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18 States Sue Trump Over Family Separations; Supreme Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 26, 2018 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We continue on. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me.

The breaking news is this, vindication and victory. That is how the White House is describing the United States Supreme Court's decision today upholding the administration's controversial travel ban against seven countries.

Here's the president just a little while ago.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just coming, our victory today. And we greatly appreciate it. We needed it as a country.

That was a big victory for -- and I can tell you, everyone at this table is very happy about it, but that was a big victory for our country. OK?


BALDWIN: In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed the ruling of a lower court. And so most citizens from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen will be barred from entering the U.S.

This version of the travel ban, this third attempt, is much narrower, but one of the key issues for the justices to decide, whether or not Trump's initial calls for a -- quote, unquote -- "Muslim ban" was really at the heart of this legislation.

So, let me take you back to December 2015.


TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.


TRUMP: We have no choice. We have no choice. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's go straight to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

And, Jim, this decision, of course, comes just as the White House and Congress are working on immigration policy regarding our southern border.


BALDWIN: How might this affect the president?

ACOSTA: Well, he's feeling vindicated, Brooke, on the travel ban, so that obviously is making him feel emboldened about taking this hard- line stance on immigration, despite what the Supreme Court justices said.

While the chief justice said that this proclamation from the president is squarely within his scope and his presidential authority, I think we also have to heed the words from Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote the minority opinion for those justices who dissented.

She essentially said that the majority here set aside the president's charged statements about Muslims. And those are the statements you just played there a few moments ago. When he made those comments during the campaign, they were widely viewed across the country, across much of the world as being anti-Muslim.

And what the Supreme Court did today is sort of in that 5-4 decision put aside the president's past statements. And so the president is not only feeling vindicated in terms of this travel ban. He is receiving somewhat of an excusal, I guess you could call it, from the high court when it comes to his past anti-Muslim comments.

Keep in mind, Brooke, last year, the president tweeted that the Justice Department should have stuck with the original ban, his original ban. And you will recall during these briefings, you and I -- I was in the Briefing Room, you were watching the briefings unfold from where you were sitting, Brooke -- Sean Spicer would try to come out into the Briefing Room and say no, no, no, this is not a travel ban.


ACOSTA: And then the president would go out and tweet that this is a travel ban.

So, of course, this is a travel ban, and to some extent it is a vindication and a confirmation of what he originally conceived of during the campaign in wanting a Muslim ban. This is a ban that affects mostly majority Muslim countries. But it is a vindication for his policies.

Now, talking about immigration, he talked about this during that spray in the Cabinet Room earlier this afternoon with a group of lawmakers sitting around him. He sort of moved from that subject into the subject of what's happening down at the border. And he repeated this falsehood, Brooke, about how, because of the influx of migrants coming across the border, that they're going to need 5,000 judges on the border.

We should just point out, because we keep playing that comment on television, played last night during the rally and played today during the Cabinet spray in the meeting with the lawmakers in the Cabinet Room, he keeps saying that they want 5,000 judges on the border.

Brooke, we should point out that is false. Nobody in Washington is talking about asking the president for 5,000 judges on the border. He keeps making this false statement, I think to excuse and to justify the further detention of these children and these migrants coming across the border.

We will see if they have anything more to say about it. They're not having a briefing this afternoon to try to justify what the president was saying earlier this afternoon, but I think it's also important to point out, Brooke, those lawmakers who were sitting with the president as he was uttering these falsehoods did not butt in to say, no, Mr. President, that comment about 5,000 judges, it's just not right -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Which is noteworthy.

Jim Acosta, thank you very much.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Let's stay on all of Jim's points about this decision from the Supreme Court.

With me now, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst Anne Milgram. She's a former federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice.

So, hello to both of you.


BALDWIN: And, so, OK, on Acosta's point about this decision and reading the majority opinion from the chief justice, talking about Trump's statements, his words, is the takeaway that in the end Trump's words didn't matter?



That's exactly -- and, in fact, the chief justice says that explicitly. He says, you know -- you can tell he's uncomfortable with those words. He draws a contrast between what the president -- what President Trump said and the more sympathetic words that President Bush had about Muslims after 9/11.


TOOBIN: But he said, look, this executive order, this travel ban does not address Muslims specifically on its face. It doesn't say anything about Muslims. And it is at the core, he says, of what presidents are allowed to do when it comes to immigration, controlling the borders, deciding which countries have access to the United States.

That's what we give presidents power to do, and that's what he is -- and that's what this order does.

BALDWIN: So, but he had called it -- he had called it, you know, this Muslim ban and tweeted that the Justice Department watered down the Muslim ban to get it through the Supreme Court.

I mean, we're talking -- this is the third iteration of this whole thing. Is this a watered-down version of that?

ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, it is definitely a narrower version. There's no question that the first two versions were broader.

It is greatly restricted, and there are -- there are exceptions for some people. It is far narrower than it was. And so that is concededly true. And I think, you know, it has moved significantly in the past.

This is now the third iteration. To Jeffrey's point, I do think there's a really fascinating line in there where Chief Justice Roberts says it's not to decide on this president. It's to decide on any president. Right? And he's really -- this is about...

BALDWIN: Why is that significant?

MILGRAM: Because this is really -- they're making a decision that the president has the authority to do this, right, and that the president's broad authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and so it is really a sort of sweeping declaration, I think, of presidential power.

And what they're almost trying to do is, I think, plug their ears as to the comments by the president and say, you know, let's not pay attention to that, which...

TOOBIN: Yes. I think there's a lot to that.

The -- in both Chief Justice Roberts' opinion and Justice Kennedy's conquering opinion, they're uncomfortable with the way Trump expressed himself, and they tried to sort of chide him in a small way.


TOOBIN: But he won.


TOOBIN: And I think that's the most important part of this case. And Sonia Sotomayor and the dissenters are saying, look, you guys are pretending that this is not a Muslim ban, but it is a Muslim ban. This violates our Constitution. This violates our principles. It's a scathing, scathing opinion by Justice Sotomayor, but it's only for four justices.

BALDWIN: So, then to your point about really the presidential power vs. individual, and you see this whole situation where we have been in the last week, week-and-a-half with the southern border. Is it possible with the presidential power that he could add a country?

TOOBIN: He could. I mean, he could say no more immigration from Mexico.

But, you know, we have thousands of people who cross the border from Mexico every day. You know, you can't -- as a legal matter, I think it's clear he could do that. But, as a practical matter, anyone who has ever been on the border and seen these enormous traffic jams every day and the commerce that goes back and forth, it would be impractical.

But it is certainly true...


BALDWIN: I'm not saying stop immigration, but I'm just saying have a check.


MILGRAM: But remember also the way that this proclamation, this one is specifically drafted, it does go towards countries that fail -- that there are questions about what information they're providing about their citizens and their nationals.


MILGRAM: And the U.S. is saying, they're not giving us enough information.

So, Mexico has not been put in that category. So, again, could he do another proclamation? I think the answer is probably yes, but on this specific one, I don't think -- you know, he would have to fall within the sort of boundaries they have already set.

TOOBIN: And there's certainly nothing in today's opinion that says anything about whether children can be separated from their parents.



TOOBIN: That's a whole other issue. So this does not address in any way the crisis that we have all been so preoccupied with.

BALDWIN: What about -- I want to get to Neil Gorsuch, the whole Neil Gorsuch factor in this whole thing. Obviously, it was a huge win early on in his presidency to be able to have this conservative justice.

I'm wondering, though, if you think that it's not only, you know, this huge win for this administration, but also a win for the majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, because he was able all under that Obama era to keep Merrick Garland -- like, they never even heard from him that entire time.

TOOBIN: Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016, with more than 11 months to go in Barack Obama's presidency.

Mitch McConnell, within hours -- I was sitting at this table. We were -- it was a Saturday. Poppy Harlow was in here. And, you know, most people were still sort of deciding -- paying tribute. And Mitch McConnell said, there will be no vote on a successor.

BALDWIN: And he kept his word.


TOOBIN: And he kept his word. Now, that's unprecedented in American history to keep a seat that -- to keep a seat vacant for that long.

But the consequences of the -- Merrick Garland not being on the court and Neil Gorsuch...


TOOBIN: And you see it. There was another case today involving abortion, also 5-4, the same vote. There have been a series of 5-4 votes all with the Republicans.

BALDWIN: People voted for Trump knowing that, you know, there would be this...


MILGRAM: Elections have huge consequences. And I think -- think this would have been a different decision if there was a different court.

And so we don't know that for sure, but there's no question that I think, you know, there's a fair argument that elections have consequences, and this is one of those consequences.

TOOBIN: But, in 2012, the American people elected Barack Obama to a four-year term. And I think most people thought four years meant four years. Mitch McConnell turned that into a three-year term when it came to the Supreme Court.

MILGRAM: I also think one of the things that's incredibly problematic is...

BALDWIN: Quickly.

MILGRAM: Making the Supreme Court political. And there have been challenges with the court forever, but it does set the law of the land. We now follow Trump vs. Hawaii. And so it is critically important when you think about people playing politics with it, and deeply disturbing.

BALDWIN: Dangerous territory.

Anne and Jeffrey, thank you both so very much for on that.

Coming up next: President Trump goes on the attack against Harley- Davidson as he defends his controversial trade policy. And that's not the only group he's going after, slinging personal insults at everyone from Jimmy Fallon to Justin Trudeau, again to John McCain, this as White House officials call for civility.

Let's have that conversation.

Also ahead, protesters gathering outside the venue where Attorney General Jeff Sessions is about to speak. We are expecting him to weigh in on today's Supreme Court decision to uphold that travel ban. We will take you there coming up next.



BALDWIN: The White House is calling for civility, but it appears possibly President Trump didn't get the memo, at least last night. He was at that rally, speaking at that rally in South Carolina. He unloaded on one person, one issue after another, from late-night hosts to mosquitos.

Here was the president.


TRUMP: She blamed everybody for losing the election, except for one person, herself.

Everybody used to say, my hair is phony, it's not my hair. But the one thing, they never say that anymore. Jimmy Fallon calls me up, and he's like a nice guy. He's lost. He looks like a lost soul.

The guy on CBS is -- is -- what a lowlife, what a lowlife. I mean, honestly, are these people funny?


TRUMP: Jimmy Kimmel, no talent.

We had a great success, North Korea, Chairman Kim.


TRUMP: We're not looking up in the air. Any rockets up there? Any rockets?

The Olympics would have been a massive failure. People did not want to be nuked in a stadium as they watched the opening ceremonies.

There's David Lynch. Enjoy it, because his career in Hollywood is officially over.

You know what you are? You're the super elites. I'm changing titles.


TRUMP: I made a fortune for NBC and "The Apprentice." They treat me horribly.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, big movie star, took my place. It bombed in about two shows. It was over.

My wife, she had an operation a few weeks ago. They said she got a face-lift. No. I would let you know.

We have never had higher polls than we have now. You know, polls are fake news also, you know? What they do, it's called suppression. But they're saying I have good political instincts. Who knows?

In fact, some people have said I have the greatest political instinct in 50 years.

The Democrats want open borders and they don't mind crime.

Mosquitos, cost many, many lives.

Canada, you know Canada, nice guy, nice guy, prime minister, Justin. I said, Justin, what's your problem, Justin?

By the way, I have these stupid teleprompters. You don't mind that I haven't used them all night, do you?

So, we're going to create a space force, and it's going to be great.

Get your asses out tomorrow and vote.



BALDWIN: Let's start there.

CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel with me. David French is back with us, a writer for "The National Review."

So that's the mash-up from last night.

David French, I'm starting with you, just looking at so many incidents, you know, that we have all been talking about over the course of the last week. We were all looking at the Twitters and what you were saying. And you're saying that there is a larger problem, that we have seen examples of direct, aggressive, personal confrontations that will continue even in a post-Trump era.


DAVID FRENCH, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, I say they're going to continue in a post-Trump era because they existed in a pre-Trump era.

Donald Trump didn't have anything to do, for example, with the violence at Charles Murray at Middlebury or violence directed at other campus speakers both before and during the Trump presidency.

And there's no question that Trump has been -- has been more than guilty of his own direct and vicious personal attacks. And you know what? A lot of people on the right are looking at what Trump is doing and saying, it's worked for him electorally. This what is you do now.

And we have seen the rise of the sort of online tough guy right that thinks that you're not really fighting unless getting very vicious and very personal and very aggressive. So I think...


BALDWIN: You have been a victim of that. It's been personal with you.

FRENCH: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.


It got very vicious and personal and directed at me, directed at my wife, directed at my youngest daughter, who, when it first started, was 7 years old.

So, this is something -- this was part of the alt-right that had attached itself to the Trump campaign and was fueled in part by Steve Bannon, his own -- you know, one of his own chief strategists.

So, this is something that we're now reaching in many ways, like the Iran-Iraq phase of the civility wars. Each side can look at one or the other and say look at what you did, and it's going to justify the next bad act.

And I fear, I fear it has a momentum all its own right now.

BALDWIN: So, listening to you, and then you have, you know, someone like Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, right, who has publicly shamed and called on people to get out, you know, in front of some of these Trump folks.

And now it's the speaker, Paul Ryan, is calling on her to apologize.

But here's the but, Jamie Gangel. Speaker Ryan doesn't always call out the president whenever he lights a match in something he says. And it's not just Speaker Ryan. It's so many members of the Republican Party. And I know you have a lot of Republican sources.


BALDWIN: How do they explain that? GANGEL: Sure. Right. Correct.

Some of it is one word, fear. And some of it is two words. Look at someone like Mark Sanford, the congressman from South Carolina who just lost his primary.

Look, many people have decided not to run because of Trump, but the reality is -- and I would be stronger about who's responsible for this. I think it is Donald Trump. He has been doing business since day one with attack as his default position.

He punches. He keeps punching. And then he punches some more. And, as David said, he believes that's how he won in business, how he defeated his Republican opponents, how he defeated Hillary Clinton. He takes on his own Cabinet, right? I just asked Jeff Sessions what it's like.

But I think the reality is, when you talk to Republicans about this, they say, if we want to keep serving, if we want to try to have a role, we are going to keep our heads down.

That may not be good, you might want them to be more brave, but it's their reality.

BALDWIN: But how do we, as Americans, then function in this reality, where you have protests outside of, you know, some of the buildings of Trump officials, and, you know, so much then on the left liberal praise to a restaurant in Virginia for kicking out, you know, the press secretary?

I mean, it goes both ways, David French. What do we do moving forward?

FRENCH: You know, look, I'm going to be pessimistic in the short run. I think it's going to get worse before it gets better, because what you have right now is a situation where both sides are firmly convinced and can point to incident after incident after incident on both sides where they feel like they are acting in self-defense and they have no other choice but to get vicious and aggressive, and if they don't get vicious and aggressive, they will lose.

And what I fear is that it will go from arguments about incivility into arguments about who started the violence first. And that's where I fear we're headed. And that's why I think it's critically important for people to make the case, very clearly, you can fight for your convictions without resorting to those tactics.

There's nothing wrong with limiting your public activism to marching and tweeting and voting and funding candidates and suing in some instances. You have seen the power of litigation time and time again. So, there are many ways to express your views and to make yourself heard.

We don't need to get vicious and personal. And the more we do, the more inevitable violence becomes.

BALDWIN: You're the second person to say that two days in a row on this show. And, in the nicest way possible, I hope you're wrong.


BALDWIN: But I think a lot of people are saying that.

Let me stay with you David, just on name-calling and rhetoric aside, the economy, right? This is Trump's bread and butter. And this whole tariff war and Harley-Davidson and shipping production overseas, and one day it's Harley-Davidson, and the next day, it's another company and another company.

Do you think that this tariff war could be the president's Achilles' heel?

FRENCH: You know, he's very fortunate right now that he's launching this tariff war at a time of broad economic growth. He's launching it in a time where there's some margin for error.

But why would you imperil that? Why would you imperil the cornerstone of your argument for reelection? You know, it goes back to -- I think this is one of the few areas where Donald Trump has been consistent most of his adult life.

This is one of the few areas where you can say, hey, I think he really believes in tariffs. But Congress needs to reconsider the fact that it has given such sweeping authority to the president.


There is actual bipartisan at this trade war. But it goes back to what was said earlier. There is still fear.

BALDWIN: David and Jamie, thank you both.

GANGEL: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Breaking just moments ago, 18 states now suing President Trump over his separations at the border, this as emotional parents are speaking out about being separated from their children. Hear their stories next.

Also, the president awards the Medal of Honor at the White House. We are going to take it live, of course. That is moments away.


BALDWIN: Breaking news.

Eighteen states are now suing the Trump administration over the separation of migrant families at the border. This is happening as more than 2,000 children are still waiting to be reunited with their parents.

One advocacy group in El Paso is working with 32 parents who have had the criminal charges dropped against them. But they say only three have even been able to speak with their kids since they were taken away, some of them sharing their heartbreaking stories in a news conference.

And we want to share a few of those with you now.

We will start with Mario, who says he was shocked to learn he had been arrested when he arrived from Honduras. He says he has been calling the number --