tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN January 30, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
attorney says is unconstitutional. >> in the meantime, the attorney general, the justice department, not going to defend president trump and all the lawsuits pending in virginia and new york, massachusetts and washington state and california. evan, excellent report. thanks so much for breaking the news. our breaking news coverage continues right now on "erin burnett outfront." >> next, breaking news, a dramatic twist from the justice department. the acting attorney general telling justice department lawyers not to defend trump's travel ban. that story is breaking at this moment. senator chuck schumer is my guest. and president obama weighs in as trump tries to compare his travel ban to obama's. the facts out front. and steve bannon, getting more power this evening. what people close to him are telling us about it. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett.
at this moment, the acting attorney general, sally yates, defying president obama's executive order. yates around obama nominee, notifying the justice department lawyers not to make legal arguments defending the travel ban. this is according to sources familiar with the order. yates in a letter to the lawyer, i'm responsible for ensuring that the position that we take in court remain consistent to stand for what is right. at present i'm not convinced that the executive order is consistent with the responsibilities, nor am i convinced that it's lawful. pam brown begins the coverage "outfront." this is dramatic and stunning. obviously, yates a holdover from the obama administration as they're waiting for the confirmation of jeff sessions, but to defy the president of the united states that is significant. >> it certainly is a remarkable move. as you point out the acting attorney general, sally yates
telling justice department lawyers in this letter not to make any legal arguments defending the executive order on immigration and refugees. this as the white house continues to defend the ban saying it is essential to protect the homeland. >> actually had a very good day yesterday in terms of homeland security and some day we had to make the move and we decided to make the move. >> tonight, president trump justifying the implementation of his travel ban, in the face of chaos and confusion at airports across the country. the president tweeting, if the ban were announced with a one-week notice the bad would rush into our country during that week. a lot of bad dudes out there. >> if you wait, you're going to be reacting. what i think i want to be clear on is the president is not going to wait. he's going to make sure he does everything in his power when he can to protect the homeland and its people. >> cnn has learned that department of homeland officials including the new secretary john kelly were shut out of the
process. >> the protection of the nation from foreign terrorists' entry into the united states. big stuff. >> and weren't briefed on the details until the president was signing the executive order on friday. >> the people that needed to be kept in the loop were kept in the loop. >> the dhs officials were sent scrambling about what the executive order meant for newly banned passengers on u.s. bound planes and green card holders. dhs secretary john kelly released a statement clarifying green card holders will be allowed into the u.s. on a case by case basis, absent derogatory information. >> look at how it worked when you talk about the 325,000 people, 109 were temporarily inconvenienced for the safety of us all. >> as democratic leaders in congress now jostle to put forward a bill rescinding the order and civil rights groups
are trying to strike it down. >> this is is not a muslim ban simply. it is a muslim exclusion order. >> the order does not specifically mention muslims but rather identifies dangerous areas of the world that need more vetting. >> the plaintiffs will claim that it is in effect a muslim ban or was motivated by antipathy towards muslims. >> pam, there already is incredible chaos and confusion. you have had multiple judges ruling multiple things about how to enforce this ban so far. the attorney general of the united states now coming out and defying the president, obviously going to cause more chaos in many ways. what can trump do about it though? >> well, i mean, he could fire presumably the acting attorney general, attorney general serves at the pleasure of the president. but then the question remains who would fill that spot? jeff sessions his nominee will be getting his committee vote tomorrow and then is expected by all accounts to be confirmed later this week. and so you have that, but of
course, erin, we're still waiting from president trump the white house to respond to this because it certainly is an extraordinary move for the attorney general to come out like this against the president's executive order. >> all right. pamela, thank you very much. and i want to go straight now "outfront" to the top senate democrat, senator charles schumer. your reaction, the acting attorney general of the united states defying an order from the president. >> well, what sally yatess has done her integrity -- everyone knows she's a person of integrity. this is a poor reflection on president trump and his entire administration. they put this together in a slap dash way it was almost as if they wrote it on the back of an envelope. they didn't check its legality. most people think it's illegal. they didn't talk to the agencies in charge, creating chaos.
they didn't know what they were doing, some departments thought green card people were included. some people thought green card people weren't. when you do something as important as this, it can't be a twitter type activity. this has to be thoroughly vetted, thoroughly gone over. all the agencies have to be consulted. it's a very bad omen for this presidency. if they're going to do things like this they're going to run into trouble the same kind of trouble they ran into on this horrible, horrible order on many, many other things. >> so you think that she's doing the right thing, and i asked this -- i understand you agree with her point of view, but that's separate from the acting attorney general -- >> yeah, sally yates -- >> that could create more chaos and weakness in our institutions. >> sally yates is a person of integrity and she looked at the law regardless of her view. most of the judges who have look at this -- i think just about every one that i have seen rulings from has ruled in that direction.
i don't think there's much doubt that what they have done is unconstitutional. it's just causing chaos for months until we get a final ruling unless our republican colleagues who are on the floor of the senate will join us in repealing. i made a motion to do that tonight. the republican leadership didn't allow it. but maybe they will because now 12 republicans have spoken out of the senators and said that things are very wrong with what was done. >> so let me ask you about the republicans because obviously when we talk about the replacement for sally yates whether she is fired or he is approved in the next few days -- i know you can delay it, but not much more than that, right, by the end of the week we'll know on jeff sessions? >> well, i hope we don't because i think he's -- he is the wrong person for the job. he has been so anti-voting rights. anti-civil rights. anti-immigrant. this is probably the most anti-immigrant senator and i would hope maybe some of my republican colleagues would rethink given what's happened in
the last few days whether he should actually be approved. the odds that they'll vote for him, yes. is there a chance maybe some of them won't possibly. >> so what you're saying there's nothing you can do to stop his approval at this point, but hope that those individuals come over? >> well, we hope that some republicans will. you know, there -- i understand party loyalty. but this goes way beyond that. this is a constitutional crisis. it hurts the united states abroad. you have heard from people like cia director and former general hayden who worked for george bush and so many others who are on the other side of the aisle who have said what a disaster this is. it wasn't thought through. and that's going to be a real problem for this president and his team if they're going to keep doing things like this. this is bad in itself. but the way it was implemented made it -- made it almost, you know -- it didn't look like the united states government knew what it was doing.
>> when it comes to jeff sessions and more than jeff sessions you have demanded several of trump's cabinet nominees submit public statements about their stance on the travel ban. i know sessions is one of them. has he responded to you? >> he has not responded. don't you think that the american people owe -- he owes the american people something as controversial and as volatile as this, an explanation of how he feels before we vote on him? you know, you can't ram through these things without paying consequences. and that'soing to happen unless things are slowed down. people are given, you know, a thorough examination. and people are thoughtful about what's happening. >> now, jeff sessions is saying that he didn't have anything to do with this particular order. he didn't know about it before hand. is that -- does that make you more open minded to him and his approval? >> no. jeff sessions has an obligation to say what he thinks of the
order and what he would do once he gets in. no one is saying he had something to do with it ahead of time. maybe some are. that's not the issue. the issue is what will he do should he become attorney general which of course is likely, even as much as i will oppose him. so it's up to our republican colleagues to join us as i said. >> you obviously have a strong point of view on this and it was visible when you came out against the ban. i just want to play for those who didn't see it what happened. you got visibly choked up talking about the ban yesterday. >> this executive order -- was mean spirited and un-american. >> the president is responding to you, to what happened to you at that moment when you choked up and here's what he said today. >> i noticed that chuck schumer yesterday with fake tears. i'm going to ask him who is his
acting coach. because i know him very well. i don't see him as a crier. if he is, he's a different man. there's about a 5% chance it was real but i think they were fake tears. >> the president of the united states says he thinks those fake tears. >> i'm not going to dig any -- to dig any if i the silliness. he ought to stick to the substance. name calling is what's led to the problems that we're seeing. he doesn't -- he doesn't take this presidency seriously enough. at least in this instance. and you know, i have said all along, there are times he flatters me. there are times he calls names. that's not going to influence me. i'm going to do what i think is the right thing and that's what i'm doing here. i'm proud of it. >> you are going to announce a number of trump's cabinet picks. jeff sessions one of them. you cited the travel ban as the reason for the opposition today. the bigger question though for
you, senator, is this. i think it goes back to what i asked you about the justice department and whether it should be working as a functioning institution. are you going to do everything you can to block everything the president wants to do until this is rescinded or expires or will you work on other things? >> of course not. what we have asked for with both session and tillerson is they simply state their views. both of them have jurisdiction. one here in the overseas department and one here at home. don't you think -- aren't they obligated to tell us what they think of this ban and how they're going to enforce it if at all? that's really important. so we're not blocking for blocking sake. we are trying to -- we are trying to get to the bottom of something that's very serious and seems very wrong to so, so many americans. they did -- they put this in effect without an attorney general. if they felt it was so important they should have waited till he got there. it's only -- it's only a short period of time and for someo someone -- i heard someone on
your show said, well, the terrorists would line up and come in. not a single refugee has caused an act of terrorism from the countries. we have seen abilities of terrorism from saudi arabia. not on the list. egypt -- citizens of egypt not on the list. citizens of -- american citizens of course not affected by this, the last two major terrorist incidents were caused by americans and lone wolves. if you ask not only me, but john mccain, they will -- they will do whatever pops in their heads. >> when you say saudi arabia and egypt on the list, neither was lebanon or uae. with that argument, it almost sounds like you're saying well if we put more countries on the list -- >> no no no. you don't put a whole country on the list. you vet people and see who might
be a terrorist. the refugee program has had such a strong vetting that we have had almost no terrorists coming from there. the place to really look at is -- are places that are part of the visa waiver program. belgium, france, where we know there are indigenous terrorists and they can come into the united states with very few questions you're asked. if you come from the countries you get a thorough two year vetting that's why we have had little terrorist coming from the folks. focus on the problem, not on what sounds good for the moment. >> the two issues of course there's the refugee halt and then there's -- separate from that the seven countries that have the temporary visa ban. but i guess the question i have for you, senator, at the most basic level do you agree with president trump that we need changes in the vetting system, in the united states? when you look at san bernardino for example, someone coming from pakistan. >> yes. >> you do agree with that. >> we can always do more against terrorism. this executive order does
virtually nothing against terrorism. it sacrifices great american values by imposing a religious test. giuliani said it's a religious test, the president said certain religions are going to be preferred over the others. so it's a double -- it's a doubly wrong. it doesn't stop terrorism and goes against the american grain. plain and simple. >> i want to read for you, senator, something i just got. as we're trying to understand this too. jeff sessions did an interview on december 10th on breitbart radio. he was asked about a muslim ban ov overall, okay and here's what he said. while he's treading on dangerous ground because americans are so deeply committed to freedom of religion. that is a major part of who we are. he continued, but a at the same time, we're seeing more and more persons enter and they have done terrorist acts and many believe it's commanded by their religion and he's forced that discussion.
this obviously is back from the -- from the muslim ban. >> erin, i rest my case. i rest my case. that he ought to come clean and describe to the senate and more importantly to the american people just what his views really are. no thank you we have this -- now that we have this executive order promulgated by the administration. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, erin. take care. and next, more on the breaking news, the acting attorney general defying president trump. what this means and what's the white house's next move? plus why is the white house citing the obama administration as the model for trump's travel ban? the president speaks out tonight. and trump supporters on why they are behind this executive order. >> i'm glad to see our president taking the actions that he needs to take to provide the highest degree of security for the american citizenry that he possibly can. >> and these are live pictures right now, protests to the travel ban in washington and new
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initial quality than any other car company, four years in a row. i'm speechless! impressive! chevy, stepping up their game! breaking news, the acting attorney general telling the justice department do not defend the trump order on immigration and refugees. this coming from a president obama appointee. sally yates is the acting head of the justice department. she's not sure it's lawful and in keeping with the rules and morals of the united states, evan perez is out front. you broke this news. this is pretty stunning. what more can you tell us about sally yates the acting attorney general? >> well, erin, she has a distinguished career really over a couple of decades inside the justice department as a career lawyer and it's really late in her career she was tapped to
become deputy attorney general by president obama. this is someone who grew up in the department if you will. she has made her entire career and so the fact that she -- this weekend we know from our sources have been struggling with what to do about this executive order she was not consulted. neither were any of those lawyers around her, were not consulted about this executive order. which is something that you'd want to do if you're going to ask them to defend this in court. we do know from the white house, the white house says they did consult the white house of legal counsel inside the justice department. they act separately from the attorney general which reviewed just the language in the order. but doesn't really look at the policy implications of the order, erin. so what we know is that over the weekend, she was struggling with whether or not this thing was even legal. as the language in her order that she wrote, she said i'm not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with the responsibilities of her office.
nor am i convinced that the executive order is lawful. you can bet, erin, that right now there are many inside the trump white house, why didn't they wait a few more days for jeff sessions to take office? he surely would have defended this order. it's a big political mistake on their part. >> and also though there is this. that she may be doing what she thinks is right and may be doing what she thinks is morally right. but she's at the helm of the justice department, right? an important institution in the functioning of the greatest democracy in the world. her defying the sitting president as the sitting attorney general, what kind of chaos does that create here? >> it's a huge crisis, frankly, for the trump white house. for the president, he deserves someone at the justice department who is going to defend his executive orders. he has the option to fire her, because she serves at the pleasure of the president. here's the problem. she is the highest senate confirmed lawyer at the justice department and as such, she is the one that signs surveillance
warrants, foreign surveillance warrants that they come routinely, that cross her desk almost every day. if she gets fired there's nobody else inside the justice department who can sign off on the warrants. that's a big, big problem for the trump white house. they have to wait till they get an attorney general who will be able to sign that. >> which of course means you could have several days of the going on at least until the end of the week, which is what we understand -- as long as they can delay it and senator schumer did not seem to disagree with that. he obviously wants to delay it more than anyone. thank you so much, evan. evan breaking this news. i want to go to alan dershowitz, mark preston and jamie gangel. what do you make of this, sally yates defying an order from the president of the united states? >> well, yates is a terrific public servant but i think she's made a serious mistake here. this is a holdover heroism. so easy to be a heroine when you're not appointed by this
president and on the other side. she made a serious mistake. i think what she should have done is done a nuanced analysis of what parts of the order are constitutional, what are in violation of the statute and what parts are lawful. there's an enormous distinction between green card holders, people who are in the country and have to be thrown out and simply applying to get a visa. there's a distinction between what's constitutional, what's bad policy. this is very bad policy. >> yeah. >> what's lawful? i think by lumping all of them together, she has made a political decision rather than a legal one. >> and that obviously could carry its own issues. i want to do a follow on with you before i bring everyone else in. i don't know if you heard senator schumer, he says he doesn't think it's constitutional that judge after judge were ruling in that direction. of course the different rulings have been regarding detentions
and green card holders and other issues. do you agree that it is not lawful or do you think that given the wide parameters the president of the united states has to set these sorts of things that he is within his legal rights? >> well, i think it's -- some of it's constitutional, some of it's not constitutional. for example, there's a statute that limits the president's power. and says that visas pay not be -- may not be denied on the basis of religion. is that constitutional or is it a claim on presidential authority? these are very complicated legal issues and people shouldn't jump into them. we have a hobby in this country, if you don't like something you assume it's unconstitutional. even my colleague elizabeth warren said no religious test shall ever be required. and the second part was beholding under the office of the united states. the first amendment says congress shall make no law. so it's a prohibition on
congressional action and presidential action. >> right. >> i could teach a whole seminar on this subject. it is very complicated. very nuanced. we shouldn't get political about it. >> you raised a great people. people like to invoke the constitution. but mark obviously tonight, no laughing matter what we're seeing yates do. you hear alan say it ended up in his view boiling down to a political move. how damaging could that be? >> well, it's certainly going to embolden those who supported donald trump during his run for the president. they're saying this is a holdover from the obama administration. no question about that. but let me read one line that i really think is going to pop out for those who are supportive of her actions and those who are against it. she writes i'm responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with the institutions solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. it's the last few words and stand for what is right. that is what we have seen the
left talk about ever since jeff sessions was nominated to become attorney general. they want to see democrats stand up and try to derail him. now, we saw chuck schumer acknowledge there's no way they can do that. there's a lot of concern on the left. once jeff sessions getting into the department of justice that all the reforms that we have seen put in place are going to be rolled back. >> jamie? >> so just to follow up on the political, look, sally yates has taken a stand whether it's political or isn't is nuanced as alan said it should be. that's what she has dean. the question now is what is donald trump going to do? is he going to say you're fired? i mean, this is very serious or is he going to pull back? this has been a chaotic, confused first ten days. republicans have said things publicly, but privately they're
pulling their hair out about this. they want him to stop. they want him to slow down. as you said, if he had waited a couple of days for jeff sessions to be attorney general, this wouldn't be an issue. >> could he wait this out now with sally yates sitting there? play a game of chicken. he can't be silent now that she said this. you cannot be silent. she defied the president of the united states on an executive order. >> donald trump is not nuanced. if i had to guess it's likely he's going to fire her. >> that would be a mistake. that would be a mistake also. i think he can work with this. i think he can ask the court to appoint a special defense attorney to defend the statute. that's happened before. he's -- >> so, alan, in layman's terms, what are you saying? let her stay for the next few days and do a work around? >> just ignore her. we'll appoint someone to defend the president's actions. he has a right to have his actions defended. if i'm a judge i'm going to say that some of it is
unconstitutional, maybe not so much to those who are seeking visas, but may be in violation of a statute. these are hard questions and we shouldn't be treating them with a blunder bus but with a scalpel. >> every morning we get up to donald trump's twitter account and i'm not sure -- >> if he can resist the urge, you respond to twitter with nuance. that's why i think sally yates made a mistake. she played into his hands and instead of responding in an intelligent, sophisticated, calibrated way. >> thank you all. and this breaking news comes as the outrage over the travel ban grows tonight. these are live pictures right now at washington, new york, protesters gathering in both of the cities. it's being repeated across the country at the nation's
airports. when you talk to donald trump's supporters though they reaction is quite different from the people you see on your screen right now. martin savage is "outfront." >> reporter: as thousands across the country protest president trump's travel ban on seven muslim majority nations, here they're cheering him on up. >> i'm glad to see the president take the actions that he needs to take to provide the highest degree of security he can. >> reporter: jalen came to america decades ago. he too agrees with trump and said something that the group expressed about the order. >> it's temporary. until we figure out a way of securely vetting the people who are coming to this country. i think everyone wants to be safe. >> reporter: they all feel in the aftermath of 9/11 and subsequent attacks in san bernardino, paris and nice the world changed. and america's policies have to change as well.
>> i walk that same street in nice with -- where the truck ran all over the people. so i'm aware that we're just a few steps removed from terrible things that could happen. i'm okay with the temporary stop so that we can re-evaluate where we are. >> reporter: instead of blaming president trump they say blame those who flew planes into buildings and mowed families down on the street. they do not hate muslims and resent those who say they do. >> i think the push back ended up being no, i don't like you because you're muslim. i don't like you because you're making me feel unsafe. >> reporter: lenny agrees with the president but he admits he grapples with the impact on the refugees. >> is this the right thing to do, i don't know. i believe this is a temporary thing and making sure we're getting it right is okay. >> reporter: vinnie immigrated from india 41 years ago. he's the only one in his family to vote for trump, something they ask him about. >> how can you agree with our
president that so many people are left on the airports? i'm saying there's a human side which i think -- which we could have done differently. but the intent i think the intent is right. >> reporter: bob says this is not about being fair to those immigrants who want to come to america. but about being fair to an entire nation of immigrants already here. >> they have come here to create a society and nation and they want to be protected. right now we have a threat. we are at war and we have to recognize that and do something about it. >> reporter: i did push back on a number of aspects there. one of them being 9/11. the majority of the attackers there from saudi arabia, it's not on the trump list so far. they acknowledge that and admit the list may not be perfect. it can be changed. they also point out to those who say this is a dramatic turn in american history they say you don't know history. in times in the past, we have
either closed the door of immigration or narrowed it greatly. only to reopen it once more. erin? >> all right, martin, thank you very much. important context to this discussion. the president of the american institute and you don't agree on this. i want to make this career. james, you hear some the supporters. they sate's -- they say it's a temporary ban, it's not perfect, but we need changes in the vetting. senator schumer just agreed with that. there are changes needed. are these trump supporters all wrong? >> look, the vetting process for refugees is one of the most onerous and time-consuming that we have in any country in the world. it takes almost two, sometimes 2 1/2 years for the folks to be vetted. they go through at least 12 different stages of vetting. i think they're wrong. the vetting process is quite significant. >> what about the other
countries, because he's banning refugees for now. but what about the seven countries where it's just a total visa ban on people who are not refugees necessarily? >> take a look at the newspapers in the last couple days and see the stories of those being denied access to plane or simply there in country and not able now to come because they have a visa. but this is going to take 60 to 90 days to go through. and their visa is only good until march. we have heard stories about that and understand that these visas when you get one they're not permanent. you get them for a certain period of time. >> yes. >> so this is going to affect up like what kellyanne conway said today it's only 109 people who have been affected, tens of thousands of people are going to lose their visas. that means families won't get visited, businessmen won't be able to do their work, students aren't able to study. >> tens of thousands? >> tens of thousand, yeah. that's the number of people who come over on visas. many of them from the countries.
syrians and iraqis and yemenis, folks who have family here. people coming to do work. they're not able to come and that is a horrible situation. and when you're cutting the refugee total from 100,000 down to 50,000 that's 50,000 desperate people who will not have a chance to come every year to the united states of america and fulfill their dreams and make a contribution to our country. >> raheel? >> yes, well, you know so much hysteria over the actions by the anti-trump groups that we forget clarity. you know, in 1965 america opened its doors to people coming in. and this is a country which many people came and dreams came true. but it was done so that people who come from communist countries utilized it so we have american muslims living very good lives. there is now a problem, it is a
cancer, of a jihadist ideology which we must recognize. i'm glad that president trump has actually articulated it, whether it was the -- where the previous administration could not use the words. this is a battle for the soul of islam that we have been fighting on the forefront. we are delighted that a leader of the first world has actually addressed the issue and said he's going to defeat it. this is not a ban against muslims, what this is not against -- this is not against islam. this is a temporary moratorium for people so that the house can be sorted out. three years ago i suggested the same in canada and i'm a canadian citizen, we had a rise of radical islamist ideology and i suggested a temporary moratorium from countries that have radical islamic problems that fund and support terrorism so that we can sort out the problems at home. and any leader of any country has the right to secure their borders.
they have ways in which they do it. and that's not -- let's not forget that every country has restrictions on people coming in. there are 16 muslim countries that don't allow jews or israelis to come in. this is a temporary stoppage, it's not permanent. it takes time to sort out a problem that's been festering for over eight years. the extreme is and terrorists feel they can get away with many of the attacks that we have seen in the last year. so house cleaning needs to be done. there were problems in my house i'd close the doors as well. >> thank you for your time tonight. our coverage of the breaking news -- the travel ban tonight, saying it's similar to what president obama did. president obama speaking out, not waiting a long time. only been out of office ten day, he's speaking out. and trump strategist steve bannon now elevated to the seat on the national security council. how much power does bannon truly
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appointee, has told justice department lawyers not defend president trump's travel ban that he enacted through executive order. the trump administration is pushing back hard. president trump saying that president obama had a similar policy and i targeted travel from the exact same seven countries. his top aides also saying this all started with president obama. >> these seven countries were derived from what the obama administration deemed as needing further travel restrictions. >> those were the seven countries that both the congress and the obama administration identified. >> president obama certainly had a ban on the iraqi refugee program for six months which is double the time that's contemplated under president trump's executive order. >> so does all this add up? tom foreman is out front. let me start by asking you, president trump and the aides say this is similar to what president obama did with iraqi refugees. you heard that case. is it true? >> well, this is true, erin. absolutely, these seven countries were targeted by the obama administration for
specific concern because of terrorism. but there's some key differences here that you also have to consider. let's break those down. that didn't start with seven countries. what we started off with here is one country of concern which you heard mentioned a little bit there. back in 2011, a couple of refugees from iraq were picked up in kentucky here and they were linked by intelligence services to bombing of u.s. troops back in their home country. the obama administration's response to this was to say, we need to be looking much more carefully at iraqi refugees. so there was a specific threat and a specific response. what we're hearing about right now is much more generalized. the trump administration is talking about the general threat of future terror, not a specific threat that we know of. so that's one key difference already between the plans, erin. >> now about refugees, right, which is a crucial part of this.
president trump of course is going beyond just refugees, right? banning travel in this ban from anyone in those seven countries, refugee or not refugee. did president obama ever do the same? >> well, some of president obama's critics want to say it was a ban. he says it absolutely was not. what we do know about this, under the obama plan that original one involving the iraqis there, the processing of people trying to come here from iraq was slowed to a crawl. they say it was never a ban and a few years later when they expanded this concern over visas to the seven different countries out there, what they wanted was closer scrutiny of everyone coming from there. they didn't want anybody getting a visa from certain groups without at least an interview. but it wasn't a ban. at least according to the obama administration. this unapoll jet scli is a ban, a four-month ban on refugees and an indefinite ban on someone coming from circumstance ya.
>> so let me ask you. because this could come down to packaging. i'm curious whether it does, right? slowing it to the crawl, so essentially no one gets approved is almost the same thing as a ban, right? it's just the way you announce it and put it out publicly is completely different. is that what happened here or no? >> well, it certainly seems to be part of it. there was never a point at which no one was being approved under the obama administration, but certainly it was very, very slow. here's a key difference. the obama administration seems to have done a lot of consultation with the justice department, homeland security, the intelligence services. all of the people who have to put it in place before it was put into place. whereas over here, one of the complaints of the critics is to say the trump administration took a small inner circle, came up with the plan and then sort of said to many of people in the agencies who felt they should have been consulted, now you just make it work. that may be the key. the bottom line to all of this though is if you think about the seven nations that we're talking about here, yes, absolutely the seven that donald trump is
talking about now are the same seven that barack obama talked about in his time, but to suggest the policy being proposed right now is a natural extension of what we lived with so far, that's just pushing it too far. we're tempted to just call it false, but we're going to give this a verdict of misleading. >> all right, thank you. "outfront" now our global affairs analyst tony blinken, former deputy national security adviser. so you saw the reporting -- trump has in the seven countries banned, calling then countries of concern and saying they were doing it because of the quote growing threat from foreign terrorist fighters. there do appear to be some similarities. >> look, i think tom foreman had it right. trying to compare the things is grossly misleading what happened with the seven countries back in 2015 this is after san bernardino is that we had some concerns about them and what we did in close consultation with
congress and with all of the relevant agencies at the table to figure it out was to take them out and affect the visa waiver program. whereas nationals could come here without a visa afterward they had to get one and that added an extra layer of scrutiny. but to suggest that they were banned from coming to the united states is simply not true. >> so when it comes though to slowing down visa applications, you know, i have experienced that going to other countries. no one ever tells you they're not going to give you a visa. they slow it down so much you don't get the visa. is that what was happening under president obama, is that a similar thing by another name or would you say no? >> i disagree with that too. back in 2011, when there were concerns about two iraqis who were in the united states in kentucky who may have been tied to attacks on americans back in iraq before they came here, we decided we had to make sure that we had the closest possible scrutiny. and so we went through a six month review.
during that time there was not a single month in which an iraqi refugee did not come to the united states. there was no ban. the program wasn't stopped. it did showdown, but it wasn't stopped. we wanted to make sure that it was as secure as possible. that's exactly what happened. >> do you agree with president trump there do still need to be changes in the vetting process or do you not agree with that? >> look, the problem with what president trump has done is this. first, it's the president's obligation of course to look out for the security of the american people. that's his number one priority. but with this executive order he has taken a sledgehammer to the wrong problem. the fact of the matter is that the seven countries concerned not a single american has been killed by a citizen of one of those countries going back all the way to 1975. and overall, as other guests have said, the refugee program is about the last way someone would want to come to the country and infiltrate it as a terrorist. it takes two years to get here as a refugee.
immigrant as a class overall commit fewer crimes than native born americans. so this was the wrong problem to attack. the problem that we do have is the danger of home grown terrorists. and what the administration has done is actually likely to make that problem worse. it's going to be a great recruiting tool for the islamic state at a very time when they're on their heels in iraq and in syria. this is a bonanza for them to play into the narrative to say that there's a war against islam. and muslim communities in the united states may feel isolated and discriminated against by this and this is likely to create an environment that people susceptible to extremism will go over to the wrong side. >> you know that sally yates the acting attorney general will not comply with the order and will not supply lawyers to defend that executive order in the united states. she reports to the president of the united states.
she is an obama appointee though. donald trump has just tweeted about this. the first way in which he chooses to respond. he writes the democrats are delaying my now have an obama ag. not saying he's going to fire here, not at least an indication of what way he's going to go. my question for you, tony, is she doing the right thing? or is her decision based no doubt on her moral belief going to cause more chaos and insecurity in the just department? >> i know sally yates. we served together, sat at the same table in the such ways room for several years, she's a remarkable patriot, someone who has dedicated her life to enforcing and upholding the laws of the united states. if she has come to the judgment that this executive order should
not be defended because it viles the constitution, i have absolute faith in her judgment. she is doing exactly what a good public servant should be doing, particularly someone who is the acting attorney general and is sworn to uphold the constitution of the united states. tony, thank you very much. tony blinken, thank you. out front nest, steve bannon promoted to a seat, get an incredible seat of new influence tonight. how powerful is bannon? straight talk... ...so you can take and share pictures any time of day. with a network that helps you save the day... bunny! ...for half the cost. bunny wants to go one more time! here we go! alright, i'm coming home! get an iphone7. unlimited plans with 5gb of high-speed data start at just $45 a month... ...on america's largest, most dependable 4glte networks. straight talk wireless. only at walmart.
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tonight breaking news, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff responding to president trump's changes to the national security council. general joseph dumbford jr. say the announcement makes it clear that the chairman of the joint chiefs will fully participate. i remain honored and hum abled to represent the extraordinary member and women in the joint force and serving the president. this came after widespread criticism of the changes, the joint chief's chairs and national intelligence are no longer required at all meetings. steve bannon is not at a permanent seat at the table. jeff zeleny is out front. >> reporter: steve bannon is the white house chief strategist. even that title may not do just to his fluent in the west wing. he's driving decisions on every people of the agenda, domestic and foreign, including the it
order and travel ban that sparked a global backlash. but it's his elevation to the security council that is in and out outraging even many republicans, who question why he has a seat alongside the secretary of state and defense secretary in the inner sanctum of national security. the president said in a weekend memo the chairman of joint chiefs of staff and director of national intelligence will no longer have a standing seat. robert gates who has served eight presidents said it was an unprecedented move. >> i think pushing them out of the national security council meetings, except when their specific issues are at stake is a big mistake. i think that they both bring a perspective and judgment and experience to bear that every. , whether they like it or not, finds useful. >> reporter: white house press secretary shawn spider brushed
aside it cry sim. they drew a comparison to david axelrod, who attended some national security meetings, yet never had a permanent seat on the council. this administration is trying to make sure we don't hide things, so it recognizes the role that he's going to play, but steve will not be in every meeting. like axelrod, had he will come in and out. >> bannon is unfazed, a person close to him says cnn he thrives on it. 4 he putting his ideological imprint. >> now wet to go -- he calls himself a nationalist who says trump could create a new populist movement. >> this whole movement is the top of the first inning. >> reporter: he joined the team last august, taking leave from leading breitbart news. he has one of the loudest voices in the white house, who is rarely heard or seen outside, excepts now at the president's
side. last week bannon to the "new york times" that the media here is the opposition party. i think the media is the opposition party in many ways. now, the principles committee, erin is the most inner circle of national security advisers to the president. pressure's chief the staff would not allow reply quality advisers to attend like karl rove. david axelrod occasionally observed, but did not participate. steven bannon has a permanent seat at the table. some republican critics believe that could prevent the president from hearing conflicting points of view and put things in a political lens. it's one more k356r78 that steven bannon has a wide portfolio at this white house. >> and getting wider. thank you, jeff. we'll be right back. tiremen.
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thanks no joining us. i'll see you back here tomorrow night. a direct challenge to president trump's authority, headed by the obama appointee, and it's far from the only headline. there is the human cost, and the resistance around the world. those are protesters in colum s columbus, ohio, and we'll bring all of that ahead, also the support for what president trump did from everyday americans who say they feel safer not. a lot to cover now, starting with the acting attorney general's act of defiance. evan perez joins .