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Terror Investigation; President Trump Slams NATO Leaders; Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban Injunction; Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired May 25, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So let's begin with Jessica Schneider with the details on the ruling and that opinion.
You said it was some 200 pages. Tell me more about that. Why did they go this way?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have all been sifting through it, Brooke, definitely a lengthy and at times scathing ruling.
So, at the bottom line here, it's still status quo when it comes to the travel ban. It's still halted all over the country. So, today, the latest ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court, that 10-3 ruling, like you said, Brooke, it has upheld the preliminary injunction against President Trump's Second executive order.
And as we have been talking about, the biggest issue for this court, as well as the district court and by the Ninth Circuit as well, is the president's own statements. When he was a candidate, he called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country. That was back in December 2015.
And that statement was left up on his Web site until just recently. So, the Fourth Circuit, I want to read you something from their opinion. They put it this way, the Fourth Circuit saying: "These statements taken together provide direct, specific evidence of what motivated both executive order one and executive order number two, President Trump's desire to exclude Muslims from the United States. The statements also reveal President Trump's intended means of effectuating the ban by targeting majority-Muslim nations, instead of Muslims explicitly," instead of Muslims themselves.
The court here saying that he decided to target these majority-Muslim countries. So, Brooke, the campaign statement, the real sticking point for all of these courts, this is what they focused on, this is what they argued about, this is what they wrote about in the opinions.
In fact, one of the judges on the Fourth Circuit, he wrote in a concurrence and he called this all-out -- quote -- "invidious discrimination," so, really scathing words by the Fourth Circuit.
Of course, though, the Ninth Circuit, we're still awaiting a ruling. And, Brooke, this looks like it's moving quickly toward the Supreme Court, which, of course, President Trump has promised all along -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Jessica, thank you for teeing me up here.
Let me bring in my panel, Paul Callan, CNN analyst and senior trial counsel at Callan Legal, Tim Naftali, CNN presidential historian, and Shelby Holliday, a politics and business reporter for "The Wall Street Journal."
Paul Callan, my legal go-to, let me just begin with you. You looked at the opinion or she mentioned some of it. What do you make of those who agree and dissent?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's a scathing repudiation of the Trump administration and it focuses heavily on religious discrimination, and the fact they are looking once again to the president's own words that he wanted to ban Muslims, all Muslims, from entering the United States.
And that's not legal. It's one thing to ban terrorists or it's one thing to say we're going to screen more carefully countries that we have had problems with in the past. But as late as May of this year, they still had a statement up on the Trump campaign site saying that the president supported banning all Muslims entering the United States.
And, frankly, the court just said, that's unconstitutional. And they have agreed that this ban will be struck down.
BALDWIN: The huge, Tim, piece of it, though, and Jessica pointed it out, and this wasn't only candidate Trump's words and rhetoric. This was Jeff Sessions. This was Sean Spicer in the Briefing Room. This was transition, campaign folks, all of their words used against them.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I will leave to Paul the legal analysis.
But this is a reminder of something really important from the campaign, which is that candidate Trump and some of his closest associates believed that, in this country, you could exclude an entire religion. And he has learned, because the courts have taught him, that that can't work in our country.
So, this is a lesson for not just President Trump, but his closest associates. In the United States, you may not discriminate on the basis of religion, period. You can't come up with fancy little work- arounds. You just can't do it.
He is now paying the policy price for not only for his extravagant rhetoric, but his concept. The idea was wrong.
BALDWIN: But this is a promise, Shelby, as we covered the campaign. It was a promise. It was one of the main -- the chorus from the campaign trail for Trump and this is another example of something that, I mean, there's no follow-through so far, as it's still this massive rejection.
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Right.
And it's something his supporters really rallied behind. He said this multiple times. He has it on paper. He said it at a campaign rally that he wanted to ban Muslims. This is something he's not been able to do.
And I think it's worth noting that religion was mentioned in the first executive order that was rescinded. It was not mentioned in the second. And the judges still said, that doesn't matter. It's what you said on the campaign trail that matters, what your aides have said, to your point about Sean Spicer.
Rudy Giuliani made some comments that raised a lot of eyebrows. So you can change the order, but you can't change what you said on the campaign trail.
And I think that that's kind of the underlying issue with the Donald Trump presidency, is, his words do matter. And they may not have mattered as a businessman, but here, as president, whether it's the Muslim ban, whether it's all these other issues he's trying to tackle, what he said is really having an impact.
BALDWIN: Kaitlan (ph), to you, just on, yes, words matter. Here is a support. We just saw him at NATO. He's in Brussels today. He's meeting with NATO -- NATO nations, world leaders. But this is a huge hit for him here at home.
No Kaitlan. I was just told not Kaitlan.
It's a huge hit for him here at home.
NAFTALI: And I want to mention something else, something I'm going to be looking for.
He's just rolled out new rhetoric in Saudi Arabia about our relationship with the Muslim world.
BALDWIN: Push them out, drive them out, the terrorists.
NAFTALI: This is now an opportunity, if he wishes to take it, to alter his administration's approach to this very difficult issue. And...
NAFTALI: Well, explaining that Islamic and Islamists are not the same thing, and that we're talking about Islamist terrorism, not Islamic terrorism, and that this is not an attack on a religion. It's an attack against a perversion of a religion.
CALLAN: I think that's a great point, because -- and even the lawyers can advance this argument that you're making, Tim, which is, we're not banning Muslims. And the alliance now with Saudi Arabia suggests that the Trump administration is willing to work with cooperative and peaceful Muslims in a fight against terrorist Muslims.
Now, that's the argument that they are going to make. This is not a Muslim ban. We're trying to simply screen more properly who come into the United States.
And, remember, this is the second Muslim ban.
BALDWIN: Right. This is the revised.
CALLAN: Yes, they revised it and they narrowed it considerably.
They reduced the number of countries and they said it doesn't apply to people with green cards to try to make it survive. And it's interesting that the court is reaching back once again, though, to that campaign rhetoric and saying, you know something, you can dress this up any way you want, but campaign -- the campaign said you wanted to ban all Muslims, and it certainly looks like you're doing this.
BALDWIN: OK. And just hearing from April Ryan, who covers the White House, just putting a button on this conversation, she is saying likely the White House says obviously they will fight it and this thing will probably land in the lap of justices on the United States Supreme Court.
Thank you all so very much.
I want to go now to some breaking news, what we're hearing about up on Capitol Hill.
Phil Mattingly is our congressional correspondent up there.
Phil, what is the news?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing right now is the Justice Department has sent a letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee declining for the moment to provide the documents they requested related to former FBI Director Jim Comey.
Now, these documents included any conversations or records of conversations between the former FBI director and White House officials, including President Trump. And they also included any documents related to memos that have been reported that the former FBI director kept at the moment.
Now, the rationale used for the Justice Department here is actually something that was mentioned by the deputy attorney general when he briefed members of Congress last week. Now that there's a special counsel, Robert Mueller, in place, they want to make sure that anything they do going forward is checked with him first to ensure that don't impede his investigation that he's now overseeing.
Now, Brooke, I will also tell you that Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of this committee, sent a letter back to the Justice Department saying that their committee has their own constitutional prerogative to conduct their investigation. They still expect documents, specifically those that fall outside of Robert Mueller's investigation, and a list of any documents that might fall inside the investigation as well.
He is asking for those -- in response to those by June 8. So, right now, a little back and forth between the Justice Department and the congressional committees. This was somewhat expected. A lot of members up here have been concerned that they don't do anything that impedes what Bob Mueller is setting out to do now and obviously his investigation is very much so under way.
But it's worth noting, these committees, there is some talk, Brooke -- I think we spoke about it -- that maybe they would back off a little bit as this process moves forward on Bob Mueller's side of things.
MATTINGLY: This committee, the House Oversight Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and House Intelligence Committee have all made clear that's not going to be the case. They plan on moving forward.
How they actually work together or deconflict, which is the word they consistently use, is something they are clearly still trying to figure out.
Phil Mattingly, thank you very much, on it, as always, on the Hill.
We continue with the breaking news in the investigation also into the bombing in Manchester, England, this week, because we now are hearing who this attacker likely trained with, where he traveled to in the weeks and the months leading up to this atrocity in this pop concert this week.
Also ahead, the special election is under way today in Montana after a reporter was allegedly body-slammed by one of the candidates. We will talk to someone who was there next.
BALDWIN: All right. Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
In a couple of hours, the nation will know if they will reject or select a Republican who was just charged with allegedly body-slamming a journalist.
Overnight, the local sheriff filed a misdemeanor count of assault against congressional candidate Greg Gianforte. A reporter from "The Guardian" says Gianforte went after him when he asked Gianforte about the latest version of the GOP health plan.
This report, Ben Jacobs, was able to record audio of this incident, which happened about 14 hours before these polls opened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN JACOBS, "THE GUARDIAN": In terms of the CBO score, because, you know, you were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill. And it just came out.
GREG GIANFORTE (R), MONTANA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Yes, we'll talk to you about that later.
JACOBS: Yes, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious...
GIANFORTE: OK, speak with Shane, please.
I'm sick and tired of you guys!
JACOBS: Jesus Christ!
GIANFORTE: The last guy you came in here, you did the same thing! Get the hell out of here!
GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing! You with "The Guardian"?
JACOBS: Yes! And you just broke my glasses.
GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.
JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.
GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.
JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here. I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guys' names?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.
JACOBS: He just body-slammed me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Gianforte's camp, though, they have a very different account. A spokesperson says Jacobs -- quote -- "aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs' grabbed Greg's wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer barbecue."
[15:15:15] CNN national correspondent Ryan Young is there live in Montana, where
the polls close at 8:00 p.m. local time.
Ryan Young, my goodness, what are voters saying today?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we have only bumped into a few voters, voters today who wanted to talk about this, because everyone is still trying to digest this.
Of course, reporters ask questions all the time. And a lot of interviews, you wouldn't even know that they were happening, of course, some of the questions that he was asking.
But people want to know what happened in the room behind us. They want to know what exactly set the two men off in one direction. Of course, Greg Gianforte has his side of the story. But Ben Jacobs, he was just asking basic questions about health care when it took a turn.
Listen to Chris Cuomo asking the question, did he make any aggressive moves before this happened?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Did you ever lay hands on him? Did you grab his wrist? Did you do anything?
JACOBS: No. The Gianforte statement, they got my name right, they got my employer right, but other than that, there was not a single factually correct statement, element there. That was totally false.
I have spent a lot of time reporting up on Capitol Hill, a lot of time asking politicians questions about health care. And it's never, never ended in any sort of altercation.
I have been covering politics for a better part of half-a-decade, covering the presidential campaign. It was unexpected and surreal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Brooke, now three local newspapers have already pulled their endorsement for Gianforte.
But the big question is, how will voters feel? We've already from some voters who feel a little closer to the candidate and other voters who would wish they could change their vote. I bring that up because 70 percent of the people who were expected to vote have already voted with absentee ballot.
So, there's that big conversation about whether or not they can make that change. But the big conversation, especially with the freedom of the press and asking questions, who went too far in this case?
Most people think that we should be able to have civil discourse and be able to have the press ask questions. That's what one lady told me, because that's what we fight for. That's what their freedoms are for. So, you see people on both sides. but they really want to know, what happened in those seconds before? One lady said she wants to know what was on the recordings before the snippets that we heard. And I can understand someone asking that question.
BALDWIN: Want the full picture. Ryan, thank you very much. Keep talking to those voters and let us know what they are saying as the evening rolls on.
Let's unpack all of this.
I have Alex -- Alexis Levinson -- forgive me -- a BuzzFeed reporter who saw some of the altercation between the Republican candidate and this Guardian" journalist. Also with me, occur and political commentator Symone Sanders and Kayleigh McEnany.
So, ladies, thank you for joining me.
And, Alexis, let me start with you. You have talked about what you saw. I want to move it forward just by asking, do you know, was there any sort of tension existing between Gianforte and the reporter, Gianforte and "The Guardian" newspaper prior to this?
ALEXIS LEVINSON, BUZZFEED: My understanding was clearly there was some issue with another "Guardian" reporter who had been out there. I think you hear that on the recording.
I don't know what that issue was, but, certainly, there was evidently some prior issue that was making them not pleased to have them there.
And then, Alexis, you're out there. What do voters make of this and the audio?
LEVINSON: People I have talked to today have sort of just said, we have no idea what to make of it.
And I sort of feel the same way. I think no one -- this is so out of the ordinary for what happens when you're covering a congressional campaign and just what happens right before Election Day that I don't know that anyone knows quite how to process it.
Symone and Kayleigh, let me play some sound, as we're hearing from people on Capitol Hill on the left and the right. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had this to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: And to see this person who wants to be one representative into the House of Representatives from Montana be sort of a wannabe Trump, use language like that, treat people harshly like that, that's his model. Donald Trump is his model. And we have really got to say, come on, behave. Behave. That was outrageous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Kayleigh, she says Donald Trump was his model. How do you defend the president here?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, well, that's ridiculous.
First, I want to start by saying what this man did, if it is what we all think, it is outrageous. I will get a step farther than House Speaker Paul Ryan and say, if he's elected and he's proven to be true, he should step down and there should be another election.
With regard to President Trump, President Trump has said all throughout the campaign, in a March interview alone, he said, I do not condone violence, I do not condone violence. He said it a third time, I do not condone violence.
He looked in the camera right after being elected, five days after, and said, those of you committing violence, stop it.
So, to suggest as if Donald Trump was this devil sitting on this man's shoulder compelling him to do this really is a bridge too far. And I think her hyperbolic rhetoric is not going to help the Democrats in the long run.
BALDWIN: How do you see it?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I see it as, look, Donald Trump has painted the press as the enemy, if you will.
And so I definitely think he's contributed to this rhetoric. I absolutely agree with Kayleigh. And I think that Speaker Ryan could have went further today.
SANDERS: This -- Democrat or Republican, there is no room for this in our political discourse.
But when you have Republicans on Capitol Hill who are not willing to say, look, this is wrong, this person, this is not someone I would like to serve with, that's when I just think we need to step up and call a spade a spade.
BALDWIN: Do you think, though, with something we brought up last hour, the president did the robo-calls for Gianforte for filling the seat in Montana. You know, do you think that he should say something?
MCENANY: I think if it proves to be true. Everyone deserves their day in court. If he's convicted of a misdemeanor, I think he should. I think it would set a really nice precedent. And, look, in any other profession, whether you're a teacher, in any workplace, you're an attorney, you would be fired if you harassed someone in this manner, if you engaged in a physical altercation.
SANDERS: You would be fired even before the whole investigation played out.
Look, I think we need to see the president, the vice president and all these troops Republicans step up and denounce this. But, unfortunately, we're talking about the vagina-grabbing president here.
SANDERS: We are talking about the men. Like, these are -- we can -- never forget, Donald Trump has said these things. He's perpetuated this type of culture, this aggressive culture towards the press.
He's said all of these things. So, I'm not optimistic that they are going to step up and say anything.
MCENANY: But here's the difference.
MCENANY: Look, President Trump apologized for those statements that were put out on video. He was very sincere about it. Ben Carson said, I saw him praying in the green room before he went out on the debate stage. he asked for forgiveness.
By contrast, Gianforte hasn't apologized. Apparently, he was supposed to be on TV at 2:00 p.m. He canceled that. Be a man. Own up to your mistakes. In the least, he was angry. We can all hear that on the tape. So, be a man, like Donald Trump was, and apologize to the American people and the people of Montana.
BALDWIN: Shouldn't we acknowledge -- you want to see party -- I just want to say civility. We have been having these conversations about just the breakdown in civility in this country. It is not in a good place.
You point out the rhetoric. And there has been.
SANDERS: Yes. If this was a Democrat, I absolutely would be like they absolutely -- win or lose, if he won, he needs to step down.
I'm right there with Kayleigh -- if it was a Democrat, because this isn't a party-line thing. This is basic human decency. This is not what we want to teach our kids. These are not how congress men and women act. BALDWIN: So, you don't think Donald Trump added to this breakdown in civility?
MCENANY: No, I don't think so.
BALDWIN: At all?
MCENANY: I think tensions have been very high. They're very heated. Donald Trump has been demonized, in my opinion.
BALDWIN: But he has called the press the enemy.
SANDERS: He has contributed to his own demise, if you will. A lot these are unforced errors, things that the president himself has said.
And so I am very hesitant to paint the president as a victim in this sense, because his rhetoric, his own words, he's said these own -- he's said these things. He's contributed to this...
MCENANY: What I see is a president who just had a successful foreign trip, who said I went to the Vatican and I want to promote peace. That is my cause.
He's trying to bridge the divide of civility that we have in this country. And if he extends a hand, the only way we're going to get to a place of understanding and civility and rejecting this nonviolence is if Democrats extend a hand back.
BALDWIN: OK. OK. I know.
SANDERS: I have no words.
SANDERS: You know I have no words, Brooke. I have no words.
BALDWIN: And I'm looking at your face.
BALDWIN: Symone and Kayleigh, thank you, ladies, so very much.
SANDERS: Thank you.
BALDWIN: And, Alexis, thank you as well.
We do have -- let's move now to these disturbing new details we're getting today in this investigation of the concert bomber in Manchester, England. We're now hearing who likely trained this attacker, where this happened, which then speaks to the sophistication, the premeditation into this tragedy.
Also ahead, President Trump today slamming NATO leaders to their faces. You see their faces? We will talk about some very awkward moments coming up.
BALDWIN: All right, back with our breaking news here on the investigation in that deadly concert bombing in Manchester this week.
Sources are now telling CNN that the bomber likely did receive training from ISIS terrorists when he traveled to Syria in the months before the attack. The U.S. now believes ISIS set the stage for this terrorist to carry out his suicide bombing at that Ariana Grande concert.
This information is coming amid rising fears of possibly another attack. CNN has confirmed right now that armed officers are patrolling U.K. trains for the first time ever. The U.K.'s terror threat level remains at its highest point in a decade.
Let's talk it over with Bob Baer, former CIA operative and CNN's intelligence and security analyst.
And, Bob Baer, I mean, this is a huge piece of the puzzle here, if we're learning now that this individual not only was in Libya the weeks before this attack, but had gone all the way to Syria, traveled and trained with ISIS. What would -- would that have been more training and bomb-making or brainwashing?
BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think what's -- what we have here is, he volunteered to become a suicide bomber.
There's some indications, Brooke, that this is a couple years in the making. And once they had determined in Britain that, you know, he was going to go through --