tv Democracy Now PBS May 16, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
05/16/17 05/16/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from stanford university, this is democracy now! pres. trump: we also need the best protection of classified information. that is the worst situation. hillary's private email scandal, which put our classified information in the reach of our enemies, disqualifies her from the presidency. amy: after campaigning for the presidency vowing to protect the nation's secrets, president trump is facing a major new scandal. the "washington post" reports he revealed highly classified intelligence to russian diplomats at the white house.
even senate republicans are now warning trump is in a downward spiral. we will get the latest. then as the ninth circuit court of appeals hears arguments over trump's second muslim travel ban, we will go to seattle to speak with washington state attorney general bob ferguson. he filed the first suit against comes travel ban, sparking a nationwide firestorm of legal resistance. >> we are a nation of laws. as i said, as we have said, from day one, those laws applied everybody in our country, and that includes the president of the united states. amy: all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the beginning of the end. that's what many are saying about the trump presidency
following the "washington post's" explosive article revealing how president trump disclosed highly classified intelligence during his sit-down meeting with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov and russian ambassador sergey kislyak at the white house last week, only one day after he fired fbi director james comey over his investigation into whether the trump campaign colluded with russia to influence the 2016 election. citing unnamed u.s. officials, "the post" reports trump began bragging to the two russian officials about his intelligence briefings, saying -- "i get great intel. i have people brief me on great intel every day." trump went on to disclose highly classified information provided by a third-party about the possible threat of isis launching an attack on an airplane using a computer bomb. this is the "washington post's" greg miller, one of the co-authors of the report. >> at some point, trump starts
talking about the great intelligence he gets. he is telling his visitors, i get the best intelligence, and proceeds to talk about this threat that is underway that has been publicly talked about for some time. but he goes into details about the specifics of this plot and how it is coming together and what the islamic state is doing to try to pull this off. the problem is that the united states knows much of this information because of intelligence that came from a partner, another country. amy: senior white house officials were apparently so alarmed by trump's disclosures they called the cia and national , security agency afterwards to warn them of what had happened. officials told the "washington post" they were concerned trump's disclosure would jeopardize a critical source of intelligence on the islamic state. there has been some speculation that the country of jordan was the source of the classified intelligence. president trump is reportedly scheduled to speak by phone this morning with jordan's king
abdullah. at an emergency news conference monday, national security adviser general h.r. mcmaster said the "washington post's" story was false. >> the story that came out tonight as reported is false. the president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. at no time -- at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. amy: but earlier this morning, president trump made his first comment on the story in which he appears to contradict general mcmaster and instead confirms he did disclose information to russia. he wrote on twitter -- "as president i wanted to share with russia at an openly scheduled white house meeting which i have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. humanitarian reasons, plus i
want russia to greatly step up their fight against isis & terrorism." we'll have more on trump's leaks to russia after headlines with larry diamond of the hoover institution here at stanford university, and with scott horton, lecturer at columbia law school and a contributing editor at harper's magazine. the journalistic monitoring group airwars reports up to 100 civilians were reportedly killed by u.s.-led coalition airstrikes in iraq's anbar province on residents say the airstrikes saturday. continued for four hours and hit an internet hall, multiple homes, a stadium, and a cemetery where a funeral of an isis fighter was occurring. meanwhile, the syrian observatory for human rights says u.s. airstrikes killed at least 30 people, including more than a dozen children, in the eastern province of deir al-zor monday. this comes after u.s. airstrikes on may 11 reportedly killed at least a dozen civilians, including eight children, north of the city of raqqa. two days earlier, airstrikes on two villages around raqqa reportedly killed 19 civilians, including at least five
children. in more news on syria, the u.s. state department says it believes the syrian government has been burning the bodies of those killed at the sadnaya prison outside damascus in a crematorium. amnesty international says the syrian government has executed up to 13,000 people at the prison since 2011. physicians for human rights said -- "if shown to be true, the syrian government's use of a crematorium demonstrates the extent to which the syrian government has become a machine that commits mass murder with impunity." in yemen, the death toll from a cholera outbreak has risen to 187 as the u.s.-backed saudi-led bombing campaign has devastated yemen's health water, sewage, , and sanitation systems. there are more than 11,000 reported cases of cholera in yemen, and the international committee for the red cross warns the disease is spreading like wildfire. in afghanistan, five children,
between the ages of six and were 10, killed on sunday when a mortar round exploded as they were playing cricket. the mortar round was likely fired amid fighting earlier in the day, but did not explode into little more plain. the united nations say fighting in afghanistan has killed 283 children so far this year. in mexico, award-winning journalist javier valdez has been assassinated in the northwestern state of sinaloa. valdez was a longtime reporter on drug trafficking and organized crime. he wrote for the prominent newspaper la jornada. he was killed on after armed monday gunmen opened fire on his car in the city of culiacan. this is valdez speaking in 2011 when he won the committee to protect journalists' international press freedom award. >> i have been a journalist for 21 years and never before have i suffered and enjoyed it this intensely, nor with so many dangers.
alive. danger to be to be a journalist is to try to an invisible line determined by the bad guys who are in drug trafficking and the government. the country most of is living through. one must protect oneself from everything and everyone, and there does not seem to be options for salvation, and often there is no one to turn to. amy: his death marks the fifth reported killing of a journalist in mexico this year. only hours after his assassination, gunmen opened fire on another journalist, sonia cordoba, and her son jonathan rodriguez cordova, in in the state of jalisco. cordoba is the deputy director of the weekly magazine el costeño. she survived the attack and is in critical condition. her son, who also wrote for the magazine, was killed. mexico is one of the world's most dangerous places to be a journalist. since 2000, more than 100 journalists have been murdered in mexico.
president trump is meeting with turkish president recep tayyip erdogan today at the white house. today's meeting comes amid tension between u.s. and turkey over the pentagon's arming of the syrian kurdish militia. they're not expected to discuss the deteriorating human rights situation inside turkey, where nearly 50,000 people have been arrested, 150,000 public and private workers have been fired , and more than than 150 journalists have been imprisoned since last summer's failed military coup. in seattle, washington, the 9th circuit court of appeals heard arguments monday over trump's second muslim ban, which sought to ban all refugees and citizens of six majority muslim nations from entering the united states. two months ago a federal judge , in hawaii blocked trump's revised travel ban just hours before it was slated to take effect nationwide. this is neal katyal, a lawyer representing the state of hawaii. >> the government has not
engaged in mass, dragnet the past 50 years. this is something new and unusual in which you are saying this whole class of people, some of which are dangerous, we can bar them all. amy: we will go to seattle later in the broadcast to speak with washington state attorney who filedb ferguson, the first lawsuit against comes muslim -- trump's muslim ban. in japan, thousands of people protested against u.s. military bases on the island of okinawa monday as the island marked 45th anniversary of its reversion to japanese rule. the protesters gathered on the shores near henoko to protest a highly controversial new u.s. military base, which began construction in april after years of opposition from residents. for decades, residents have called for the expulsion of u.s. troops from okinawa, which houses about two-thirds of the 50,000 u.s. troops currently stationed in japan.
in el salvador, the united nations is calling for an investigation into a string of killings of transgender women. local lgbtq groups say at least 17 transgender women have been killed so far this year in el salvador. the trump administration said monday it would vastly expand the so-called global gag rule, a regan-era policy that bans u.s. funding for any international healthcare organization that performs abortion or advocates for the legalization of abortion or even mentions abortion, even if those activities are funded by non-u.s. money. the expansion of the gag rule is expected to affect hundreds of health clinics worldwide, particularly in africa. the u.s. supreme court has dealt a major victory for voting rights activists after it refused to hear an appeal over north carolina's voter suppression law. last year, a federal appeals court blocked the law, ruling the measures discriminated against african american voters and targeted them with almost surgical precision.
on monday, the supreme court announced it would not hear a challenge to the appeals court ruling, meaning the highly restrictive voter id law will not be reinstated. in bakersfield, california, dozens of farm workers are recovering after they were exposed to a highly toxic pesticide, whose use was recently green lighted by the epa in one of the agency's first decisions since trump took office. last year, the epa had appeared to be on the verge of banning the pesticide, but under the direction of epa head scott pruitt, the agency unexpectedly reversed course and approved the use. multiple studies have found the pesticide can cause both immediate symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and blurred vision, as well as long-term damage in children, such as developmental delays and higher rates of autism. and in west virginia, former police officer stephen mader is suing the city of weirton after he says he was fired from the police department for not
shooting a suicidal young man. in may 2016, officer mader arrived at the house of 23-year-old african american ronald "r.j." williams, jr., after williams' girlfriend called the police because he'd threatened to hurt himself. officer mader says he found williams holding a handgun and acting suicidal. mader says he was trying to de-escalate the situation and was urging williams to put down the gun, when two more police officers arrived. one immediately opened fire, killing williams. the police later found william'' gun was not loaded. officer mader says one month later, he was informed he would be fired for "apparent difficulties in critical incident reasoning." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from stanford university in california. president trump has appeared to a bombshells of
washington post story that he disclosed highly classified intelligence last week to russian foreign minister sergei lavrov and russian ambassador sergey kislyak last week, only -- during meeting at the white house. earlier this month, trump tweeted -- comment appears to contradict statements from top administration officials last night who claim "the washington post" report was false. according to the paper, trump disclosed highly classified intelligence what's know as , codename information about the , possible threat of isis launching an attack on an airplane using a computer bomb. this is greg miller, one of the co-authors of the article. >> at some point, trump starts
talking by the great intelligence he gets. he is saying, i get the best briefings, i do the best intelligence. he proceeds to talk about this threat that is underway that has been publicly talked about for some time. but he goes into details about the specifics of this plot and how it is coming together and what the islamic state is doing to try to pull this off. and the problem is that the united states knows much of this information because of intelligence that came from a partner, another country. you have his own national security council staff members, senior officials, who see readouts of what happened. they called the cia director, the nsa chief to warn them, look, something happened in the meeting with the russians that we need to tell you about. this is in part because they are alarmed and concerned about the blowback. these are agencies, the cia that would be directly meeting with this foreign partner, and they would be most concerned about that relationship going south.
a makeup senior white house officials were apparently so alarmed by trump's disclosures, that they called the cia and national security agency afterwards to warn them of what had happened. officials said they were concerned trump's disclosure would jeopardize a critical source of intelligence on the islamic state. there has been some speculation that the country of jordan was the source of the classified intelligence. president trump is reportedly scheduled to speak by phone this morning with jordan's king of jell-o. one current u.s. official told buzz feed the situation is "far worse than has already been reported." to talk more about the story, we are joined now by two guests. in london, we are joined by scott horton, lecturer at columbia law school and a contributing editor at harper's magazine. he is author of "lords of secrecy: the national security elite and america's stealth warfare." and here is stanford university larry diamonof the hoover , institution and the freeman spogli institute for international studies at stanford university. he served as senior adviser to the coalition provisional authority in baghdad at the invitation of national security adviser condoleezza rice.
back in 2004, he blasted the bush administration's handling of the invasion and called for defense secretary rumsfeld to be fired and the entire pentagon leadership to be changed. he is also author of the book "squandered victory: the american occupation and the bungled effort to bring democracy to iraq." we welcome you both to democracy now! , yoursor larry diamond response to this explosive "washington post" expose? >> good morning, amy. it is nice to be with you. i would say i am shocked. even knowing president trump is new to national security matters, this is shocking. it is frightening. it is intolerable. i think if we had a democratic congress, in itself, it would be grounds for an impeachment investigation. amy: why? >> well, because even though it
is literally true, in this case, that the president can declassify any information, he has done potentially, if the story -- i would say even substantially true -- grave damage to u.s. national security by burning a major ally, by revealing if the report is true, intelligence that we were -- was so sensitive, we would not even sure with an ally. amy: explain what you mean by informationlly's and how the u.s. burned them. >> according to the reports, there was someone that one of our allies, presumably in the middle east, and you're reporting you're suggesting it may be jordan, which would be logical -- it is one of our closest allies in the region. and it is right there near the center of gravity of isis, which .s in syria and iraq and they probably had a plant inside isis that was revealing
this information. so they may have shared that. they may have shared it with us, indicating it was of the most sensitive nature. at risklives could be from this covert operation. i am speculating. projection.logical and to share this, not only beyond what they ask, but with the major adversary -- who was on the opposite side of this russiat in syria, namely -- i think is breathtakingly responsible. so either he did this in cavalier disregard for the rules and standard procedures and the sensitivity of such highly classified information, or if his tweet is correct and he decided that he should share this kind of information with russia without it appears even consulting with his top national security officials, i mean, what is worse?
gross incompetence, gross misjudgment, or possibly a confirmation of compromising ties with the russians? whati want to go to happened last that. at an emergency news conference monday, the national security adviser the general hr mcmaster, spoke for less than a minute and did not take any questions. he said the washington post story is false but did not deny trump may have disclosed classified information. >> i have a brief statement for the record. there is nothing the president takes more seriously than the security of the american people. the story that came out tonight as reported is false. the president and the foreign minister a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. at no time -- at no time were intelligence sources or and methods discussed. and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.
thatther senior officials were present, including the secretary of state, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. the on the record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources. it did not happen. amy: that is general hr mcmaster. he was a colleague of yours here at hanford university. what do you make of what he is saying? >> i think i can speak for my hoover colleagues in saying that he is widely respected and highly regarded by people at the hoover institution who have interacted with him, i would take him over the last 14 or 15 years since he spent a year now -- he is a very loyal and dedicated servant of our national security. it pains me he is having to go through this torture of justifying in a statement here that was -- you will note was carefully and specifically worded. amy: what do you may buy that? >> he did not say, as you just
did note president reveal sensitive information. he said he did not reveal sources and methods. but what he revealed, if "the washington post" report is substantially accurate, what he revealed could enable a sophisticated adversary like russia to deduce or infer sources and methods. professor diamond, you come from a conservative institution here, the hoover institution at stanford university with your colleague condoleezza rice, who you worked with in the iraq war. at the time, she sent you to iraq. you call for rumsfeld's resignation, condemned what president bush was doing in the iraq war. what is the response of your colleagues at hoover right now to president trump? >> i'm not going to speak for my colleagues at hoover. first of all, i can't beat for them collectively. generally, ire
know many republicans and many conservatives who obviously said this man is not fit to be president before he was elected and whose concerns i think are being vividly confirmed on an almost daily basis now. and i will just speak for myself in saying that i think we now have increasingly abundant and urgent evidence that this man is not fit to be president, is not fit to handle the national security challenges of the office, does not want to read and be briefed with anything like the debt or discipline that a president most, does not understand the burdens and sensitivities of these national security issues. and that is just speaking to his incompetence. we don't even know about the extent to which he may be compromised or his campaign may have been compromised by explicit ties with the russians.
and just last week, if you can believe it, the firing of the fbi director in what increasingly appears to have been an explicit effort to shut down the fbi investigation of his campaigns ties to the russians. i think it is only going to get worse. amy: we're going to break and we'll come back with scott horton, columba law school but now in london. this is democracy now! we're talking to professor larry here at stanford university. back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from stanford university in northern california. as we continue to talk about "the washington post" expose revealing how president trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to russian officials last week.
i want to go to donald trump when he was campaigning for president. here he is last september. pres. trump: we also need the best protection of classified information. that is the worst situation. hillary's private email scandal, which put our classified information in the reach of our enemies, disqualifies her from the presidency. amy: we are joined now by two guests. in london, scott horton is with us, lecturer colombian law school contributing editor at , harper's magazine. he is author of "lords of secrecy: the national security elite and america's stealth warfare." still with me at stanford university is larry diamond the hoover institution, the freeman spogli institute for international studies at stanford. scott horton, your response to -- well, what president trump said before he was president and what he reportedly talked to the russians about the day after he fired the fbi director james comey. >> well, on one level, it is
just remarkable display of hypocrisy, of course. we have him pledging to be very cautious in the management of national security information and criticizing his rival ruthlessly over this. on the other hand, behaving in a very cavalier fashion with the most serious sorts of secrets. but i would say both of these incidents, the investigation into the clinton emails and the controversy now surrounding this kislyakwith lavrov and in the oval office, also served to demonstrate an important feature of the way the classification system operates. that is, it exists to bind and those well-- tie down the list of authority. as we approach the apex of the system involving cabinet officers and the president and the vice president, there is actually much less constrained.
the president has an absolute right to declassify anything as he shares information. you could say would be deemed declassified. we could get out of the way immediately the question of legality. there is no illegality of what he has done, yet it may be a breathtaking betrayal. going back to the things that larry diamond said, i think correctly, it does raise fundamental questions about his judgment and it does raise some legal issues. but they are at the highest level, the level of legality that goes to his oath of office, his pledge to uphold the constitution and preserve them are protect, and defend the united states. and that is impeachment territory. amy: so talk more about when this happened, what was it, a firedter president trump james comey. certainly, very much in the spotlight.
according to reports, even he was surprised at the level of blowback for his action. in the pictures coming out of the white house of him laughing with his russian colleagues. talk about the timing of this. >> well, that is the second-most striking thing. that he agrees to have a meeting in the oval office where it is literally the only major scheduled event on his calendar, the day after he has fired james comey. immediately after he gave an interview to lester holt in which he acknowledged that he thefiring comey because, in first instance, because of his concerns about the russia probe that the fbi was carrying out. i would say the visuals are astonishing. it then when we get into that meeting that occurred, notably with sergey kislyak, who is a
leading russian spymaster in the united states and lavrov, the senior architect of president putin's foreign policy, that meeting has occurred, allowing russian media to come into the oval office while excluding media.n and the whole flavor of that media, as was transmitted at that meeting -- as it was translated in the russian media was backslapping, friendly, open. that contrasts rather sharply with almost every meeting that trump has had with major allies, with the australian prime minister, with angela merkel, with theresa may, and on and on and on. those meetings have been touchy, difficult, usually have involved a great till of friction and challenge. so i think it is fair for everybody to look at this contrast and ask, what is going
on here and what marks this extraordinary attitude that trump has toward russia, which in the quadrennial review, still viewed as presenting the greatest security threat to the united states? amy: part of this is about the u.s. and russia having an alliance against isis. is trump being criticized through a cold war lens, scott? >> well, i think we have to be careful about that. there certainly is an element of that in the criticism that comes up inside the washington beltway, particularly the criticism from neocons. i don't think that expensive problem altogether. i think when we look more closely at the situation in the middle east, you know, there's a context that has to be taken into account. and that is russia is tightly aligned with iran and president
assad in syria. and while we have mutual enemies, we also don't have the same friends -- not by a long shot. there's a very clear friction and distance between the u.s. position in the russian position throughout the region, particularly in syria. i think if we step back, we would say, yeah, pursuing a closer collaborative stance with russia and operations in syria, that is a perfectly fair thing to pursue. sharing intelligence would be a reasonable thing to do in pursuing that relationship. but the way things occurred that are being reported now in "the washington post," nevertheless, it is shocking. in a word, it is reckless. amy: you talked about impeachment territory. what exactly do you mean and how do you see this possibly happening? is the beginning of the end, scott horton, for the trump presidency?
>> i think so. i talked about the oath a little bit earlier. impeachment proceedings have occurred historically involved the president, they always involve whether the president has satisfied or fulfilled his oath. that covers a number of areas. when the president behaves on the national security stage in the way that is reckless shows little disregard for the , that isof the country a fair question. it becomes an issue for discussion in connection with impeachment proceedings. and i would be surprised if we come to impeachment proceedings at some point -- and i would say the oddsmakers here in london 50/50tting this now as a proposition -- if we get there, i think this event, this meeting with this like an lavrov is going to feature in the
impeachment process and the bill of impeachment. amy: larry diamond, do you really see this happening in washington with republican majority in the house and the senate? >> no. i see a list of prospect of it. i think either trump would have massivelything so criminal or dangerous that even the shockingly loyal republican leadership, shocking in its loyalty to trump, would defect, probably to save their own next in advance of the midterm election. or more likely, and keep in mind, this was silly the pattern during watergate, as you well know, amy, it will only be when and if there is a democratic congress that the congress is defend the constitution. amy: but conservative republicans eventually, when it
came to know when, said, no, this is a step too far. >> but he took a long time from the initial break-in at the democratic headquarters and washington, d.c., to the ultimate defection of enough republicans to make it inevitable that nick's and was going to be convicted in the senate if it went to trial. end of a fairtter number of house republicans voted not to impeach him. amy: larry diamond, your thoughts right now overall about the trump administration and about the united states. >> my thoughts are basically a line with what senator corker said yesterday. and this could be a strong -- he is a very respected guy. he is the chairman of the senate formulations committee. foreign relations committee. we are in essence in freefall here. i think we are in freefall ethically and i think we are in freefall and the level of
confidence. amy, i was just thinking about the state of the world now. go back to what all of the news you read this morning about the ongoing civil strife in afghanistan and iraq were we still have troop commitments in major this tour: mistakes. amy: where you spent a lot of time in iraq. >> about raging civil wars, not only in syria, but much less reported -- and thank you for reporting it in yemen. the critical challenge of international terrorism represented by isis. and there is also still al qaeda. the north korean missile threat, which we have not even talked about but which is potentially, with its nuclear program come in existential threat to the united states. and if you have a president who is incompetent and whose commitment to the constitution is dubious and is not even willing to read more than a page of national security briefing i am not just outraged, i
am actually frightened for the national security of the united states. amy: finally, president trump will be meeting with the turkish president erdogan today at the white house. the president of turkey just having pushed through a referendum that would increase his dictatorial powers. much of europe criticized this. president trump called him and congratulated him. talk about the significance of this meeting and this relationship. and to you think it has anything to do with the fact that president trump as the twin trump towers in his symbol? -- istanbul? >> i don't know -- no, probably not. this is much more disturbing. i think it has more to do with the fact that he has an open and consistent and ration for authoritarian leaders. keep in mind, he is also invited to the white house, though fortunately so far it is not
scheduled, and meeting with libyan president duterte who has presided over in less than a year and office, the actual visual killing of over 7 -- extrajudicial killing of over 7000 people on the streets of the philippines. jovialityckslapping that scott referred to with the russian leaders seems to be a pattern with authoritarian leaders in general. responsible american president might come in a low-profile way, talk to president erdogan about our mutual national security urgent interest in syria and in the region, but raise open and serious concerns about the human rights teacher rating -- deteriorating human rights situation and the loss of democracy in turkey, and no one should hold their breath that donald trump is going to spend 10 seconds raising concerns about that in his meeting with president --
amy: we're just about to go to the washington state attorney general, but i wanted to get your comment on president trump's latest tweet that happened to this broadcast. he said "i've been asking director comey and others from the beginning of my administration to find the leakers in the intelligence community." >> well, i can only say, thank god that people in the intelligence community feel hire loyalty to the country than they position oflitical the president. amy: larry diamond, thank you for being with us, senior fellow here at stanford university at the hoover institution and at the freeman spogli institute for international studies at . and thank you to scott horton lecturer at columbia law school , and a contributing editor at harper's magazine. when we come back, we go to seattle to talk to the washington state attorney general bob ferguson. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
on: "rescue me" released chess records. our next guest is quite the chess player. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on monday, a federal appeals court in seattle, washington, heard arguments over trump's second travel ban, which sought to prohibit all refugees and citizens of six majority muslim nations from entering the united states. this is the second such court review this month. the panel of three judges appeared to be divided over the ban. some questioned president donald trump's attorneys whether the ban discriminates against muslims. others asked attorneys challenging the ban to justify why the court should interfere
with trump's presidential powers to determine national security policy. at monday's hearing, senior judge michael hawkins of the ninth circuit question acting solicitor general jeffrey wall. >> has a president ever disavowed his campaign statements? has he ever stood up and said, i said before, i want them to ban all members of the islamic faith from entering the united states of america? i was wrong, i consulted with lawyers, i am now addressing it simply to security needs? has he ever said anything approaching that? >> yes, he is said several things approaching that. i think it is detailed in various briefs. the best one is probably the southeastern ago grief and part three, walks through the comments and shows that over time, the president clarified that what he was talking about were islamic terrorist groups in the countries that shelter or sponsor them, and over time, he
and his advisors, clarified what he was focused on were groups like basis and al qaeda. really, the one posted night vision statement they of god, that we all know what that means, i think -- i would encourage the court to go back and look at the ceremony in which the president signed that executive order. amy: outside the federal courthouse in seattle, dozens of immigrant-rights advocates rallied and waved signs saying, "no ban, no wall." the hearing came after a federal judge in hawaii issued a nationwide halt to the order in march. a judge in maryland also temporarily blocked the travel ban. the case is likely to go up to the u.s. supreme court. this is trump's second attempt to roll-out a nationwide muslim ban. well, we're joined for the remainder of the hour by the man who successfully blocked trump's first attempt and ignited a legal firestorm of resistance, washington state attorney general bob ferguson. on january 28, just one day after trump issued his initial muslim travel ban, ferguson touched down at seattle's sea-tac international airport
where thousands of protesters were gathered in support of immigrants and refugees impacted by the ban. ferguson and his team immediately jumped into action, filing lawsuits arguing trump's order violated the constitution. less than two weeks later, a three-judge panel of the ninth circuit affirmed an order halting it. you could say it was check-mate for trump's first travel ban by a former state chess champ. that's right. ferguson is not only a state attorney general but also an , internationally rated chess master. for more we go now to seattle, , washington, where we're joined by washington attorney general bob ferguson. he recently made time's list of 100 most influential people for successfully taking on trump's travel ban. ferguson is also one of the 20 state attorneys general calling for special counsel investigation into russia's role in last year's presidential election. attorney general bob ferguson, welcome to democracy now! talk about the significance of
the hearing that took place yesterday and why you jumped so quickly into action to challenge the travel ban the president trump wanted to impose. >> you bet. first, thank you so much for having me on. yesterday's hearing was really an extension that goes back to our challenge to the original travel ban. it touches on core constitutional issues such as the limits of presidential power. to answer your question about why we moved so quickly, the president signed the original travel ban on a friday evening. my team, we worked all weekend. by monday afternoon, we filed in federal court. by the friday, had it struck down. we worked so hard because we knew every hour mattered. folks were being turned away at every airport. the team fell shrum the we had to move as quickly as we could because the executive order, frankly, was so overbroad and
unconstitutional. amy: is it true that you landed into the mass protest that was taking place -- welcome all over the country at airports -- are you, at the seattle international airport? >> it is true i landed at sea-tac airport may day on saturday. that is the day protests were occurring. the protest had not quite started when i landed. i had phone calls from my team saying, there is going to be a big press conference at the airport in a couple of hours. the governor was going to be there and others. i was invited to stay for the press conference. i wanted to be there, of course, to show my support, that i felt my time was best utilized by getting back home and talking to my legal team because the team was already hard at work at that point. we had attorneys canceling vacations, going to work around the clock that we can because we really knew we wanted to frankly, this am a unlawful executive order as quickly as we possibly could. amy: what is your response to
the hearing yesterday in the ninth circuit? how do you think it went? >> from my standpoint, the hearing has been consistent with other hearings we have seen around the country and hearings we saw with our original travel ban litigation. in other words, donald trump's statements from his campaign in which he called for complete and total shutdown of muslims coming into the u.s., statements by his key advisers like rudy giuliani saying the president asked him to create a muslim ban to try to make illegal legal, those statements are coming back to haunt the administration. they go to the intent behind both the original travel ban and a revised one. what the states have to show is that a motivating factor behind the travel ban was animus toward muslims. and they are frankly, fair game in establishing that. amy: i want to go back to monday's hearing. this is attorney neal katyal who represents the state of hawaii speaking at the hearing.
>> we would not be standing here if it was just campaign statements on its own. as the district court found, the president rekindled those statements through his actions as president intwo different respects. first, when he issued the first executive order, he read the title, looked up at the camera, and said, we all know what that means. was clear from the title what it meant, he would not have had to say it. it is a reference to something else. when he issued both executive orders, he left on his website that very statement about the complete and total shutdown of muslims, a statement that just happened to disappear moments before the fourth circuit argument last week. the question is, what would an objective observer view these statements as? as the district court found that may would be a disfavor of the religion of islam. amy: that is attorney neal katyal.
bob ferguson, attorney general of washington, your response? >> i think he has it spot on. rudy giuliani, when i mentioned his quote that the president asking him to create a muslim ban, those words came after donald trump was president. these statements, it is not a one-off from one campaign event back many months ago. there is a pattern of comments from the president himself and his get visors making very clear what they want to do. and frankly, every federal judge so far has looked at this case from the original travel ban to the revised when, whether those scumepublican or democrat have all agreed the injunction must be -- or democrats, have all agreed the injunction must not go forward. amy: let's go to rudy giuliani, close ally of president trump picking on fox news. >> to tell you the whole history of it. when he first announced to be said, muslim ban. he called me up and said, put a commission together, show me the
right way to do it legally. i put a commission together with judgment casey, congressman mackall, pete king and a whole group of expert lawyers on this. what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger. the areas of the world that create danger for us. which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. perfectly legal, perfectly sensible, and that is what the ban is based on. it is not based on religion. it is based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country. not based on religion, says rudolph giuliani, it is danger, attorney general bob ferguson. calledaid the president him up and said create a muslim ban, just make it legal. thatwe would submit is
cannot be done. you cannot say you're going to have a muslim ban and try to make that legal. that violates our constitution and multiple federal judges have come to the same conclusion. also, it is worth pointing out that homeland security issued a report early on -- really on we had about all over the first executive order. homeland security issued a nature of origin is a poor way to determine who comes into the country if you're concerned about national security. we had a former security advisor of george w. bush support our litigation against the travel ban saying it was bad for national security. frankly, there's been more evidence in the record of these cases the travel ban is a bad idea for national security rather than a good one. amy: attorney general bob ferguson, president trump called , injudge who stayed the ban your state, washington, a so-called judge. and the jeff sessions, the attorney general of the united states, just said to exceed go on a right-wing radio talk show,
talking about the hawaiian judge, the judge -- the federal judge in hawaii who stay be second travel ban. how is it possible a man on an island in the pacific can stop the president of the united states? your comments? >> it is hard to know where to start. both comments are deeply offensive i think to the judiciary and the rule of law. i guess i would point out for your audience that i did not hear consider sessions complaining when president barack obama issued his executive order on immigration reform and the texas attorney general, republican, filed a lawsuit challenging that executive order, and a federal judge in texas struck it down nationwide. i did not hear folks complaining then when a single federal judge could strike down an entire executive order by the president on immigration issues. they are complaining now because they lost. they only have themselves to blame. the executive order that was
rolled out was sloppy. it was blatantly unconstitutional. it gave folks no warning at all. ins surprised they're losing. they areot surprised losing. it is unfortunate they cannot put a work to try to find a constitutional way to keep our nation safe. amy: we were just in seattle. i was wondering if you could talk about the significance of washington state leading the way on this challenge to the muslim ban. i mean, so-called by donald trump, when he was running for president. and also the history of washington state when it comes to the japanese internment camps in world war ii. >> you raise a really important part of our history and a sad and disturbing part of our history, which relates to the interment of japanese americans turned world war ii. that is a history we live with on the west coast, washington state specifically. as a child growing up, that is
history a learned about and heard for my parents. wantarned from and do not to repeat. i might add that one of our republican governors, dan evans, prominent governor of ours in the 1960's and 1970's, he was the first and most prominent governor in the entire country to welcome vietnamese individuals fleeing vietnam after the war and needing to settle in the u.s. very few governors wanted to welcome them. dan evans, republican, was a leader in that regard and i think our history as a disturbing past that we have learned from. it is awful from republicans and democratic leaders -- it is helpful for republicans and democratic leaders to try to improve upon it. amy: attorney general bob ferguson, you're among the state attorneys general who are calling for a special counsel into the russia probe, the probe of whether russia, in any way, was colluding with the trump administration over interference
in the 2016 election. why are you calling for a special counsel? >> it is needed. having the president of the united states fire the fbi director who is in the middle of an investigation regarding russian interference related to the president's key advisers, to take an action like that is, frankly, shocking from a constitutional sense. what needs to happen is that independent investigation needs to go on. frankly, special prosecutor is that have to do it. one key aspect we see from the president is he does these .utlandish actions i think the key to success in taking the president on in restoring the rule of law is to put him in the forum is will will be on the defensive and not as comfortable. and that is the courtroom. that is through a special prosecutor. of annot tweet his way out special prosecutor or courtroom. that is why i feel so strongly
that special independent prosecutor is needed. amy: in april, president trump ordered a review of national monuments, potentially opening up millions of acres of public ands to drilling, mining, logging. trump said his executive order was aimed at reversing president obama's use of the 1906 antiquities act to protect that are lands from development. pres. trump: the antiquities act does not give the federal government limited power to lock it millions of acres of land and water and it is time we ended this abusive practice. amy: attorney general bob ferguson, earlier this month you sent a letter to the secretary -- secretary of interior about the rollback of national monument protections ordered by president donald trump. can you explain? >> absolutely. donald trump is the first president in's teddy roosevelt
to take the view that somehow he alone, the president can rollback these protections for some of our most dutiful places that we have in the united states. it is our view he is wrong on the law and wrong from a policy standpoint as well. we are focused on the law. i have asked my legal team to go to work on a because in washington state, we have a couple of those national monuments i could fall under the broad interpretation of this executive order he has issued. we want to stop that in its tracks. frankly, the way to confront and take on this president is to take into the courtroom. that is where it is a level playing field and were the rule of law prevails. i am confident if they go forward with try to rollback protections for national monuments, they will lose once again in the courts. amy: your state has just legalize recreational marijuana. can you respond to the attorney general jeff sessions wanting to crack down, intensify the war on drugs? >> you bet.
the governor of washington and myself sent a letter to sessions explaining why we think marijuana legalization should be allowed to move forward in washington and asking for a meeting. we have not heard back at. amy: washington attorney general bob ferguson, thank you very .uch for joining us joining us from seattle, washington. i will be speaking in san diego at st. paul's cathedral at 7:00 p.m. on wednesday, i will be in los at 7:00for a benefit p.m. and emmanuel church. for a complete listing, go to democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]