Return to Transcripts main page
Massacre At Mosque In Quebec City; Federal Judges Block Travel Ban; Travel Ban Protests Across The Country; President Defends Travel Ban; Legal Challenges To Trump Travel Ban; Republican Lawmakers Slam Travel Ban; Business Leaders React To Ban; Michael Flynn Jr. Deletes Twitter Account; World Leaders Condemn Trump's Travel Ban. Aired 5- 5:30a ET
Aired January 30, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- killed in this attack. Eight others in the hospital right now described as having critical injuries. Now this attack had happened Sunday night last night while dozens of people, families, were worshipping at the Quebec Islamic Culture Center.
Thirty nine people were able to escape unharmed. Authorities are still collecting all this information on what is being described as a coordinated terrorist attack. Witnesses described two men wearing black firing at worshippers.
Police say they have arrested two people. It is unclear, though, if others are involved. Authorities say at this hour, the situation is, quote, "under control."
Something else authorities are looking into if there is a link between this incident and the hate crime that was reported last year when a bloody pig's head was left on the mosque's door step.
Overnight, though, you can probably imagine all of the condolences that are pouring in from around the world. France's president as well as the country's prime minister in Canada saying their thoughts are with the victims and their families and Justin Trudeau saying that the country is going to stand together.
Now here closer to home in New York City, we did get word that the NYPD is really instructing its special counterterrorism teams to give extra attention to mosques today here in New York City. And of course, this all while keeping an eye on what is going with that investigation in Quebec City, which is ongoing.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Brynn Gingras for us, thanks so much. Again, we do not know the identity of the two people in custody or what they are saying at this point?
GINGRAS: Right. We don't know. Authorities are saying let's not speculate. Let's collect information before releasing anything at this point.
BERMAN: All right, Brynn, thank you. ALISON KOSIK, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: This morning, confusion after a weekend of chaos, protests and clarification after clarification. President Trump's executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim majority countries. The president went way too far in his travel ban part of the so-called extreme vetting he promised, which also bans all refugee admissions for the next 120 days.
The president defending the move in a statement that also seemed to soften it. Saying this, "America is a proud nation of immigrants. We will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression. We will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. We will keep it free and safe as the media knows but refuses to say." More of the president's comments coming up in a moment.
BERMAN: Several federal judges across the country have issued temporary stays blocking parts of the travel ban. The Department of Homeland Security says it will comply with the judges' orders not to deport travelers detained after they landed. But an administration official calls the ruling noting and claiming they apply only to one- time situation travelers in the air when the president signed the order.
People who have not left yet for the United States and people traveling to the United States whose flights have not departed will still be banned. Some of the harshest criticism of the ban is it has come out of nowhere with little planning or half-hazard implementation.
The White House denied that, is fighting back against that notion. They held a briefing last night with reporters. Unnamed administration officials have pushed back on that.
A senior administration official says that months were spent drafting the order and that several of the top immigration staffers on Capitol Hill participated, but others familiar with the matter say the circle involved was really pretty small.
That the agencies most affected, Homeland Security, for one have little input and given few details until just before the president signed the order.
KOSIK: New demonstrations against the ban are planned across the country today from UC San Diego to the Ohio statehouse and Columbia University in New York. These follows huge protests at landmark locations on Sunday. Demonstrators packed Boston's Square and chanting, "No hate, no fear, immigrants welcome here."
In New York, City Hall estimates the number of people jammed in Battery Park at more than 10,000. In Washington, protesters marching from the White House to the Trump International Hotel to the Capital Building, and then back towards the White House.
At San Francisco Airport, an international security checkpoint was shut down due to a crowd of protesters that an airport official estimated was 1,500 strong. Other demonstrations happening in Orlando, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle and Chicago, all taking place mainly at airports.
BERMAN: All right, some of the legal challenges are mounting to President Trump's seven nation travel ban. House and Senate Democrats are planning to protest tonight outside of the Supreme Court. In a pretty emotional statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he will introduce legislation to try to overturn the order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: This executive order -- was mean spirited and un-American. It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across country and it will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who will do us harm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[05:05:13]BERMAN: Let's talk about the legal challenges right now. We're joined by CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett, from Washington. Laura, you know, it's interesting because we did get rulings from federal judges. Putting stays at least on parts of this travel ban so far, but there's a lot to do going forward.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, that's right, John. Over the weekend, President Trump's travel ban, as you said, was met with swift legal opposition, but there was also some confusion about who exactly was even covered. As we know the executive order President Trump signed clearly prohibited nearly all foreign nationals traveling from those seven Muslim majority countries.
And they were prohibited from coming to the U.S., but the question was about what green card holders? There was some back and forth over the weekend about this. We heard that in the White House.
But we finally heard from the Homeland Security secretary last night that green card holders from the seven banned countries will undergo additional security screenings when they land. But absent a serious public threat, they should be admitted to the country.
Now on the lawsuit front, you saw a flurry of emergency filings from civil rights groups representing those who are being held at the airports across the country, and the judges in those cases limited the relief.
So it was very discreet to stop deportation of legal permanent residents or those with visas that were stuck at the airport. But the judges across the country did not rule on the larger constitutional questions.
So today we expect to see a more expansive lawsuit filed by an advocacy group testing some of those constitutional issues. One argument you may hear from some of those advocates is that when you take away a liberty or property interest, the government has to give you an opportunity to be heard.
You can't just take it away. So experts tell me that the ones who have the toughest times are the non-U.S. citizens currently overseas because they lack a guaranteed right to come into U.S. court.
And so President Trump is not backing down. We heard from him late last night that this is not a Muslim ban. This is not a religion test. This is about keeping our country safe.
BERMAN: Interesting. The ACLU says they received $24 million in donations just this past weekend. Normally, they say they receive about $4 million all year. So the ACLU has been active in battling this getting a lot of support from around the country. Laura Jarrett, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
KOSIK: Amid all the confusion and anger swirling around the statements made by administration officials. President Trump himself speaking out on the travel ban trying to calm things down. CNN's Athena Jones has the latest from the White House.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Alison. President Trump responding to the criticism of the travel ban he's imposed has been getting. Issuing a statement, saying in part, "We will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression. We will do so while protecting our own citizens and voters."
He added, "This is not a Muslim ban as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion. This is about terror and keeping our country safe." He said his "first priority will always be to protect and serve our country. As president, I will find ways to help all those who are suffering."
The White House saying that they are extremely proud of what we've accomplished so far. That's from a senior administration official, who said it really is a massive success story in terms of implementation on several levels. But clearly it is a move that is continuing to come under fire -- John, Alison.
BERMAN: All right, Athena Jones for us at the White House. Now we are joined by CNN politics reporter, Eugene Scott. Eugene, thanks so much for being here.
KOSIK: Good morning, Eugene.
BERMAN: One of the interesting developments this weekend, we are a week into the Trump presidency right now, and one of the interesting developments is that for the first time you are starting to see members of Donald Trump's own party question vocally some of his policies. That happened with this travel ban.
That happened right here on CNN when Ohio Senator Rob Portman went on with Jake Tapper and was critical of at least a specific part of it. Listen to what Senator Portman said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: The extreme vetting proposal that did not get the vetting it should have had, and as a result, in the implementation, we have seen some problems.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: What do you think should be done now?
PORTMAN: Well, look, I think we should slow down and a discussion of hysterical voices on both sides of this. Let's make two points, one, our country is not as safe as it should be. I'm on the Homeland Security Committee. We have plenty of test one in the last couple of years about the fact that there is not adequate screening particularly on our visa waiver programs. I think we need to tighten things up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: His language is very similar from what you're hearing from the other Republicans who are critical of this. They are careful. They are not saying we don't think the president should not do anything or should have done this at all. They just don't like the way it has been rolled out.
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That is certainly true. I think most Republican lawmakers who have more policy shaping experience than Donald Trump are used to this process being more collaborative than it has been.
[05:10:10]I believe as of last night, there were at least more than 270 Republican lawmakers who had not spoken out at all and had been silent. I think many people are paying attention to them considering the controversy that this ban has attracted. But those who have spoken out, as you mentioned, overwhelmingly have been critical.
KOSIK: What is also stunning is that people in the Trump camp, Reince Priebus, also don't seem very -- sort well informed about what this executive order actually means. I want you to listen to how he spoke on "Meet The Press" on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This order does not impact any green card holders from these seven countries?
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, of course, it does. If you're traveling back and forth, you're going to be subjected to further screening. The executive order doesn't affect green card holders moving forward. I've said that, but what I'm suggesting to you is that Customs and Border Patrol, I would suspect if they have a person that's traveling back and forth to Libya or Somalia or Yemen, I would suspect within their discretion they might ask a few more questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Here's the thing, you put out an executive order. It affects how many people? You know, thousands and thousands of people, and if you don't know the rules of the game to give out to those people, how do they know how to play?
SCOTT: Well, they don't. We saw a Customs agent at the airport who was questioned by someone he detained about what they do about it. He simply said go ask the president because the reality is we have seen mass confusion amongst the administration.
That has trickled down all the way to the people who are dealing with people trying to get into the United States directly and there has been quite a bit of mixed of information, which is why I think we continue to see the president putting out statements in the middle of the night and trying to clarify the confusion. What is happening, no one really seems to know yet.
BERMAN: The green card thing is an example because first, it does seem as if they were banned from the executive order, and then Reince Priebus said they weren't, and then he said, well, maybe they are. Now Homeland Security says no, no, which does seem to be the final say on that.
If you have a green card from one of these countries, you will be allowed in. You may get some additional vetting, but you will be allowed in eventually.
Now you can tell that the White House doesn't like where this discussion is by a few things. Number one, they apparently held a background briefing at the White House last night to try to give the sense that it was going as planned.
And the second this is they are admitting they may move up the president's pick for Supreme Court nominee to today. We may learn in a few hours who his pick is for Supreme Court. Initially it was going to be on Thursday. Clearly, they want to change the story.
SCOTT: They do want to change the story, but I think what they fail to realize is that voters are able to watch different stories that at a different time depending on what that interest is. We saw this past weekend after the march for life.
Donald Trump and his supporters at least were able to speak very clearly to a demographic that had banked on him naming the Supreme Court justice as soon as possible and I think he understands he's desperately in need of some positive news to change the conversation.
BERMAN: The only thing that does is that Republicans who are critical of him on the immigration ban will not likely be critical about the Supreme Court, but they will rally around him for that so you can create party unity where there is some disunity now.
SCOTT: This ban is not going anywhere anytime soon, at least, the conversation about it.
BERMAN: Eugene, thanks for being with us.
KOSIK: OK, business leaders are speaking out against the travel ban. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking suggestions on how to amend the executive order. He plans to present them to President Trump. Details next.
[05:17:47] KOSIK: Welcome back. Some of the biggest names in business are condemning the travel ban. Some of them plan to take their complaints right to President Trump. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt broke this note to employees saying, "Our priority at GE is our people and our customers. We have many employees from the named countries. We do business all over the region. These employees and customers are critical to our success and they are our friends and partners."
Tesla's CEO Elon Musk tweeting this, "Please read immigration order. Let me know specific amendments. Will seek advisory council consensus and present to president."
Musk and Immelt are two of 28 executives on President Trump's Manufacturing Advisory Council. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon putting out a statement, saying, he's reached out to employees who may be affected.
And Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick called the ban unjust, saying, he would urge the administration to change it. Dimon and Kalanick are on the president's Business and Economic Council.
BERMAN: All right, the son of President Trump's national security advisor has abruptly deleted his Twitter account after referring to the administration's refugee order as a necessary Muslim ban. Michael Flynn Jr., he's got a history of spreading conspiracy theories on Twitter.
And as protests broke out over the weekend, he tweeted, make America great again with the #muslimban and @realdonaldtrump. The White House does not like the phrase Muslim ban insists that what had happened here is not a Muslim ban.
When the son of that man, Michael Flynn, the national security adviser, when he is tweeting out with a #muslimban, it obviously runs counter to the message they are trying to send.
KOSIK: Someone is not on the same page.
BERMAN: No, but he has apparently deleted his account completely and this is a guy who had been tweeting conspiracy theories during the transition. He was essentially fired from the transition. So they had some problems with him before.
KOSIK: Yes. OK, officials around the world, they are reacting harshly to President Trump's travel ban. But why is the response somewhat tame from the Mid-east? We are live in Istanbul next.
KOSIK: The president's travel ban has been met with widespread global condemnation. Leaders from Europe to the Middle East describing it as cruel and shameful. Let's get the latest from CNN's Ian Lee live from Istanbul. So how is this -- this travel ban being received worldwide? Are you seeing any effort to try to explain how it is actually going to work?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alison, let's start here in Turkey where from a tweet a jab at the United States from the deputy prime minister, (inaudible), saying, "Refugees welcome in Turkey. The world's largest refugee hosting country. We happily welcome global talent not allowed back in the United States."
We are also hearing condemnation from some of those seven countries that have their citizens banned from the United States. But one of the most noticeable things that we are not really seeing is that other Arab countries that are not part of this ban have yet to comment on it.
Possibly because they are afraid of attracting Donald Trump's -- President Trump's ire. We have heard from the White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus saying that other countries could be added to this ban.
But we are hearing strong condemnation from the United States allies. From the U.K, Prime Minister Theresa May saying that "We don't agree with this kind of approach." The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, saying this is shameful and cruel.
Also hearing from German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying she talked to President Trump saying that the United States has obligations under the Geneva Convention to refugees -- Alison.
KOSIK: All right, CNN's Ian Lee live from Istanbul, thanks very much.
BERMAN: A coordinated attack at a mosque being investigated right now as an act of terror. The breaking news overnight, new details on this as well as the controversy over President Trump's travel ban. Stay with us.