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President Trump to Have Phone Conversations with Foreign Leaders; President Trump's Ban on Immigrants from Terror Prone Countries Implemented; President Trump Signs Executive Order to Cut Federal Funding to Sanctuary Cities; President Trump's Plan to Build Wall on U.S.-Mexican Border Debated. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 28, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:07] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So good to have you with us this morning. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 10:00 here on the east coast. CNN Newsroom begins right now.
And President Donald Trump, very busy day for him. In less than an hour he will be speaking with German leader Angela Merkel. Just moments ago he finished up a call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He's also going to be speaking with French and Australian leaders as well. Vladimir Putin on the list today as well.
PAUL: In fact his call with Putin is being welcomed by Russia, one official calling it, quote, "the most important one of the day." It is sparking concern among other world leaders, though.
And we have this just in. Nationals of the seven Muslim countries temporarily banned by President Trump's executive order from entering the U.S. are being turned away at airports across the U.S. And two Iraqis who were detained in New York despite having valid visas are now filing a lawsuit against President Trump and the U.S. government.
BLACKWELL: CNN is covering this story from all angles. We have CNN international correspondents Matthew Chance in Moscow, and Atika Shubert in Berlin, Jim Bittermann in Paris. Also international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson in Washington, Athena Jones at the White House. And that's where we're going to begin. Athena, what is President Trump expected to discuss with the world leaders today? A lot of issues on the table.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. There are a lot of issues on the table, but in many respects we expect these conversations to be somewhat preliminary, sort of introductory conversations. People have spoken to some of these world leaders after their congratulatory phone calls after he won the election in November, but this is the first opportunity for him to really begin to develop the beginnings of a relationship with these world leaders.
Of course, the conversation that's getting the most attention is this noon phone call, this phone call scheduled for noon with Russia's president Vladimir Putin. This is someone that President Trump for a long time has been complimenting, calling President Putin smart and strong. The big concern on the table among some is the concern about sanctions, whether the president will choose to lift sanctions on Russia for its incursion into Ukraine. Here is what he had to say about that when asked about it yesterday during the press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as the sanctions, very early to be talking about that. But we look to have a great relationship with all countries ideally. That won't necessarily happen. Unfortunately it probably won't happen with many countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So indicating that he's going to remain -- going to continue to take a somewhat unpredictable approach to relations abroad. But if he were to decide to lift those sanctions, that would anger not only some U.S. allies, for instance we already heard from the British Prime Minister Theresa May that they would like to see those sanctions remain in place until Russia changes its actions. He would also risk angering people in his own party like Arizona Senator John McCain who has already said that if sanctions were to be lifted he would take steps to bring legislation that would codify those sanctions.
So a lot could come out of these conversations, but we don't expect huge substantive steps. This is in many ways just the beginning of his relationship with these leaders.
BLACKWELL: Athena Jones there at the White House for us. Athena, thank you.
PAUL: I want to bring in CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance now. So Matthew, help us understand how Russia is characterizing this call.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, you're getting different strains. First of all, the kremlin is trying to play down all these expectations that are running so high, that this phone call is going to be pivotal, that this phone call is going to include a commitment by Donald Trump, the U.S. president, to lift sanctions. They're saying they don't believe any substantial issues are necessarily going to be covered.
But while the Kremlin told us yesterday when they were talking about the phone call is let's wait and see, we'll tell you what has happened. And so you get the impression that they're kind of wondering what the subject matter of this conversation is going to be as well.
Certainly others in the Russian authorities are being less coy about this. Aleksey Pushkov, who is a senior senator and former head of the international Foreign Relations Committee of the Russian parliament saying this, "This conversation between Trump and Putin could give a new beginning to the fight against Islamic state, a solution to the crisis in Syria and Ukraine. Merkel," referring to the German chancellor, "only has old solutions." All the conversations that Trump is having today, and he's having a
number of them, with Shinzo Abe of Japan, Merkel of German as well, Pushkov is saying that this one with Putin is by far the most important one.
PAUL: Matthew Chance, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Live for us there from Moscow.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to Germany next where Berlin's mayor has some strong words for President Trump. Our Atika Shubert is there. Atika, what is the mayor saying?
[10:05:07] ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the mayor put out a statement last night saying Berlin more than any other city knows what suffering has caused when a wall is used to divide a continent. Of course, the Berlin Wall cut straight through divided East and West Germany. And so he said essentially at the end of the statement Mr. President, you know, listen to the words of former president Ronald Reagan, tear down this wall and please don't build this new wall.
So it was a very dramatic statement from the Berlin mayor. In terms of what we expect to hear from other officials like Merkel, they've been very tight lipped about what would be the content of this telephone call with Donald Trump. We do expect perhaps in a few hours after the call just a quick summary of what was said. But it's more likely to be, as Athena said, kind of an introductory call, a way to develop a working relationship, which will be pretty tough given the strained start.
BLACKWELL: Atika Shubert for us there in Berline, thank you so much.
PAUL: And we also understand that we're about four hours away from President Trump's call with Francois Hollande. Senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann joining us from Paris. Jim, what are you hearing this morning?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, it's about the same thing as Atika reported. It's being characterized here, this phone call, as basically a get to know you kind of phone call between President Trump and President Hollande, that's about four hours from now.
But Washington is almost certain to get some pushback from the French and probably the Germans as well on a couple of issues, Brexit and Europe being one of them because Donald Trump was in favor of Brexit. He said that several times during the campaign. Whereas the Europeans like Germany and France are much more in favor of holding the European Union together. They've had pushback on NATO for example. On the idea of lifting sanctions with Russia, the foreign minister here said this morning the sanctions are related to the Minsk process as far as the French foreign minister and the German foreign minister are concerned, the Minsk process being something that relates any kind of releasing sanctions of a pull back from troops of eastern Ukraine.
PAUL: Jim Bittermann, always good to see you, Jim, thank you so much. BLACKWELL: For some analysis now, let's bring I bring in our panel.
We're joined by CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic" Ron Brownstein, CNN contributor and world affairs columnist for "World Politics Review," Frida Ghitis, and CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. Good morning to all of you.
And Nic, I want to start with you. Although world leaders are keeping expectations low for these conversations, we know that one of the issues that's likely to come up is NATO. AND during their joint news conference yesterday, we heard from British Prime Minister Theresa May about President Trump's feelings about NATO. Let's listen to how she characterized it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On defense and security cooperation, we're united in our recognition of NATO as the bulwark of our collective defense. And today we've reaffirmed our unshakeable commitment to this alliance. Mr. President, I think you confirmed that you're 100 percent behind NATO.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: During the campaign Donald Trump said it was obsolete. He's changed his tune a bit. But I expect that the leaders of France and Germany will want to hear that from the president itself.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, they'll want to hear his characterization because actually Theresa May said it for him and then President Trump didn't really follow-up. He didn't deny it of course.
But the point that they will be making will very likely be the point that Theresa May was making as well is, yes, there may be issues with the NATO alliance. Yes, only five out of the 28 member nations pay the two percent of GDP that they're supposed to pay toward defense. They're supposed to also spend 20 percent of that on developing new and larger, if you will, weapons systems rather than augmenting and building, spending that money on putting more troops in.
So there's likely to hear some nuance if there's time in those conversations through the translation obviously that goes with them into what NATO is, why it's important today but how it could be in the future combatting terrorism. NATO's role, there will highlight in Afghanistan, Germany, and then in Afghanistan as well, they'll send their troops there alongside U.S. troops fighting terrorism.
There will also be the talk about cyber warfare. All these nations share that concern and about cyber warfare and how NATO can play an increased and an improved role there. So I think he will only hear words of encouragement that he should, whatever he says to them on the phone and behind closed doors to Theresa May, there will be encouragement. It's not entirely broken, let's address issues if we have them, but let's keep this important institution.
BLACKWELL: Frida, let's discuss this conversation that's coming up with Vladimir Putin. The president said yesterday that it's too soon to discuss lifting those sanctions, but a federal official tells CNN that the White House has requested information about both Syria and the sanctions before the call. Do you expect they will go there?
[10:10:10] FRIDA GHITIS, WORLD AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, "WORLD POLITICS REVIEW": My suspicion is that they will talk about all these things. But Donald Trump has to be very, very careful trailing on this relationship is Russia. The American people don't usually pay a whole lot of attention to foreign policy, but the controversies that have clouded the campaign, that everything that we have heard about hacking by Russians, the report from American intelligence agencies, those items received a great deal of attention among the American people.
And so everything that Trump does with regards to Putin, with regards to Russia, is going to be watched very, very carefully. So it's -- he's going to be experiencing a great deal of pressure from many, many sides. There is a domestic political risk. There's going to be pressure from allies in Europe and there's going to be a great deal of concern from eastern European countries, from the neighbors of Russia who are extremely worried about how Trump is going to handle this relationship.
BLACKWELL: Ron, let me come to you. We've talked about Germany and Russia and France. But let's not forget Australia and Japan. And after the executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Transpacific Partnership, trade is going to be, I assume, at the top of their list.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And the withdrawal, the TPP had a dual function for the Obama administration. It was both an economic and a diplomatic initiative. It was part of their pivot towards Asia. It was seen very clearly inside the administration as a way of bounding or containing Chinese influence in the region. And with the U.S. withdrawn, immediately China has been promoting its own alternative trade pact across the region. So there is that.
Can I just say one point on the European side? One thing that is going to be striking about these calls is that Donald Trump in recent weeks has -- there are critical presidential -- critical national elections coming up in both Germany and France this year in 2017. And Donald Trump has echoed and essential endorsed the principle arguments that the far rights parties will be making. The populist nationalist party in Germany is running primarily against Chancellor Merkel's decision to admit so many Syrian refugees, and he has called that repeatedly a disaster. And similarly in France where you have Marine La Pen and the National Front, their principle argument is that France is better off outside the European Union.
And in his interview with both British and German papers right before he took office, Donald Trump again essentially endorsed those arguments. So that's going to make for a certain amount of uncomfortableness on these calls with the leaders where these parties have been on the fringe of politics in their countries have been given, in essence, a validation of their core arguments by the American president, a pretty unprecedented situation. BLACKWELL: Ron introduced it, so Frida, let's go to that ban that was
signed, the executive order by the president banning people coming in from, nationals from seven countries for a period, and then indefinitely for Syrian refugees. There was a statement, a joint statement released by the U.N. and the International Organization for Migration in which they say this, "We strongly believe refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance and opportunities for resettlement regardless of their religion, nationality, or race." Beyond the U.S. and the borders of the seven countries to which this ban applies, what is the impact that we're seeing?
GHITIS: It has a lot of reverberations on many different levels as well. It puts the United States in conflict with its own stated principles. It gives extremists and terrorist groups arguments to bolster their position that the United States is their enemy, it's the enemy of Islam, which is a terrible conclusion to draw from this. It separates the United States from its allies ideologically, from the liberal bloc of the western world. It creates a number of complications. And it bolsters Trump's position with his base. This after all was one of his campaign promises. But it's not one without controversy, and fortunately it has a term and an end point for most of it, but it's also potentially in conflict with the U.S. Constitution.
BLACKWELL: Ron, quickly to you, on the domestic front, we've heard from Democratic senators, the leader of the Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, said the Statue of Liberty is crying now. We've heard from members of Congress, the Democrats. But is this strictly on party lines, because we know there were some evangelicals when blasted the Muslim ban when that was proposed during the campaign.
BROWNSTEIN: Not only evangelicals, the House Speaker Paul Ryan blasted the Muslim ban. But his statement yesterday on this was essentially barely a peep, a protest and a lot of words surrounding it.
[10:15:00] Look, whatever else you think of Donald Trump, he is a student of power. And so far what he is seeing is Republicans who raised objections to initiatives that he pursued during the campaign or during the transition by and large are falling into line. Many Republicans questioned the value of building a wall, much less with the U.S. Congress paying for it. Now they are making much more agreeable noises.
You had John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio raise questions about appointing Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Ultimately you are seeing that objection melt away. And here on the Muslim ban, which this is a variation thereof, the objections we heard during the campaign are not nearly as loud today. By and large, Republicans have decided their shared interest with President Trump on things like repealing Obamacare, rolling back regulation, and cutting taxes are enough for them to hold their objections on other fronts. And I don't think that message has been lost on the man in the Oval Office.
BLACKWELL: All right, Ron Brownstein, Frida Ghitis, and Nic Robertson, thank you all.
PAUL: We're going to talk more about the fallout over President Trump's executive order banning millions of people from entering the U.S. Travelers, we're learning this morning, are now being turned away from airports. Back in a moment.
PAUL: We have breaking news coming to the CNN newsroom right now, a report that U.S. bound travelers are being turned away from the Cairo airport.
BLACKWELL: Also in New York two travelers have filed a lawsuit after being detain at the airport. They just arrived from Iraq. This was on Friday. Now, travelers are being taken off these flights in response to an executive order signed by the president yesterday. Here's a deeper look at what this order does. First, it bars millions of people from seven terror prone countries, as they're described, from entering the U.S. for 90 days. According to a White House official those countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. All together it's about 134 million people
[10:20:11] PAUL: It also suspends the U.S. refugee admissions program for 120 days and indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees. It puts a cap on the total number of refugees admitted at less than half of the current level, so about 50,000. And it calls for new screening procedures. Also cancels the visa interview waiver program for repeat travelers.
BLACKWELL: CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is joining us live from Istanbul. And you, Ben, have already found people that are affected by this order. Explain to me what you're hearing from them.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're hearing, for instance, Victor, from a friend of mine in Baghdad. He served with the U.S. military as a translator, a front line translator under fire with American service personnel. He has applied for refugee status in the United States. He's been waiting for years. And of course he woke up this morning to find that whatever hopes he has of getting out of Iraq where he's under death threat from ISIS have evaporated or at least are temporarily suspended. And obviously it's a source of great distress.
He tells me his marriage is on the rocks. His wife needs to take medication because she now has a nervous disorder, and really they're running out of hope and increasingly fearing for their lives. I've spoken with Iraqi refugees who live here in Turkey that hosts almost 3 million Syrian refugees. He tells me that he sees this order, this executive order as shameful and racist, basically slamming the door on people who are caught between a rock and a hard place, between the brutal regime of Bashar al Assad and the mad terrorist of ISIS. And now they really see no way out. And so certainly it's being meet with despair, frustration, and anger. Victor?
BLACKWELL: All right, Ben Wedeman for us there in Istanbul. Thanks so much.
PAUL: And the ACLU is reacting this morning to this executive order. In a statement Executive Director Anthony Romero says this, quote "Extreme vetting is just a euphemism for discrimination against Muslims. Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions. Any effort to discriminate against Muslims and favor other religions runs afoul of the First Amendment," end quote.
BLACKWELL: Still to come, the fight to save sanctuary cities, how some Democratic mayors are preparing to challenge President Trump's executive order. We'll talk about that next.
[10:26:40] BLACKWELL: President Trump is cracking down on illegal immigration with an executive order that strips federal grant money from states and cities that shelter undocumented immigrants. Miami- Dade County was the first city, or area I should say, because it's more than a city, to comply with Trump's call to action when Carlos Gimenez agreed to process federal immigration detention requests.
PAUL: The move has riled up Democratic mayors across the country, though. I want to bring in the attorney general of Massachusetts Mara Healey. Maura, thank you so much for being with us. I know that you've blasted President Trump's decision. You've called it irresponsible. What are you most fearful of losing by way of federal funds, first of all?
MAURA HEALEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS: Well, Christi, there's several things wrong with what Donald Trump has done. The first thing is it actually is going to harm public safety. It's going to hurt law enforcement efforts.
Let me tell you what I mean. For years what has worked and worked well is letting local police chiefs, local law enforcement, and mayors determine what is best in terms of thou keep their communities safe. What Donald Trump proposes to do is to actually come in and have the federal government take over that responsibility by commandeering our local law enforcement. That's not a good idea. It's the folks on the ground locally who know what is best in terms of keeping their communities safe.
The other thing he's done is scare away a lot of people potentially from coming forward and reporting crime to local law enforcement. Every day all of us in law enforcement rely on people coming forward, including immigrants, to report crimes. I'm afraid that what Donald Trump has done is actually going to square away people from reporting crimes. As a result, public safety is going to be harmed. Third what Donald Trump has done --
PAUL: Go ahead and finish.
HEALEY: The other point is that Donald Trump is essentially holding our cities hostage. He is threatening to take away serious economic funding for our cities, funding that's going to support things like schools and the building of roads and bridges, health care centers and the like. And that's going to hurt an awful lot of people. He has no right to do that constitutionally. Remember, it is not the president who controls funding. It is actually Congress. It is not the president who can put continues on funding. It is Congress. So there are serious constitutional issues with what Donald Trump is proposing to do.
It's a wrongheaded idea. It hurts public safety. It's going to hurt law enforcement, who, by the way, Christi, day in and day out, those of us in law enforcement are already working with the federal authorities. We're working to hand over dangerous criminals to immigration officials.
PAUL: May I ask you, what is the threshold of the decision making as to when you will turnover an undocumented immigrant to federal authorities? What is the threshold, because a sanctuary city is a city not known to do so?
HEALEY: I think what Donald Trump has tried to do is mischaracterize the way actually it works when it comes down to the efforts of local law enforcement and immigration officials.
PAUL: People don't understand what -- at what point, what does the offense need to be before you will alert federal authorities that you have somebody in your custody?
[10:30:06] HEALEY: It's a great question. Here's the way it works, Christi. When somebody is apprehended, caught for a crime, when they are arrested and their fingerprints taken, that information is already shared with federal authorities. And if somebody is flagged as having an immigration detainer out on them, the federal authorities will let states and localities know that, and they have the opportunity to have those folks turned over. We regularly assist and cooperate with that. That system is already working. So Donald Trump's order doesn't change that.
PAUL: Well, there is one case in particular that a lot of people have honed in on, and that's the case of Katie Steinle. Authorities contend that she was killed by an undocumented immigrant who had come back into the country, had been deported, actually, five times. I talked with Mayor Marty Walsh who made the point that it's the policies that are the problem. If the policies were in line he wouldn't have been able to come back into the city five times. But couldn't you then argue that sanctuary cities give somebody hope to come back into the country because they know they have a safe place to fall?
HEALEY: Well, that's just false, because, as I say, if you are somebody who has done something illegal or you are somebody who has engaged in criminal conduct and you have been deported, you're not welcome back in a sanctuary city. People may return to this country for all sorts of reasons but it's not because there's a sanctuary city in place. And I think what that very sad case shows is how much work we need to
do on a federal level, because the fact of this matter is this person is somebody who was deported four times, five times and was allowed back into the country. The federal government controls the immigration situation on the borders. If I were Trump Donald Trump.
PAUL: So you think a wall would work?
HEALEY: Excuse me?
PAUL: Would a wall work?
HEALEY: No. Here's what would work. What would work is if Donald Trump put energy and effort into working with the Republican controlled Congress right now on meaningful immigration reform. That's what would work.
But in the meantime, Christi, what I say to Donald Trump is let us on the local level do our job. Don't try to commandeer or take over local law enforcement resources. Don't tell us what to do. Federal government, don't threaten us with the removal of important federal funding that's going to help the elderly and students in school and the basic infrastructure and lifeblood of our cities. That's serious business. He has no right to threaten the removal of that important funding for economic centers across this state. And in the meantime, let us in law enforcement do our job.
PAUL: Attorney general of Massachusetts Maura Healey, we appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today. Thank you, ma'am.
HEALEY: Great to be with you.
BLACKWELL: So let's now talk to the other side. Still questions about the executive orders banning refugees and building the Mexican -- the wall at the Mexican border. There are some asking about the consequences of that issue. You heard from the attorney general. We'll speak with the Republican congressman who represents some of that border state, Texas. Stay with us.
[10:36:16] PAUL: So good to have you company. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.
PAUL: President Donald Trump will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin in less than two hours now. This is part of a series of calls today that he has planned with five heads of state including the leaders of Japan, Germany, France, and Australia.
BLACKWELL: Meanwhile U.S. bound travelers are now being turned back from airports in Cairo and in New York after President Trump's executive order. The order temporarily bans nationals from these seven Muslim majority countries, here's the map, from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days. The move has already sparked a lawsuit in New York after two travelers were detained at the airport after arriving from Iraq on Friday. Let's talk about this with Congressman Roger Williams who serves the Fort Hood area of Texas. Congressman, good morning to you.
REP. ROGER WILLIAMS, (R) FORT HOOD, TEXAS: Good morning to you guys. Good to be on.
BLACKWELL: Thank you for coming on. I want to read for you part of a statement from your colleague, former marine and Massachusetts congressman Seth Moulton. He says that "President Trump is leading our country out of fear instead of fact. His executive order banning refugees and immigrants from some Muslim majority countries to the United States is playing right into the hands of our enemies. I am ashamed that he is our president." To Congressman Moulton you say what?
WILLIAMS: Well, I have a lot of respect for him, but he's just dead wrong on. We got attacked on 9/11. We're still under attack. We've got things happening in this country we haven't had before, and President Trump is responsible for defending this country, and I think what we've seen in the last couple days with executive orders that he's passed, that's what he's doing. This is a challenging time for our country. We've got to respond, and we haven't seen a response the last eight years through the Obama administration.
BLACKWELL: So when you say we were attacked on 9/11 and actually in the executive order in the explanation of the purpose, it references 9/11. However not one of the seven countries highlighted where these nationals were banned was the country of origin of any of the 9/11 attackers. So should this list be extended? Do you think it should be extended to the UAE, to Saudi Arabia, to Egypt, to Lebanon?
WILLIAMS: Here's the deal, you can talk about 9/11. But let's talk about Fort Hood. Let's talk about Chattanooga. Let's talk about San Bernardino. Let's talk about Little Rock.
BLACKWELL: And how many of them were Americans?
WILLIAMS: I'm telling you a lot of this was driven by the dislike for America by the Muslim community. All Muslims are not bad, but we've got to get our hand around this. We have to defend our country, and that's what he's doing.
BLACKWELL: But how does this specific executive order get to any of the specific cases you're naming, Fort Hood, San Bernardino? These were Americans.
WILLIAMS: What is does is it begins to understand who is coming across our borders. We don't have an idea. I can tell you being from Texas and knowing what's happening on the border, we don't have a clue who's coming in. We have people coming between the ports of entry, not through the ports of entry. We've got to stop that. We don't allow our border patrol beyond the border. They've been asked to stay 45 miles back of the order. And these are the kinds of things -- we need to get a handle on who's coming in and then go from there. And that's what we're beginning to do here. The law says that. The law says you come in here, play the rules of the game and come in legally. And that's all we're doing.
BLACKWELL: But the seven countries that were highlighted, you say getting to know the people who are coming in, those seven countries that were part of the ban were already classified by the Obama administration as countries of concern and were removed from the visa waiver program to go through that meticulous vetting process. So that was already in place. How does that get to know the people who are coming in by banning them? They were already going through the process.
[10:40:00] WILLIAMS: Look, I don't know that the process has been used as it should be. This begins to restart the process. It begins to -- as I said, it's very simple. We've got to know whose coming into our country. If you leave your doors unlocked at your house, you don't want to do that. You need to know who's coming into our house. And we've got a serious issue right now.
And I think this restarts the program and begins to use the program as it should, and good people will be able to get in here. Bad people won't. We do not need bad people in America. A lot of the people from the countries have said let's wipe America off the face of the map. That's not the kind of folks we want in here.
BLACKWELL: Let me get to another issue, because we could go back and forth on that for another 25 minutes. But let me get to what California Senator Kamala Harris tweeted. She said "On Holocaust Memorial day Trump restricted refugees from Muslim majority countries. Make no mistake, this is a Muslim ban." The president during the campaign did propose a ban on all non-American Muslims coming into the country. He walked that back. But to people who receive this as a Muslim ban, what do you have to say that?
WILLIAMS: I don't think it's a ban on Muslims. The fact of the matter is we've got extremists that are out there that want to hurt our country. It's time to find out who these people are and make sure they don't get in here. Send a message that if you want to come to America and do it the right way you can come. If you don't want to do it the right way and you don't like this country and you don't want to understand the laws of this country then you're not wanted here. And I think that we're seeing some strength by President Trump. And I support him. We're not banning people, but we also want to know who's coming in this country.
BLACKWELL: But this is a ban. I mean, it uses the word "ban." It keeps people from coming in. We've got to take a break. We'll continue the convention. Stay with us, Congressman Williams. We'll be right back.
[10:45:29] BLACKWELL: Let's continue our conversation with a different facet of immigration. Back with us, Congressman Roger Williams of Texas. Let's talk now about the border wall with Mexico. We know that during the campaign then candidate Trump said Mexico is going to pay for the wall. He's now asking Congress to appropriate the money. The speaker has said $12 billion to $15 billion will be appropriated and then Mexico will reimburse. Will you support the legislation to spend $12 billion to $15 billion to build that wall?
WILLIAMS: Look, I'm very concerned in the way I want to spend money. This all gets back to being a security issue. I will support the wall. Let me tell you, when I was secretary of state of Texas I talked a lot about this. We do need, as I said earlier, we need to have people come through the ports of entry, not between.
A wall to me is not necessarily brick and mortar all the way. It could be drones. It could be boots on the ground. I'm a boot-on-the- ground guy. But we do need to secure our border and I will support the funding of it. And I think at the end of the day in some form or fashion we'll have our neighbors to the south will have paid for some of it at least.
BLACKWELL: OK, let's talk about -- that's two different directions. Let's start by what the wall will be. You said drones and there's fencing there already. Let's listen to what Donald Trump said since the election -- we don't have the sound bite. He said on several occasions that it's a wall, not a fence, and then he said possibly there is some fencing. So are the American people going to get the wall that many of them thought they were going to get, not an extension of the 700 miles of fence that's already there?
WILLIAMS: We've got a 1,200 mile border with Texas. And again, I don't think you can build a physical brick wall for 1,200 miles. But you can use drones. You use more enforcement on the ground along with brick and mortar. That to me is a wall. It deters and it tells people do the right thing, come into America lawfully, come through the ports of entry.
BLACKWELL: There's already the fence we're showing. By that logic an extension of the fence would be enough. But let me get to the --
WILLIAMS: No. A fence does not work. And we've seen that. Fences don't work.
BLACKWELL: So then what happens to the 700 miles of fence? Do you demo that and the American people have to pay for that too to replace it with the wall?
WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, I don't think the American people end up paying for it in the long run. But it's a security issue, too, and America want to be secure. And if you've got a fence and you're going through the fence and going over the fence it has to be replaced.
BLACKWELL: So they're going to pay to take down the 700 miles of fencing as well. Let me ask you about -- you say the American people don't way for the wall in the long run. How will the U.S. get Mexico to pay for the wall?
WILLIAMS: Well, there's a lot of ways you can do it. I'm a business guy, OK, and there's a lot of ways to get people to pay for it. I don't know where I am on tariffs. I know President Trump says a tariff will pay for a lot of that. But look, there's a lot of things, we might owe the Mexican government some money. We might deduct what the cost is from what we owe them. There's all kinds of ways to do it. But we probably need to get this thing built. We need to send a message that we want you to come to America and abide by the laws and do it the right way.
BLACKWELL: You say you're going to get the money back from Mexico and with that assurance you're going to go ahead and vote for this $12 billion to $15 billion. You say you're also a businessman. Let me put that into context. You have a car dealership, right?
BLACKWELL: I've been reading up on you. Let me put it in that context.
WILLIAMS: That's good. You want to buy a car, do you?
BLACKWELL: Let me just get the question out here. Now, the president is asking Congress to build this wall, and he promises that Mexico's going to come along and pay. If a person came into your dealership and said give me the keys to a car, I promise the bank is going to give you the money, wouldn't you require some proof that there's financing behind that?
WILLIAMS: Well, of course we would. But it's not the same thing.
BLACKWELL: Then why would you be willing to vote with the assurance that Mexico's going to pay you back with no proof and no plan that's on paper in how that money is going to be recouped?
WILLIAMS: But it's not the same thing.
Here's the other thing. There's a real issue down there. There's an issue of not necessarily of people coming here wanting to get a job. How about the drug war going on down there? How about narcotics coming over here and killing our kids? How about terrorists that want to come here and kill us? That in itself, if we can keep a lot of that from happening, we save a lot of money of American taxpayers.
BLACKWELL: All right, Congressman Roger Williams, thanks so much for being with us.
WILLIAMS: Thanks for having me.
BLACKWELL: Quick break. We'll be back.
[10:52:12] PAUL: You know it's cold in Canada this time of year. Dogsledding is a tradition there if you didn't know, and it's also a growing attraction for visitors now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANK DEBRUIN, OWNER, WINTERDANCE DOGSLED TOURS: It's absolutely stunning scenery. Hi. I'm Hank DeBruin from Winterdance Dogsled Tours. Welcome to Haliburton, Ontario. We're two and a half to three hours away from Toronto. Part of our heritage is running dogs. We do two hour trips, half day trips, full day trips, and moonlit trips. Our trails run through the valleys of some very rugged land. Our dogs are part of our family. We've got to keep the dogs happy. What we do as a trip is two people per sled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was awesome. You get to know their personalities along the way. We had one that was really rambunctious.
DEBRUIN: The enthusiasm of the dogs, these guys live to run. And it rubs off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dogs are really, really nice. They keep asking for more. It's an amazing experience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can absolutely forget about everything else, but you live the moment.
[10:55:03] BLACKWELL: Look at these pictures from no New York. A pickup truck going full speed there plows through the side of a bus. Here's the other perspective here. According to police, watch, the driver was getting off the exit ramp. Mistakenly hit the gas instead of the breaks sending him off the road. The truck driver was fined for failure to reduce speed on a curve and keep right on a highway. Luckily eight people were hurt in this crash but no one lost their life.
PAUL: And down under to the Australian Open, Serena and Venus Williams, head-to-head. Which one of them took the title?
BLACKWELL: Serena Williams beating Venus in straight sets this morning to win her seventh Australian Open, her 23rd grand slam title overall, passing Steffi Graf for the most in the open era. With today's win Serena also returns to number one in the world tennis rankings. We joined ESPN's world sport center earlier this morning to reflect on beating her sister for the seventh time in a grand slam final.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: This was a lot different because it was for so much. There was so much riding on both our ends. Venus was trying to get her eighth grand slam and me obviously trying to get to 23. But also we're both in our -- we're both 30 -- so we're just trying --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like that.
WILLIAMS: It's a big moment for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: First time the sisters have met in a grand slam final since Wimbledon in 2009. I give them credit to be as close as they are and face each other like that.
BLACKWELL: You put all that aside when you get on the court.
PAUL: Isn't that the truth?
Hey, go make some great memories today.
BLACKWELL: So much more ahead in the next hour of CNN newsroom with Fredericka Whitfield. That's coming up right after a short break.