Return to Transcripts main page


Supreme Court Allows Part of Travel Ban; Trump's Two Weeks; McConnell Health Care Bill; On-Camera Press Briefing Today. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 27, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:32:34] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump's controversial travel ban is headed for the Supreme Court. The nation's highest court reinstating parts of the halted ban and announcing they will hear arguments on the case this fall.

Joining us now, we have two very different perspective on this. Cecillia Wang, the deputy legal director of the ACLU, and Dan Stein, he is president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

OK, Dan, I want to ask you first, what do you think about this interim arrangement which does say that people who have these connections to the U.S., whether they have family, they're a student, maybe they're lecturing or they have a job here, that they're going to be OK? The Supreme Court has gotten itself involved at least in the interim. What did you think about that ahead of the Supreme Court taking up the case in a more final matter in the fall?

DAN STEIN, PRESIDENT, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM (FAIR): Well, Brianna, this case has always been about what Congress -- what powers Congress has under the Constitution to delegate to the president, to protect national security under the immigration law. And the Supreme Court clearly is going to have a big debate about whether or not the plaintiffs in this case even had standing -- legal standing, they call it, to bring the case, because clearly what they've done in this interim is said, look, for people with no contact with the United states at all, refugees and others, clearly no standing, not an issue. The executive order is legal.

Now, what they've done is left this ambiguous notion of a bona fide relationship, states with universities that have admitted students from overseas or people with family relations. But throwing it back in the lower courts with this very ambiguous standard of what constitutes a bona fide relationship underscores why the judiciary never should have gotten involved in this whole thing in the first place. And what Clarence Thomas said in his dissent was, who's going to make those determination and how is the federal government going to avoid contempt? So, in the end, we can expect a final decision to be a restatement of the broad authority the president has under the immigration law to exclude alien based on national security and will limit the right of plaintiffs like this to bring these kinds of cases, which never should have been allowed in the first place. KEILAR: Is that what you're expecting, Cecillia?

CECILLIA WANG, DEPUTY LEGAL DIRECTOR, ACLU: Not at all, Brianna. What we're expecting here is that the Supreme Court is taking up the merits of this case. Not only does the president's executive order violate the statutes that Congress has enacted, saying you don't discriminate against people based on national origin, but also, does the president's executive order disparage and condemn Muslims because of their religion in violation of the Constitution's establishment clause.

[08:35:02] KEILAR: But at least in the interim it appears that the court is saying, there are certain people, of course, who can come in, Cecillia, but then there are other people that it is, at least in the interim, within the president's right to say, no, you can't.

WANG: Here's what the court did, and it's very interesting. The court said the plaintiffs who have come forward in these two lawsuits all do have connections to the United States. They're trying to be reunited with family members who are already here, or they've been invited by a U.S. university or other institution to come to the United States, either as an immigrant or as a temporary visitor say as a lector in a university. The court said, we're going to narrow the injunction. We're not going to give the president what he's asking for, but we're going to narrow the injunctions that the lower courts have instituted here to say, we're just going to look at the people who were in front of us now. The court was very careful yesterday in its orders not to say a word about the merits of the plaintiff's claims under the establishment clause and under the immigration laws.

KEILAR: OK. So, Dan, then it is looking like a big fight coming in the fall. Sounds like you're expecting even some claims leading up to that. But are you getting any sort -- obviously, you have a perspective on this, but what are your concerns about the direction this could go in the fall?

STEIN: Well, remember, the plaintiffs are, in fact, actually the United States-based individuals or institutions, not the aliens overseas. The people claiming injury are the people in this country already.

What we are expecting, of course, is for the Supreme Court to understand, to recognize, that the judiciary is limited in its ability as an institutional part of a branch of federal government to actually get involved in cases involving national security, war powers, national defense and overseas immigration security. The Supreme Court has upheld the reduction in refugee admissions, the president's ability to suspend refugee admissions from overseas and the Supreme Court, in doing this, is certainly sending a clear signal.

The only way that our federal government can appropriate as a coherent whole in executing national security and foreign policy is for the judiciary not to start inventing new constitutional rights to allow all kinds of plaintiffs in the U.S. to start suing, to bring people into the country from overseas, because then Congress and the president lose control of our borders and our immigration policy. KEILAR: But these challenges.

STEIN: There's a tremendous interest at stake here.

KEILAR: But --

STEIN: The public has a right to be safe.

KEILAR: But these challenges, Cecillia, are not going away. I mean, there are going to be people who, as we've seen with these plaintiffs, making claims, going to court, forcing the issue.

WANG: That's right. And Dan Stein's wrong about one thing, a bipartisan group of former high-level national security officials has come forward in the courts below and has come forward in the Supreme Court again to say, there is no national security justification for the president to discriminate against this group of people in this way. The president has said, while he was a candidate, again during his presidency, and as recently as June 5th, you know what I meant. I said I was going to ban Muslims from the United States and that's what I'm doing. And he's reaffirmed that. He's put that issue squarely in front of the court. This is not about national security. I'm doing something as president to carry out my promise to exclude Muslims because of their religion.

KEILAR: Well, we will be in suspense until the fall when the court decides if it agrees with the lower courts on that.

Cecillia Wang, Dan Stein, thank you to both of you.

STEIN: Thank you.

WANG: Thank you.

KEILAR: Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good conversation, Brianna. Thank you for that.

All right, so, things take time. No question about it. But President Trump, he often says he's going to tell us in two weeks. You know, you've heard that about different issues, right? How does he follow through with these self-imposed deadlines? Jeanne Moos takes a look, next.


[08:42:44] CUOMO: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, the Senate Republican health care bill is on the brink of defeat. Why? Six GOP senators say they won't vote for their plan, putting their hope for a vote this week in jeopardy.

KEILAR: And the Trump White House drawing a new red line on Syria, in an ominous statement saying the Assad regime is preparing another chemical weapons attack and warning Assad that he will pay a heavy price if he does it again.

CUOMO: President Trump declaring victory after the Supreme Court revived parts of his halted travel ban, and agreed to hear arguments on the case in full this fall.

KEILAR: And the House GOP Whip Steve Scalise out of the ICU following that attack at a congressional baseball practice earlier this month. While he recovers in the hospital, Scalise congratulated his newly sworn in GOP House colleagues on Twitter.

CUOMO: And we will stay on his progress.

Emergency crews battling wildfires in Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California. An intense heat is complicating efforts. At least 16 million people are under heat warnings and advisories.

KEILAR: And for more on the "Five Things to Know", go to for the latest.

CUOMO: All right, so no matter the issue, you've got ISIS, tax reform, the Paris Climate Accord, the tapes --


CUOMO: President Trump often vows, I'll get back to you in a couple of weeks. Has the president kept his word? Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Waiting for something coming out of the White House? Just give it two weeks to get something mythical about wiretaps.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To the forefront over the next two weeks.

MOOS: A decision on the Paris Climate Accords.

TRUMP: Over the next two weeks.

MOOS: A plan for cutting taxes.

TRUMP: Two or three weeks that will be phenomenal.

MOOS: Except it ended up being 11 weeks before a one-page outline of a tax plan came out. The president sounds like a contractor in the money pit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long do you think all that will take?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long will it take to put this place together?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sound like a parakeet there. Two weeks. Two weeks.

MOOS: It was "Bloomberg News" that first noticed the president parroting two weeks.

TRUMP: Sometime over the next two weeks as to NAFTA.

MOOS: Want to know how well the U.S. is going against ISIS?

[08:45:03] TRUMP: We're going to be having a news conference in about two weeks.

MOOS (on camera): Three weeks later, still no ISIS press conference. So what did the president do? He said it again.

TRUMP: We're going to be having a news conference in two weeks on that fight. And you'll see numbers that you would not have believed.

MOOS (voice-over): The number not to believe is "two weeks." And to think Donald Trump once made a cameo in a movie called "Two Weeks' Notice," in which Hugh Grant wore a tie so long he looked like a Trump caricature.

TRUMP: I hear Kelson (ph) finally dumped you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not exactly, no.

MOOS (on camera): The president may have trouble sticking to a calendar, but that doesn't prevent his face from being plaster on a few.

MOOS (voice-over): From the, out of office countdown calendar showing how long the Trump administration has to go, to Donald Trump's greatest quotes calendar.

TRUMP: Part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich.

MOOS: Very rich, but not very punctual.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: Over the next two weeks.

MOOS: New York.


CUOMO: He does seem to say it often, I guess.

KEILAR: He does. I didn't realize how much it was until Jeanne put it together like. It's hilarious.

CUOMO: Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich. That is a good line.

All right, so Republicans, there's no question about it, they're struggling to win over some of their own on this Senate health care bill. So what does that mean about the reality for any meaningful change? That's part of "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:50:06] CUOMO: So what's the political reality here? You've got the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Senator Mitch McConnell saying, I'm going to get a vote. I'm going to get this done. And he's got this reputation for being able to pull out things just when it seemed like it wasn't going to happen. Will it happen this time?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN politics reporter and editor-at- large, Chris Cillizza.

Mr. Cillizza, you have defined an emoji legend for a daily appraisal of whether or not this is going to happen. Will you, please, approximate the emoji face for today's prospect?


CUOMO: Hmm. All right.

KEILAR: I like it!

CUOMO: That seems less --

CILLIZZA: Was that good?

CUOMO: It seems less than optimistic.

CILLIZZA: Yes. I'm glad Brianna liked it. It was really for her.

Um, yes. Look, if you were a on the -- I mean listen to Lindsey Graham. If you're an on the fence Republican about this, the CBO report suggesting that 22 million more people would be uninsured under this bill than Obamacare is pretty much everything you need to vote against it. It's a -- a huge political problem. A huge -- a huge human cost here, obviously, in rural states, older states, a state like Maine and state like Alaska, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, two people -- Susan Collins is against, Lisa Murkowski very much on the fence. It would really have a significant impact there.

This is caught between their base and a hard place, right? The Republican Party base wants elected, views this as essential, getting rid of Obamacare. Republicans live in fear of -- both parties live in fear of the base, Republicans more so more than ever, and so they want to figure out a way to appease that base. The problem is the cost, both real and political, that come with it. You're right, Chris, Mitch McConnell does have a reputation, unlike some of the House Republican leadership, of being able to pull a rabbit out of a hat. So I'm not going to say it won't happen, but I would say today, right now, it -- I'm skeptical. KEILAR: So, guys, guess who we're going to see today who we haven't

seen in a while?


KEILAR: Sean Spicer, right?

CUOMO: On camera?

KEILAR: That's right.

CUOMO: Stop.

KEILAR: So we just found out that we're going to be seeing the White House press briefing on camera, Chris Cillizza.


KEILAR: And also that Sean Spicer is going to have a guest with him, Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Not unusual for him to bring someone in to talk about an issue. But what does this mean to you that now, after days of not seeing this on camera, we're going to see it?

CILLIZZA: Right. So we had three straight days, work days at least, of off-camera gaggles as opposed to on-camera briefings. Mark Knoller (ph), who works for CBS News, who keeps track of everything as it relates to the White House and has done for a very long time, eighteen workdays so far in June. There have been 15 briefings, 10 of those have been off-camera, five on-camera. Obviously, we'll have six after today.

Look, I just think it's a bad thing. Not because I work for a television station, but because holding power to account means asking questions and having responses that people who are not in that briefing room can view. If you think that -- if you buy the Sean Spicer line, which is, well, the off-camera briefings are more substantive. I would urge you to go listen to one of the off-camera briefings because they are not more substantive than the on-camera briefings.

KEILAR: That's right.

CILLIZZA: Neither are terribly substantive. But this is an attempt to have the briefing as we know it wither on the vine. I think that is a bad thing for democracy. It's certainly a bad thing for journalism. And I think we have to call it out and say, this is not how this process is supposed to work.

CUOMO: Well, one of the things he'll probably be asked about today is that Putin and Trump are battling it out in this think Pew poll.


CUOMO: Is a battle of the barrel -- the bottom of the barrel.

KEILAR: Race to the bottom. CUOMO: So, Putin's at 27, Trump's at 22. There's all this negative feedback from 37 different countries' worth of polling. It will probably be dismissed by the White House as another poll that's wrong about the president. How do you see it?

CILLIZZA: Oh, it won't probably be dismissed, Chris, it will be. But that doesn't mean it's not important. Look, Donald Trump isn't going to spend a lot of time worrying about what France or -- or Canada -- to name two countries included in that 37 -- think about him. What their citizenry thinks about him. But there are real world implications here. When we, as the U.S., try to do something on the world stage, I think the way in which we are viewed, the way in which the president is viewed, the way in which the country is viewed, does matter. It either gives us good will or bad will to try and get things done.

If you look in that poll, look deeper. Two things that Donald Trump has done in his first five months, more than seven in ten people in that poll reject. One is pulling out of the international trade deals. The other is pulling out of the Paris Accord. So, you know, it is -- he is redefining what America means to Americans, but also what America means in the world. And the world community, whether you think this matters or not, doesn't think much of it.

[08:55:10] KEILAR: Yes. So he would say it's maga (ph), not mafa (ph).

CUOMO: Yes, that's exactly what he would say.


KEILAR: Right? That's what he would say.

All right, Chris Cillizza, thank you so much for the insight on that.

And next we have "The Good Stuff."

CUOMO: We need it. It feels like Wednesday.


CUOMO: But it isn't.

KEILAR: It isn't.

CUOMO: An immutable fact.


CUOMO: All right, Lordy, give us "The Good Stuff."

One college student is stepping in to help kids in need. We want you to meet B.J. Stephens (ph). He wanted to do something with his summer break to give back to his community. Already he's the good stuff. So here's his idea, help out his local Boys and Girls Club. How? Donating 125 pairs of shoes.


B.J. STEPHENS: I basically just used social media as my platform. I had my mom help me, because she's really good at organizing stuff.


CUOMO: A big part of feeling good about themselves. How fresh of your kicks? Just look at the smiles on their faces, infectious.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's trying to like give us stuff for like -- to better our futures.

STEPHENS: Like my goal for this was never to, like, get like recognition for it, but just like try to help inspire the youth.


[09:00:09] CUOMO: B.J., you deserve the recognition because you are doing the right thing. Thank you, young man.