tv Democracy Now LINKTV January 31, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST
01/31/17 01/31/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we had a monday night massacre. sally yates, person of great integrity, who followed the law, was fired by the president. amy: president trump has fired the acting attorney general hours after she refused to defend his executive order closing the nation's borders to refugees and citizens of seven majority muslim nations. many have compared it to the 1973 saturday night massacre
when the attorney general elliot richardson resigned after president richard nixon ordered him to fire the special prosecutor investigating the watergate scandal. totallyadds up to a unprecedented situation, a grave and profound crisis andnd the president has set himself against his own attorney general and the department of justice. amy: we will speak to former u.s. congresswoman elizabeth holtzman who served on the watergate committee and former assistant watergate prosecutor jill wine banks. she was the first woman to serve as u.s. army general counsel. then sarsour versus trump. >> this is an important time for many community's desk communities. this is an opportunity for us to say we will protect the most marginalized amongst us. amy: palestinian-american activist linda sarsour and other
prominent muslim americans s sue donald trump over the muslim ban. we will speak with her and trita parsi of the national iranian american council. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president donald trump fired acting attorney general sally yates on monday night just hours after she announced the justice department would not defendd trump's executive order banning temporarily all refugees as well as citizens from seven muslim-majority nations. iran, iraq, libya, somalia, sudan, syria, and yemen. yates had written a memo saying -- "i'm not convinced the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am i convinced that the executive order is lawful." yates had served in the justice department for 27 years. trump had asked her to serve as acting attorney general until
the senate confirmed senator jeff sessions who is a close , ally of trump. on monday, richard blumenthal praised sally yates for speaking out. >> i want to salute sally yates, who has taken a stand based on moral and legal principle in the highest tradition of the department of justice, saying that these orders cannot be the rule of law and morality is more important than the politics at the moment, of ahe impulsive edict ruler who apparently fails to understand that law -- or at least, his administration. amy: widespread resistance to trtrump's immigratation ban continued across the united states and the world in nearly
monday all sectors of society from the streets to silicon , valley to branches of the halls of washington. more than 100 employees of the state department have signed onto drafts of a dissent memo that condemn trump's executive order. one draft of the memo reads -- "this ban stands in opposition to the core american and constitutional values that we, as federal employees, took an oath to uphold. we have a special obligation to maintain an immigration system that is as free as possible from discrimination, that does not have an implied or actual religious test and that views , individuals as individuals, not as part of stereotyped groups." as news of the dissent memo broke monday, white house press secretary sean spicer threatened state department officials, saying they should quit their jobs if they have a problem with trump'p's program. >> talking about 109 people, from seven countries the obama administration identify and
these bureaucrats have a problbm withth it? i think they should get with the program or they could go. amy: on monday, the council on american-islamic-relations filed a federal lawsuit against trump's executive order, which it refers toto as a muslim exclusion order. the lawsuit argues the order is unconstitutional a and violates the first amendment's religious freedom protections and the fifth amendment's guarantee of equal protection. this i is cair lawyer gadeir abbas. >> president trump's actions are not simply words on paper, they are the greatest monument, anti-muslim sentimenent that amamerica has s ever known. we're not talking about the 15th the moment or an amendment later in the teens or 20's, we're talking about the first amendment of the constitution, which prohibits the government from favoring one faith over ananother and there are few tims in americann h history where the government has officially
didisfavored a whohole religious faith. and this is one of those instances. any guy the suit is called sarsour versus trump. we will speak with linda sarsour later in the broadcast. more than 200 jewish studies scholars across the u.s. signed onto a letter demandining lawmakers block trump's executive order, making a comparison between the refugee ban today and the u.s. history of refusing to allow jewish refugees to escape to the u.s. duringng world w war ii. the letter arrived in congress as democratic senators tried and failed to push through legislation to rescind the executive order. later in the day, senate democrats held a candle light vigil outside the supreme court in washington, d.c., where thousands gathered to oppose trump's policies. also on monday, the head of the african union slammed trump's ban, which affects three african nations, pointing out the history of the mass kidnapping of africans during the united states' trans-atlantic c slave trade. >> it is clear that globally,
during turbulent times -- we're entering turbulent times. for example, the very countries to whom are people were taken and enslaved or in the transatlantic slave trade is now decided to been refugees from some of our countries. what do we do about this. indeed, this is one of the greatest challenges and tests to our -- amy:y: chair of the african uni. meanwhile, tens of thousands of people protested in london and in cities across britain monday to denounce trump's immigration ban. 1.5 million brits have signed on to a petition demanding the u.k. cancel trump's planned state visit. this is british lawmaker sayeeda warsi. >> there comes a moment when we have to ask our government, where do you stand? and that is why i am here today. not just because i believe what
trump is doing is appalling, not just because i believe it is counterproductive, not just because i know that it will not achieve even what he says he is trying to achieve, but because i want my good government to stand up and say he is wrong. amy: british prime minister theresa may met with president trump on friday in the first visit by a head of state to the white house since trump's inauguration. president obama also spoke out against donald trump and in favor of the massive protests. on monday, obama's spokesperson kevin lewis said -- "citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when american values are at stake. the president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion." the stock market closed lower
monday as trump's immigration ban created chaos within companies. executives at a growing number of corporations have denounced -- spoken out against trump's immigration ban ban, including google, apple, microsoft, amazon, facebook, netftflix, tesla,a, airbnb, ford d and goln sachs, which has increasing influence in the trump administration with at least six top advisers and cabinet picks, including trump's chief strategist steven bannon, having close ties to the financial giant. meanwhile, thousands of people have deleted their app for uber, after the company tried to break the new york taxi workers alliance strike on picking up travelers from jfk airport, in solidarity with the massive protests that had erupted there over trump's immigration ban. the ban also puts at risk boeing commercial aircrafaft orders frm iranan and iraq worth about $200 billion. boeing says the orders will generate 100,000 new jobs.
on monday, the iraqi parliament approved a reciprocal ban on u.s. citizens entering iraq, although it's not yet clear who the ban affects. the u.s. has at least 5,000 soldiers in iraq, as well as thousands more civilian contractors. iran's government has also vowed to take "reciprocal measures" to ban u.s. citizens. in canada, more news is emerging on the massacre at the islamic cultural centre of quebec city during evening prayers on sunday, killing six worshipers and wounding eight others. multiple media outlets originally reported that two gunmen were behind the attack. in fact, there was only one gunman behind the attack, white nationalist 27-year-old alexandre bissonnette. he was well-known online as a supporter of donald trump and far-right wing french politician marine le pen, whose visit to quebec city last year appears to have inspired him to begin voicing extremist anti-refugee, anti-immigrant and anti-woman , views online. he was charged monday with six counts of first-degree murder, and five counts of attempted murder. the information about
bissonnette comes after multiple news outlets falsely reported the attack was inspired not by white nationalism, but by muslim extremism, claiming falsely one of the shooters was a muslim moroccan man. in fact, this man was not a shooter but was one of the , worshipers at the center who called 911 during the attack. on monday night, mourners had a vigil outside the islamic cultural centre. >> it is very difficult for me and for all of the other muslims . it is difficult. if you can kill a person, you're not human. in yourot have humidity heart. amy: a former top a two donald trump says the president will definitely pull out of the paris climate deal. he also said monday that climate and environmental activists are "the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world here:
voted towmakers overcome a democratic filibuster in advance the nomination of longtime exxonmobil ceo rex tillersoson for secretary of da. the 56 to 43 vote came after 30 hours of debate during which senate democratsts tried to dely tillerson's advancement. all republican senators and three senate democrats -- north dakota's heidi heitkamp, west virginia's joe manchin, and virginia's mark warner -- voted to support tillerson. the vote on tillerson's actual confirmation is expected later today or senate committees are wednesday. also expected to vote today on jeff sessions for attorney general, betsy devos for education secretary, rick perry to head the energy department, ryan zinke to head the interior dedepartment, and tom price e to head the department ofof health and human seservices. congngressman prprichas s been a mamajor proponent of the republican's planan to repeal te affordable c care act. yesterday, hundreds of medical students staged a die-in outside fox news to protest the repeal of obamacare.
president trump says he will announce his pick to replace late justice antonin scalia's seat on the supreme court later today. there appear to be three front running candidates -- judge neil gorsuch, judge thomas hardiman, and judge william pryor. pryor is a fierce opponent of abortion who has called roe v. , wade the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history. hardiman serves on the same court as trump's sister, judge maryanne trump barry. he's a proponent of expanding access to guns in the u.s., and he's ruled against people arguing their rights were violated after they were strip-searched in a new jersey jail. neil gorsuch ruled in favor of hobby lobby in the case over whether the company can refuse to provide birth control coverage to employees as required by obamacare. senate democrats have vowed to filibuster the court nomination regardless of who trump picks. the filibuster would mark the second time in modern us history that the senate has launched a filibuster against a supreme court nominee. president trump has appointed
thomas homan to be the acting immigration and customs enforcement director, replacing acting director ragsdale. ice's2013, he served as executive director of enforcement and removal operations. in 2016, "the washington post" profile him with a lead that read -- "thomas homan deports people and he's really good at it." they also reported monday that jon feere is slated to join the department of homeland security. he is a longtime employee of the center for immigration studies. the african union has agreed to readmimit morocco as a full l mr of the union 33 years after morocco quit the bloc over the status of morocco-occupied western sahara. on monday, 39 out of 54 states approved morocco's return to the union even though morocco's , occupation continues. western sahara has been occupied for 41 years. many consisider it to be afric's last colony.
prosecutors have dropped felony rioting charges against four of the journalists who were arrested during street protests against t trump's ininauguration january 20 -- journalists evan engel, matt hopard, john keller, and alexander rubinstein. but journalists aaron cantu and shay horse are still facing felony charges. well over 200 demonstrators are also facing the charges, which carry a maximum 10 year prison sentence. the boy scouts of america have announced the organization will now accept all boys into the program, including transgender boys, regardless of what gender is marked on a child's birth certificate. in announcing the shift, boy scouts chief executive michael surbaugh said -- "communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past." now parents simply have to mark their child's gender on the boy scouts application in order for a boy to be accepted. and those are some of the
headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. president donald trump fired acting attorney general sally yatetes on monday night jujust s after she announced the justice department would not defend trump's executive order temporarily banning all refugees as well as citizens from seven muslim-majority nations. yates had written a memo saying -- "i am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution's solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. i am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am i convinced that the executive order is lawful." yates had served in the justice department for 27 years. amy: the white house issued a statement last night reading -- "the acting attorney general, sally yatetes, has betrayed the department of justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the
citizens of the united states." it went on to say -- "ms. yates is an obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. it is time to get serious about protecting our country." president trump had asked yates to serve as acting attorney general until the senate concern -- confirmed jeff sessions, a close ally of trump. chuck schumer of new york praised sally yates for speaking out. >> so, mr. president, we've had a large number of eloquent speeches about the president's executive order. and while they were going on, of course, we had a monday night massacre. sally yates, a person of great integrity who follows the law, was fired by the president. she was fired because she would not enact, pursue the executive order on the belief that it was
illegal. perhaps unconstitutional. it was her profile encourage. a brave act. in a right act. i hope the president and his people who are in the white house learn something from this. how can you run a country like this? ,ow can you take a major order major doing and not check it out with your homeland security secretary, with the justice department, and the attorney general? i would say, mr. president, if this continues, this country has big troublble. we c cannot have a twitter presidency. amy: president trump is also fafacing growing dissent within the state department over his execututive order. hundreds of diplomats and other state department officials have signed on to an internal memo saying the order will not make the country safer and runs counter to core american values. at a briefing on monday, white house press secretary sean spicer dismissed the criticism.
>> government official -- anyone who doesn't understand the president's goal in this and what this actually was -- again, i think this has been blown out of proportion and exaggerated. you talk about in 24 hours, 325,000 peoeople from otherer countries flew into our airports. we're talking about 109 people from seven countries the obama administration identified in these bureaucrats have a problem withth it? i ththink they should either go with the program or they can go. juan: many commentators have compared trump's dismissal of acting attorney general sally yates to the infamous saturday night massacre in 1973 when then-attorney general elliot richardson and his deputy resigned after president richard nixon ordered the firing of a special prosecutor investigating the watergate scandal. amy: we e turn now to two women who played key roles during the nixon years. elizabeth holtzman is former u.s. congresswoman from new york who served on the house
judiciary committee that voted to impeach richahard nixon. she is joining us here in new york. jill wine-banks was an assistant watergate special prosecutor and the first woman to serve as u.s. army general counsel. we welcome you both to democracy now! we're going to go to break.. when we comeme back, we e will e a discussion. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: president donald trump fired acting attorney general sally h on monday night just hours after she announced the justice department would not defend trump's executive order banning temporarily all refugees as well as all citizens from the seven muslim majority nations -- iran, iraq, libya, somalia, sudan, syria, and yemen. amy: to talk more about the news, we're joined by two guests, elizabeth holtzman, former u.s. congresswoman from new york. she was the youngest member serving on the house judiciary committee that voted to impeach richard nixon. is with us from arizona assistant watergate , special prosecutor and the first woman to serve as u.s. army general counsel.
why don't we start off with jill wine-banks. your response to president trump's firing sally yates, the acting attorney general for refusing to enforce the refugee and muslim ban. >> i would say he was a big mistake. that if sally have been the attorney general for richard nixon or the white house counsel, there would not have been a watergate. that he made a mistake both in terms of the substance and the appearance, and the turning point in the watergate investigation, in many ways, was the saturday night massacre when we were inundated with what were then telegrams, but with today would probably be emails, and public opinion turned against richard nixon. i would like to point out he served a very short time after that come although, he is an elected with a landslide because public opinion turned against him and the evidence was there of his culpability. juan: jill wine-banks, you made
the point, it was with nixon, he was already in his second term as president will step we are dealing with a president who is in his second week as president. and the speed with which this kind of a crisis has occurred, i'm wonderining if you could tak perspective in the compmparison, and also the rolef women so far in standing up to this president? >> i think that is one of the most remarkable point is about the women. if you look at all of the judges that have ruled on this have been women. the acting attorney general of course, is a woman. and in the nixon era, less than 5% of all lawyers were women. so you would never have had that as anything involved, and one of the lessons of watergate is that you can't surround yourself with yes men. in this case, of course, it turns out you should not surround yourself with yes women , either, and he hasn't.
that is the good news, is that the women have had the courage to stand up to the president. if john dean had stood up much sooner than he did, this whole watergate episode could have been avoided. the people are afraid to tell truth to power. i'm so proud to be part of the women's group that i is standing upup to him. amy: let's go back to 1973. this is how nbc's john chancellor broke the news of what became known as the saturday night massacre. >> good evening. the country is in the midst of what may be the most serious constitutional crisis in its history. the president has fired special watergate p prosecutor archibald cox because of the president's action, the attorney general has resigned. richardson has quiuit saying he cannot carry out mr. nixon's instructions. richardson's deputy has been fired. he refused, and a moment of constitutional drama, to obey a
presidential orderer to fire the special watergate prosecututor. and half an hour after the special watergate prosecutor had been fired, agents of the fbi, acting at the direction of the white house, sealed off the offices of the special prosecutor, the offices of the attorney general, and the offices of the deputy attorney general. all of this adds up to a totally unprecedented situation, a grave and profound crisis in which the president has s set hihimself against his own attorney general and the department of justice. amy: that was john chancellor announcing the saturday night massacre. you were the youngest congressmember at the time and the youngest one on the house judiciary committee, elizabeth holtzman. >> i was the youngest woman elected to congress until a couple of years ago. i don't about the end is never that committee. i never checked that. amy: talk about that night. talk about what happened and the significance, and the paparalles you see today. or don't see.
>> it was an extraordinary views of power, what richard nixon did, firing of archibald cox, having him fired. it was an impeachable offense. why? because president nixon was using the powers of his office am a not for the benefit of the united states of america, but to coverr up a crime, namely, the break-in at the watergate hotel by operatives of the white house and by operatives of his reelect committee.e. so that was a cover-up and part of keeping the cover-up going. it was abuse of power because richard nixon did not care about the law. he wanted the special prosecutor out of the way. and while there is not an exactt sisimilarity here because so fa, we don't know there is a cover-up, but what we have is abusing mentality of
power, of taking power to enhance and's aim, i'm first. not america first, i'm first. if the attorney geneneral says, this may not pass legal muster, that this not -- this may not be lawful, don't you think the president ought to be asking, well, how do we get this to be lawful? what is wrong here? no, the president put himself above the law. he did not w want to find out wy ththis wasn't lawful, what the qualms were, with the problems were. and that is the mentality that will bring this president down. you cannot come in the end, put yourself above the law time after time after time. juan: this issue of putting yourself above the law, interestingly, when sally yates was being confirmed, she was questioned by jeff sessions -- who this week will be taking over the job of attorney general -- specifically he asked her about the issue of what you would do if you disagreeee with
ththe presidedent. let's hear what he asked her at the time. >> do yoyou think the attorney general has a responsibility to say no to the pressident if h he asks for something that is improper? a a lot of people haveve defendd the lynch nomination, for example, by saying, well, he appoints somebody who is when executute his v views. what is wrong with that? if the views are unlawfuful, shshould the attttorney generalr the deputy attorneney generall y no? i believe the attorney general or the e deputy attotorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president all stop >> like any ceo, or law firm, sometimes the lawyers have to tetell the ceo, mr. ceo, you cannot do that. don't do that. wewe will get a suit. it is gogoing b be in violalatn of thehe law. yoyou willegret it. please, no matter how strong -- headstrong they may be, do you
feel that is a duty on the attorney genereral's office? > do believeve that is the dy ofhe attttney general'ss officece, to fairly anand impartially as i with a lot of rather president and the administration with i impartial legal advice. jujust as s in a fraud case, ory other drug case you might have prosecuted it appears over the yearars, immigrationon law is important to be consnsistently d effectctively e enforced.d. should itt not?t? >> i b believe all of ouour laws should be consistently and effectively enforced and within the confines of the constitution. one code that was sally yates in 2015 at her confirmation hearings. being questioned by jeff sessions, specifically on the very issue over which she is now been fired. liz holtzman, your response? >> of course the irony is overwhelming. i want to go back to the point that was made by the white house when they attacked her. i thought she showed enormous
courage in standing up for what she believed was right and in talking about the law will step that is the department of justice. what does the law say? we're law-abiding country. the president of the united date in attacking her in the white house statement said she was weak on illegal immigration. that is that her job to be strong or weak on immigration. her job is to be strong on the law. he did not care about the law. the president doesn't care about the law. that is the problem here and what we're seeing. the amazing thing is, he did not even vet this executive order would lawyers before hand, maybe judiciary committee staff, it is not clear, but he did not vet it with the justice department or a purely with the homeland secure lawyers. -- a purely with the homeland security lawyers. kelly was on the phone with the white house giving his input on the executive order would and
eight appointed to a tv showing donald trump signing the executive order. >> they did not care what the law was, how w this was going to be done. this was the president -- i use that terminology very deliberately. amy: more than 100 a place at the state department have signed onto drafts of the dissent memo that cononmns trump'p's exec and of order. sean spicer threatened state department officials saying they should quit their jobs if they have a problem with trump's program. about 100alking people from seven countries the obama administration identified and his bureaucrats have a problem with it? i think they should either get program, or they can go. amy: j jill wine-banks, love itr leave it. >> that is an interestiting isse that came upup to the saturday night mamassacre. there was debate whether the office had beeeen fired alall os or w whether only our -- - arche
cox hahad been fired.. we debated in the offifice whetr we s should resign in protest. and archie advised us that would be absolutely wrong, that we knew the case, t that we should never resign. if we were fired, that was a differenent story,y, but we need toto stay and do our job.. i agree exactly w with what was saidid and what the acting attorney genereral testified d , which is that the lawyersrs who are ininvolved in his have to at in accordance with their ethics and enforce the law and act in accordanance with thee constitutition. we need people w who will standp and say, you cannonot do this. there are some things that can be altered in a way that makes it legal, , but t tre are sosome things t that simply cannot t be done. and someone has to be strong enough and courageous enough to tell the president when he cannot do what he is proposing. juan: what would be your r devie
to the now incoming attorney general jeff sessions on handling the situation? >> first of all, he has not been voted in yet. this episode may have an impact on the courage of people to vote against him. we need someone who will say what is legal and what is not legal and won't blindly follow what the president says. because in both cases, that is what got people into trouble. so he may not get confirmed. but if he does, my advice would be that he has to be willing to risk his job to tell president trump that he cannot do certain things, that they exceed the constitutional boundaries for presidential action. amy: just to be clear on what in 1973, the headline in the papers, and for our viewing audience, we are showing this newspaper right now, "nixon discharges cox for
defiance, of us is watergate task force." but under that, a sub headline . , talk about the drama of that night. first, how each person was forced out. debate, there is still a -- and i have talked to walkeshouse. he both was fired and resign. the same is supposedly true of richardson. both felt cox had done absolutely nothing that was not within his charter, that all of his actions were proper, and that it would be illegal and against what they had testified to in getting confirmed to their offices. they have promised they would
not fire him except for cause. they did not believe there was any cause and that they could not, therefore, carry out the president's order. they were willing to resign rather than do that. the president fired them. it were both fired in resign. they acted in accordance with their conscience. i would like to point out sessions and to all other appointees that the man who carried out the order was never confirmed to the supreme court largely because of his actions during watergate and in firing cox. so there are consequences for carrying out what are illegal orders. juan: liz holtzman, the impact of the watergate hearings -- i mean, this is before cable and before the internet. the hearings were broroadcast on the networks nationwidide. the e impact of those hearings n the public consciousness? >> the hearings took plalace afr the saturday night massacre and the firings, resignations of the
top justice department officials. the hearings galvanized the country. they were bipartisan. the house judiciary committee voted on a bipartisan basis for three articles of impeachmement. the country, overwhelmingly supported and send, realtor a ad by a landslide margin -- reelection by the landslide marginin, one of the biggest in the history of this country, saw that the rule of law had to govern in the american people decided more important in the president and the party and more impoportant in the policy was te rule of law and the constitution. i want to say one other thing that is important remember. the saturday night massacre, firing the attorney, firing the deputy attorney general triggered the impeachment hearings against richard nixix, which is what broughght him down in t the end. so this is something that should make the american people sit up and take notice. we have a president who is not the link to listen as to what the law requires and what the
constitution requires.s. that is the real message here. in the dangerous for our rule of law in the constitutional rule for our democracy. amy: and president trump and stephen bannon, very clearly strongly in charge right now in the white house, being appointed to the national security council as a principal and telling me generals thahat they n no longer have to come? and they are no longer principles on the committee? >> correct. i don't know if that were taken away is being principals, but the generals told they do not have to cocome with certain isss are being g discussed. i want to say one other thing. ii helped along this would ted kennedy to write the refugee act . we wrote that law in the wake of the huge crisis that happened when those people fled vietnam. first of all, he u.s. took over 750,000 -- 750,000 people.
we were a smaller country that time. americans weren't quaking in their boots. we weren't scared terrible things were going to happen to us. we took them and welcomed them with open arms. it was one of the most important and successful resettlement of refugees in the world. and that law was designed to on any discrimination basis. he must be turning in his grave now. the two of us wrote that law in 1980. it is being disgraced now. amy: we want to thank you both for being with us, liz holtzman, former u.s. commerce member, served on the house judiciary committee that voted to impeach richard nixon. we also want to thank jill wine-banks, assistant watergate special prosecutor and the first woman to serve as u.s. army general counsel. this is democracy now! when we come back, sarsour versus trump.
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we turn now to's are for -- sarsour versus trump. challenging president trump's executive order temporarily banning all refugees from entering the unit is late and banning entry into the u.s. to all 218 citizens from seven muslim majority nations -- iran, iraq, libya, small you, sudan, syria, and yemen. the lawsuit calls trumps and a muslim exclusion order. it argues executive order is unconstitutional and violates the first amendment's religious freedom protections and the fit mms guarantee of equal protection. amy: for more, we're joined by
linda sarsour, lead plaintiff in the case. she helped organize the women's march on washington as well. welcome back to democracy now! we last saw you at the beginning , the day after the night ration, a march that the trump inauguration, the crowd him a three-time so i think, was the size. that you are suing donald trump now along with a number of other plaintiffs. explain the basis of the suit. >> the basis is the we believe the muslim ban is unconstitutional. we also believe there is some preference of one religion over another, with also violates the constitution. we believe we have standing now as we saw the acting attorney general fired by donald trump who said she would not defend something that she felt was indefensible and unconstitutional. you know there's a lot of jane does and john does, which are being protected further legal status that they have. we have anywhere from yemeni yemeni at all --
students, medical students are serving the american people, religious leaders who are here on visas who if travel back to their countries, would not be able to come back. we have american citizens, wives are also trying to get visas to come into the u.s.. we're separating families. the stories we're defending are a lot more important than mine them, but being able to put a face with a muslim american. we will not allow donald trump to get away with this. juan: the trump administration is claiming it is not a muslim ban, but a ban on specific countries. i am wondering, your response to that? >> we saw the muslim registry program in 2003 under the bush a administration that started with about countries. it went to about 29 countries of origin. we have seen this list a lot larger. we talk about we want to keep america safe. from who? syrian refugees? can someone tell me a time when
there has b been a syrian r refe in this country whwho has commititted an act of terror? ththat is the problem here. there is no data that supports this particular list of countries. i don't support any list of any country step these refugees in particular are leaving war, conflict. they have seen torture and they need a safety haven. we have heard him say, maybe the christian refugees. basically saying, we will take the christians and not the muslims. all of the campaign rhetoric we heard during the campaign people said, don't worry, he just once votes. guess what? a have watched and one exec border after another. this is all in the first 10 days. we do not know what is to come. amy: former new york mayor and trump adviser rudy giuliani apappeared on n fox news and explained how donald trump planned to institute the executive order barring travel from seven muslim-majority countries. y you beholdell
history. when he first annonounced he sa, muslim ban. he called me e up and said, puta commission t together, show me e right way toto do it legally. i put a commission together judgment caseyey, commerce memo call, pete king and a whole group of other expert lawyers on this list up what we did was we religion,on, instead of danger. the areas of the world thatt create danger for us, which is a fafactual basis. not a religious basis. perfecectly legal. perfectltlsensible.. that is what the ban is based onon. it is not babased on religion. it is based onon places where theree are subststantial evidene that people are sending terrorists into our country. amy: that is rock giuliani, close advisor to donald trump. linda sarsour? , what he wasani trying to explain here, it was a muslim ban but they were going
to find another way to package it so it did not come off unconstitutional. it is very clear to so many people, including the acting attorney general who has now been fired, that this is unconstitutional. we have had members of congress, some of whom are not always good on the issssues, saying this is unconstitutional. to tell me that donald trump and steve bannon are going to know more than a woman who served 27 years in our department of justice is absolutely outrageous. we're going to continue to challenge this executive order. and many unconstitutional executive orders that are to come. amy: and what do think of the media coverage so far this issue? so far it has been or confrontational to the trump administration. it on this issue of the muslim ban a and of trump's exexecutive ordeder on imimmigration, what s your s sense of that coverage? >> i think journalist speaking, the media has been good on his issue. why you go there is no other way to be about it. at airportsrising across the country.
you cannot ignore the people writing up against this adadministration. we've seenn continued mass mobilization since the women's march across america where pity that people are putting a callout and coming out in the thousands. the media cannot ignore that. i think morris to come. amy: and trump is hitting the media hard. a lot of it is clearly self-defense. on this issue of who he wants to keep out of this country, i want to turn to an interview with christian broadcasting network when trump said persecuted christians will be given priority when it comes to apply for refugee status in the united states. pres. trumpmp: they have been horribly treated. if you were a christian and syria, it was impossible, very -- at least very tough to get into the united states. if you a are a muslim, you could come in. if you were a christian, it was honest impossible. the reason that was so unfair is that everybody was persecuted in
all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody. but more so the christians. and i thought it was very, very unfair. so we're going to help them. amy: "so we are going to help them," referring to the christians. baseless.laims are of course, there are christians been persecuted in many countries across the world. in syria, they were a minority that were protected by the government for a very long time. for him to say that christians are seeing more than syrian muslims, for example, who are being displaced in the millions, over 500,000 syrians have been massacred mostly by the assad regime. to c claim one religion is more persecuted the the other, is more divisive and untrue. amy: "the times" says u.s. accepts tens of thousands of christian refugees come almost as many christian refugees, 37,521 were admitted as muslim
refugees, about 38,000 in the 6 fiscal year. juan: i want to ask about another topic related to the recent attack in quebec, which initially the reports were that notas a moroccan muslim, only a white nationalist, but someone who is basically a supporter of donald trump and paris le pen, the right-wing leader in france. your reaction to this attack and how that was initially reported? >> is like the boston bombing when we had two in algerian bobk bags with no information on them. menwo on during young with book bags with no information on the. people see what the media reports. to know a white nationalist walked into a mosque and killed six innocent people, the fact that people don't feel safe to pray in a country like canada or now in the united states -- we
now have security across the mosques. people are talking about what types of precautions. this is not why muslims or any persrson of any faith camame toe u.s. the fact you can be on your knees praying in this country to your god and to be shot is absolutely horrific. i was horrified. i just the pictures of the victims fathers and people who have contributed to society who are not here with us now. amy: over the weekend, democracy now! asked members of the audience around the world to share stories about trump's executive order and how it might be impacting them. many of the calls we received were from iranian americans. this is one message. >> hi. my name is mohammed. california.nt was born in virginia. i'm a citizen. a couple of weeks ago, my stepsister, who has been living here as immediate family for five years now on a green card.
two weeks ago, she had to go and see her father in the hospital dying.an because he is he is on his deathbed. he raised her. he was everything to her. he passed away the morning that trump signed the executive order. and we found out that we could not get her back because she wanted to be with her father when he died. don't -- we don't know what to do. we are calling lawyers. i don't want to say her name because i don't want to bring ,ttention to her specifically but that is what is happening to me. i am an american citizen. amy: that was a call from just one person who watches or listens to democracy now! joining us now in washington i s
trita parsi, founder president of the national iranian american council.l. can you talk about this one example and then fit it into what is happening right now for the iranian american community, people in iran, and here? >> it is one of many examples, particularly sad one, but not necessarily an uncommon one. the iranian american community is mostly affected by this. out of the visas the u.s. government gave to citizens of these seven countries in 2015, 40 8% of them work iranians will step simply because of the size of the country in the size of the community in this country. it has also been disproportionately affected now. we are were stores, particularly when it comes from students who have their lives here or even worse, green card holders who have been living here for years, have american children. and now some of them, on their way back from work trips, short
work trips to london, to mexico, have not been able to come back. they have been deported. one woman put on her facebook she doesn't know what to do with her dog. her car is at the airport. she has her life here and she is been deported from the country where she had a work meeting. we're getting these stories all the time. there's a correlation that will be for -- there is a coalition that will be filing a a lawsuitn the coming days. impact this is having international, for instance, on a rainy society, the iranian government, and what -- obvioususly will be expectets rereactions similar types of bas by some of these governments against americans. yes, unfortunate, the reigning government has responded in kind, even know they have not gone as farce the trump administration did in making the ban retroactive. nevertheless, i think it is a step in the wrong direction.
one good thing that came out of the nuclear deal, suddenly, american could travel to iran. if there were more connections between the people and they got to know each other better, that would create a buffer against any effort to escalate the tensions between the united states towards a military confrontation. that may once again be reversed. one thing that is worrying a lot of people, if this is a first sign of how the trump administration will be approaching iran, then the fear is that the tensions will not -- the nuclear deal will not be able to withstand all of these tensions. if the nuclear deal collapses, then we will once again be back in the situation in which the united states and iran will be gravitating toward a military conflict. of atrita parsi, this news rent testing a missile. can you tell us what that is about? >> it is not clear exactly what happened. the iranians have not confirmed it. if there is a ballistic missile test, the un security council does call on karen not to conduct these -- call on karen
not to conduct these tests. it is not legally binding. it is not a violation in the sense of being illegal. nevertheless, it is up provocative measure my full of what is happening now. it will be very worrisome if this will be the beginning of further escalation between the united states and iran. it will be interesting how the trump administration reacts to this. juan: trita parsi, how important is the public pressure been in mounting opposition to this executive order? >> well, i think the public outcry is the exact reason why there is such measures against this. we have come as a result of people going to the airports that we have seen, several measures now in congress, both in the house and the senate introduced yesterday in order to completely reverse this ban and make it more difficult for the president to make these unilateral decisions in the future. i think it is absolutely critical this public outcry
continues, that it does not die off. because it is that outcry that is the engine of what will be happening and congress right now. juan: recent press president obama stepped forward so soon, make -- were you surprised president obama stepped forward so soon, supporting the demonstrations? >> i think president obama himself by be surprised to felt he had to speak out so soon, only nine or 10 days in the trump administration. but he had made it white clear under certain circumstances, certain criteria, as those were met, he would be speaking out. those were clearly met, mindful of the constitutionality of what the trumpet administration is doing. people have been saying that are for immigration, just against illegal immigration. the people that are being targeted right now are legal. they were not illegal. they went through the regular channels. they applied for visas. they gave their fingerprints. they pay the fees. they have been living here legally for years.
these are not illegal immigrants. i'm not surprised president obama felt yet to speak out. amy: let's go to senator bernie sanders yesterday. what trump has done is give ammunition to the jihadists all over the world who have told their people that we of the united states hate them. we do not hate the muslim people , and we want them to know that. trump,aid to president rescind that ban. -- trita, you tweeted and then you have the headlines judge, of congressman, of a senator going to dulles, some being manhandled by border
patrol, but not allowed to talk to those who are being held. can you comment? >> if we go first to what senator sanders was saying, i think it is critical to remind ourselves this measure will not make americans safer. what rudy giuliani was saying, that these are countries targeted because they have terrorists sent to the united states is false. inre are zero deaths caused terrorist attacks by citizens of these countries on u.s. soil will stop zero. there are several other countries that have citizens who have been involved in terrorist acts on u.s. soil that have killed people, but none of those countries are on this list that the trump administration has been using. just whats said sanders said, this is feeding into a narrative of clash of civilizations, which is the narrative of isis. it is not surprising those people, that they have in welcoming what trump is doing. amy: trita parsi, thank you for