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Around 360 Arrested in ICE "Enforcement Surge"; Tempers Flare Over Obamacare at GOP Town Halls; U.S. Official: Flynn, Russian Ambassador Discussed Sanctions; Interview with Mark Meadows; ICE Immigration Raids Outrage Lawyers, Advocacy Groups; Confirmation of Russian Dossier that Trump Team Called Fake. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 11, 2017 - 17:00   ET


[16:59:33] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour on a Saturday, I'm Ana Cabrera in the CNN NEWSROOM and we began with hundreds of undocumented immigrants taken from their homes and workplaces, millions more bracing for a knock on the door. Afraid they'll be next. Federal officials insist these raids which have swept across half a dozen states this week alone aren't rounding people up. But we can tell you that some 360 people have been taken into custody by immigration and customs agents.

And deportations have been swift with more than three dozen of those arrested in California already sent back to Mexico. Now the arrests have sparked outrage. We're starting to see protests in some cities like this one happening outside the White House. Lawyers and advocacy groups say this is just the start of the increased performance that President Trump has promised.

But I want to be crystal clear here. Government officials say, these raids that we're witnessing were initially planned under the Obama administration. And administration that holds the record in fact for the most deportations. The Secretary of Homeland Security says right now what we're witnessing is simply business as usual.

Let's get out to CNN's Polo Sandoval. Polo, before we talk about some of the push-back, talk us through the scope of these raids.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And Ana, it's very important to clarify also some more information that the government is offering here. In saying that many of these individuals that have been detained across the country, and some major cities across the country, were individuals whose cases made their way through U.S. courts and in many cases also in some other foreign courts. And individuals who were convicted of major and also violent crimes. So the government quick to point out that for example out of those roughly 160 people, that were detained, in the California alone, some of which have already been deported, were individuals who had convictions for crimes like drug trafficking for example.

There was an El Salvadorian man who had been -- who was a suspected member of the ruthless street gang MS-13 and there was also an Australian individual who had been convicted of improprieties for the child. So, that's a point that I think officials are making. So, as you mentioned a little while ago, the head of the Department of Homeland Security stressing that these kinds of operations, these detentions and removal operations are not uncommon.

CABRERA: Now, these raids are sparking a lot of anger and angst in a lot of cities.


CABRERA: But we do know according to all the officials we've heard from, within ICE, that these raids were originally planned under Obama, right?

SANDOVAL: Absolutely.

CABRERA: What's been the push-back from ICE and the Trump administration?

SANDOVAL: Yes. Absolutely. And in fact, we saw a pretty passionate protest take place outside of the ICE Immigrant Detention Center here in Phoenix just earlier this week. And what we've seen here is people are clearly frustrated. Of course many of them their frustration go all the way back to the Obama administration. You recall that of course many of these pro-migrant groups, even developed a nickname for now former President Obama, the deporter-in-chief.

So, it's important to point out that many of the concerns that go all the way back to the previous administration. But what we're seeing now under the Trump administration, some of his cabinet members, including his Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security John Kelly, is making very clear of what these operations are really all about. This is some of the latest comments from the Secretary.


JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well first of all, they're not rounding anyone up. The people that ICE apprehend are people who are, illegal and then some. ICE is executing the law.


SANDOVAL: You know these comments from the secretary likely going to do very little though for some of these pro-migrant groups that are taking to the streets in protest. I spoke to many of them here in the Phoenix area in the last few days. They are concerned that perhaps now the Donald Trump administration could be grouping some of these nonviolent offenders with the violent offenders and making them a priority as well. Leading to some of these deportations -- Ana.

CABRERA: Right. Polo Sandoval, thank you.

President Trump may issue a brand new travel ban next week. This after a federal appeals court unanimously upheld a suspension of the President's first ban.

Let's go to Athena Jones, now CNN's White House correspondent joining the first couple and the Prime Minister of Japan who is here visiting as well. The winter White House, President Trump's resort in Palm Beach Florida. Athena, what more do you know about the President's next move on this


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana, well, this is interesting. The President came back to the press cabin on Air Force One very early in the flight down here yesterday and we used the opportunity to pepper him with questions. I asked him about the immigration ban and also this new security measures he promised that could come as early as next week. He stressed that he believes the administration would ultimately be successful in any court battle over this immigration ban. But that that could take a while. And so, he has a lot of other options, here's more of what he had to say on that.


PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES: We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily. It takes some time, but we will win that battle. But we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that your plan?

TRUMP: Could very well be. But I would like to surprise you. We need speed for reasons. So it could very well be that we do that.


JONES: Now, I am not sure if you could hear that, that reporter following up on my question who asked, is that your plan? Is that what you're going to do? File the new order on Monday. And he said, I would like to keep you in suspense basically. But he's in later say, it could come Monday or it could come Tuesday. He was also asked what would you change about the order in any future order and he said very little.

Which we all thought was an interesting answer and then on the measures, on these new security measures that he promised, he wouldn't expand much beyond what he said in the press conference. Saying simply that there will be extreme vetting and that he's going to make sure that the people coming into our country are coming in for good reasons -- Ana.

[17:05:33] CABRERA: So, Athena, obviously the focus has been on this travel ban recently. But President Trump has been juggling a lot of different things, including hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Florida resort this weekend. What have they been up to today?

JONES: That is right. It's been a busy day, a day of golf diplomacy as we could put it. The President and Prime Minister spent about four hours on the links at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter. We know from a source that the two shared the golf cart together. That a South African pro-golfer Ernie Els was part of the group. We know that the President was wearing a white Make America Great Again hat. Perhaps not surprisingly.

He also tweeted a picture of himself high-fiving the Japanese Prime Minister. After that golf outing, the pair headed to a second Trump National Golf Course, this one in West Palm Beach for a somewhat mysterious couple of hours. The White House isn't saying what they were doing there. The presumption is they were having lunch. We're still awaiting word on that. But the next thing up on the schedule for the pair of them is going to be delegation dinner tonight. In a few hours. A wider, broader dinner than the one last night between the Trumps, the Abes and the Patriots owner Robert Kraft -- Ana.

CABRERA: Athena Jones, I can't help but feel envious of where you are right now. That your background is beautiful. As I'm coming to you from frigid New York this afternoon. Thank you so much.


Let's talk more about the travel ban, about some of this immigration raids that we're seeing.

Joining me now, Ron Brownstein, is the senior editor of "The Atlantic." Jack Kingston, former senior adviser with the Trump campaign and former Republican Congressman in Georgia. Also with us, A. Scott Bolden, former chairman of Washington, D.C.'s Democratic Party.

So, Ron I'm going to start with you. If the White House does issue a brand new ban as has been suggested, do you think that's an acknowledgement that they may be didn't put enough thought into the original order?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's an acknowledgement that they hit a dead end if they do that. But it's not clear that ends any of the -- that fundamentally changes the dynamic here because I think it very unlikely if you look at the coalition of states, Minnesota and Washington, obviously the forefront. But what 16 other Democratic control states, a coalition of over 100 leading businesses, including most of the marquee names in the tech industry, from Apple to Google to Facebook who have sued to block this.

It's hard to see how they could re-craft the executive order in a way that meets the goals of the administration has set and still, and yet does not convince those groups that it still running afoul of statute and constitutional limits. So, I think whatever they do, the odds are high, they're going to end up back in court, back in front of the same justices and panels and we are going to be going through this again through the rest of this month.

CABRERA: Congressman, a Trump administration official tells the "L.A. Times" that the administration is considering a potential ban on new refugees and new visas from those seven countries. So everyone with existing visas and refugee status would be allowed into the U.S. So, do you think -- would that be enough to satisfy Trump's political base?

JACK KINGSTON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I think it would be. I mean, this is all about National Security. And as you know, the section of the law, 1182 says that the President and the President alone can make the determination about letting people in and out of the country. It's not the prerogative of judges, it's not the prerogative of Congress. It's a 1952 law which he is abiding by. But I believe and I want to get to something Ron said. I think there's something like 47 different cases around the country about this.

It would appear to me if it does go to the Supreme Court, they would want to consolidate it and settle this once and for all. But I would think the fastest thing would be to just issue another executive order. Take care of professional travelers, known travelers. Give them sort of a pre-check. Clearance, if you have a green card, if you have an existing visa. But in terms of new people, I think it's a lot easier for the President to take that route as long as it takes care of the National Security concerns that he has.


CABRERA: Go ahead.

BOLDEN: Yes. Ana, if I may, it's simply not enough though. There's not a ban that the President can issue any executive order to fix this. Because until the United States government can answer this one question, the Ninth Circuit ask, the Federal Districts courts ask. Give us the evidence that people coming from these seven countries have done harm or will do harm to the U.S. There's got to be a rational connection.

[17:10:05] KINGSTON: But Scott, they don't have to do that.

BOLDEN: If I may, they've got to show a compelling state interest that is narrowly tailored to fit that executive order.

KINGSTON: They do not, Scott.

BOLDEN: And by the way, the government's only response to that question, that's been posed over and over again, has been that the judiciary, the third branch of this government does not have the authority to review Trump's executive orders. That's been rejected repeatedly by the courts around this country. And so I think --

KINGSTON: The one in Massachusetts.

BOLDEN: They're probably going to have to go to the Supreme Court and deal with this but at a four-four piece on both sides, that law issued by the Ninth Circuit, that decision is going to live. And so, I don't think the order can be fixed.

CABRERA: So Scott, the original ban, did lead to a divided America. I mean 47 percent were in favor of it. However majority were not in favor of it. So a large amount of people here in this country thought that the idea of extreme or more extreme vetting, some of those points that were brought up in the discussion of this ban, may be weren't so bad. Do you think there could be a new legal ban that would be supported by a majority of Americans?

BOLDEN: I think all Americans, Democrats or Republicans are up for national security and a safer America. They're also for the constitution and what makes this America great that I know my beloved country and that there is due process, there is no religious discrimination, and that we have a president for all people. The problem with Donald Trump's executive bans is that he can't meet that legal standard. Because it's simply a pronouncement that I either believe that these countries have people that are dangerous to the United States, but there's no evidence to support that and so whatever ban he puts together --

KINGSTON: But Scott, Scott, Scott.

BOLDEN: -- if I may. Whatever ban he puts together has got to meet legal muster.


BOLDEN: And I can't think of one after 30 years in the law. I can't think of one that would meet legal muster based on the Ninth Circuit --


CABRERA: Is there an example, Congressman? Is there an example Congressman that you can provide or evidence that proves that ban is making people safer?

KINGSTON: Okay. Well, let me say two things. And I'm going to answer that question. Number one, the 1952 law does not say that the President has to provide judges with this information. Now to answer your question, yes, the Judiciary Committee has cited 60 different people who have been arrested for planning plots of terrorism that come from these seven countries of concern. These seven countries of concern were designated by Barack Obama's administration. This was not a Trump thing. This was not a Muslim thing as the left likes to say. If it was a --

BOLDEN: It's an illegal thing though --

KINGSTON: Forty six countries they would have enumerated. I think that the Left likes to ignore the fact that there are bad actors here, but there's not proper documentation. We don't have a police force in Yemen or Somalia. Or Libya that says, oh, here's our documents. So, you know, there's no such thing as a trumped-up or a fake passport from Libya, for crying out loud.

CABRERA: We're going down a little bit here. We're going into the weeds here, guys. Let's turn to the immigration raids that we're seeing, as well because that is something that is fresh this weekend. And I want to turn this question to you, Ron, bring you back into the conversation here.


CABRERA: One official says planning for the operation in California for example began when President Obama was still in the White House.


CABRERA: So, does that make it tougher or should it make it tougher for Democrats to criticize what we're seeing now, these raids across the U.S.?

BROWNSTEIN: By the way, to button up the previous point real quick. The Ninth Circuit was very clear that there's just not enough information on a lot of these questions. They need a trial record to answer a lot of these issues that we are debating. And that is something they very clearly, you know, urge. Now, on this, I think it is too early to say exactly what is happening. We don't know enough about who is being targeted in these raids to know whether it's materially different from where President Obama ended up.

Now he started off with a very broad net and as you said he was called the deporter-in-chief, deported more people over his two terms than anyone ever. But by his second term had narrowed the focus through their guidance, to focus on people that convicted of serious crimes, gang members and those who are deemed a threat to national security. Now President Trump on January 25th signed an executive order that significantly widened the net at least on paper. It said that their targets could be someone who is convicted of any crime. Someone who had been charged with any crime and someone who had committed an act that has violated the law even if they hadn't been charged.

The L.A. Times analyzed that and said that would include as priorities, eight million of the 11 million people who are here undocumented. That's what the source of anxiety is. So, we don't know whether in fact these initial raids reflect that kind of broader net. But again, I think that is why people are uneasy. The other reason by the way is that three of the places that were targeted here, Atlanta, Austin and Los Angeles are all places where the local officials have indicated they did not intend to cooperate with an stepped-up effort at deportation and it may be viewed as the administration possibly sending a signal to those cities as well.

[17:15:18] CABRERA: All right. Got to go, guys. Ron Brownstein, Jack Kingston, and A. Scott Bolden, thank you all for joining me.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

KINGSTON: Thank you.

CABRERA: Up next, furious raw emotions erupting, not on immigration, not on the travel ban, but on something else. Congress members holding meetings with American voters and are facing this.



This is what democracy looks like!

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Why people are screaming down their Republican representatives back home. We're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:19:13] CABRERA: Raw emotion on display at Republican town halls all across the country as people share their concerns about the future of their health care. Listen to this sampling from several of those encounters that began Thursday, with Representative Jason Chaffetz's town hall in Utah.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut the hell up!


This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to have coverage, so make sure that I don't die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If everyone here has had great points, we all want health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the problems I have with the Affordable Health Care Act. Number one, there's a provision in there that anyone over the age of 74, has to go before what is effectively a death panel.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they do! Yes, they do!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am 77 years old. And I think it's unconscionable for this politician to tell me that at 74, I will be facing death penalties. Panels. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if you'll be quiet and give me an opportunity, I'll speak or would you rather just for you to yell and scream and holler? Is that what you want? Okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every American should have health care coverage. Would you agree? Okay. You're wrong! Okay, children. All right, children.


CABRERA: All right. CNN's Boris Sanchez was there at that town hall in New Port Richie, Florida. Boris, it looked like it got pretty heated in there.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It definitely did, Ana. I should tell you though, it wasn't quite as heated as some of these town halls that we've seen over the previous week. Especially that one with Senator Jason Chaffetz, here for the most part the crowd was respectful of the representative that showed up. Gus Bilirakis, he is the representative from the 12th District here in Florida. He won a resounding victory in November. And he had voted against funding the Affordable Care Act before. So he kind of knew he was walking in to some serious opposition from the crowd.

But they mostly thanked him for allowing them to voice their opinions and for listening to what they had to say. Most of the anger and the vitriol was exchanged between the supporters of the Affordable Care Act and those that were looking to have it repealed. You saw some of that there. A real debate over these quote-unquote, "death panels" that several independent fact-checking organizations have debunked in the past. But that debate continues into today, despite the fact that the Representative Bilirakis said that he was here to listen to his constituents, he said it was his duty to listen to his constituents.

As I've mentioned before, he's been pretty outspoken in being against the Affordable Care Act. So, I asked several people here, if they thought that this would really make a difference on his position. One voter, a doctor, actually told me that he thought this was just for show. Despite that, a representative for the congressman says that it's really about duty to listen to his constituents and hopefully some of the input that he heard here today would lead to some kind of legal blueprint, a plan to eventually repeal and then replace ObamaCare with -- Ana.

CABRERA: Now, does Bilirakis plan on having more of these town halls, do you know?

SANCHEZ: Well, he actually had one last week that we saw similar fireworks in. This one was a little bit bigger by anywhere between 50 to 75 people or so. He's expected to have one in the near future within the next week and from what we understand, he's expecting to again, be met with confrontation at the next one.

CABRERA: And are the town halls specifically to talk about ObamaCare? Or that's just what people want to talk about?

SANCHEZ: Yes. These were designed by GOP lawmakers to get face time with their constituents, to talk to them specifically about their position on the Affordable Care Act. But as you've seen with some of the ones, especially that one in Utah with Jason Chaffetz, the speakers have a broad range of topics. Some of the heaviest applause today came from a woman who said that she was disappointed that the Trump administration seemingly was looking to disband or make the EPA less effective. That drew a ton of applause here. So, we've heard a variety of issues from these constituents. Of course at the center of it is this disagreement about what to do with health care.

CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez reporting again for us from Florida. Thank you so much.

Coming up. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the hot seat after new revelations about his conversation with the Russian ambassador before the inauguration. What they discussed and the potential repercussions at the White House.


[17:27:48] CABRERA: This weekend the White House is dealing with controversy around National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The General who is at the right hand of the President, we're learning details about what Flynn said to the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in a phone call before President Trump's inauguration. Now what they talked about and the timing of the call, all under scrutiny today.

Here's our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well Ana, we know that Mike Flynn communicated with Russia's ambassador to Washington several times after the election before President Trump took office. He insisted those conversations did not include U.S. sanctions against Russia, now is backing away from that denial. And a close aide now says that plan, quote, "Has no recollection of discussing sanctions." But couldn't be certain that the topic never came up.

But a U.S. official confirms Flynn's communication with the Russian ambassador included discussions of sanctions, during at least one phone call. Now U.S. Law Enforcement and intelligence officials told CNN last month that investigators were monitoring calls, between Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the content of those calls were was captured during routine East dropping on Russian diplomats and was concerning.

And at the same time, the Russia was conducting a broader investigation of Russian activities in the U.S. An official who spoke to CNN at the time stressed no determination of wrong doing on Flynn's part had been made. But now the White House is saying, it is troubled by Flynn's back-pedaling and it's a problem for Vice President Mike Pence who went on television to defend him after he got assurances from Flynn that sanctions didn't come up.

Now the Kremlin is denying these reports saying they're inaccurate. And saying that the information is quote, "incorrect." But it does raise questions as to whether Flynn's communications with the ambassador influenced Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision not to retaliate after those new sanctions were imposed.

[17:30:00] You remember the Obama administration also kicked out some 35 Russian diplomats out of the country in response to Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. President Trump cheered on Russia's decision on Twitter after that.

And that brings us back to the current U.S. policy on Russia. Did Mike Flynn signal to the ambassador during those phone calls whether Trump would lift those sanctions against Russia once in office? U.S. and European officials say Flynn has been noncommittal in meetings about maintaining sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine and for that cyber meddling in the election. And the message that diplomats are getting is that all sanctions on Russia are under review -- Ana?

CABRERA: All right, Elise Labott reporting. Thank you. Stay with us, because, coming up, we're going to talk with a

Republican congressman from North Carolina. Some of the raids we've been talking about targeting undocumented immigrants are being carried out in his home state. We'll also talk to him about Obamacare. We'll talk to him about Flynn as well. All of that, his thoughts, coming up right after this. Including could repealing Obamacare be a jobs killer?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: At least 360 undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. have been arrested this week. More than three dozen in fact deported in California alone, according to the Homeland Security official we spoke to. Immigration raids being carried out in at least half a dozen states, including North Carolina.

Joining me to discuss is Congressman Mark Meadows, of North Carolina.

Congressman, good to see you.

REP. MARK MEADOWS, (R), NORTH CAROLINA: It's great to be with you.

CABRERA: We're trying to get more information about the arrests happening across the country. The number of arrests made in your state still a little unclear. Do you happen to have more information about how many people have been taken into custody there?

MEADOWS: We don't. I've talked to local law enforcement in North Carolina. I can tell you this. That it's going about collecting those felons that are out there, criminal illegal aliens that are in our midst. And most of the people, most Americans believe that we need to uphold the rule of law. And certainly, anybody who has either been convicted or arrested for a violent crime needs to be deported. We had some 19,000 criminal illegal aliens let loose last year, and so it's time that we start upholding the rule of law. And I'm glad they're doing that in North Carolina.

[17:35:24] CABRERA: You talk about those with criminal records.


CABRERA: Can you be sure that all those arrested in your state did indeed have criminal records and, in particular, violent records?

MEADOWS: Well, when we know the 19,000. We know that most of those are not just a DWI or a failure to appear. What we're talking about is truly those that, in the 19,000, you know, sexual offenders, murder, rape. Now, can we say that all of those in North Carolina have that component? No. But really, in talking to ICE officials, there are two different components. One is if they've been arrested or convicted of a felony. The other is, is if there is a pending deportation, failure to appear notice. Those are the only two they're really looking at right now. Most of the other people that are here illegally, even if it's under a normal arrest, would not be the target of this ICE enforcement that has been the law and should be the law.

CABRERA: And again, you're speaking specifically about North Carolina and what's happening in that state.


CABRERA: Let me pivot to the town halls that we're seeing. Some of your Republican colleagues have been confronted by angry crowds at these town halls over health care specifically. Jason Chaffetz, from Utah, has been quoted as saying the protesters at his town hall he believes were agitators who intended to cause chaos. Do you think the protesters are plants or do you think some Republican voters are genuinely angry with leadership right now?

MEADOWS: I think that some voters are angry on both sides. One of the great things about America is that people can show up, express what concerns them.

Chairman Chaffetz, when you look at it, he won with 75 percent of the vote. So most of those people in his district made the ultimate decision on November 8th that he should return. And he's campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

But it's part of it. What we need to do is come up with a real plan, Ana. And as we do that, we're planning to roll out a plan on a replacement in the coming days. And then we can start to debate the merits of that.

The big thing that I'm hearing is about preexisting conditions. And I can tell you, I'm not going to vote for anything that doesn't actually replace a provision to do the -- to handle preexisting conditions. And I know all my colleagues, or the vast majority of them, support that same concept.

CABRERA: So can you promise right here, right now, that any Republican plan for replacement would include that provision of preexisting conditions?

MEADOWS: I can promise that any Republican plan will address preexisting conditions. That goes from the speaker, to the most conservative member, we're going to address the preexisting condition and make sure that there's a safety net, not only for those, but for those that need affordable health care. I believe that more people will be having affordable health care and covered with a replacement plan in the coming days, and actually will drive down the cost, and finally fulfill that promise that President Obama made, is one you can keep your doctor, and it will be cheaper than really before Obamacare came in.

CABRERA: One very quick question on Obamacare before we move on to a couple other topics.


CABRERA: I know that you are a fiscal conservative. And there is a recent study that came out from George Washington University's Milliken Institute of Public Health suggesting repealing two of the major provisions of Obamacare would actually cost our country three million jobs. Your response?

MEADOWS: Well, that's making the assumption that any time that you grow government, that's a job creator. I'll tell you what's happening. I was a small business guy, Ana, and I can tell you the government never created a job for me. And when they came in and added regulations and added Obamacare on top of it, it has a chilling effect. So, I'm not familiar with that particular study. But I can tell you from actually owning a business, and understanding that, it is not a job-killer to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. It will be a job creator.

CABRERA: I'm getting the wrap in my ear.

But I want to ask you a quick question about General Michael Flynn.


CABRERA: Do you think he should keep his job?

[17:39:54] MEADOWS: Oh, I do. I think when you look at the Logan Act, it's very clear that you have to be negotiating on behalf of an unauthorized. To merely just have a conversation does not actually violate the act. If it did, you know, people like the Reverend Jesse Jackson and others who have gone to deal with foreign -- foreign leaders, would actually have violated the Logan Act. So, it's all about negotiating. I don't see anything there. And certainly, as we look at that, we'll find out more in the coming days. But I think he's -- he served our country honorably and he needs to keep his job here.

CABRERA: All right, Congressman Meadows, thanks for your time tonight.

MEADOWS: Thank you.

CABRERA: Up next, President Trump not backing down after a court refused to reinstate his travel ban. And now the president says he might just sign, quote, "a brand-new order" as early as Monday. He's also not ruling out a Supreme Court challenge. So, what could happen?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: Back now to the immigration raid sweeping across at least six states. We'll take you to the protest happening -- this in Washington, D.C., just outside the White House -- after federal agents took as many as 360 undocumented immigrants into custody this week and deported more than three dozen already to Mexico.

These raids also sparking outrage among lawyers and advocacy groups who say they believe this is a result of President Trump's efforts to crack down on immigration.

Joining me is Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the ACLU, as well as deputy director of its Immigrants' Rights Project.

And, Lee, I know you have been busy, the hits just keep coming. ICE officials say these raids actually were not a result of President Trump's recent executive order or his rhetoric but, in fact, were planned under the Obama administration. So, knowing that, what do you make of these protests? Are these people who are looking for reasons to just simply lash out at the new administration?

[17:45:29] LEE GELERNT, ATTORNEY, ACLU & DEPUTY DIRECTOR, IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS PROJECT: No. You know, he made so many statements during the campaign about a deportation force and we're going to go after people, so I don't think it's an overreaction. And you know, we've already seen, with the Muslim ban, these types of policies. And so, I think this is a further reflection. And people need to push back.

With the Muslim ban situation, you know, we had one of those classic civil rights moments, the lawyers in court, the community groups coming together. I think the same thing is going to be necessary for the raids. What we're seeing is exactly what he said. We're going to have ICE agents out there. And I'm getting reports from all over the country that they've never seen this type of presence from ICE agents in the communities.

CABRERA: We are hearing from folks who are in the immigrant communities, about how scared people are. I've spoken with some of the Dreamers whose parents may be here as well, you know, undocumented. So, we know that the fear is real, regardless if this is a reaction to President Trump or simply something that happened under the Obama administration. People want to know, what are their rights.

I want you to listen to what a former acting director of ICE told me, who worked under the Obama administration, when I asked him that question. Let's listen.


JOHN TORRES, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: There are regular enforcement policies that are still in place. Obviously, if an ICE agent doesn't have a search warrant, they can't knock down a door and go in and arrest the person. However, if an ICE agent determines that the person they're looking for is in that residence, they can go back and seek an arrest warrant.

Yes, they should talk to their consulate to get that type of advice. But at the same time, they should also know that if they're out of status, things are changing, and ICE agents will take a hard look at them and possibly take them into custody.


CABRERA: So, Lee, here's your chance. Is there anything you want to add or any reaction to what you want to add in terms of the rights that immigrants have.

GELERNT: I think there's a couple of things going on. One, are the legal rights. We'll see whether the Trump administration is always using warrants. I mean, that's what we're going to be diligent about.

But people need to know that all they need to do is give their name. They don't need to talk and they need to call community groups, they need to reach out to their consulate. They do have rights. And shouldn't be bullied automatically.

The other thing that's going on is, the Trump administration is now going after people who are not serious criminals. I mean, there's this talk about how it's only going to be serious criminals. But what we're hearing already is they're sweeping up people who are not serious criminals. That's got to be troubling.

And I think the community is now so scared and anxious, and even people who are not necessarily in danger of being removed are scared and anxious, especially children. They're seeing the fear around. They don't know what to make of it. They're constantly asking their parents, are we in trouble? Are we going to be removed? Even if they're legal.

So, it's a bad situation. And I wish the president would just come out and say, we're not going to be invading communities like this.

CABRERA: It is heartbreaking when you see the faces of the children who are also caught up in all of this.

GELERNT: Absolutely.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the travel ban. As we have reported here, President Trump is saying he may come up with a brand-new executive order and kind of dismiss the one that hasn't proceeded in the court system. You helped argue the ACLU's case against the original travel ban.

GELERNT: Right. Right.

CABRERA: If the president were to come out with a new order of some sort, what changes do you think he could make that would stand legal muster?

GELERNT: I think the first thing is that there cannot be discrimination. There cannot be picking and choosing among countries based on religion. Simply tweaking it is not enough. The stain of discrimination is there. The fact that he may remove certain things at the last minute, like he did before, doesn't eliminate the intent to discriminate against the Muslim religion. That's one thing.

I think it would have to be a complete revamping. At the core -- I don't want to get too technical about the specifics, but at the core, what it needs to do is recognize we can vet people on an individual basis where we have some reason to believe there are security risks and not these sort of group bans. And especially not group bans that are targeting one particular religion or favoring another particular religion. And there has to be some process. I mean, in our case, we had two people who worked -- their families -- they worked with our U.S. military. If the ban was so broad and no due process, they were simply stopped and detained without even the ability to say, hey, I've just been helping your military for years, putting my life at risk, why am I getting caught up in this?

CABRERA: Thank you so much, Lee Gelernt, for coming in. Good to see you.

GELERNT: Thanks for having me.

[17:50:03] CABRERA: Up next, a CNN exclusive. For the first time, U.S. investigators have now corroborated parts of that Russian dossier compiled by a former British spy. We'll have details on what's confirmed, next.


CABRERA: This is something you will only see on CNN. Official confirmation this weekend of some of the contents of that secret stack of documents that first became known back in January.

Here's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, with details.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Ana, for the first time, investigators corroborated some of the communications detailed in the 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent. CNN was the first to report last month that then- President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the memos prior to the inauguration. Until now, U.S. officials said none of the content or allegations had been verified. But now, multiple current and former U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN that intelligence intercepts of foreign nationals confirm that some of conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier. That corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, quote, "greater confidence in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier." This, as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.

[17:55:16] We should be clear that CNN has not confirmed the content of the calls or whether any of that content relates to then-Candidate Trump. And none of the newly learned information, I should be clear, relates to the salacious allegations of the dossier.

Reached for comment this afternoon, White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, said, quote, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting," end quote.

Reached by CNN, spokesmen for the FBI, the Department of Justice, the CIA, and the Office of the director of National Intelligence had no comment.

The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. One thing the U.S. has is a collection of foreign call intercepts so that they use that information to seek to verify some of the alleged conversations as described in the dossier. U.S. intelligence officials emphasize the conversations they now verified were solely between foreign nationals, including those tied to the Russian government. But some of the individuals involved in those intercepted communications were known to the U.S. intelligence community as, quote, "heavily involved, collecting information damaging to Hillary Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump" -- Ana?


CABRERA: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you for that.

I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thank you for staying with me. I'll be back at 7:00 eastern.

"Smerconish" is next, after a quick break.