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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  January 30, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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top of this hour of 360, the highest ranking law enforcement official in the land is, sally yates, an obama holdover, adding her official voice to the protest unfolding around the country and the world. in columbus, ohio, watching for the last hour. president trump firing back tonight, tweeting, the democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons.
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they have nothing going but to obstruct. now have an obama ag. what he has not done is fire her. and we are joined now. the order from acting attorney general to department of justice, what are your sources telling you? >> well, anderson, we're told that sally yates, acting attorney general struggled with this over the weekend. she didn't learn about this executive order until friday when everybody else saw it. and it is something that the white house should have consulted with her, if you expected that, the justice department and the lawyers that work under her were going to have to defend this in court. so that's something she struggled with all weekend. finally today, she issued an order to the lawyers and justice department saying, don't defend this law. and i will read you part of what she said in her memo off to the lawyers. she said, i am responsible for ensuring at the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution's solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right, present i am not convinced the defense of the executive order is consistent
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with these responsibilities. nor am i convinced that the executive order is lawful. those are words, andersen, that will last beyond her tenure. obviously we know she is in office for another few days until jeff sessions, the trump nominee, takes office. until he gets senate confirmed. but these are words that have been now written by an acting attorney general. you can bet people challenging the executive order are going to use this against the trump administration. >> in multiple states there are people challenging the executive order. i mean, could -- could her lawyers still go ahead and defend the government's case? >> this is an order from the attorney general. she is ordering lawyers inside the justice department that they cannot do this. at least because she, they would be doing it in her name. now, there is a couple of options, the trump white house can bring in outside lawyers to defend this. there is also, a possibility that they could fire her. and then bring someone else in to take her place. the problem is, that you need
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someone who is senate confirmed, senate confirmed official to do all of the functions of the attorney general. one of the big, big jobs is to sign off on, on foreign surveillance warrants. that's one of the, things that she does every day. and so, that's one of the things that i think the trump white house is struggling with tonight. how to do that. obviously, sally yates, a 30-year career lawyer at justice department. was appointed under president obama. but she is acting here as some one who has been in the department for nearly three decades. >> evan price, appreciate the update. let's get legal add viegs from law professor, jonathan turley, lauren kocoates, paige pates. is this a political move by acting attorney general? the right legal move? >> i don't think it is the right legal move. i have a great deal of respect for ms. yates. wonderful career, recognized as a true career prosecutor.
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and that's why it surprises me a bit abut this. she hasn't explained why she thinks it is unlawful. at best i think the law is unclear. there is arguments on both sides. if anything, i think, the administration has the stronger argument based on past cases. also, she cites statements made before the executive order was signed. presumably, statements by mr., by president trump during the campaign, and by rudy giuliani. the justice department has routinely opposed those types of statements from being considered in litigation. i have been in litigation against the justice department where they insist motivations behind legislation and other policies are not relevant. so it is very surprising to see that in the letter. it departs from the long standing principles of the justice department. i mean this is the department that defended the torture program and many of us were saying that enhanced interrogation was in fact torture. they still felt that they could defend it and there is a value to that. it's important to get thisser to
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into court. it's important for it to be argued well on both sides. and so this, i don't think is the right move. that she is taking. >> what do you make of the professor's arguments before against professor dershowitz. you said they have to look about the legitimacy of the department of justice? >> that's absolutely true. with an order like this it should have gone to the senior executives, senior level folks in the department of justice before it was ever signed by the president. so, while i certainly agree there are serious constitutional issues that need to be litigated, that need to be decided in court, you can't ask a department of justice to jump in and simply defend what the president has done without doing their own review of the document. that should have been done well before it was signed. so i think sally yates has an obligation as a public servant and one sheet has been for many, many years, served both republicans and democrats, to make sure that the process is followed. and it was not followed here.
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and it concerns her. i understand that. >> laura, what about you? >> well, sally yates did not make a simply political decision. one of the things everyone has been grappling with over the last three dates is what power has the, the president exercised, to make this authority, executive order, how is he intending to defend it and enforce it. and just untrue that the department of justice would be a ma mirionete of the president. doj, attorney general has every right and in fact a responsibility to ensure consistency about how things are enforced. for a president who complained a great deal about bureaucracy, by not having the clear-cut order and by not having the djo be in place in order to help enforce that law, you have empowered many a bureaucrat to make arbitrary decisions. that simply goes against the principles of our justice department including equal
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protection. >> professor? >> i'm afraid i don't entirely agree with that. i agree with some of it. part of it, this isn't very consistent for the justice department. the justice department during the obama administration, just last year, was arguing in the courts that courts shouldn't second-guess the president on immigration. reaffirming the president had sweeping authority in these types of national security decisions. i disagree with this executive order, i think it is a terrible decision by the trump administration. but, this -- this acting attorney general is departing from past justice department practices. they have always argued heavily in favor of discretion to the president. to the point in my view, of almost absolute discretion. >> well, that's true, exempt for the fact that when you talk about civil rights cases which is also part of the underlying concerns here, the justice department always looked at the intent. it is very rare you would have somebody be able to explicitly state a discriminatory purse behind a legislative act.
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and be able to enforce it blindly. the justice department routinely looks at legislative intent. and the foundation for why the president made the order. as a way to guide them. and in this case, if you are unclear about -- the intent, and whether or not it can be enforced down the line, you have a right, and obligation not to willy-nilly opt as a marionett. >> it is the manner of enforcement. a few inconsistent moves by the white house. how it will be enforced. does it cover lawful residents. green card holders, does it snonot. i think the attorney general, acting attorngeneral has a duty to make sure the it is lawful. >> that's where i'm skun fused by all of this. yes, they have in fact, exempted hundreds of people. they have stepped back from the green card holders. they have made changes that have improved the situation for many. i don't want to be defending this executive order, i find it
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offensive to the point of being gr grow tess ti grotesque, there are few arguments the administration has that he has all the authority to do this. he is doing what other presidents have done. was this incredibly negligent in the way it was rolled out? absolutely. but i disagree that courts routinely look at intent, the justice department has a long line of cases, that says that the law can stand on its own if there is a, a valid, bona-fide rationale, regardless of what people with legislation may have said on the floor. i have been in cases where they argued that. >> professor, laura, paige, when you think of the president trump executive order, hard to argue it was arrived at with deliberation, ramifications any presidential action would seem to demand. however that's what the administration is arguing. republicans are not happy about it.
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cnn's dana bash tonight reports. >> reporter: confusion and chaos. not the imagery one might expect from a president who promised to bring private sector competency to government. >> i'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical islamic terrorists out of the united states of america. >> reporter: but here, president trump and his team acted more like he did as a fly by the seat of his pants candidate than an orderly ceo. >> i am really good at business. i can make the country rich and great again. >> giving little direction to those expected to interpret and carry out orders that have real world consequences. >> you have an extreme vetting proposal that didn't get the vetting. we have seen some problems. >> reporter: problems on policy and a political quandary for fellow republicans. ever since trump was elected, congressional republicans from leadership on down have been
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preparring to deal with an unconventional president. many gop sources say that means picking a battles and not criticizing every controversial move he makes. but even republican sources who say they wanted to be supportive of what could have been a popular move to keep americans more safe, say they felt compelled to condemn it because it was handled so poorly. >> a good idea to tighten the vetting process. but i also think it is important to remember that some of our sources in a war against radical islamic terrorism are muslims. both in this country and overseas. >> reporter: from the senate majority leader to senate foreign relations chairman, bob corker who tries to be supportive of president trump but in this case said we all share a desire to protect the american people. but this executive order has been poorly implemented. corker told cnn he found out about it through the press. the white house now argues it had to be a close hold. >> if we announced this a lot
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earlier, it would have given people plenty of time to flood into the country who could have done us harm. that's not exactly a sound strategy. so the people that needed to be kept in the loop were kept in the loop. >> reporter: republican house homeland security chairman, mike mccall, who backed the idea in general, wasn't consulted either. >> this was an overreach. >> reporter: several high profile republicans say the sloppy executive order will actually help recruit potential terrorists. >> i think the effect will probably in some areas give isis some more propaganda. >> reporter: one gop lawmaker i spoke with who is concerned about trump's actions found a silver lining. saying, this is the first signal to worried americans that checks and balances can work. five courts temporarily blocked the president's order on travel restrictions. while congress hasn't passed legislation, they did voice loud concerns. it is an open question as to whether president trump and his team, advisers like steve bannon
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who never worked in government will learn a hard lesson about governing and all implications or whether stirring controversy and doing things differently is exactly what they think donald trump was elected to do. dana bash, cnn, washington. >> that's the question for the panel. back for the hour. you raised this idea earlier about sort of chaos theory. maybe this is to dana's point their idea of, you know this clash and it shows that well they're stirring the pot. >> i think it is chaos theory. not saying it is going to end up well. it could end up very bad for them. but i think this is not an example of sloppiness or incompa tense. i think this is part of a strategy. now, not everybody might be in on the strategy. i think this is indicative of steve bannon, steven miller. if you sort of follow where they're coming from, they're sort of disciples of saul olinski, trying to take what the left did. there is a book called
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"confrontational politics" h.l. richardson, really spells out what this its. a theory that says you are always on offense. you have to constantly be fighting. most americans like peace. we look comity. they believe that you are always fighting. and you shake things up. and that is what i am seeing. i do not think this is an accident. >> it's interesting, that that theory, if that its the case, that theory is now at play in the white house by the most powerful person in the world. >> in fact, i think what is going to happen here, my prediction is, this is a man who ran on making america great again. but the steps that he is taking is actually going to make america unsafe again. he will be setting himself up for a primary opponent on the republican side of people who are saying i don't like the way that we have stoked the jihadists, given them an, recruiting organism. i don't like the way you have taken off the, the director of national intelligence, and the
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director of the joint chiefs, you are not getting full information. making us unsafe. making us unsafe and telling the career professionals who make us safe every day. >> he did have -- >> they didn't fare too well. >> i don't think people knew he was going to be running a chaos theory or chaos candidacy. >> a lot of them made the argument from the hawkish wing. >> now that you have data. you have order. you have our allies totally up in arms. you have sales of pepto-bismol going through the roof, people are so freaked out. >> i do believe that you can beth be both be a disrupp tore and blow up washington and do it in a way that serves your interests well. that's where i think, not incompetence. >> that's political talk. >> but, no, still saying you can blow it up and, newt gingrich. >> have your ducks in a row. >> newt gingrich, watching somebody on roller skates for the first time. only so much you can understand in advance. you got to get in the skates and
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go. that's what we are seeing in this white house right now. i guarantee you, we are going to see more -- more methodical and thought out implementation going forward. but i agree with you. that the fight works for them politically. >> he is doing. he is still campaigning. i think that's the thing that is troubling. he is still, he is playing politics, not policy. he is not doing what he said he wanted to do which is uf night the country. let's not forget -- these pro fe protests are unprecedented. we have never seen americans take to the streets. take to the airports. in the kind of numbers that we are seeing. never really in our history. >> you saw the video we played. >> the video we played in pennsylvania. that video, that we just played of pennsylvania. sort of middle america, working class, white voters who elected donald trump. how do those protests play for them? >> it doesn't matter. >> it does matter. >> it matters greatly. >> it doesn't matter to donald
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trump. it doesn't matter to steve bannon. it matters to america. if you want to be the president of all the people. you've don't want to have those kinds of -- >> but if you uh want to win elections. >> if you want to within elections, donald trump won. >> it's not about winning elections, it is governing, making america great again. >> not america divided. >> you have to have your base. the people in the diner, in the county, are exactly the people this is why i felt he was going to win. >> so glad we had randi. so easy to get caught up in the protests. how is it playing in the states where donald trump won? >> political analysis. >> they're all politicians. you are telling me obama wasn't a politician. >> this is about real people's lives. people who are threatened. this is, this is about syrian families, who, you know are being turned back at the border, to go back to violence. this is not about an election. this is about actually governing a country, to make it belter. to help people.
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>> we have been told, sally yates has been relieved as duties as acting attorney general. she has been replaced. we will get the name. reaction, ryan? >> this is unprecedented. we have -- we are nine days into the trump administration. and he fired the acting attorney general of the united states. because she disagreed with the, she had a different legal understanding of his executive order. and i can't think of a, of a precedent, i don't remember a time that ever happened. they fire people in the justice department for cause. they fire them for, you can fire them for all sorts of things. but since nixon, since the saturday night massacre we have not had a president dismiss some one because she disagreed. >> bravo to him. he is the president of the united states. i mean, i would say exactly the same thing. if this were reversed and this were president obama and there were a conservative in there saying, well i am going to go in exactly the other direction. presidents are elected for a reason. no matter who they are.
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this is -- >> trump likes confrontation. this is confrontation. i think he in vielts. he welcomes this. but i also -- agree with, what professor dershowitz and, legal panels were terrific. a president has wide latitude and diskrcretion to make decisi as but immigration. when president obama, when he paused, refugees coming from iraq, was that unconstitutional? >> well, look -- >> i think -- >> he its used to saying you are fired. that's true. every every action causes an equal opposite reaction you. do not think that this will have a ripple effect throughout the -- >> we have to get sessions in there right away. >> not the justice department. through the entire federal government. maybe people will think that a good thing. >> that's why he was elected. >> when you, when you need somebody, when you need people there to advise you on the most intricate and difficult scientific issues that you have
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got to follow through on as a president. and you didn't have people there who have that expertise, then you are in a world -- >> great argument. >> confirming sessions tomorrow. >> governor, you said this tonight. >> dana buente, u.s. attorney from eastern district of virginia, i am told. dana buente, we'll get you more information on her soon as we have it. on him. >> i have heard this from a number of people. something like this will only antagonize isis. yeah, i have to till you, this sound exactly like -- neville chamberlain telling winston churchill, if you would shut up, hilt ler could be controlled. no, hilt ler was hilt ler, isis is isis, they're beheading people. >> you are calling john mccain, a neville chamberlain, lindsay graham, a neville chamberlain. you are telling people who have been in this, understand the
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reaction, looking at the web sites. >> you are making an argument, appeasment, between appeasment and painting the muslim world with a broad brush which plays exactly into the rhetoric of isis. isis and these groups like al qaeda, want -- >> they were doing this before, donald trump, before barack obama was elected. >> trying to box the united states into a war against the islaming world. the argue, people don't agreen with the policy, is this actually helps them do that. >> i think it is wrong. i do think based on the assumption if we only don't do this, they won't do that. that's just not so. >> there is no evidence. >> belter and worse than playing into the enemy's hands. he picked countries where terrorists have not come from. that's number one. >> just yesterday, in an american soldier was killed in yemen. what was he doing there? he was there to fight terrorism. >> in yemen, not in new york.
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>> all part of the same problem. >> it's not. who are wewell coming. >> if they're being killed in yemen. >> what i resent, resent, donald trump and you, jeffrey, saying that people who oppose the way the ban is implemented are somehow soft on terrorism or do not believe there should be extreme screening of people -- >> that's right. >> that is not true. we do believe that. we have had that. and in fact, there have not been the, the inflammatory problems that donald trump and his apologists are calling for. in order to play politics. >> we just had an incident. ohio state from a somali refugee, yes, what was he doing there? >> somalia is not on the list. >> as you know. >> tell me why he got this list. it's politics. >> to go back to the breaking news here, today is a pretty extraordinary day. two things happened today. one, a leak out of the state department that a number of
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state department officials were using the official dissent channel at the state department to oppose this executive order. when the white house was asked about it. sean spicer said, they should just leave. that's extraordinary. that's channel set up at the state department after the watergate era to make sure that state department career officers had an official channel to register dissent. the white house is telling them they should leave the government. now tonight we have an acting attorney general who disagreed with the white house over the executive order sacked. i do agree with you, jeffrey, she was a holdover. i think he has wide discretion here. >> sessions is attorney general. this is a little bit about theater not really about policy. >> that's right. that's right. but we are learning from a president who got in there and said he wants people around him who disagree, in two pretty extraordinary moments the white house is saying. >> drain the swamp. >> we don't want you to disagree that much. >> bring in laura coates, what do you make of donald trump firing the acting attorney general. >> i am shocked he would take
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the action. not because it's not his prerogative to replace her. obviously he has sessions lined up and confirmation appears to be imminent. but because the the order that sunny was speaking abut, seemed to be lacking in the clarity that she needed to enforce it. and the idea that one could be fired, a career attorney, essentially from the department of justice not for cause but because she was seeking clarity and ordering her subordinates not to try to justify what she did not know was going to be a lawful act is surprising. and again, one of the things she appeared to be fighting against was the idea that, there would not be uniformity in the enforcement of it when you left it in the hands of the justice department trying to parse out what they thought was lawful and constitution tal and what was not. remember the doj role to try to enforce the law, not to create, clarify them. not to try to undo or eliminate any ambiguity. i am surprise he chose this
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course. was in his prerogative. >> laura, can you thing of a time this happened before? >> i cannot. to have somebody be relieved of their duties. not because they have been, i don't think she was totally insubordinate. what she was doing was trying to clarify and say, look, i cannot enforce what is inconsistent and may be contradictory to our laws in our constitution. and it may be. you know, this its not. >> but don't, lawyers have different legal opinions and now he has found somebody who apparently think he can defend this. >> right. you know that, that is the most concerning part. remember, the justice department, as i said before, is not the marrionet of the president. they're acting on behalf of the people of the united states. and so their job is not simply to cosign and give carte blanche to any action by the president. it was his prerogative to actually make that order. but it is also the prerogative and in fact the obligation of the doj to try to figure out what they can enforce and
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whether or not it is consistent. so -- to be relieved of duties is very shocking. >> professor alan dershowitz joining us on the phone. professor dershowitz. wonder what you make of the latest development? >> well i think it is a serious mistake. i think he could have worked around her. he could have gotten the court to apin tpoint another lawyer t represent him in court and positions. now he made it political. it is going to be very difficult for anybody inn't justice department to side with him, obviously, this will also give the democrats an excuse for trying to delay the sessions confirmation. so i think he has responded in a political way which will remind people of the saturday night massacre of nixon, archibald cox, could have done it in a nuanced subtle way. he has the the power to do it. he should have exercised. >> couldn't you make the counter argument, this may be political,
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but it actually serves his political interests. if you want to be seen as draining the swamp, shaking up washington, as not putting up with status quo, and being, being, you know, a strong leader who is not going to take what he views as political grandstanding by an assistant attorney general, this actually plays into him politically, in a positive way. >> i think it does. short term it gives him a political benefit. but he is going to have a hard time now getting the justice department to have somebody who will stand behind him and, the courts may say -- that since he is basically dismissed this person, he, doesn't really have the right to come to court and seek his own lawyer. it's hard to know what the longer term or middle term implications would be. short term, i think it may help him politically with his base. but, you know what it almost is
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never a good thing to be flexing one any muscles with the justice department. because there are a lot of career people in the justice department who will resent this very much. these are people who will stay on. he is not going to be able to drain the entire swamp of the justice department, there are thousands of employees who have been there for years and years and have civil service status. >> professor dershowitz, can attorneys who are arguing against the justice department in court, arguing against the president's executive action, can they use the fact that the now former assistant attorney general raised questions about the fairness and legality of the executive order in court? >> i certainly would do that if i were a lawyer challenging this rule, of course. if it's a strong argument. it's, it's not a legally binding argument, but an argument, that i think some judges will have sympathy to. if you have the acting attorney general, i will not defend the law. it will make it easier for the judge to grant the stay, sure.
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>> and -- how quickly, professor dershowitz, the person now who has been appointed the new acting attorney general, will they immediately then instruct the department of justice attorneys to begin defending the executive order? >> well, remember what happened with the saturday night massacre. that is -- that he fired the attorney general and the two person said no, three person said no, finally robert bourke later to be nominated unsuccessfully to the supreme court said i well do it. i will do it. finally he did it. so it depends on who now succeeds her. what that person's position is going to be. and -- i think that's unpredictable. >> professor dershowitz. appreciate talking to you. thank you very much. we will continue with the panel. you are looking -- >> it is very clear dana has from the statement that the was has put out, it seems very clear that he is on board with this executive order. there is a quote in the white
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house statement from new attorney general saying i'm honored to serve president trump in this role until senator sessions, i will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure our people and our nation are protected. seems very doubtful to me that he would allow a statement like that in the press release, take the job unless he disagreed with sally yates and prepared to defend the order. >> it went further and attacks sally yates. career prosecutor. in saying that -- she is an obama administration appointee, weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. i don't think that's going to sit very well with lawyers at the justice department or frankly lawyers across the country. to suggest that her reason for doing this is because she is weak on illegal immigration. >> another portion, it said, the acting attorney general, has betrayed the department of justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to to protect the citizens of the united states.
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an obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. the word, betrayal, certainly jumps out. more on how this play out in terms of national security. joined by mike rodgers former chairman of the house intelligence committee, and elliott cohen, former state department counselor under the george w. bush administration, and author "the big stick." mr. cohen, first, what do you make of this latest development? >> well i am not a lawyer, so i can't really pass any judgment on it. i mean what struck me really about what the president did was just the kind of recklessness, lack of consultation, the things like turning back interpreter whose served with forces in iraq, sending them back. not having fought this through. everybody is in favor of well maintained borders. i don't think that's an issue. there was something about the way they did this, argues extreme incompetence or a desire
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to be provocative. i think a combination of both. >> do you think it makes the country less safe? >> well, you know, general john allen, former commander in afghanistan seems to think so. and i have a lot of respect for him. you know, this is just, just one item, there are going to be lots of others. and i do think it's -- problematic. it ser f it isn't going to make allies more likely to support us. >> chairman rodgers. the executive order and how it was executed. >> well, it's, the last couple days has been like watching an octopus put its socks on in the morning. a little bit confusing. one of the things that i think they got right is they went through the in tell jns of all of the seven countries that were listed. and by the way these countries have been used to stop immigration in the past by some five different presidents. starting with jimmy carter. so the intelligence was, hey, we know that isis is trying to infiltrate these groups. we know there are people trying
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to get to the united states, commit acts of terrorism, does the security measures we take now meet that threat? i would argue probably not. and there were things to do. so a temporary ban for the purpose of reconfiguring your security measures through the processes of these seven countries made a lot of since to me. what didn't make sense was that lack of coordination on green cards. not knowing that you would in fact impact, the way the order was written, moons you just didn't, you weren't inclusive enough, enough people in the room to say, wait, we have to take care of people who were risking their lives for the united states, serving as interpreters, for our special forces. in really dangerous places. we need to make sure they don't get caught up in this. that part of the conversation didn't seem to happen. but i will tell you this, fury around this thing, doesn't get to the core element of it. and the attorney general, i have to tell you, as a former fbi agent, who, we were void of politics, when you see an attorney general, okay, she
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didn't agree, you don't go on this public tirade about what you didn't agree with the administration. you pick up the phone. say i need to come down and work this out. if you are her issue was that. so for her, i think her mistake and her error was, taking this fight public. it was, sure appeared political to me. and, candidly, she didn't have that right. she, she had the right to go down and disagree with the decision and the elements of implementation with the white house, didn't have the right to go public on this. that part, i think there are rights and wrongs all over this stage. in the last couple of days. >> chairman rodgers, you know, there are reports that the head of homeland security wasn't consulted, the secretary rex tillerson, secretary of sfaltat learned about it in the last minute. does that make sense to you, if you are rolling out a policy like this, i mean, the head of homeland security would seem to be one of essential people you would want to weigh in? >> completely. again. i like the idea that they were
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trying to base it on what we knew as a good intelligence picture of the level of threat from these countries that the threat matrix wasn't being met by the current standard to let these folks come into the united states. again -- even the president said it wasn't a ban. it was a temporary security restructure. that makes complete sense to me. not bringing in more people into that room to have that discussion, was, you know, really a dumb mistake. because again, you have a lots of this angst and misinterpretation of what you are trying to do. now the administration is going to spend the next ten days, trying to tell people, no, no, no, wasn't a muslim ban. it was x, y, z, losing the fight when you do that. and, again, i heard one of the panelists talk about they like a fight. okay, you are making the point. you were right on the policy of a tell pour's ban to fix the security problems. and there were security problems, no doubt. i think it would have been smarter to bring the people in and walk through the process
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including by the way the attorney general, the acting attorney general, to say how would you implement it, how do we do this in a way that allows that to happen and be highly effective. and let's talk to the american people. you would have lots of people. remember, obama, you know tossed out over 2 million people in this country. he also restricted visas from these seven countries. in 2011. so, some times, how you do it is as equally as to the importance of the issue that you are trying to deelt wi to deal with. they had a great issue here. it was right. if you look at san bernardino, the security issues that failed there never got fixed. they had the chance to fix them with this temporary security review. and ididn't take advantage of i. >> if i could. it is not clear to me, certainly no evidence that this was actually triggered by any particular intelligence or anything look that. >> that's not correct. >> the way i look at this, it fits part of the pattern of the couple weeks of the trump
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administration. they're going to issue a barrage of executive orders. not going to consult any people who have to implement them. these are basically aligned with promises during the campaign. designed to to whip up the base. they are some what successful. they're badly executed and detrimental to the security of the united states. i would point out among other things, the idea, this idea of building a wall along the mexican border and making mexico pay for it. which helped blow up our relationship with one of our most important neighbors. >> that's a political argument. if you look, if you look, there are, there are, intelligence that say we have some gaps, from these seven countries. >> i have to say, i don't know that. >> chairman rodgers. sean spicer himself said there wasn't any specific intelligence behind, behind this. >> no, no, there is a vast body of intelligence over those seven countries and what we know isis is trying to do to infiltrate,
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both refugee streams, which they have been successful. >> pakistan, saudi arabia. >> excuse me. >> clearly the intelligence didn't rise to that level. and again -- >> for pakistan. >> should get scrutiny. >> these seven countries. >> you talk about san bernardino, the wife who you are talking about who came over, she came from pakistan. no? >> no, no, i know, but, you have two, you have to have multiple layers of intelligence to reach this kind of a conclusion. and if you look the at the multiple layers of intelligence to reach this conclusion, they were right in ordering a security review. because the things that allowed that wife in san bernardino to get in, were never changed. meaning, if you have a higher threat level in these seven countries, and those pre-existing conditions already exist, your threat level goes up. and so, if, if a reasonable, rational person, even the people protesting at the airports would look at that matrix and say, okay, let's fix those problems,
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what happened was i think they, they were in such a hurry to do it they forgot about the actual con conventions. >> you say they fix the problem from pakistan, there is no security problems? >> no, again, just to be very clear. there are, there are different levels of intelligence about threats from different countries, when it comes to infiltrating the united states of america. that is a fact. and so, does this rise to that level? those seven countries and by the way, president obama believed it did in 2011, that, that likely didn't change. and, maybe it could be pakistan next year, who knows. but they haven't risen to the other five factors or six factors. that go into it. >> president obama's decision on iraqi refugees back in 2011 was in direct response to an action, terrorist action by an iraqi refugee and they relooked at how the screening was being done for them and, allegedly according to the obama administration, made it, made it tighter.
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there have not been terrorist attacks by people from these countries in, in the united states. whereas we have seen from pakistan, in the whack of san bernardino. >> not in the united states. but we have seen terrorist movements from all of the countries with the express desire to come to the united states. again, andersen, again, i am arguing that, i agreed with president obama in 2011, and i agree with the notion that you needed a tougher security view. one thing they didn't do in 2011, they made the right statement, and then they didn't follow up with the other factors that needed to do on security. including the same kind of things we found in san bernardino. there is a direct loon you can draw. again what they did though, they said we are going to do it for everybody. forgetting the green card issue, which to me was -- crazy. if you wanted to make the legitimate, i think legitimate intelligence and security arguments on the seven countries, they kind of screwed that up with the fact that they just included green card holders which wouldn't fit the criteria.
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>> all right. mr. cohen. >> sorry, just not willing to assume that they are, that, that this action was in response to a careful evaluation of all of the intelligence that have put in front of them. less than two weeks to look at. while they're trying to stand up a government. there is no evidence of that. we know, hate to say it. they're not candid or honest administration. i'm not going to take their word on faith that this is a -- a response to a particular set of threats. and in fact, i really rather doubt it. what i think this was an attempt to follow through on a campaign promise to project an image of toughness. it was done thoughtlessly. done without any consultation with general john kelly, probably does take national security pretty seriously, and it blew up in their faces. more importantly done damage to the united states. maybe it is good for their, you know their relationship with their political base. the only way. >> leave it there. we are over time. appreciate it. as always. we just learned the new acting attorney general, dana boente,
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was sworn in at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. want to bring back the constitutional lawyer, paige pate, very fast moving night. we now know the new acting attorney general, attorney general has been sworn in at 9:00. what do you make of -- of all of these developments tonight? >> obviously he is moving very fast. i don't think any of us should be surprised based upon what sean spicer said earlier today. if you don't like the way we do things here, you need to get out. so i can toelt totally understa him firing sally yates, surprised sally yates would work for him. she has a very strong moral compass. she did what she thought was right. i think the people of america, really expect from our department of justice, more than a bunch of automatons who will listen to the president and do his bidding. i don't know itch the white house cleared it with this nominee that they want to have as acting attorney general. are you going to do what the president wants you to do.
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or are they going to give him some discretion as well. that remains to be seen. >> all right. we are back with, with our panel. i mean, ryan, it is just fascinating. this is something we have not seen. >> the other thing that strikes me is, they were so quick to get this executive order out. if they had just waited until jeff sessions was in that job they would have avoid this confrontation. so, another, you know, jeffrey said he thinks this executive order is an example of trump's great executive skills. delaying a week he would have missed this confrontation and wouldn't have had to worry about having an obama holdover there to to enforce the law. >> yeah, yeah, i think, i don't think, i usually, i don't buy that this is all a grand plot. i think, i think they wanted to show a flurry of activity in the first week. he was following through on the campaign promises. and they just didn't think through all the bureaucratic. >> sitting here listening to all this. reminded me when, ronald reagan
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fired the air traffic controllers. there was all kind of hand wringing, you can't do that. there is 11,000 of them. planes will come down. it's terrible. et cetera. he walked out there and said, you know, get back to work by, in 24 hours or whatever it is or you are fired. and he kept to the promise. >> tomorrow there is going to be a supreme court justice pick that will change the tone a little bit. today he signed an executive order, rolling back regulations, it's not really, it could have huge ramifications on the country. that's not getting much attention. they're flooding the zone. part of the strategy. a lot of stuff happening. we can't keep up with it. >> recap. president trump fired the acting attorney general who resisted his executive order and replaced her with, dana boente, former u.s. attorney from virginia's eastern district. he was sworn in at 9:00 p.m. 45 minutes ago. cnn, sarah murray at the white house. has more. what are you learning, sarah? >> reporter: andersen, i think it is clear the president acted
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quickly when he saw the acting attorney general was not going to follow through defending the travel ban. we have been waiting. we know there were staffers at the white house, in meetings how to respond to this. obviously decided to make a move late night. and sort of relieve her of her duties. now i think it is telling to look back at what sean spicer had to say, the white house press secretary in the briefing to day. he was at the time being asked about state department officials who did not agree with donald trump's travel ban and essentially said, either they should get on board or get out. that seems to be the view the administration is taking. obviously we know sally yates was not going to be on very much longer. she was an obama appointee. they are waiting for donald trump to have his own attorney general, jeff sessions confirmed and in that position. but if you are critic of donald trump, a democrat or republican, i have heard from a number of people saying why has the president moved so fast with a number of these executive orders without having his own team in place. and particularly pointing to the
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travel ban and the attorney general saying you are leaving yourself open to criticism, with really no one to defend you. and i think we saw the ramifications of that play out tonight, andersen. >> it is interesting, sarah, i mean whether it is by design or just, i don't know what the strategy is, or if there is a strategy, but it certainly is kind of flooding the zone. certainly is moving from one thing to the next. if donald trump was elect to stir things up, to, to drain the swamp, to -- to, you know, change washington, i mean, you can see the idea of executive order after executive order. being attractive to him and steve bannon. >> that's right. that move will give some members of donald trump's team more heartburn than others. there are certainly a number of people on donald trump's team who are hearing from people, look, you need to slow down. you need to focus on one big thing at a time. that is not how donald trump
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wants to trun his shrun his sho. or steve bannon. steve bannon in particular, seems immune to a lot of criticism. he is used to it. thrives on chaos. donald trump thrives in a chaotic environment. when they look at the days at the end of them they're saying look, we knocked out a cup of our big campaign promises each day. we are living up to what we promised voters. i think the question is -- whether they, they are just throwing too many things at, at the washington establishment, if you will, or congress in particular, for them to diep jest at once. remember, just because you have 53 republicans in the senate. just because you have majority of the house and senate. doesn't mean your party has to stick with you on every priority. that's the risk they run. >> not going to turn to skref. i imagine what jeff would say and supporters of donald trump would say. if washington has some indi jestion, maybe not a bad thing. that's why he was there. >> that was their goal coming into the white house. >> right. all right, sarah murray.
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thank you very much. david, fascinating to watch this all playing out. >> without a doubt. i agree. nobody, nobody in their right mind thinks the trump white house and trump administration is going to follow some script that we already understand. that's not why they got elected no doubt about that. i, but what i think sarah hilt on there that is really important to look at is. there is a divide in the inner sanctum of trump world also. there is the faction, you saw him yesterday on the sunday shows, get out try to explain the green card portion, clearly there wasn't a strategy. he said, well, going forward, the green card is not part of this anymore. that's because, they, included accidentally. so you have somebody who -- >> the right hand doesn't know what the far right hand is doing. >> trying to communicate to the hill trying to keep things on course. against a steve bannon that is perhaps into the cape yos theory you are discussing. i do think a little built of both. i don't think we can look at one or the other. >> it is interesting, that this
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is not just a republican/democratic divide. there are republicans, you know, that we are hearing, john mccain, lindsay graham, republicans in washington who are, sarah murray's point, telling the white house, look, you got to focus on a couple things. there is republican whose are concerned. >> there is a political wisdom, you know, there are, you know, books written abut lee atwater and carl rove -- karl rove, a playbook, a political person, a smart, political >> anybody who came up in the normal school of this is how you run a campaign, this is how you manage a crisis, throw that out, steve bannon, i believe, may be an evil genius, i believe they're operating on a different plane than the rest of us. and i think this is -- we have to sort of put ourselves and -- in his head, he's a radical, a revolutionary, a nationalist,
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everything we know about politics and that we've learned is a politic, it hurts us when it comes to understanding what they're doing. >> call me old fashioned, call me boring, i like a government that is not in total chaos all the time. that is not picking fights with our allies, the media, picking fights with the 1.4 million people who work inside of the government, i want to see a little bit of stability. this is the moment where i lodge for barack obama. >> and we haven't -- >> the white house go to the hill. there is, at a certain point, can you do a bunch with executive order, if he's going too have big impact. donald trump is going to have to get a legislative agenda passed in some way. and that is when some of the old rules of washington will apply. >> there's one thing that we're leaving out here. i guarantee you that down there in florida, rush limbaugh is sitting there doing show prep. in talk radio is going to come
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out tomorrow, they're going to be 10,000 percent in favor of what donald trump has done today, that's going to help him a lot, and put pressure on all these republican members of congress. you have this massive bureaucracy here, they're anti-conservative, anti-republican, they have their own agenda, they just keep sailing on. and they're going to go after him tomorrow. >> we also have our legal scholars, paige page is with us, how quickly does the new acting attorney general -- i guess he shows up for work tomorrow and starts signing fisa court orders and it's that quick, i suppose? >> the acting attorney general in this case has still not been confirmed by the senate. we have the potential issue of who's going to sign off on the orders. this is unprecedented. like everything else so far, we're making it up as we go along, and i agree with the governor, that is no way to run a government.
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>> it's an important point that you make, let's talk about that, though the new acting attorney general who we see him on the screen has been sworn in, he has not been vetted and confirmed by the senate and, therefore, cannot sign off on these fisa court warrants, correct? >> anderson, if he -- previously served as a united states attorney, he would have been appointed and confirmed by the senate in that capacity, not in the capacity serving with main justice as the acting attorney general, again, this is not something we've seen, i'm not sure if he's going to have the legal authority to sign off on those orders. >> those orders. i mean, how are -- they're every day? >> i hear that they are every day, but they're secret. lawyers like me don't know about them, that entire process is run through someone that congress feels has the confidence of the american people, and is qualified to review those orders
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and present them to the fisa court. the fact that you have to go through a senate confirmation is just to give the american people a little more security that the person signing those orders or those requests for orders knows what he or she is doing, and has the confidence of the people. >> and then we do expect jeff sessions, the democrats can try to slow it down, but most likely not block jeff sessions from becoming the new attorney general? >> that's right. that's why you know what sally yates did was largely symbolic in the sense that there is an imminent confirmation of jeff sessions, what it does is leave a lingering trail of doubt surrounding this executive order, i think what you see here anderson is the washington, d.c., version of the apprentice, it's very scary to think that somebody who may contradict or question the legal parameters in which the law is trying to be executed or enforced will have their head roll. i think that's a very telling tail, either way jeff sessions
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will be in the same boat sally yates found herself in. he will be trying to figure out how to ensure uniformity of a law that's ambiguous, and has some serious gaps. >> to governor grandholmes's point, wanting stability in government. chaos is one thing, running a business is one thing. can government function with all its levers in -- >> unless trump has changed the rules about governing, the way he did about campaigning and winning, certain rules will apply. he will be judged on his success, does he pass this legislative agenda through congress? yesterday. >> does he create jobs? >> i think that's -- >> does he -- does he live up to -- jobs and security. >> yesterday he aing taed lindsay graham and john mccain. they represent two thirds of his victory in the senate. he's personally attacking two of the senators he's going to need
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to pass his infrastructure bill, to pass tax reform. >> and mccain was just elected. he may be immune to that pressure from the base. to a certain degree. >> he attacked chuck schumer today personally about fake tears which is another -- >> obama -- >> one final point on the new attorney general. this will have a huge ripple, wait a second, we need to slow this nomination down. there are now questions about independence. what is session's view of this firing? maybe they don't have any ability to do that, his recommendation will be on this executive order. >> any attorney general is going to be representing donald trump, as eric holder was a close obama
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ally, and was representing barack obama. that's to be expected whether it's jeff sessions or jeff sessions got hit by a bus tomorrow and there were another nominee, you bet cha, the white house would want he or she to be representing donald trum. >> the attorney general does not represent the president. the attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer. >> oh, my. >> you think robert kennedy was saying there, mr. president, i know you're brother and i love you, but go to hell? i don't think so. >> that was not the model that most lawyers looked to. >> eric holder and barack obama were very tight. >> i remember every republican in washington saying, they didn't like that. you want judicial independence in your attorney general. >> it's a fact of life. if you think ed meese told president reagan, well, sir, sorry, i don't think so. >> all i'm saying is, the fact that he was such an integral part of trump's campaign and now there is this issue of the independence of the justice department that has been raised,
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you're going to hear a lot about that in the next couple days. we learned that apparently -- details on what happened, yates who at that point was the acting attorney general was told -- sally yates was told by hand delivered letter that trump was dismissing her. >> let's be honest, she submitted her resignation when she took this action, i think she had to know that. >> maybe she wants a political career? >> i think most of the lawyers we've had on tonight were skeptical of what she did, right? >> the professor turley and also -- >> she was cen willy saying, a lot of lawyers i've been reading were not impressed with her legal argument, she was saying as a moral argument, she could not defend this executive order. >> sally yates for senate. >> i don't think she's going to do that. she's not a political person.
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>> tomorrow likely donald trump will announce a pick for supreme court. >> remember, that pick is going to be to replace scalia, this battle for the court is not for the change of the make-up of the court. >> you think that will be tough? >> i mean -- look, he is bringing change in so many directions all at once, and he's got, i would say x number of months before -- >> it's also an interesting strategy, there's almost not enough time to focus too much on any one thing, because things are changing -- so many executive orders. at some point, do republicans start to become concerned just as they did with president obama. >> only if the people in that pennsylvania diner start to say, i don't think so. and i don't think they're anywhere close to that. >> it's only day ten. >> and not all the executive orders have been that impactful. some of them were the equivalent
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of press releases. the one this week on immigration was one of the important ones. i want to thank everyone on our panel. our breaking news coverage going to continue now on "cnn tonight" with don lemon. breaking news, you're fired, the acting attorney general sally yates betrayed the department of justice by resfuzing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the united states i want to get to cnn, the white house correspondent sarah murray. and evan perez, they've both been following this all day today. >> the administration just firing sally yates, dramatic turn of events, what do you know? >> well, it is a dramatic turn of events.