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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump's Travel Ban Sparks Outrage; Supreme Court Pick? President Trump's Travel Ban Causes Global Backlash; White House On Travel Ban: We're Getting Ahead Of Threats; Giuliani: Ban Based On Factual Not Religious Basis; Democrats To Speak Against Trump's Executive Orders; Trump To Announce Supreme Court Nominee Tomorrow. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired January 30, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Their story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
The national lead now: a closer look at that unwelcome arrival of the dozens of foreigners who traveled to the United States this past weekend, or tried to.
The Trump administration says 109 people were detained at several airports after the president's travel ban went into effect, but hundreds of thousands were admitted.
A couple from Syria found themselves held for more than eight hours in Orlando. They were detained despite having visas in hand to visit their son, who is a U.S. citizen living in Florida. They do not speak English.
But their son, Elias Habbabeh, does. And he joins me now, along with immigration attorney Nayef Mubarak.
Gentlemen, thanks for joining me.
Eli, let me start with you. Or do you go by Eli or Elias? What do you go by?
ELIAS HABBABEH, PARENTS WERE DETAINED: Eli or Elias. My more nickname is Eli.
TAPPER: Eli, tell us about what your parents went through once they landed in Orlando.
HABBABEH: It was miserable. They went through a lot.
They got to the airport at 10:00 in the morning, and they were just put on the side with another girl. She was from Iran. And they were just not explained what's going on. And they were trying to talk to them. There was no translator to translate at the moment.
And I think there was a guy that worked in the Orlando Airport. His name is Hasham (ph), as my parents told me. He is from Tunis. He was not speaking too much of Arabic as well, but he was a little bit of help, until another Emirates worker came by. And she was Iraqian, and she was able to translate more the language.
NAYEF MUBARAK, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: As people kind of passed, people offered assistance to translate for Eli's parents to communicate with the CBP agents.
TAPPER: How long were they detained?
HABBABEH: They were there for eight hours...
TAPPER: Eight hours.
HABBABEH: ... 10:00 in the morning until 6:30. Yes.
TAPPER: Now, Eli, I am told that you said that you were once a supporter of President Trump. Are you still?
HABBABEH: Oh, well, at this second, I don't know what to answer.
I mean, some things he said and he promised with, I was with, like the -- you know, the health care program, the new ones, and protecting the country, which is all we're looking forward for, making everyone feel more secure and more safe. We were all looking forward for that, you know?
I mean, what he is trying to do could be right, it could be wrong. They know more than what we do, but not in that way, not in that way at all. I mean, a lot of people are getting affected, a lot of people losing their lives. I mean, people need to come to United States, you know, to change their life, not just to come and visit or come and look and go, you know?
MUBARAK: Eli mentioned he supported the president for his business mind. And, as a businessman himself, he had similar views.
I don't think he was expecting his family to be affected by this executive order that the president signed on Friday.
TAPPER: Eli, were your parents ever asked about their religious background? My understanding is that you and your parents are Catholic.
MUBARAK: Yes, we are. They were not asked at the airport at all. The worker was really nice. They were not able to talk to me. They were not able to use the phone.
They weren't able to speak to nobody. My mom tried to tell them, let me talk to my son just to let him know where we're at, to talk to him, see what's going on. And they were like, we are not allowed to let you use the phone at all.
They were held. They were just there, I mean, sitting. And they didn't know what's going on. They asked. And they didn't tell them, like, we don't have the permission. We don't know if you guys are going to come in or going to go back. We're just waiting on Washington to send us back.
TAPPER: And, Nayef, as you represent clients like Elias, what's next? Can you fight this in court? What can be done?
MUBARAK: Well, we took a lesson from what happened in New York City and Massachusetts over the weekend.
We were getting ready to file a habeas, if necessary, a motion to allow the release of his parents, because they have lawful permission to be here. But we're going to continue to fight, us and other immigration attorneys, this executive order by filing and hopefully adding to the motions for stay and the court orders putting a hold on this executive order, until more instruction is given to the agents and to attorneys and international travelers to have more of an idea what to expect and who is actually affected, which I believe many also agree with me that the executive order has created great confusion across the country on both sides of the aisle.
TAPPER: And, Elias, President Trump is suspending the Syrian refugee program indefinitely. As a Syrian-American, your parents live in Syria. What do you make of that?
HABBABEH: I mean, a lot of people over there need a new life. You can't just -- you can't just hold on everyone and, you know, suspend everyone.
There is a good people as just there is bad people. You can't just judge a whole country just of what you see on the news or what you hear. There is a good Muslim. There is good Christian. There is bad Muslim and there is bad Christian. You can't judge everyone as one person or as a group of people.
It's -- it's bad over there, no power for days. You don't get to have water in some space, some places. Some places, it's really hard to get food. Some places, there is no safe. Everybody is just stealing from everybody. I mean, it's really bad. You could tell from the news.
But, again, you can't -- I mean, what he did, it could be right, it could be wrong, again, but not in that way. A lot of people has visas. Like, my parents had their visa two months ago. When the order came out, they were in Beirut. They were on the flight.
And a lot of people, I am sure not just my parents, were on the flight on their way to America when that order came in. You can't just hold all these people not knowing what they can do. I mean, my parents were eight hours in the airport without food, without water, without -- I mean, my dad had to fight with the policeman, even though he didn't try to.
He was like arguing with him, like, I need to smoke. I can't go 20 hours straight without a cigarette. And am I being arrested? And he is like, no, you're not being arrested. Well, why can't I use my phone? Why can't I call my son? Why can't I smoke? Why can't I go out?
MUBARAK: The big frustration for Elias and his family was the unknown and not being informed as to what is happening.
The agents were polite. They did offer the family if they wanted food.
MUBARAK: But due to I am guessing security and communications issues, the family did go without eating. But for the most part, the agents were polite. But it was just not knowing and not being able to contact Elias after that long travel. It was very frustrating for everybody.
TAPPER: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. I hope your parents enjoy the rest of their time in Florida. Thanks so much.
Then there were one. President Trump says he has made his decision on his pick for a Supreme Court justice. Did Sean Spicer drop any hints during his White House briefing this afternoon?
Stay with us.
[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Sticking with politics now, President Donald Trump insisting his controversial travel ban is keeping America safe because there are, "a lot of bad dudes out there." Lots to discuss with my panel, thanks one and all for being here. David French, let me start with you. You think the executive actions were reasonable, though poorly implemented, and that the media and others are being hysterical? Explain.
DAVID FRENCH, NATIONAL REVIEW STAFF WRITER: Well, by and large reasonable. I mean, what we're looking at the bottom line is a three- month delay in processing entries from seven countries that the Obama administration had identified as particularly problematic, a four- month pause in refugee admissions then returning those numbers to roughly slightly more than the average Bush era admission levels, and then providing some privileges to members of religious minorities in the refugee resettlement process. All of that is not all that radical, and in fact, given the rise in
the number of Islamic terrorist plots and the problems that we've seen in Europe, pushing the pause button for a little while makes a lot of sense. What did not make sense was applying this to green card holders, applying this to translators and interpreters who'd sacrificed for Americans overseas and applying it to people who are already in transit, who had already jumped through all the lawful hoops. And that's why you had all of this chaos over the weekend, which in my view was -- it was inexcusable. This -- that was poorly planned and caused a shock to the political system that didn't need to happen.
TAPPER: Ruth, so let's pause it that it was poorly planned because it seems like the three of you agree on that probably, but what about the executive order unto itself?
RUTH MARCUS, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: With David on the chaos, so agreed on that, but he left out a bunch of things, for example, no more Syrian refugees. OK, we can have an argument about whether the United States could have done something, but the notion that we as a country don't have a moral responsibility like other countries to take in people and it -- who, you know, have been extensively vetted, is just repugnant to me. And the broader issue is that nobody wants to risk letting people into this country who could be terrorists, but there is just no fit between this order -- no fit that I can see or that experts really see between this order and protecting us. You look at the 9/11 terrorists, these are not the countries that they came from.
TAPPER: America -- Saudi, Egypt, UAE, and Lebanon, I think, so the four of them not mentioned at all. And then there's also -- of course a lot of debate about whether or not this is a "Muslim ban". Obviously, it's not as extensive as what President Trump promised during the campaign. But take a listen to former New York City Mayor and Trump Adviser Rudy Giuliani, talking about what this ban is yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY AND WHITE HOUSE CYBER SECURITY ADVISER: When he first announced it, he said "Muslim ban". He called me up, he said, "Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally." And what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger. The areas of the world that create danger for us, which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Margaret, a lot of people heard Mayor Giuliani saying that and interpreted it differently than Mayor Giuliani apparently did which is, "I want to do a Muslim ban. Find out a legal way to do it. "
MARGARET TALEV, BLOOMBERG WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There are also a lot of American voters, maybe not a majority but a sizable pocket, who want a Muslim ban and were tweeting over the weekend or expressing on Facebook their support for #Muslimban, so --
TAPPER: David Duke, Michael Flynn's son -- Michael Junior, yes.
TALEV: Formerly tweeting. So, look, the question there, obviously the constituencies that Ruth mentioned, whether you're talking about refugees, whether you're talking about green card holders, whether you're talking about people facing religious persecution, but there are the political constituencies to, and this is actually a really important test, really, on -- for the Trump administration. And those constituencies or everything from his cabinet like, you know, Mattis, Kelly, I mean, these principal advisers to President Trump to lawmakers, particularly republicans in congress, to leaders of other countries, important allies and partners of us, whether it's Angela Merkel, whether it's King Abdullah from Jordan who was here today to visit the vice president, and the Mike Pence's readout and the Jordanians readout looked awfully different.
TAPPER: So, David, the seven countries that you correctly point out were identified by the Obama administration, Department of Homeland Security, that was for -- I think for ending the Visa Waiver Program and for making it tougher for people to get in from those countries. But it wasn't a ban on immigrants. So, Congressman Schiff who was on earlier today said that that's something of a red herring because, yes, they identified them as countries of concern, but they didn't say nobody can come in.
[16:50:12] FRENCH: Well, right. It's obviously a change in policy. It's a 90-day change in policies what we know for right now, which is not that -- not that long of a time. And plus, if you look at the actual seven countries -- I've heard a lot who talk about Saudi Arabia and Egypt and we need to take a close look especially at Saudi Arabia, but this list is based on conditions now. Yemen is deteriorating, it's in horrific condition. There was an American combat death in Yemen.
With Syria, we know the problems in Syria. Even though Iraq is our ally and is -- and I think the inclusion on that list is problematic, let's not forget that the largest jihadist-held city in the world is Mosul, Iraq. In Iraq -- in Iraq it's been racked with jihadist violence. Iran is our enemy. Somalia is Iraq as Iraq to jihadist violence. This is based on present conditions and present dangers. I think it's a reasonable list and again, when we use the term "ban" that sounds permanent. This is 90 days while there is a re- evaluation. That's three months. That's not a long time.
Now, let's see what happens at the end of those 90 days. Let's see what the policy is at the end of those 90 days. But for right now, highlighting these seven countries, which the Obama administration had already pointed out as being particularly dangerous, seems reasonable. It might be over-inclusive, it might be under-inclusive, but these seven are certainly a defensible choice.
TAPPER: The only thing I'll say is 90 days might not be long for the four of us, but it might be long for some people out there trying to get to the United States. I'm sure you would concede that point.
FRENCH: Well, particularly for translators and interpreters, and people who've done good service for American forces overseas. For those people, I think there should be immediate relief for them. And I think that's one of the most distressing parts of the implementation --
FRENCH: -- with we had a situation where some of these people seem to be left out in the cold, and that's inexcusable.
TAPPER: David, Margaret, Ruth, thanks so much. I'm sorry this is all the time we have. Be sure to tune in to CNN tomorrow night for a very special event. I'll be hosting a Town Hall with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. It all starts at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN tomorrow night, right after President Trump has announced his Supreme Court pick. We'll get her first reaction, live.
Several state attorneys general, vowing to take action against the president's immigration executive order. So, will it stand up in a court of law? That story next.
[16:55:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now time for the "MONEY LEAD". Millions are now pouring in for a group that spent the weekend pushing to get foreign visitors released from U.S. detention after President Trump's travel ban. The American civil liberties union says it received more than $24 million on online donations over the weekend. That's six times what it usually gets in an entire year. Federal judges sided with ACLU lawsuits filed Saturday and blocked deportation of people detained in the U.S. airports.
Meanwhile, we will soon see crowds outside the U.S. Supreme Court ready to protest President Trump's travel ban. Among the demonstrators, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who plan to call on the president to reserve -- to reverse his executive order on immigration. Tonight's protest comes as legal resistance to the travel ban amounts. Joining me now to discuss this and much more, Supreme Court Biographer and CNN Legal Analyst Joan Biskupic. Joan, thanks for joining us. Do you see challenges to the travel ban potentially going all the way up to the Supreme Court?
JOAN BISKUPIC, SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER AND CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do, Jake. In one form or another, they're coming that way. Either on the big constitutional questions having to do with just whether the president has this kind of power to exclude people perhaps based on religion, or they could come up even sooner with just these -- the injunctions that have already been filed. But one way or another, it's headed to the Supremes.
TAPPER: Now, of course, President Trump, we're told tomorrow night, will announce his Supreme Court nominee. Do you have any feeling as to who it might be?
BISKUPIC: OK, well, I think we're down to three, and I can tell you, though, right now I can see on your screen, Neil Gorsuch, judge from Denver. Probably the most traditional kind of judge that he would put on, Ivy League credentials, someone who's inside the beltway sort of person. He started as a senate page in Washington. Even though he is like fourth generation Coloradoan, he would be -- I think he's probably the sort of person that republican establishment would want.
Thomas Hardiman has a more dramatic story. He started as a -- drove a cab as he got himself through a law school, first person in his family to go to law school. But, Jake, if you're talking about controversy like what we've seen over the weekend and what we could see going forward, William Pryor of Alabama would be President Trump's most controversial nominee, because he has been strong against abortion rights, and same-sex marriage, gay rights. I think he would be the ones -- the one that would be true red meat for the liberals.
TAPPER: Now, of course, there is this theory out there that if President Trump picks a more moderate nominee that would comfort Justice Kennedy and might serve as the way to encouraging him to retire thus Trump would get another pick. This is the parlor game we engaged in in Washington, D.C. is, you know, is that based on anything?
BISKUPIC: Well, it's based on this. Anthony Kennedy is 80 years old. He's wanted to step down for a while. I think that finding someone who's more moderate could maybe -- especially someone who would carry out his legacy in the area of gay marriage and more moderate rulings could hearten him. But I think Tony Kennedy is going to go when he needs to go, and as we've seen with him on rulings, he is prone to play hamlet a lot with court rulings, and he'll probably do that with his retirement as well.
TAPPER: All right. Joan Biskupic, thank you so much. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". See you tomorrow.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM: Happening now, breaking news. Travel ban backlash: President Trump's ban on travel from seven mostly Muslim countries is greeted by protest and lawsuit --