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Fallout as U.S. Judge Halts Trump Travel Ban; DOJ Will Request Emergency Stay; Iran Responds to New Round of U.S. Sanctions; Lawmakers Back Continued Russian Sanctions; Travel Ban Bar Iraqi Parents from Child in U.S.. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired February 4, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Live from CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm Michael Holmes. We are live with breaking news on U.S. president Donald Trump's travel ban and the ongoing fallout over it.
KINKADE: Here's what we know right now. The White House is firing back after a U.S. federal judge put a temporary freeze on the president's immigration order.
HOLMES: That's an order that, of course, sparked huge protests in the U.S. and across the globe. The presidential order banning people from seven Muslim majority countries from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days.
After the judge suspended it on Friday, the White House went on defense, saying the Justice Department will request an emergency stay.
KINKADE: In the meantime, it looks like there could be another weekend of travel uncertainty. U.S. Customs officials are now telling airlines that the government would quickly begin reinstating cancelled visas.
HOLMES: The attorney general for Washington State spoke earlier with CNN's Anderson Cooper and said he is willing to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm going to be very clear; I'm going to be pugnacious in defending the Constitution of the United States. President Trump violated that. That's not OK. And we're going to make sure he upholds the rule of law in this country.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So what does that actually mean in -- ? So they -- what are you -- where are you prepared to go with this?
What is your argument?
FERGUSON: We'll go wherever we need to go. The reason I feel so strongly is the executive order of such magnitude that the president signed just is a violation of our Constitution and different statutes and it impacts so many Washingtonians in such deeply personal ways.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: The White House reacted to Friday night's court order with a statement, calling it "outrageous," but it released a statement a little later with that word removed.
HOLMES: That one word was out. This is the statement here.
Quote, "At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the executive order of the president, which we believe is lawful and appropriate."
KINKADE: So as it now stands, the U.S. airlines have been instructed by the federal government to return to business as usual, meaning as it existed before Mr. Trump's executive order.
HOLMES: U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave that word a few hours ago to all major passenger carriers in the U.S. and said the U.S. government would begin reinstating travel visas immediately. An airline executive telling CNN the agency's directive also allows refugees with valid U.S. visas to travel to the United States.
KINKADE: CNN legal analyst and former New York City prosecutor Paul Callan joins us now.
Paul, great to have you with us.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Nice to be with you, Lynda.
KINKADE: Just explain for us, how significant is this ruling and what exactly does it mean?
CALLAN: It's a very significant and unusual ruling. There are 1,200 sitting federal judges in the United States. And this is a ruling by one judge, who is essentially overruling the President of the United States and has issued an order to bind every court in the United States.
So usually you don't see that. Usually they just sort of stay to their own federal district when they issue a ruling. So this is a very unusual ruling.
KINKADE: Well, that's right. We have seen a number of courts issue a ruling on this executive order.
How is this one different? This is nationwide.
CALLAN: Yes, this one is different. The other judges simply issued orders that pertain to their districts. So for instance in New York, New York has one order; Boston has a different order.
But this Seattle judge said, you know something, the rules about getting into the United States affect the entire United States. So -- and I find it's unconstitutional what the Trump CNN administration has done.
And we, for sake of uniformity of approach, I'm going to apply this to the entire United States. And technically he has the right to do so because he's a federal judge, he's not a local judge. But it's unusual. Usually federal judges don't do that.
KINKADE: And it was only a matter of time before the Trump administration responded, the White House calling the order "outrageous," vowing to defend it.
Can they succeed?
CALLAN: That's a great question. The Boston appellate court that looked at the order up there ruled in favor of the Trump administration. So, on balance, the Trump administration has some good arguments that they can bring to a higher court to say that this lower court judge made a mistake.
But the appellate court out on the West Coast, the Ninth Circuit Court, is a liberal court. And it's a court that might rule against the Trump administration. And if that happened, it will all wind up in the United States Supreme Court.
KINKADE: So what does it mean for the people --
KINKADE: -- caught up in this, people from those seven banned countries, who have valid visas?
Can they now travel here?
CALLAN: Well, I think this is a ray of hope for them. This judge said this is clearly unconstitutional and that the government cannot defend it adequately, that the case is so strong against it.
However, they would make a big mistake if they tried to board an airplane tomorrow just because this order has been issued. A higher court could overrule this tomorrow or the next day and they could be caught trapped in an airport again. SO I would wait until next week to see how this thing plays out.
KINKADE: And no doubt this may also be a ray of hope for refugees affected by this ruling.
CALLAN: No question about it because as a matter of fact, the judge in the ruling specifically dealt with the refugees and said that the provision restricting them was unconstitutional as well. So it is a ray of hope for refugees around the world.
KINKADE: And in terms of the politics, how does this play out for Trump?
For Trump supporters, this was a promise he made during the campaign. It looks like policy on the run. It seems to be his first major policy fiasco.
CALLAN: I think that you'll see Trump play this up as a fight between judges trying to make law and the President of the United States, who was elected democratically and he is going the say I was elected by the majority of the Electoral College, who want restrictions on immigration.
And a single federal judge shouldn't be able to stop that. So I think that's how the Trump administration will handle this.
KINKADE: Paul Callan, great to have your expertise and perspective on all of that. Thanks so much.
CALLAN: Thank you, Lynda.
HOLMES: The federal judge's decision halting Mr. Trump's executive order comes as the U.S. president arrived at his Mar-a-lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
KINKADE: CNN's Jessica Schneider is there, too, with more on the latest challenge to the U.S. travel ban.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after one week of being caught up in the courts, President Trump's executive order banning immigration from those seven Muslim majority countries is halted tonight.
A federal judge in Washington State put the brakes on the order, issuing a temporary restraining order that does halt this executive order.
But the White House tonight saying that they are fighting back. They say that the Department of Justice plans to issue an appeal. The White House has continued to maintain throughout the past week, continues to maintain now even in the wake of this ruling from a federal judge, that what President Trump did in issuing that executive order was completely lawful.
Now we understand that the Department of Justice will file an appeal but it will not be immediate. We are waiting for that. It will likely not be in the overnight or early hours tomorrow.
Of course, this entire issue has been in the courts front and center for the past week. We've seen numerous judges ruling on this, whether it was the day after President Trump issued that executive order or numerous civil rights groups filing lawsuits in the federal courts all over the country.
This is just the latest legal wrangling that has come up. And now this puts that executive order out of commission. So what the Customs and Border Protection Agency has said, they said that it is now back to business as usual.
In fact, they had a conference call with the airlines and they said that airlines should begin resuming as usual, that the government will begin reinstating those visas that they had actually taken out of commission over the past week.
And that airlines should remove some of those travel ban alerts from their websites. So, going forward, Customs and Border Protection says that they will be moving forward as if it is business as usual, as if this executive order from President Trump was never signed.
But the White House vowing to fight back. The Department of Justice, they say, will be filing an appeal. So to be continued -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.
KINKADE: CNN senior political analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein, joins me now.
Ron, great to have you with us. And now the bigwigs of the administration (ph).
Firstly, your reaction to the court's ruling tonight on Trump's immigrant ban?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a really striking moment. And it really exemplifies, I think, the way the conflict in American politics has grown more complicated because what we saw here was a Democratic state going into federal court -- Democratic state attorney general going into federal court and basically taking a move against the Trump administration executive order that Democrats in Congress don't have any power to pursue.
It's a shockwave. It is not the end of the story.
There is going to be appeals through the appellate courts on the West Coast, probably on the East Coast. Ultimately the Supreme Court will have to decide if it can while it is divided 4-4 at this point.
KINKADE: And Ron, we're just two weeks into the Trump administration and we are seeing a radical shift already in foreign policy.
Instead of tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, a deal he called "the dumbest ever" --
[01:10:00] KINKADE: -- he now looks to be reinforcing it; instead of warmer relations with Russia, he is now condemning the Kremlin and of course Israelis -- turned 360 on that as well -- 180, rather.
New settlements -- he was against the new settlements. He is now for them.
What should we make of these backflips?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think your misstatement there at a 360 is actually a preview. I don't think this zig is the last zag. I think the story of the Trump administration on foreign policy will be that it is somewhat improvisational.
Look, there is a North Star here. When he said he wants to be a president who advances the idea of America first, I think that is, in fact, his North Star and he is going to challenge much of the international rules-based order that the U.S. has constructed and led since World War II.
He said the other day he could, quote, "care less if the European Union dissolved." He has questioned the value of NATO. He's walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
I think that is the overall direction. But in the implementation on a kind of day-to-day and week-to-week, I think we're going to see a lot of zigging and zagging. And I think what you saw here was both Vladimir Putin in Ukraine and Benjamin Netanyahu with settlements took the original -- the initial statements of the Trump administration as perhaps even more of a green light than the administration was comfortable with. Now they are trying to dial that back.
But I think that the general direction that he set out of embracing Netanyahu and trying to melt the chill with Putin and be more accommodating toward him, I think ultimately he will get back there. This shows there are some limits, though.
KINKADE: And, Ron, looking at America's closest neighbor, Mexico, relations there seem to be getting worse. Trump reportedly threatening to send in U.S. troops.
Does he realize that, as commander in chief, those words, even if they're off the cuff, carry a great deal of weight?
BROWNSTEIN: I think he is clearly adjusting to the difference between being a candidate, whose stock in trade was being as outrageous as possible, and being the President of the United States, whose words move markets and send armies onto ships.
They of course dispute the characterization that he was threatening Mexico. They argue that he was offering to help Mexico.
But we don't really know. And there is significant reporting that goes toward the characterization that you cited. What I can tell you is in a new CNN poll today, broad opposition to this idea of building a wall across the Mexican border, support only relatively tepid among the core groups, in the Republican coalition, those working-class white voters, who are the foundation of his electoral victory, and opposition enormous on the other side of the ledger, among college- educated whites, among young people, among minorities, more Republicans in Congress raising questions about whether the cost- benefit analysis really plays out, whether the $12 billion to $15 billion it would cost to do this is really justified in terms of the impact at a time when we have had net zero undocumented migration from Mexico for several years.
KINKADE: Ron Brownstein, great to have you with us. We appreciate your time today. Thanks.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
HOLMES: We will be back after a short break with much more on the Trump travel ban being temporarily struck down by a U.S. judge and what that means for international travelers to the U.S.
KINKADE: Plus how world leaders are reacting to the ban and the Trump administration. Stay with us.
HOLMES: Welcome back, we are live with breaking news. A new court ruling affecting U.S. President Trump's controversial travel ban.
KINKADE: CNN has been following this story since it broke several hours ago. The U.S. government has now instructed airlines in the U.S. to resume normal operations just as they existed before President Trump issued the travel ban on people from seven mostly Muslim nations.
HOLMES: The stunning development came immediately after a U.S. judge in Washington State issued a temporarily halted the ban travel nationwide. U.S. Customs and Border Protection told U.S. airlines it will begin reinstating U.S. visas to affected international travelers and allow refugees with valid U.S. visas to enter the U.S.
KINKADE: Here's some more details about what is in that immigration order that U.S. President Donald Trump signed just a week ago.
It bans travel to the U.S. for 90 days from these seven Muslim majority countries: Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
HOLMES: It also suspends the U.S. refugee admissions program for 120 days until so-called "extreme vetting procedures" are put in place. Syrian refugees are barred from entering the U.S. indefinitely. And people holding certain visas will now have to undergo in-person interviews to renew them. KINKADE: The latest opposition to the order and the strongest yet came from the western U.S. state of Washington. Earlier, the state's governor reacted to that ruling. He said he is proud to be pushing back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASH.: This president is totally bound by this order. We expect him to abide by this order. We will not accept any deviation from this order whatsoever.
The Constitution is supreme in this country and I'm -- frankly I'm proud that Washington State has led the country in standing up for the basic values and will not allow anyone, including the president in Washington, D.C., to contravene those values.
And we had tonight a federal judge, who was appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush, decide in a very forceful decision, frankly, that this is a country that -- we are not going to allow the tests of religion to determine who comes into our country. We are not going to allow decisions that actually jeopardize our national security.
Look, the fact is, in this case, that the people from these seven countries -- there have been 700,000 refugees admitted since the disaster of September 11th. And not one -- not one incident -- has occasioned where people from these seven countries caused --
INSLEE: -- a fatal terrorist act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: For more on the airlines and how U.S. Customs officials are reacting to business as usual, let's go to Rene Marsh in Washington.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House on Friday night said the Justice Department will file an emergency request to stop a Seattle federal judge's nationwide halt of President Donald Trump's immigration order.
Trump's executive order that he signed last week suspended immigration from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days; the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and indefinitely halted Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
The White House in a statement said it planned to appeal the ruling. In the meantime, CNN has learned that CBP -- Customs and Border Protection -- told major U.S. airlines on Friday night that the government is reinstating visas and is, quote, "back in business as usual prior to the executive order."
That all according to an airline official. (END VIDEOTAPE)
HOLMES: The ban directly affects seven countries outside the U.S. But we are getting reaction from all over the world. Jomana Karadsheh joining us now from Istanbul in Turkey.
The reaction all around, particularly the region you are in, was one of shock.
Do you think is going to alleviate that any?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think people are waking up to this news, Michael, right now. So we're going to have to wait and see what actually happens. They think there is that realization that this is an ongoing legal battle.
So it's hard to see right now that many people are going to be rushing to get on planes because there is that concern of people going through what they went through a week ago, where people were being detained and people were being turned back and taken off planes.
There was this real feeling of humiliation for a lot of people. So I think they're going to wait and see what happens. Of course, one group that was really impacted by this ban was refugees, Iraqi and Syrian refugees, that have been waiting for years in some cases to try to get to the United States.
They went through years of vetting to be accepted, to be resettled in the United States. And a lot of people that we've spoken to over the past week have been really devastated by the news of this ban. They felt that they are going to be in limbo for another few years, not knowing what's going to happen to them.
So now possibly this could be a glimmer of hope for some. But again there is always that uncertainty that people have been telling us in the region, when it comes to this new U.S. administration. So I think some people may be waiting a bit before rushing to airports to get on planes.
HOLMES: It's been interesting, watching the administration really go out of its way to say it's not a Muslim ban; it's not a ban on Muslims but where you are, where you live and the people you talk to in the region, how do they see it?
KARADSHEH: Well, it most definitely was perceived by many as a Muslim ban. You look at the seven countries that were impacted, they are Muslim majority countries and people will tell you that minorities like Christians, for example, other minorities that have been persecuted are pretty much exempt from this.
And they might be getting different treatment. And they would say that this really is targeting Muslims and it's not just those countries, Michael. You talk to other people, for example, in Jordan, a country that is known as being a close ally of the United States, there are concerns there amongst people that, someday, possibly, that Jordan and other countries could be included in this ban because they are seeing it as targeting people from these countries, from this region.
And Muslims, so there is really very much -- it's very uncertain. People really don't know what to expect. They think that this is just the beginning.
And, of course, there is the concern that this could be exploited by extremist groups to try and you know, exacerbate those feelings of the United States really going at war against the Muslim nations and against Islam.
So there's a concern but a lot of wait-and-see when it comes to this administration and its policies when it comes to this region -- Michael.
HOLMES: Indeed. Jomana, thanks so much. Jomana Karadsheh there in Istanbul.
KINKADE: Stay with us as we cover breaking news over Trump's travel ban.
HOLMES: Yes, still ahead, not a matter of politics: Washington State's attorney general explains why he moved to stop the ban for now. We'll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
KINKADE: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Welcome, everyone. We are live and we're following breaking news.
A big setback for President Trump's travel ban. A U.S. federal judge temporarily halting the order nationwide.
Now it has suspended travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority countries. Within the past few hours, the White House again defend its ban as legal and said it plans to fight the ruling as soon as possible.
HOLMES: The attorney general for Washington State spoke with our own Anderson Cooper and explained what it took to file the order and why he did it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERGUSON: The standard is very explicit to get a temporary restraining order. And it's not easy to get for all sorts of obviously reason. But part of the standard is we, the State of Washington, I had to show, to demonstrate that we were likely to prevail on the merits when the judge e eventually gets to that point.
So the judge had to reach that conclusion that we are likely to prevail on the merits. That is a high hurdle obviously a few days after filing a complaint. But the judge did conclude that in order to grant our motion for that temporary restraining order.
So that is just a part of the order today.
COOPER: Why was this something that you filed?
I mean, that Washington State -- obviously I assume there are a number of businesses in Washington, obviously Amazon and others, that...
I mean, did they play a role in this?
FERGUSON: They did. I guess, first in terms of why I filed it, a couple thoughts.
Number one is, we are a nation of laws, right?
And I had a clear view, an opinion that the executive order was unconstitutional and my legal team agreed. And we moved very, very quickly, literally working around the clock -- and that is not an exaggeration -- around the clock since last weekend to prepare our complaint and our motion.
[01:30:04]The reason I feel so strongly is the executive order of such a magnitude that the president signed just is a violation of our Constitution and different statutes and it impacts so many Washingtonians in such deeply personal ways.
Moreover, to your point about businesses, I deeply appreciate businesses like Expedia and Amazon here in Washington State that last weekend when I reached out to them, quickly wrote declarations for our filing before the court in support.
And their motions -- their declarations, excuse me, go to issues of how this impacts their employees adversely and adversely impacts their business.
And so I think that helped us make our case that there is an adverse impact, not just to Washingtonians here in my state but also to businesses in my state as well.
COOPER: Obviously a lot of people are going to see this through a political lens, no matter what side of the aisle they're on. You are a Democrat but you are pointing out that the judge who has made this order tonight, he is a Republican, appointed by George W. Bush, right?
FERGUSON: That's correct. And one more thing I'll say about that is whenever folks say that this is a political thing, that's what someone says when they don't have an argument, honestly. And I'll just point out that I'm in my fifth year as attorney general of this state. In the last four years, in my first term, I twice sued the Obama
administration, things I don't do lightly. I deeply respect and admire the president. But that respect and admiration is irrelevant to my decision on whether to file a lawsuit against the federal government.
If they're violating the law in a constitutional way or unlawful way, it is my responsibility, Anderson, to defend the rights of Washingtonians. It does not matter who the president is. It does not matter if he or she is a Democrat or a Republican -- irrelevant.
And so folks who want to say this is political, A, they don't know what they are talking about and, B, they don't know my record and, C, they do not understand the Constitution.
KINKADE: CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos joins us now.
Danny, great to have you on the show. This seems to be throwing the whole immigration system into chaos.
What does this ruling mean?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's important to understand that this judge didn't strike down an executive order. All he did was issue a TRO, a temporary restraining order. But it's important to understand that the only thing a temporary restraining order does is preserve the status quo. It's like hitting the pause button.
But the standard that the litigants, that the plaintiff had to get, is very, very high in a case where they're seeking a temporary restraining order. You have to show likelihood, substantial likelihood, of success on the merits. And, in this case, that's exactly what the judge found.
Most lawyers will tell you that it's very difficult and rare to get these TROs granted. But, in this case, the judge, in a very short opinion, ruled that there was a substantial likelihood that they would prevail on the merits. And that's why he issued this stay, this temporary restraining order.
KINKADE: It has been argued that this immigrant ban is unconstitutional.
Has that case been made?
CEVALLOS: It's been made and very well made. The state here argued -- the State of Washington argued several constitutional claims. One was the equal protection clause, for example, the idea that any law that treats classes of people differently based on race, national origin, religion, is subject to strict scrutiny and likely unconstitutional. Another tack is that this executive action violates the establishment
clause. And they listed other federal laws it potentially violates as well.
But the thorny issue is this: this very short written opinion by the judge only essentially says I find substantial likelihood on the merits. It doesn't really address which of those merits. And for that reason, in the coming days, this actual opinion raises more questions than it answers.
KINKADE: So people caught up in this, people from those seven banned countries with valid visas, is there going to be a lot of confusion at the airports this weekend?
Should they try to travel to the U.S.?
And will they be welcome here?
CEVALLOS: There's a lot of confusion for everyone. And, as I said, the order, the actual written opinion, is really hot off the presses and rather inscrutable because it doesn't really give a lot of guidance.
It's one thing to read a legal justification in a court opinion. It's entirely another thing to take that piece of paper and start administrating it and actually putting it on the street and seeing how it plays out.
So I think this order is going to be open to interpretation because it's so short and really doesn't give a lot of guidance. It's going to create more battles than it resolves.
KINKADE: Certainly a lot of headaches for people involved. Danny Cevallos, good to have you with us. Thanks for your time.
CEVALLOS: Thank you.
HOLMES: When we are back, more on our breaking news, the suspension of that travel ban for people from certain countries to the U.S.
KINKADE: Plus world reaction to the U.S. president, including Iran's moves after new sanctions.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Following breaking news for you, the White House ready to fight for President Trump's travel ban after it was blocked on Friday. KINKADE: That's right. A U.S. judge suspended the order nationwide, reopening U.S. borders to visa holders from seven Muslim majority nations. Hours later, the White House said the Justice Department will challenge that judge's order and, again, they defended the ban as lawful and appropriate.
HOLMES: The White House says the days of turning a blind eye to what it calls Iran's hostile and belligerent behavior are over.
KINKADE: Donald Trump's administration hit Iran with new sanctions on Friday, over a recent ballistic missile test. But Iran is fighting back. Michelle Kosinski has more.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A week of fist-shaking at Iran over its ballistic missile program ends with action --
TRUMP: They're not behaving.
KOSINSKI: -- sanctions on 25 people and entities the U.S. says support Iran's missile program and its Revolutionary Guard, a move seen as mostly symbolic, not likely to have much effect. But the administration moved quickly and message sent.
Iran has already responded, calling the sanctions illegal. There was also a Twitter back-and-forth with Iran this morning.
From President Trump, "Iran is playing with fire. They don't appreciate how kind President Obama was to them. Not me."
From the Iranian foreign minister, "Iran unmoved by threats. We will never use our weapons against anyone except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement."
KOSINSKI: Diplomacy by tweet aside, President Trump's first weeks have yielded foreign policy confusion. From a president who only days ago said he hopes for a fantastic relationship with Vladimir Putin might even lift some sanctions on Russia --
TRUMP: And we'll see what happens.
KOSINSKI: -- while campaigning said he would look into recognizing Ukraine's Crimea region as part of Russia; now comes his new ambassador to the U.N., sounding a much different, harder, clearer line.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula over to Ukraine.
KOSINSKI: Something we have not heard from the president himself, though sources tell CNN the White House was aware of what she would say and was fine with it.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: Ambassador Haley made it very clear of our concern with Russia's occupation of Crimea. And we are not -- and so there's -- I think she spoke very forcefully and clearly on that.
KOSINSKI: Not clear is how this meshes with President Trump's views into a cohesive policy.
And on the Middle East, President Trump had blasted the Obama administration for not voting against a U.N. resolution, condemning Israel's ongoing building settlements in the West Bank.
Yet now this surprising statement from the White House.
"While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.
"But the Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions."
It's not exactly tough criticism but a stronger statement against the highly controversial settlements than we've heard from this administration.
What exactly is the policy?
So far the White House says this:
SPICER: The president is committed to peace. That's his goal. At the end of the day, the goal is peace.
KOSINSKI: So in response to these new sanctions, Iran is now saying that it's going to do virtually the same thing to the U.S., that it will take legal action against Americans and American companies that, in Iran's view, help terrorist groups in the region and kill and suppress defenseless people in the region. Iran says it plans to name names soon -- Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department.
KINKADE: Mr. Trump's calls for better times between the U.S. and Russia are being put to the test. Violence has fled (sic) yet again in Eastern Ukraine and the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations slammed the Kremlin at her first Security Council appearance.
For more, including Mr. Trump's expected phone call with Ukraine's president, Clare Sebastian in Moscow.
Clare, great to have you with us again. Trump had mentioned that he might ease sanctions on Russia, now seemed to have changed his position on that.
What can you tell us? CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Lynda, it is interesting how much has changed in the past week. It was just this time last week that we were expected a phone call to take place between Trump and President Putin.
Now of course did happen but not a single mention of even the word "sanctions" in that, to some people's surprise.
The day after that of course, we saw violence erupt in Eastern Ukraine, a serious escalation there. But any hope of sanctions again evaporated later in the week. There was a technical fix made to one sanction that was introduced by the Obama administration for alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.
That amendment was very much played down by Mr. Trump. He said, I'm not easing anything.
And then, of course, we saw those very harsh comments from the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, saying that no sanctions on Russia would be lifted until they returned Crimea to Ukraine.
So very much setting up the same kind of clash that we saw between Russia and the Obama administration, something that not many people had expected, given Mr. Trump's comments on the campaign trail.
But as to how Russia is receiving this, well, they trying desperately to keep a lid on it. They're trying not to overhype the situation. The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, telling CNN yesterday that he never indulged in any great optimism that the Russia-U.S. relationship would change under President Trump.
So they are really just kind of watching to see what happens next -- Lynda.
KINKADE: Right. And in terms of what happens next, we know that President Trump is expected to speak to the president of Ukraine in the coming hours.
What can we expect from that?
SEBASTIAN: This may well be a measure of just how much has changed in the past week. Until this week, we would have thought that this relationship might not be doomed to succeed. There were many comments that Mr. Trump made on the campaign trail, for example, that he might consider recognizing the independence of Crimea that had Ukraine extremely worried.
There was an incident back in September, when Mr. Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, was in New York and had offered to meet with Mr. Trump but they didn't manage to meet for scheduling reasons. So this will be the first time they're speaking; perhaps those comments from the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, will raise Ukrainian hopes that they might get --
[01:45:00] SEBASTIAN: -- more support from the U.S., i.e. the kind that they were used to under President Obama. But it will be very interesting to see how that unfolds, how that phone call unfolds today, particularly against the backdrop of that escalating violence in Eastern Ukraine.
KINKADE: Yes, and tell us a little bit more about that escalating violence.
What exactly is the condition on the ground right now?
SEBASTIAN: It's extremely serious, Lynda. We're hearing of casualties both in the Ukrainian military among the Russian-backed rebels, civilian casualties were reported overnight by international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
There are reports of heavy artillery being used, including the notoriously indiscriminate GLAAD rockets that are banned in civilian areas. Both sides, Russia and Ukraine accusing each other of violating the Minsk protocols, the agreement reached in February 2015, brokered by France and Germany.
And the aid agencies and those on the ground are warning of a developing humanitarian catastrophe. The shelling has cut out a lot of critical infrastructure. People are living in freezing winter conditions without heat or electricity. Many have been evacuated from the flashpoint town of Avdiivka, the government-run town just north of Donetsk, because there really is an unfolding hour by hour. But it has been described by these international monitors as an unprecedented level of cease-fire violations and very serious situation on the ground there -- Lynda.
KINKADE: With all this in mind, what do you think it means for Trump's promise to restore American-Russian relations?
SEBASTIAN: Well, I mean, this week has changed everything, really, Lynda. I don't think anyone could have predicted that Mr. Trump would, with full knowledge of that speech by Nikki Haley at the U.N., the White House said they that they know about that and were fine with it. You heard that in Michelle Kosinski's report.
I think that really did flip the mood when it comes to U.S.-Russian relations. I think it will be very interesting to see, as I said, how that phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Poroshenko unfolds today. Ukraine seems to be the real thorn in the side of that relationship at the moment.
But it is a week, as I said, that has very much changed the mood around this.
KINKADE: Yes, certainly has. Clare Sebastian, good to have you with us for all those details. Thanks so much.
HOLMES: The new U.S. Defense Secretary had some pretty strong words for China, saying it had shredded the trust of other nations in the South China Sea region. KINKADE: James Mattis just left Japan after his first tour through parts of Asia as part of the Trump team. He reiterated the U.S.' support for Japan's claim on islands in the region, which, of course, China also claims.
And we are following breaking news. The U.S. judge, of course, suspending President Trump's immigration order.
HOLMES: Still ahead, the heartbreaking story of a young boy waiting for surgery in the U.S. while his family is trapped in Iraq. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone, we are covering some fast-moving breaking developments on U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban which ignited huge protests in the U.S. and indeed around the world last week.
KINKADE: The White House says it will challenge a U.S. federal judge's order, which temporarily halts the ban nationwide. Now the government wants an emergency stay. And we are waiting for the U.S. Justice Department to file that appeal.
HOLMES: In the meantime, it looks like we could have another weekend of travel uncertainty after the judge's ruling on Friday. U.S. Customs officials said they are alerting airlines that the U.S. would begin reinstating visas that had been revoked. Now this travel ban affected seven countries, among them, Iraq.
KINKADE: And the human impact of that move has been well documented. But the story of a young Iraqi boy, separated from his parents, is particularly affecting. Here is Sanjay Gupta.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They give you these little gas heaters to heat up. And if you don't unclog it, the fire breaks out. And by the time they got him, it's -- the plastic melted and fell on his face and feet.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was Dilbreen Mussin's (ph) first birthday, Iraq, January 4th, 2016.
In an instant, the soft cartilage of his nose, his lips and most of his face, ravaged. The images are tough to see.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He realizes there's something different about him and it's sad because these kids, they're scared of him. GUPTA: The name Dilbreen means wounded heart. And his story is complicated. It's a story of being trapped. This Yazidi family fleeing from ISIS to this refugee camp and now trapped in the United States without his parents.
This woman is not his Dilbreen's mother or a relative. She is simply a kind stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GUPTA: Dilbreen's parents, a world away. We tracked them down in Northern Iraq.
"It's really hard," his father said. "He's a little boy. He needs his parents."
So, what happened here?
Well, after the fire and burns, the British aid group Road to Peace arranged for Dilbreen and his father, Ajeel (ph), to come to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston. That was for the first of a series of operations to slowly release the contractures of chin and lower lip, allowing him to take a bottle again.
But with his wife about to give birth back in Iraq, Ajeel (ph) couldn't stay and begged Ablay (ph) to watch after the son.
And, at that point, they say, "Take care of the bairn. We'll be back."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they say, we'll be back four to six weeks, the most, because they weren't sure of the due date for his wife. Six weeks go by and then a month, two months and now we're at three months.
GUPTA (voice-over): When Dilbreen's little brother was born, the day after the election, his parents, grateful the United States provided medical care, decided to name the newborn son Trump. That's right, Trump Ajeel Mussin (ph).
GUPTA (voice-over): "We wanted to show our appreciation to America for what they're doing for our boy. That's why we named him Trump."
Then, despite being approved, in early January, their visas were revoked. They were in Iraq. 2-year-old Dilbreen was in the United States.
His father said, "They didn't give us visas because they thought we would go there and stay. We want to finish our son's treatment and then return home."
CNN did reach out to the State Department for comment and were told, quote, "We are not able to discuss the details of any visa case."
And then things got even worse.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.
GUPTA: President Trump likely made it impossible that his namesake, along with mom and dad, will travel to the United States anytime soon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what we're afraid of. They have to wait 90 days, which Baby Bairn (ph) doesn't have. He needs it as soon as possible.
GUPTA (on camera): What's the sentiment or emotion?
Are they angry?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really. Just sad and hopeless. They don't know what to do.
GUPTA: Do you think there will be an exception made?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're praying for that.
GUPTA: It's worth pointing out again exactly why these visas were revoked. According to the immigration officers, they say these parents could not show that they have strong enough ties in Iraq, that the concern was they might come to the United States and not leave.
And the family says, look, we had visas; we could have come to the United States. Mom was pregnant at the time. Baby Trump, that you just met in the piece, could have been born in the United States, would have been a U.S. citizen. But they chose not to do that and they want to go back to Iraq.
So that's the case that they are making. They're going back on Sunday to the immigration office once more and try and make this case and say they should be the exception to the rule. They should be the exception to this 90-day ban. They want to be with their son. We'll see what happens. Back to you.
KINKADE: Sanjay Gupta there with that report.
KINKADE (voice-over): Well, thanks so much for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Don't go anywhere. We'll be back for a new hour of CNN NEWSROOM after the break.