tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN February 13, 2020 6:00am-7:00am PST
all right. good morning, everyone. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. the president's former chief of staff and retired marine general john kelly has called the president's demand that ukraine investigate the bidens a, quote, illegal order. that's right. kelly, in public, defending lieutenant colonel alexander vindman and his decision to report that controversial demand and phone call to his higher ups. >> it's remarkable he chose these words and said this now. it was first reported by "the atlantic." kelly told an audience that army officer vindman who was repeatedly targeted by the president and mocked and then removed from the white house, did exactly what he was taught to do. to report, quote, an illegal order and kelly did not stop there. >> also the justice department is roiled today. this after the attorney general intervened to reduce a
sentencing recommendation from justice department lawyers for the president's longtime ally roger stone. sources tell cnn that more prosecutors are now considering resigning. "the new york times" reports that others fear pressure from the president. we're on top of all of the news. let's begin at the white house with john harwood. with more on the stunning comments. it goes so far beyond vindman. >> it goes beyond vindman, poppy. john kelly really let loose in the set of remarks. and he talked, in particular, about the sense of duty that's bred in people in the military that he brought to the white house that he used to try to constrain the president. let's first look at what he said about alexander vindman. he said he did exactly what we teach them from cradle to grave. we teach them, don't follow an illegal order. and if you are given one, you'll raise it to whoever gave it to you and saying this is an illegal order and tell your boss. there was, in addition, a quote
on trump's intervention in the case of eddie convicted of murder in iraq. the president restored his rank in the navy john kelly said, if i was in the white house, i think i could have stopped it. that's because kelly understands what is necessary for order and discipline in the military. and this is a president who doesn't value those things. and it is very clear at the moment, not just john kelly who is not there anymore, but no one in the white house or in the republican party at this point, guys, is willing to stop him. >> no, and he's removed those who have stood up to him. we've seen it from experience. john, please stay with us. let's bring in cnn legal analyst and former federal prosecutor himself, shan wu and clinton impeachment manager bob barr, who is also a former federal prosecutor. what's the legal standard for an
illegal order. is there one? is this up to the judgment of uniformed commanders? >> there's not really going to be a legal standard that's relevant to them because they're going to be in the field. they're making these decisions on the fly. there could be something that seems, again, it's going to be their discretion. if they're ordered to do something they feel is illegal in terms of military regulations or other law, they're going to have to make that call at the time. he wasn't in a situation, vindman, where he had to make an instant judgment. he was able to go to a superior, which is exactly why kelly is saying he did the right thing to do. he didn't have to make a judgment on the fly. >> bob barr, to you, you have criticized the impeachment of the president. you've called it a democratic sham. but john kelly is hardly a democrat, and he is backing with these comments, the very foundation of the impeachment. do you disagree with this take? >> it doesn't make any sense to me what the general is saying
because vindman was not given an order to do anything. by all accounts, he simply overheard a conversation and then he -- >> so, bob, i would just jump in there with the context for people who haven't read the entirety of the comments. the idea is, if you are, you know, a lieutenant colonel, if this is your position and you hear something, that you know is wrong, it is your duty to report it. that's what he's saying. report it through the chain of command. >> he overheard the president who is the commander in chief and who is, in fact, in charge of u.s. foreign policy on a conversation with a foreign leader talking about u.s. policy with regard to that country. the colonel apparently interpreted what the president was saying one way. others interpreted it another way. i see nothing in this equation that equates to an illegal order. >> guys, it's not just alexander vindman who interpreted it that way. gordon sondland, the president's
appointee interpreted it that way. bill taylor, the president's choice to be envoy to ukraine also interpreted it that way. there's no misunderstanding what happened here. in fact, at the end of the senate trial, we know ted cruz told white house lawyers we all know there was a quid pro quo here. the only question being whether it's enough to convict and put him out of office. but the facts of the case and the fact that it was an improper association, link the president made between those two things is universally accepted now. >> no, it's not universally accepted now. >> yes, it is. >> it's not. i disagree with what you're saying. and an awful lot of u.s. senators did also, and i suspect that if there had been a fair proceeding -- >> not according to ted cruz. >> there would have been a lot of other witnesses that interpreted it very differently. >> shan, you heard bob barr there talk about how the president's the commander in chief. does that negate a uniformed officer from making a judgment to say, listen, to me -- to me,
this sounds like an illegal order and, therefore, i will report it through the chain of command? >> absolutely does not do that. the commander in chief is simply a higher commander. so if he were, let's say, in the field, in a war zone, and his immediate supervisor gave him an order he felt was illegal, something wrong to do, we want our armed services soldiers to not do that. to follow their training and to follow their own moral conscience. that's what he did. we should be proud of what he did. >> bob, quick response and then we're going to move on. >> there was no order of any sort. this was a president talking about a u.s. foreign policy with regard to another leader. that can be interpreted and characterized many different ways. >> that's exactly the point. you want them to interpret it and to fall back on the technicality, there wasn't an order to do this.
obviously, he felt he was witnessing something wrong. >> there was an order issued. we saw that in the email traffic, the white house directed this aid to be stopped. but, please stay with us. there's much more to cover this morning. >> there could be more exits from the justice department. this comes just days after four federal prosecutors completely up and quit the roger stone case over the agency's decision to overrule their sentencing recommendations. >> new sources saying this morning that several federal prosecut hcussed resigning. joining in these resignations in recent days. laura jarrett joins us now. we've already seen four resign from this case. one, i believe, from the job itself, from -- completely. you are hearing there are others who are considering the same? >> just imagine trying to do your job every day and you have been there throughout multiple administrations. and you find out on fox news that now it's going to be reversed for what reason? we don't know exactly what happened in those conversations, but we've seen this play out now in a way that i think undermines
how they're supposed to do their job. it's a morale issue. we talk to sources and things were really heated on tuesday. we'll see how it plays out in the days to come. maybe things calm down. and it's not unusual for there to be policy disagreements. that's happened. but in criminal cases, those usually don't get touched. what we're seeing now in stone and other cases is different. >> how much of this, laura, your reporting in terms of the turmoil and the angst and the actual, you know, leaving of positions or cases at least that the justice department has to do with the attorney general himself? >> there's no question bill barr, if anything, takes a hands-on approach to these cases. and it turns out that stone's case is not an outlier. the reporting shows that it's also in the case of the former national security adviser michael flynn. we saw some court filings that were sort of discordon on the softening and it turns out he was involved in some of those discussions behind the scenes.
there's also so many more cases to go. that are in the queue right now politically sensitive that the president cares about. look at just that map right there shows you what we're facing in the weeks and months to come. so many we can barely fit it on one page there. for instance, on eric prince, betsy devos' brother, if they don't indict him for lying to congress, how are people supposed to look at this and say, it was on the up and up. so the appearance of impropriety, even if we've giving them the benefit of the doubt and there's nothing wrong here, it's the appearance some people aren't getting a fair shake. >> yooit's why you have rules against conflicts of interest. if you have those conflicts you should not be involved. how do you respond to that? the president has an interest in all these cases. there are folks who advised him. roger stone has been one of his most loyal advisers through the years gop you have any issue? you're a former federal prosecutor. imagine if the president interfered in a case you prosecuted to the best of your
ability and said, i don't care what you did. this guy is a friend of mine. ain't going to happen. >> there's something important to keep in mind here. while federal prosecutors have a great deal of flexibility in how they handle their cases, it is not absolute. and particularly with regard to cases involving public figures and corruption involving public figures, the u.s. attorney or the line attorneys prosecuting the case are required by the u.s. attorney's manual to coordinate that case with main justice. and, in fact, what happened here, apparently, is there was some disagreement between main justice and the attorneys handling the case. there was an understanding that they would follow the guidelines, and then they filed a paper with the court that did something very different. >> not the question i asked. >> i asked if you'd have any issue with the president repeatedly intervening in cases in which he had a personal interest as a former prosecutor yourself. >> the president is not intervening in anything. the decision here first and
foresmoefor foremost is going to be made by the judge. not by the line attorney or william barr. it's going to be made by the judge. the president can say whatever he wants. that's not going to influence the judge. >> all right. i would just note, bob, in your piece in the daily caller you criticize the judge as an obama appointed judge and took aim at all of this saying stone was never charged with any substantive criminal offenses and you're talking about five counts of lying to congress, witness tampering and obstructing a proceeding. shan wu, you've been in meetings like this when you were a former counsel to ag janet reno. did you see anything like this happen? >> absolutely not. there's a very solid wall between the white house generally and the justice department. precisely for the reason of the integrity of the process, not wanting public confidence to be undermined. in fact, the sort of interesting thing is usually when defense counsel are making appeals to the higher ups at the justice department, main justice, usually they have very little success if they're going against
the judgment of the operational people, the trial folks who have worked the case. the higher up you go, the less inclined the officials are to overrule the people at the bottom. so the idea here that this is a normal situation, it's not. it's very abnormal. >> well, we're watching it unfold. shan wu, bob barr. we'll speak to a member of the house judiciary committee who will be asking barr questions, just ahead. mike bloomberg picking up several endorsements from prominent african-american lawmakers, including one from new york, even as he faces all of these questions over his controversial stop and frisk policy in new york city. so what do those endorsements mean? also, rush limbaugh recently awarded the medal of freedom by the president, now targeting a presidential candidate's sexuality saying on his radio show that he wonders what would happen in a debate between,
quote, mr. man, president trump and in limbaugh's words, quote, gay guy pete buttigieg. it's difficult to even repeat his words here and the way that he clearly meant them. much more on that ahead. help ma, like.. pnc easy lock, so you can easily lock your credit card when its maximum limit differs from its vertical limit. and clover flex, for when you need to take credit cards when no one carries cash. or requesting a call to help get a new credit card- one that hasn't followed the family goldfish. pnc - make today the day.
as the bloomberg campaign scrambles to contain the fallout over the former new york city mayor's comments on stop and frisk, the campaign is responding to another race-related controversy. >> this is first reported by the associated press, former new york city mayor michael bloomberg once blamed the end of red lining for the 2008 housing crash and financial crisis that ensued. so what is redlining? it's an historically discriminatory housing practice that deemed largely minority neighborhoods too risky for mortgage lenders drawing a red line on maps around those areas. listen to this. >> it probably all started back when there was a lot of pressure
on banks to make loans to everyone. red lining, if you remember, was the term where banks took whole neighborhoods and said people in these neighborhoods are poor. they'll not be able to pay off their mortgages. tell them, your salesmen, don't go into those areas and then congress got involved, local elected officials as well, and said oh, that's not fair. these people should be able to get credit. and once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn't as good as you would like. >> the bloomberg campaign is responding this morning saying that the mayor, quote, attacked predatory lending, and they also say that he has plans to, quote, help a million more black families buy a house and counteract the effects of redlining. >> joining us is reverend a.r. bernard, where bloomberg
apologized to the congregation for his stop and frisk policy. thank you for joining us. according to the times, bloomberg called you back in october to talk about an apology. can you tell us ab>> sure. we've known each other for 20 years. i served him when he was mayor. and we had a conversation, and he was expressing a period of reflection on what he had done, why he was in office, what was good, what was bad. and this was an issue that continued to stick with him. now i understand the timing is suspect because he announces that he's going to run for president right after that. but i think he was genuine in this whole thing of stop and frisk. let me say this to you because we have to understand that communities of color live in a tension between the need for safe communities, safe streets, and overpolicing. without police presence, crime becomes a problem. with overpolicing, the innocent
suffer for the guilty. so there has to be a balance that we strike with this. but stop and frisk did not begin with michael bloomberg. stop and frisk as a racial profiling policy goes back to 120 years of explicitly racial policies in america from a federal, state and local level. >> we should remind people that president trump has called for a national stop and frisk on that issue. >> that's what i was going to say. even as recently as last year, the president called for national stop and frisk. but mayor bloomberg has seen a dramatic up tick in his support from the african-american community nationally in the twloolast two weeks. up 15%. that's really important for him. that was before this audio came out of just in 2015, him talking about stop and frisk. let's let people listen to that and i want to get your response on the other side. >> the cops in the minority
neighborhoods. yes, that's true. we do we do that? because that's where all the crime is. and the way to get the guns out of the kids' hands it to throw them up against a wall and frisk them. >> i think it's wrong. it's inexcusable and any other comments that may come out like this. but i do think that bloomberg's insensitivity to the negative impact of stop and frisk on community of color was providential. it allows him an opportunity to now craft a black agenda as part of his campaign. to deal with racialized policing system. racialized criminal justice system, inequities in education and economic opportunity. that's a black agenda. he has an opportunity to craft a black agenda and push forward so he can do something about it. >> tell us about his record. president trump's record in 2020 is saying he's done well for african-americans. lowest unemployment rate. tell us about michael bloomberg, has terms as mayor here.
was he good in some ways for african-americans? >> when he went into office, it was on the tail of 9/11. we were in economic crisis, along with the emotional crisis. we were a grieving city. we needed someone to be the ceo of the city of new york, corporation of the city of new york. he came in and he did what he did very well to stabilize things. in terms of developing relationship with the community, that was an ongoing process for him. look, he's a wall street banker. he comes from that world. now you become a politician. you represent people that you did not really know their context. that's a learning curve. >> there's so much to that statement about knowing communities and spending time in them. i worry about saying the african-american community as a monolith, we have to be very careful of that. and politicians have to be careful about that. but there was another harlem pastor, calvin butts who made the point this week that bloomberg's financial support for important causes to largely
african-american minority communities helps alleviate concerns over what he has done and said with stop and frisk. what about critics who say that's him throwing all this money at problems to try to get votes. >> that's not enough. look, we can't judge his heart. we don't know what he's feeling inside. but we can judge his actions. we can go back to the bible. john baptist said, if you're repentant, bring me the fruit. show me evidence. show me change. he's in a position if he wants a black vote to craft a black agenda. but just those four things i named. if he does that, he can grab the attention of black people in this country. >> the president has accused him of being a racist. is he? >> i think the pot is calling the kettle black here. is he a racist? i don't believe that. i automobibelieve -- i think in world, he was not opposed to the realities of the african-american experience. now he has an opportunity to learn. so he needs to surround himself
with the people who can inform him so that he can clearly articulate an agenda for our community. >> we'll be listening. >> reverend bernard, thank you. come back. >> we appreciate it. next week, join cnn for a series of town halls with a number of the democratic presidential candidates live from las vegas next tuesday and thursday night only here on cnn. the house judiciary committee will soon get a chance to question attorney general bill barr. one of the lawmakers who will have that opportunity is coming up next. also moments away from the opening bell on wall street. the dow should fall slightly at the start. that to what we're looking at here. giving back some of those gains from wednesday's record close. the coronavirus outbreak keeps on hitting the business world and fears among investors. one of the tech industry's biggest events of the year, mobile world congress now canceled after more than a dozen tech companies pulled out of that event over fears of the virus.
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right now, house democrats on the judiciary committee are putting together their plan and questions for attorney general bill barr. he is set to appear before that committee next month. you can expect the names, roger stone and rudy giuliani to come up a lot. with me is a member of that committee, democratic congressman steve cohen of tennessee. nice to have you here.
i appreciate it. last time he didn't show up, you brought a bucket of chicken to make a point. looks like bill barr will show up to testify at the end of march. what's your most pressing questions for him as we sit here today? >> the most pressing question is going to be what he's done with president trump to change the plea agreement, not the plea agreement but the suggestion on a term for roger stone. and what else has he done to influence maybe michael flynn's sentencing and other prosecutions in the removing of prosecutors from cases, the removing of miss lu from being the u.s. attorney in the district of columbia. just the steps he's taken. we thought he was going to come last time. >> i get that. >> george jones has a better record for showing up. >> all right. we'll see. so let's go back to january 15th, 2009. this is during his confirmation
hearing before the senate. he said this. listen. >> i feel i'm in a position in life where i can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences in the sense that i don't -- i can truly be independent. >> that was in reaction to some of the previous memos that he'd written that came under scrutiny during his confirmation process. what's your reaction to that now? >> well, i thought it was wrong when he said it. you have to understand what he thinks is right. and i think he expressed what he thought was right at notre dame. there were right wing theories, unusual theories and suggestions he was probably from the same group which i always thought he was that gave trump nominees for the court. and he was being put in by that same group to make sure that trump was there to deliver on more nominees like that to the
court, which questions people's freedom of religion, questions certain standards of the court on cases that have been around for years and give people individual liberties and individual rights. barr has made clear this is his opportunity to make an impact, and i think the people didn't understand just how far right wing he was, and he'd make cohen look like a saint. >> do you think he lied then under oath? did he perjure himself? >> he said i'm going to do what's right and i'm not worried about anything else. >> so on the issue of impeachment, okay, because i think people should know, it's notable you came out in favor of impeaching the president a long time ago. back in the spring of 2017. that was actually before the conclusion of the mueller investigation. certainly even before the ukraine call. do you believe that these actions by the president in the last week are impeachable
offenses and that you believe congress should move once again to impeach the president? >> i think that impeachment has been done. i don't think speaker pelosi and the american people want to go through another impeachment. i think we know that the jury is rigged and no matter what we had, if he shot the man on fifth avenue, no matter what he did, he might get mitt romney and that would be the only republican senator you'd get. >> it's interesting you bring up mitt romney. not only the only republican who voted to convict the president on one of the counts. he's the only person ever from a party to convict their own party's president in an impeachment proceeding. but listen to this from your colleague in the other chamber, senator lisa murkowski just yesterday. here she was. >> did the president learn any lessons from being impeached? are you concerned he learned the opposite lesson? >> well, there haven't been very strong indications this week
that he has. >> it's hard to hear, but those words matter. she said there haven't been any strong indicators this week that he has. that he has learned anything. you say impeachment is out the door now. so now what? with some republicans feeling the way she does? >> well, lisa murkowski has had a mixed record and some good votes where she stood up to trump. she didn't do it in the impeachment trial. she needs to say that. and she's right. but the fact is trump has not learned a lesson from anything in life. military school didn't do him any good and he's been a man that has not listened to any statute, any rules of contract, any marital vows. he's uncontrollable. he's lawless. he is reckless. this is nothing new. probably the reason why he went to military school in the first place. this conduct, the child. >> i do want to get to the move.
you voted in favor of this legislation to try to ban the president's expansion of the travel ban. it's not likely to succeed, obviously, in a republican-controlled senate but your fellow member of the house, doug collins, a ranking member on the committee said the bill eviscerates the ability of the administration to take quick and decisive action to protect the homeland. what do you say to him? >> he's running for the united states senate. he wants to have president trump's support. and it's obvious that he continues to support president trump in every way he can. the fact is, my relatives came here from eastern europe. many of us had relatives who emigrated. we're a nation of immigrants. we should not close our doors to immigrants. this is a muslim ban which the president has been in favor of for years. >> congressman steve cohen, appreciate your time. come back soon. >> you're welcome, poppy. he was just awarded the presidential medal of freedom. now rush limbaugh is going after, in vulgar terms, pete buttigieg for being gay.
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it's one week after president trump awarded conservative radio host rush limbaugh the presidential medal of freedom, one of the highest civilian awards in the united states. limbaugh has carried out an attack on democratic presidential candidate pete buttigieg simply for being gay. have a listen. >> they are sitting there and looking at mayor pete. 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of south bend. loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage. and they are saying, okay, how is this going to look. 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to mr. man, donald trump.
what's going to happen there? and they got to be looking at that, and they've got to be saying, that despite all the great progress and despite all the great wokeness and despite all the great ground that's been covered, america still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband o stage president. they have to be saying this, don't they? now, there may be some democrats who think that is the ticket. there may be some democrats who think that's exactly what we need to do, rush. get a gay guy kissing his husband on stage, to ram it down trump's throat and beat him in the general election. really. having fun envisioning that. >> important to play it all there. ben ferguson is with us. a conservative radio show host. you know, ben, i -- your
reaction? >> look, i don't think it matters that he's gay. i think the thing you're talking about here is two different issues. one is anybody going to look masculine next to donald trump on stage? the only democrat out there would be joe biden. should it matter on the issue of his sexuality? no. i do think and i talked about this yesterday with only democrats calling in, does it matter that he is an openly gay man? there was a surprising number of democratic voters that said that it was an issue for them, the same way we saw that lady try to take back her vote in iowa after she voted and found out that mayor pete was gay. for me personally, i have no problem with him being a gay man. i can debate him on the issues, it has nothing to do with sexuality. and the reality here is what limbaugh was talking about, and the way he said it is different than i would say it. there are democrats sitting there worried that this is going to be a bigger issue just like we saw in california when gay marriage was overturned by
voters in a liberal state. >> take a moment there. >> yeah. >> let me take issue with your premise. what's more manly. volunteering for military service or avoiding it? >> i'm talking about appearance here. i was with the last week and he looked more masculine next to me than i dud and i consider myself to be a pretty masculine guy. >> what about the substance, though? what about the substance? >> substance in what category do you mean by substance? >> i'm saying you said the president appears more manly for, i don't know what reason. and i'm citing an issue of the record here. buttigieg volunteered for military service. the president took great pains to avoid it. i'm talking about the substance. which is more manly? >> look, i think serving your country is something that's a great thing and that's something mayor pete will be able to use to his advantage. and it's how he's going to be able to challenge the president if he gets the nomination. but if you asked 100 democratic voters which candidate looked
more masculine, joe biden or mayor pete, i think we'd probably say joe biden. let's be honest about this. >> can i please turn the conversation to -- i don't understand in what world is the definition of qualification for being president of the united states how manly someone appears. >> there's also that. >> i didn't say it was a qualification, but going back to what limbaugh was talking about, when you put two different candidates on stage and there are people that make millions on both sides of the aisle that talk about what they wear for goodness sakes. men and women, what you say? >> well, we don't. >> how you talk and act. >> i'm talking about political campaign operatives. people that are working for presidential campaigns for governor campaigns, you look at every aspect of your candidate. and then you try to make them turn into something that is perfect for the voters' palate. we've been doing this for decades. and the point limbaugh was making is you have a president, okay, regardless of -- go back to military service. that is a very masculine guy. you have mayor pete that comes
across -- >> claims to be. >> an amdemic. ve smart academic. you put joe biden on stage. the masculinity issue goes away. >> ben, i've known you a long time. listen, it seems to me you're justifying bigotry. >> not at all. >> are you not? here's the thing. people -- consultants might have said it's a negative to be a person of color. you might have heard that. this is 2020. i'm curious what you're justifying here. >> it could be a huge asset like it was for barack obama. what i'm saying is, and we have to be honest about campaigns here. there are certain things that play to certain people. a great example is what you brought up with military service for mayor pete. that's going to play huge to them. if you are a political advocate, a political person working for him you'll say you have to talk about that more. that's going to play very well with the american people. >> ben, we have to go. we'll keep talking about it.
we're waiting to see if the president responds to this at all. it's important to quote the president in may when asked about this on fox news. he said about mayor buttigieg's sexuality, i think something -- people will have a problem with it, but i have no problem with it whatsoever. i think it's good. so the question is going to become, does he change? does that change? >> i don't think he will. >> thank you, ben. >> the president has changed positions before. we'll see. house lawmakers just took the first step to stop president trump from expanding his travel ban. we'll break down the details because there's something in the latest iteration of this that's disturbing. stay with us. a lot will happen in your life. wrinkles just won't. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair's fastest retinol formula works so fast. it takes only one week to reveal younger looking skin. making wrinkles look so last week. rapid wrinkle repair®
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economically powerfully influenced my values. bernie sanders he's fighting to raise wages. and guarantee health care for all. now, our country is at a turning point. hard working people, betrayed by trump, struggling to survive. in this moment, we need a fighter. bernie sanders. we know he'll fight for us as president because he always has. i'm bernie sanders and i approve this message.
welcome back. this is a story you might have missed. the house is preparing to vote on a bill that would repeal president trump's latest expansion of travel restrictions and rein in presidential authority on suspending entry in the u.s. on a category of people. joining us now, todd shulte, good morning, good to have you on this morning. help explain to our viewer what is different about this expansion of the travel ban. because what's particular here is going after not visitor visas, but really immigration. it seems it seeks to reduce legal immigration from these countries. explain how that works. >> i think that's really important to bring up. and to go back for a little bit of context in 2015, the president called for a full and complete shutdown on muslim
immigration, and in 2017 they nut pla put in place travel bans for immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. an immigrant visa is how you come here. nonimmigrant visa say tourist visa, guest worker visa, something temporary. what happened this time, expanded countries, they have said you can come here on a tourist visa, guest work eer vi but not on an immigrant visa. that's longhand for you can come and visit but you can't start the process to become an american. that is a really dang prerous precedent. >> does that undermine the security argument here? because presumably if you're trying to stop, say, terror threats, you would go after the visitor visas, not the people who take many years to apply for citizenship. >> that's absolutely right. there is two things to undermine the security threat here. the first is, they announced
they were going to do this three years to the day of the anniversary for political reasons. if this was a real security threat they would have done it, and then i want to be clear, we're not in favor of the original bans here, but these bans that they put in place here are about people who are coming here over years as a much higher vetting threshold f you look historically of the millions of people who have come over the last couple of decades from nigeria, there has been one person who is in charge of the underwear bomber, that person came on a tourist visa. that's not the visa we're talking about here. this is about stopping people from nigeria, and other countries from becoming americans and starting that process. >> let's talk about the motivation behind this. as you note, 95% of the people covered by this are from africa, nigeria, the most populist african country. is race a factor here? >> i think if you look at what the president has said, and i'm not going to repeat it on air, but about certain countries
going back to when they spiked a dreamer deal, comments he made about the diversity visa, comments he made about haitian immigrants, nigeria is the largest country, largest number of black people in the world live in that country. and if you go back and look what he said and this is kind of overlapping a little bit here, again, the president said a lot of things during the campaign. the wall has become a punchline when it was really about the sentiment. the president was incredibly clear on what he said about muslims and muslim immigration coming to this country. i think the president has been clear about people coming from africa as well. >> is this just in short form about restricting legal immigration as opposed to illegal immigration, because steve miller, president's adviser, the driving force behind this, has been very public in his own comments supporting restrictions on legal immigration as well. >> we think the biggest story of the trump administration on immigration has been all-out assault on legal immigration avenues across the board and whether that's the refugee system cut by 95%, whether it is
eliminating the asylum system at the border, trying to cut the family base immigration system by 80% through congress, across the board every single legal immigration category is getting harder. there is hundreds and hundreds of changes to the legal immigration system, we found two that might make immigration easier. >> it is already shown up in the numbers. todd, thank you very much. >> thank you. it is for sure. to the president's former chief of staff, marine general john kelly, with some astounding and important words overnight, speaking out against the president, his former boss, on so much, including on the president's behavior and actions toward lieutenant colonel alexander vindman. stay with us for that. and the world has watched their every move. now the story of the world's most famous royal family, this is jim's obsession, the windsors, inside the royal dynasty. it premieres this sunday night right here on cnn.
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very good thursday morning to you. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm poppy harlow. listen to these words from a man who knows orders, retired marine general john kelly. he says the president gave a, quote, illegal order when demanding that ukraine investigate the bidens. now the former white house chief of staff is unloading on his former boss, defending lieutenant colonel alexander vindman, and his decision to report that controversial phone call in the first place. vindman, you'll remember, was targeted by the president and then removed from his role at the white house. >> the only white house response so far that's come from press secretary stephanie grisham who told fox news she was, quote, disappointed, by kelly's speech. also this morning, sources