after them. But also, it's important to recognize this is not me. This is attorneys general all over the country as you note.
BURNETT: Yes. SCHNEIDERMAN: In Virginia, we just filed a brief, 17 supporting the Virginia attorney general. Large number has filed a brief supporting Bob Ferguson in Washington, Lori Swanson from Minnesota in the Washington case.
So, this is attorneys general all over the country looking at a blatant violation of the Constitution and saying you've got to stop this. All that's at issue is a stay of certain portions of the order while we get to other parts of the order that have even bigger constitutional problems in my view.
BURNETT: OK. All of that may be true. But those who criticize you, Donald Trump being of course the loudest out there, he has criticized you many times, he called you a political hack at one point, right? You donated money to Hillary Clinton. You served as a member of her New York leadership council. This came up during the campaign again and again and again during the campaign when you were pursing some of these avenues.
Is any of this personal?
SCHNEIDERMAN: No, not at all. And again, I represent the people of the state of New York and I represent a lot of people who are hurt by this ban. I represent people who had to make a choice between keeping their jobs and getting back to their families who were separated by this ban.
It is unprecedented to say -- even people who hold legitimate visas going through the vetting process. That's void. You can't get in in that. They're hurting the people in the state of New York. They're hurting our institutions, our colleges, our hospitals, our finance industry, our tech industry.
I represent those people. I have no choice but to go and pursue this.
BURNETT: Quickly, do you have a person who is an American citizen or green cardholder who actually lost their job, you can prove irreparable harm right now? Do you actually have that person?
SCHNEIDERMAN: There's irreparable harm to people who had travel plans cancelled to go visit --
BURNETT: But they're not talking about people with U.S. constitutional protection.
SCHNEIDERMAN: With U.S. constitutional protection, yes. Initially, this was interpreted, again, this comes to this issue of why it was rushed out so quickly and I can't quite keep up with the arguments that keep coming out, because this was issue so quickly with so little notice, there were people in transit. And frankly, we had people out at Kennedy Airport and there were lawyers trying to seek to deport detainees and it became clear there were inconsistent instructions given to the people on the ground.
So, yes, there was irreparable harm to New Yorkers who couldn't travel for important purposes, who canceled plans to travel for important purposes --
BURNETT: So, you're -- I'm just saying on this issue, because this came up yesterday, you are confident that you're going to be able to put out individuals, U.S. citizens, green cardholders, who can say, I was irreparably harmed. You have those people in hand.
SCHNEIDERMAN: And the Establishment Clause provides irreparable harm, automatically, because there's no monetary compensation for being discriminated against because of your religion. That is clear constitutional law.
But the state issue raised by the court in the 9th Circuit is that states have their own proprietary interests. Our state universities, our state hospitals, we have institutions that are harmed by this.
BURNETT: That's an argument that they made yesterday. All right.
SCHNEIDERMAN: And the court seemed to be sympathetic. It's a consistent with constitutional law. The main point here is attorneys general all over America are standing up for the people we represent. People are suffering and we're out to protect them.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Attorney General Schneiderman. I appreciate your time.
And next, a story you will only see OUTFRONT, rare footage of the U.S.-Mexico border.
[19:40:02] Wait until you see this. Trump, of course, today saying he is dead serious about that wall.
And Jeanne Moos with late-night comics around the world lining up to mock Trump. If America is first, can we be second?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Denmark loves you. Forget the Netherlands. They're a disaster, OK, and Holland, too, total disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump saying he's not kidding about a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. It's being designed right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It will be a real wall and a lot of things will happen positively for your cities, your states, believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But some people who live along the border, even Trump supporters, don't believe him.
Ed Lavandera already has traveled along the U.S.-Mexico border, all 1,933 miles, in the air, underground, on the river. He's OUTFRONT.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The idea of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border isn't terribly popular in border communities, even among Trump supporters like Greg Henington. He runs an outdoor adventure business in the remote big bend region of West Texas.
[19:45:03] Henington calls the border wall idea "ludicrous."
GREG HENINGTON, FAR FLUNG OUTDOOR CENTER: The wall is not going to make a difference one way or another. It's just going to cost a ton of money and look dumb.
LAVANDERA: Speaking to the National Sheriffs' Association, Donald Trump vowed again the wall is coming.
TRUMP: The wall is getting designed right now. A lot of people say, oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall -- I wasn't kidding. I don't kid. I don't kid.
LAVANDERA: At times, it appears Trump still envisions moving quickly to build a solid border wall, running seamlessly from South Texas to southern California.
TRUMP: We will have a wall, it will be a great wall, and it will do a lot of -- it will be a big help.
LAVANDERA: But it's not clear if Trump's vision will become reality. In a congressional hearing Tuesday, Trump's Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the wall will likely be built in pieces and there may be gaps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is President Trump's promise to build a 2,000-mile big beautiful wall that will cost $14 billion and paid for by Mexico a viable option?
JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The president, Congressman, has tasked me to take a look at what we need in the southwest border. So, there's not one single solution. But, for sure, in my opinion, barriers and patrolling of the southwest border is a big part of it.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Along the nearly 2,000 mile southern U.S. border, there is about 700 miles of fencing and barricades already in place. Here in Sasabe, Arizona, this steel, see-through fence stretches for several miles. But as you approach the end of town, it abruptly comes to an end, like these border fences often do, as it stretches out into rugged, remote terrain in the Arizona desert.
(voice-over): In the past, Donald Trump has said he wants the wall to be a solid, impenetrable wall, unlike what exists in most parts of the border today.
(on camera): This is the Rio Grande Valley.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Rio Grande Valley.
LAVANDERA: And this is a common sight here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is very common sight. So this is the wall that George Bush built us. Ha, ha. The fence.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Secretary Kelly says federal agents on the ground want barriers they can see through, not solid walls Trump has talked about, and that there are some areas that might not need a wall at all.
KELLY: We're not going to build it all in an afternoon. So, we'll build it in the places that people that work that border say we need it right now. Maybe there are some places that are too rugged to put a wall and we cover that with patrolling and technology.
BURNETT: And, Eddie, you join -- you're live in Dallas. Is there a disconnect between the president and the rest of his administration on this? Because you saw the people who live on the boarder, some of them, Trump supporters, saying that they just don't think it's going to work. They don't think it's realistic.
LAVANDERA: Right. There seems to be. Donald Trump speaking about this seems to continue to talk about this grand vision of this impenetrable wall that seems to suggest that it's a long concrete barrier, very different from what Secretary Kelly was talking about in that hearing, and he's been making several trips down to border regions speaking with federal agents on the ground there. And as you heard in the report talking very differently about what the agents on the ground would like to see. One interesting thing, Erin, Donald Trump didn't talk about who would pay for it today.
BURNETT: Well, yes, right. Obviously that would be a huge shift.
But, you know, Ed, in all the reporting you've done, I think some of the most fascinating stuff has been the ladders you've found, that you've gone underneath where there's a wall. There are so many ways to get around the wall, because a lot of people forget what you've been showing us which is there's already hundreds of miles of a wall there.
LAVANDERA: Yes, there are. As close to 700 miles in all, so the question becomes Secretary Kelly says there are portions where he's heard from agents talking about they could use ten miles here, 20 miles there, if they would like that done as quickly as possible.
But what they have, people on the ground will tell you is that as these walls have gone up, the people moving drugs and people trying to sneak across the border have always adapted and found different ways of doing this.
Secretary Kelly talked extensively about -- when asked directly about whether or not this would be one seamless wall, kept going back to this idea of a multilayered defense where there would be border patrol agents backing up these walls, aerial reconnaissance and ground sensors and that sort of thing.
But little talk on his part on whether or not a seamless wall would be realistic.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Eddie.
Ed's amazing reporting for us along the U.S.-Mexico border will air in a special this weekend. It's called "Before the Wall: A Journey on the Border." It is truly stunning stuff, incredible stuff. If you haven't seen it all on the show, make sure you watch Saturday afternoon at 2:30.
Next, Jeanne Moos on comics mocking Trump and pitching their countries to be second best.
[19:50:02] Here's Switzerland's pitch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sexist country in Europe. Look at those mountains. Those big fat mountains.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Trump promises to put America first but who wants to be second? Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When President Trump laid down his policy --
TRUMP: America first.
MOOS: Who knew he'd set off a competition?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Switzerland second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Denmark second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Italy second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kazakhstan second. Not the stupid Netherlands.
MOOS: The Netherlands started the trend when a Dutch comedy show --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear, Mr. President --
MOOS: -- created a video introducing the Netherlands to President Trump and begging.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We totally understand it's going to be America first. But can we just say Netherlands second?
MOOS: Comedy shows from other countries followed suit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We, the Danish people, not the pastry.
MOOS: -- extolling their attributes. For instance, Switzerland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sexiest country in Europe. Look at those mountains. We're not flat like the Netherlands.
MOOS: Many of the videos featured Trump impersonators like Greg Shapiro.
[19:55:04] GREG SHAPIRO, TRUMP IMPERSONATOR: His eyes are never fully open and his mouth is never fully closed.
MOOS: Organizers set up a website, "Who wants to be second?"
Has this ever happened before? Late-night comedy shows unite in a global comedy campaign.
A German host seemed to be one of the ringleaders.
JAN BOHMERMANN, HOST, NEO MAGAZIN ROYALE: When the whole world is standing up to make fun of you --
MOOS: The German video mocked Trump and Germany's own history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Germany hosted two World Wars in the last 100 years. They were the best World Wars in the world. And we won both of them, bigly. Anyone who says anything else is fake news.
MOOS: Slovenia chimed in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our country is only 25 years old now, so you should totally date her.
MOOS: Even Mars?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If America blows up, second to America on Mars?
MOOS: President Trump is making America first among targets for comedians.
Jeanne Moos --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's make Lithuania third.
MOOS: -- CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we just say Bulgaria second? OK. Russia second. But can we at least be in the top ten?
MOOS: -- New York.
MOOS: All right. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MOOS: And thank you all so much for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow.
"AC360" starts now.