For the Record with Greta, Transcript 1/30/2017
Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: January 30, 2017
Guest: Kelly O`Donnell, Karen Tumulty, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Tim Carney, Elijah Cummings, Bob Scales, Stephen Miller
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Breaking news tonight, Democrats
rallying on the steps of the United States Supreme Court against President
Trump executive order on immigration. Democratic lawmakers on both the
senate and the house in an unprecedented public front against the newly-
elected president, now this comes as after tens of thousands of people
protested around the country this past weekend. And it`s not just the
Democrats this issue is even dividing many of the Republican Party.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is wrapping up its defense of the
order, and the president had this message for Democratic senator Chuck
Schumer, who this weekend appeared to choke up when talking about the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I notice that
Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears. I`m going to ask him who was his
acting coach? Because I know him very well, I don`t see him as a crier if
he is a different man. There`s a better 5 percent chance it was real, but
I think they were fake tears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: And then there`s this stunner, outgoing presidents usually
give incoming president some space but President Obama making his first
public comments since leaving the White House, his spokesperson saying that
President Obama is quote, heartened by the level of engagement taking place
in communities around the country. NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell is at that rally
at the Supreme Court. Kelly?
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS: Well, Greta, I can tell you that this goes much
beyond just Democratic members of congress, senators and representative.
As I made my way over from the Capital it`s many people deep out here in
front of the Supreme Court, not unlike other big days when protests are
attracted here. So Democrats did – part of what they intended which was
strong messaging to tell their supporters to show up here to try to put
that political pressure on the Trump White House. So behind the camera
here lining this whole block there are protesters here, demonstrators here,
those who want to have their voice be heard, chanting variety of different
messages hoping that the Trump White House will listen to them and perhaps
change course, of course, that maybe a very tall order given what we heard
from President Trump. But for Democrats, Greta, this is a chance to try to
show some unity and to try to show some willingness to galvanize around
issues, frankly, an issue that they didn`t know was going to be on their
docket on Friday. So many Democrats were really poised on the senate side
in particular to fight nominees of the president where they could, or to
try to slow those nominations down. But this issue has given Democrats a
way to speak out about things not only relating to the travel restriction,
but I`m seeing signs that deal with the wall. And so this is a place where
the Supreme Court it is known for upholding the freedom to assemble and the
freedom to speak, and that is certainly playing out here. We haven`t even
seen the members of congress and senators yet. They will be making
remarks, they`ll be doing sort of what they expected to do, but the number
of people who just came out to be a part of it seemed to be more than I
expected as we heard this promoted through the day from the Democratic
VAN SUSTEREN: Two part question. Number one, is there any members of the
Republican Party, senate house there, or expected to be there? And two,
whose going to be speaking tonight in you know?
O`DONNELL: Well, I believe that Chuck Schumer who is of course the top
Democrat in the senate, and Nancy Pelosi will speak, and perhaps extend
that to other members. I saw no indication from any Republican offices
that they will join this. Now we have seen roughly a dozen Republicans who
have said they have some concerns about the way the executive order was
crafted, how the roll out went, some of the issues related to permanent
legal residents of the United States. So there have been concerns
expressed by Republicans about how the Trump White House handled it, even
though most Republicans agreed that tightening up sort of the vetting
process of admitting people in the United States is an area that is worth
pursuing. So I don`t think this will be bipartisan as far as members of
congress, but expect it to be loud and expect it to get a lot of attention.
Again, Democrats are using these issues to fund raise and to join together
especially after what was a bruising campaign season for them, and the
Trump White House is really giving them something to rally around, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kelly, thank you. Let`s bring in Karen Tumulty, political
reporter from the Washington Post, Caitlin Huey-Burns, political reporter
for Real Clear Politics, and Tim Carney senior political columnist from the
Washington Examiner. Karen, first to you, Kelly just talked about the fund
raising aspect of this, I imagine money sort of coming over the (INAUDIBLE)
for the Democrats
KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think so. But what we also seen, I
think pretty much strike through since the inauguration is that there seems
to be this kind of permanent culture of protests setting in for the Trump
presidency, certainly, you look at what we saw over the weekend that
airports across the country. You know, I don`t think we`ve seen anything
like this. And again, it`s early, we`re only believe it or not, week what?
Going in to week three here, but it does seem like a kind of permanent
culture of protest that we haven`t really seen since like the Vietnam War
VAN SUSTEREN: Tim, we`ve seen protest as Karen pointed out all over the –
the airports all weekend long, there was the march in Washington the other
day and, of course, cities all around the world. This order by President
Trump it seems – at least, for my perspective come up pretty fast, was it
rushed out in your opinion, if so, why?
TIM CARNEY, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, it does seem rush in a few
ways, there were agencies that didn`t seem to consult on, and we don`t –
there`s no evidence that homeland security consulted on. And then we see
afterwards at the department that the secretary of homeland security kind
of dialed back some of the rules that were in there on permanent residence.
It`s the same with the department of defense where Secretary Mattis is
coming out and saying they ought to make sure that interpreters aren`t
covered by this. And all these sort of these regular traps – the regular
process hasn`t been gone through, so what they didn`t do it? They did want
to get it done in the first week, another possibility. They don`t like the
swamp, you tell Trump, oh, you`ve got to listen to these state departments
lawyers he will waive you off.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, let`s go right back to the scene of this
rally because we`re being join by Congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrat of
Maryland. Good evening, sir.
ELIJAH CUMMINGS, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Hi, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why are you there, sir?
CUMMINGS: I`m here because the president basically has put forth a measure
that basically discriminates against Muslims and refugees who are fleeing -
- trying get to safety and that`s not what America is all about. And so, I
think that at this point the congress has to stand up. People have to
understand that president Trump, 95 percent of what he is trying to do
cannot be done without the consent of congress. And so, we`ve got to stand
up, it`s got to be Republicans, Democrats, independents, and this is not
about, Greta, a Democratic issues, this is about an American issue, and
this is what we`re all about. And so, I`m very pleased to see all these
people out here, people all over the country. As I said many times, in
some countries the people are afraid of the government, and I think that
what`s going to happen in our country is the government is going to become
afraid of the people as they stand up and make their voices heard.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, he said when he was running he was going to do
this, that this is one of the orders he was going to, maybe not
specifically this one. Is there any sort of thought about that because we
heard the old adage – elections have consequences.
CUMMINGS: Yeah, elections have consequences but they should not go by the
base goal against the basic value of your institution. Greta, if you
looked at what`s happening our major institutions are being threatened in
every way, look, the right to vote. They told President Obama that he
couldn`t appoint a Supreme Court justice, the CIA, the FBI, are being
challenged, I can go on and on, this is definitely a struggle for the soul
of our democracy. And so, that`s what this is all about, and it`s bigger
than Donald Trump. This is about what kind of democracy are we going to
leave for our children and children`s children.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You know, I`m with you on not giving Judge
Merrick Garland a hearing, I think he should have gotten a hearing, and yet
the Republicans didn`t want him, they should have voted against him. And
so, I would like to have seen him get a hearing, I thought that would have
been fair. Tell me tonight will you be speaking to this group?
CUMMINGS: No. I think they just got a limited number of people, the
leadership, but I`m here to be supportive because I want Americans to know
that this cannot be a flash in the pan, it cannot be just a moment, Greta,
this has got to be a movement because we have to make sure that we uphold
our democracy. And a lot of people I think what has happened, Greta, is
that we have taken this democracy for granted. But I got to tell you, I
have to give it to President Trump, he has given the American people a
major wake up call, and I think you`re going to see a reversal of a number
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of the fact that President Obama is
speaking out so soon, typically president gives a little more space to new
CUMMINGS: Well, what I have said before he left office that the president
if he saw things that were wrong that he had to stand up. He has so much
credibility with over 50 percent favorability rating, and I`m hoping that
Mr. Obama will speak up to. Because this is not – this is so much bigger
than them and Trump, this is about what their daughters will inherent, and
so with regard to our democracy. So, again, I`m really glad that the
president stood up. I want him to stand up some more. I hope he get to
the microphone tonight and say what he has to say. And then tomorrow we`re
going to see who he appoints, that is Donald Trump – President Trump
appoints as – recommends as a Supreme Court justice, and that should be
very, very interesting to see.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you for joining us, sir.
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let`s go back to our panel, Karen, Caitlin, Tim. Caitlin,
to you, you know, we`ve seen all these protests but this is exactly what
President Trump, nominee Trump, candidate Trump, said he was going to do.
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNES, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Right, that is a really
interesting point. I mean, Donald Trump campaigned on the Muslim ban. He
said it over and over again. It`s not a surprise that he would be doing
this now, but I think that Democrats especially are facing this kind of
reality gut check moment, and for many the election is now – the election
results are now very real. I`ve been talking to Democratic activist who
say that, you know, Donald Trump motions over the past several days have
really galvanized the base, and it`s really matter of capitalizing on that
support. And you`re going to see a lot of pressure placed on Democratic
lawmakers coming from liberal outside groups. I`m interested to see kind
of what kind of pressure they place on them. They want those lawmakers to
defy Trump really at every turn. And Democrats have been facing this
dilemma of, you know, finding areas where they work with Trump potentially,
things on infrastructure or other items that might be beneficial to their
district. But also, you know, these past actions have given them little
incentive of what lawmakers say to actually work with this president and
probably build a party through opposition.
VAN SUSTEREN: And if you`re just tuning in just you know these are live
pictures outside of the United States Supreme Court where there is a rally,
a rally of Democratic leaders on the house and senate. And we`re going to
hear some speaking very soon, and of course we`ll take them live as they
happen. Karen, every time I look at these pictures, when I see the amount
of enthusiasm that Democrats are showing, or look at the, you know,
protests over the weekend at the airport, or the march of women in
Washington, I think to myself former secretary of state Hillary Clinton
must wonder where was all this enthusiasm, where was everybody before the
TUMULTY: Yes, that`s a very good question, but the – they would also
argue that she won the popular vote by what, close to 3 million votes. So,
you know, I think that it does sort of speak to perhaps Hillary Clinton.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me cut you off for one second, I think leader Pelosi.
VAN SUSTEREN: . is about to speak.
NANCY PELOSI, U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Good evening, everyone. Thank you very
much for coming out. Is the sound working? The sound working?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
PELOSI: I can hear you. Can you hear us? The sound working?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is.
PELOSI: Good evening, everyone. I`m very proud to hear – proud to stand
with the members of the house Democratic caucus, soon to be joined by the
senate Democrats as well.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not on.
PELOSI: It`s not on? Is somebody going to deal with this?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I went to the University of Wisconsin where we learn
to protest, getting your mic to work is always a plus. Democrats having a
hard time getting that audio working – here we go.
PELOSI: Good evening, everyone. I`m very proud to stand here with the
members of the house Democratic caucus, soon to be joined by the senate
Democrats as well. Sharing views in a bipartisan way with many of our
Republicans colleagues who agree that what the president did undermines our
values. And it`s not in support of the oath of office that we take to
support and defend the constitution of the United States. – can`t hear?
Bring it closer. Can you hear now? Does this work better, no?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
PELOSI: Staff, sound people, shall we sing this land is your land again
until they get the sound working?
This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New
York islands, from the redwood forest to the gulf-stream waters. This land
was made for you and me.
VAN SUSTEREN: And just to bring you up to date, that is the house
Democrats singing, This Land is Your Land, because they can`t get mic going
for their rally. We`re sure that they`ll get it ready in a second. In the
meantime, let`s listen to the singing.
This land was made for you and me. This land is your land, this land is my
land, from California to the New York islands, from the redwood forest to
the gulf-stream waters. This land was made for you and me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let`s bring in the panel, they maybe tapping their feet to
this song. So let me go to you Caitlin, this is getting off to a rather
awkward start, but they`re having fun singing. It looks like I have the
same problem, Caitlin, can`t hear me.
HUEY-BURNS: Yeah, Democrats are trying to kind of keep up with their base
in some ways in terms organizing these rallies and protests. And you`re
going to see more tomorrow night after Donald Trump announces his Supreme
Court pick presumably. And so Democrats are really kind of hoping to use
this moment kind of thankful for in a way to kind of galvanize support for.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me do the unthinkable, cut you off, I think they got
their audio fix.
PELOSI: Other members, we will shortly be joined by our colleagues from
the senate, the senate Democrats. But we share a view with our Republican
colleagues, to what the president did is not constitution. Indeed, the
view of many of us it is immoral. Protect all of us, all of us, take an
oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the United States.
What the president has done is not in the interest of security. It is
reckless – it is reckless and rash to protect our constitution, and our
people we must be strong and smart. And now, I`ve been joined by our
distinguish leader of the United States senate, Mr. Schumer, we share a
view of the importance of the words of the Statue of Liberty, give me your
tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. You know the
rest. It is a statement of values of our country as a recognition that the
strength of our country is in our diversity that the revitalization
constantly of America comes from our immigrant population. It would now be
my time to introduce to very brave determined courageous optimistic
newcomers to our country, but first I`m going to introduce and kneel to a
champion for the principals embody in the Statue of Liberty and fought for
since our country began, including this weekend and airports throughout the
country. I thank all of you for coming. I ask all of you to welcome the
distinguish leader of the senate, Chuck Schumer.
CHUCK SCHUMER, U.S. SENATOR: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, this order
is against what we believe in – in America. The order will make us
unsafe. The order will make us inhumane, and the order will make us less
of America. Because this order is what America is all about. It will make
us unsafe because it will encourage those who are lone wolfs as they get
more and more isolated, who are our greatest danger. It would make us
unsafe because it makes our soldiers who are fighting overseas have fewer
allies. And it will make us unsafe because the nation of the world will no
longer look up to us. But most of all, it is against what America is all
about. America for its history has been a shining beacon and it has said
we welcome you if you are oppressed because of your religion, because of
your political, believes of who you are. The lady in the harbor in the
city in which I live holds a wonderful torch. That torch had stood for the
greatness of America, to all Americans, and to the citizens of the world.
We will not let this evil order extinguish that great torch. We will not
let this evil order makes us less Americans. We will fight it with
everything we have and we will win this fight.
PELOSI: Let us hold our candles high at the Statue of Liberty, the Lady of
Liberty – let me get – holds the torch high, our president have stoop low
in this order. We here tonight ask the president to withdraw this
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PELOSI: And now it is my privilege, our privilege to introduce Fahrah Amir
Kamul and Omar al-Madav with their stories, their courageous stories.
SCHUMER: Are they here? Where are they?
PELOSI: The next we will have – they were next.
SCHUMER: OK. Yes, Senator Chris Murphy. Senator Harono.
PELOSI: OK, representative Jerry Nadler.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let`s go back to NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell at the Supreme Court
while the Democrats – can we do have Congressman Jerry Nadler From the
great state of New York. He`s approaching the mic.
JERRY NADLER, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Thank you Leader Pelosi and Senator
Schumer. I`m Congressman Jerry Nadler, represents the 10th congressional
district of New York, the home of the Statue of Liberty and the home of
Ellis Island. Those symbols of America proud tradition of welcoming people
to our shores are a little beaten and battered today because of the little
man in the White House, Donald Trump. When the president signed his
dangerously stupid executive order, Friday afternoon, I knew it was
unconstitutional, discriminatory, and morally reprehensible. What I did
not know which is that people all over this country would join together so
quickly to fight this outrageous policy and to help those in need. That
gives me great hope that our country can overcome this dark time. We must
overcome this dark time. We must overcome this little man in the White
House who is disgracing our history and disgracing our tradition. We must
continue to welcome people from all over the world regardless of their
race, or their color, or their religion, or their creed, or their national
origin, that`s what our constitution demands, that`s what our law demands,
that`s what our people demand, and we will prevail.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let`s go back now to NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell at the
Supreme Court. Kelly, Congressman Nadler insults the president as little
man on the White House twice, and so this dangerously stupid order, and so
much more is going on in there, what tell me?
O`DONNELL: Well, Greta, there`s a lot of emotions here as you would expect
because these issues about what defines, who`s becomes an American, or who
has entrance to the country, really do strike passion in a lot of people.
You take that on top of the women`s march off a week or so ago, there`s
been a lot of energy on the progressive and Democratic side to use their
voices and to try to come together, to bring their signs, we`re seeing
families that are here, we`re seeing people who regularly come and protest
in these situation, and we`re seeing how the word going out in relatively
short order, sort of the Democratic flash mob of the moment, bringing
people together here outside on the steps of the Supreme Court, and in the
shadow of the U.S. capital. The practical impact of all of this is hard to
really gauge, other than the messaging which was so important for Democrats
to counter President Trump. What can they do? There are steps that
congress wants to take, but because Republicans control congress that`s a
much harder road. Certainly, there are Republicans who wants to see some
changes put the executive order some refining, because it is temporary
order in terms of the 90 days or 120 days for most of those traveling from
those seven countries, indefinite suspension of the refugee program for
Syrian. There is sort of a reflex point coming when there could be
adjustment with Republicans and Democrats working with the Trump White
House. Now, we`ve not seen any openness on the part of the Trump White
House yet to refine this. In talking with top officials they have said
very clearly that this executive order was vetted properly by the office of
legal counsel, the Department of Justice, they believe that it is within
the rights of the Trump government to take these steps, and they need to
clear up what they consider to be misunderstandings on the part of the
public about what really happened. So there`s a real struggle in terms of
what does it really mean, who do it affect, and who`s got the rights in
effect? That`s what we`ve been seeing. So there are energized people
here, Greta, it`s one of those nights when there`s really a lot of emotions
on the street outside the Supreme Court. Greta?
VAN SUSTEREN: Kelly, I have to give you this sort of politically toxic
task, but can you give me any idea how big that crowd is?
O`DONNELL: Well, I would say it`s several hundred, and I want to be very
caution because we know that that could be very treacherous to guess
numbers. But what I can tell you it is probably 20 deep behind the camera,
behind me on First Avenue here in Washington. And it is by measuring it of
other big days as we would consider them for ruling from the Supreme Court
and that kind of thing, it is a large crowd. It has the benefit of being
after work time which often protests are not, so people who might have been
at their office today, or working, or wanting to bring family members, the
timing is helpful for that. So it is a very healthy crowd. It goes beyond
what the original plan for this having lawmaker talk about this issue, it`s
expanded far beyond that, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kelly, thank you. And when the camera swung around you
could see the U.S. Capitol. For those who have not had the pleasure of
going to Washington, D.C., these – Supreme Court is right across the
street from the U.S. capitol. Let`s go back to the panel. Tim, what are
your thoughts as you listen to the members of congress speak? And I might
throw that Congressman Jerry Nadler insulting the president saying –
referring to his order as dangerously stupid and calling him a little man
CARNEY: Well, it shows that Trump has done what Barack Obama couldn`t do,
what Hillary Clinton couldn`t do, and put some actually energy in the left.
That after anti-war protest of George W. Bush`s time, Obama tried to turn
the left and they voted for him, and tried to turn their energy and going
out there becoming this grass root lobbying force. That`s the idea of
organizing for America. That never materialized, and then there wasn`t
that same sort of energy for Hillary Clinton because she didn`t excite the
left because of corporate ties, because she`s sort of personally turned a
lot of people off. And so that Jerry Nadler knows, he`s there, he`s a
politician, and throwing this red meat out there to the left is going to
work, you know, these spontaneous protests across the country. So Trump
has done what Obama and Hillary couldn`t do and turn the left into a very
excited political force.
VAN SUSTEREN: Karen, the White House dubbed back a bit over the weekend
saying that people with a green cards were exempted, could come home
because at first it was written quite broadly, and people interpreted it
include people who had green card and legally could be in the United States
couldn`t come home if they were out of the United States. How do you
portray the White House reaction since the order was first revealed?
TUMULTY: Well, I think that, you know, any signs that they were dialing it
back, they were heading the other direction today, specifically at Sean
Spicer briefing where he kept saying over and over again that he`s concerns
about people, you know, getting detain in airports were just overblown, but
it was a very small minuscule fraction of the public at large. I think the
White House in the past seven or eight hours.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me do it again here – let me do it again, that`s
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a rising star on the Democratic Party
CORY BOOKER, U.S. SENATOR: Every generation of American citizens have had
to earn the right to enjoy the freedom and the privileges of citizenship.
Every generation had faced the choice. Do we let our idea expand or
retract? Do we let our freedoms grow or do they retrench? Do we let love
expand or do we let love be beaten by hate? This generation now has our
test. There`s a shadow hanging of our ideals and our values. There`s an
assault on our values and our principles. And now more than ever we must
choose to fight, we must choose to resist, we must choose to stand up for
what we believe in, now more than ever. Now more than ever as Donald Trump
proceeds with an unconstitutional and immoral executive order, we must
stand up to this test and fight to make sure that the truth of America is
known. I want this last point to be clear, nothing worthwhile is easy.
The values that we enjoy, the freedom that we have were paid for by the
blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors. We now cannot choose to – caught
on those fights before us. We must earn them now. This fight will be
long. This fight will be difficult. But we must understand when somebody
attacks Muslim-Americans, they attack all of us.
When someone attacks with prejudice, we must respond with love. And so I
call on everybody standing here, those that can hear my voice that we now
must be the determined to fight for the long haul. We must be determined to
stand up for refugees. We must be determined to stand up against hate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you Cory. Judy Chu.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Let me go back to you, Karen. All
the speakers say that it`s unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will
probably make that decision but the ban is a temporary one which may enure
to the benefit of the White House since it`s not the permanent one. But,
you know, it`s interesting to watch this. It really does have the far left
KAREN TUMULTY, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Well, that`s
true. I mean, going back to Katelyn`s point, you look at the way Chuck
Schumer was talking right after the election. It was really, the emphasis
was on we`ve got to find ways where we can make some progress and work with
President Trump where our agendas are in line specifically things like
I think that, you know, any idea that Donald Trump was not serious in
following through the things that he campaigned on is pretty much gone now.
And that really has had the effect of really galvanizing the Democrats.
They`re not talking about any kind of cooperation any more.
The problem is they are totally shut out of power in Washington and we saw
yesterday for instance Tim Kaine tweeted something very much like the
sentiments we`re hearing tonight. And the answer from Howard Dean was,
look, you`re an elected official. It`s great for you to talk this way, but
what are you going to do about it.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well we`re going to hear from the other side.
We`re going to hear from the White House because ahead, I`m going to talk
to one of the architects of President Trump`s travel ban, Stephen Miller.
He`s taking heat from the left and the right. He`s coming up live. He will
tell you what he thinks about this.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, we are watching live the activity at the
stairs of the United States Supreme Court. That`s Senator Elizabeth Warren
speaking. These are the Democrats who are rallying against the White House,
against President Trump`s new executive order on immigration.
And of course the White House today is pushing back against criticism
because after the president`s chief strategist Steve Bannon got a seat on
the National Security Council. The executive order also changing the roles
of the national – director of national intelligence and the chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff who now might not attend some meetings.
Former aide to President Bush pointed out that Karl Rove wasn`t allowed to
attend national security meetings. President Obama`s former national
security adviser Susan Rice tweeting, “This is stone cold crazy.” And
today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Obama chief
strategist did attend some meetings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: David Axelrod walked in and out
of NSC meetings quite frequently. This administration is being rather
transparent, that is putting on the people on the – out in the public
who`s going to be going in and out of meetings, not just letting people go
in willy-nilly. I think it shows that this administration is trying make
sure we don`t hide things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Major General Bob Scales joins us. Nice to see you sir.
BOB SCALES, RETIRED, U.S. ARMY: Hi, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. I did a little research and the NSC meetings, which has
the president attending the ones that Donald Trump has are exactly like
President Obama`s. What we`re talking about is the one layer down. The
principles meetings and the difference with the Trump White House is that
the Joint Chiefs of Staffs will not be at every single one, but as I
understand, he can attend it if he wants. Is that your understanding?
SCALES: Yes, that`s my understanding, Greta, and it`s unfortunate, you
know – there`s been a lot of media hype and a lot of acrimony swirling
around inside the beltway. And what`s so important to remember here, Greta,
is how incredibly vital a good national security council that`s inclusive,
that pushes politics off the table, that communes with the president and
offers his advice.
These are life and death conditions that they have to address. And by the
way, given the uncertainty and complexity of the world today, they may have
to start tomorrow doing this. So, politics and excluding people including
the wrong people, these could actually get people killed in the short term,
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So but the only different between this White
House meeting, and this is the second layer down. The top layer is the same
– is the fact that is that the Joint Chiefs of Staff may attend some of
them. I don`t think it`s mandatory. I think you can probably hop in once he
VAN SUSTEREN: And that Stephen Bannon, who was involved in the political
arm of the campaign, is now going to attend it. I don`t know what his role
is. I`m not even what his role at the White House. Is he senior adviser,
he`s not political strategist because I don`t know if these titles mean
anything really. But that he is going to attend them. But the one thing I
got to hand it to the Trump administration as well as the Obama, at least
we know who`s going to these meetings.
SCALES: Yes, that`s true. Absolutely true. But my concern is the signal
that this sends particularly to the military. You know the National
Security Council is the conduit through which the military provides advice
through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the president.
And in the recent history we`ve seen, NSC has done well and NSC has done
badly. Of course, you know, the classic example of a bad National Security
Council was by George McBundy 1965 when he pushed aside the chairman of the
Joint Chiefs and that lead to a disaster in Vietnam.
VAN SUSTEREN: But in terms of the message to the military, he said the
Joint Chiefs of Staff will be present at the meeting with the president,
the most senior and most important meeting. So he`ll be there.
SCALES: Yes, but the sausage is made at the principals meetings. That`s
where it`s unscripted. That`s where the members can voice their opinions.
That`s the part that`s inclusive, that`s where ideas are exchanged and
intelligence is laid out. Now, that`s the key element.
VAN SUSTEREN: But is the joint chiefs are not banned from that, right.
SCALES: No, no, no. The signal that certainly those of us in the know
seems to have received as if the role of the chairman in the National
Security Council may well be diminished in this administration, that`s
VAN SUSTEREN: Genera, thank you very much for joining us.
SCALES: Thank you Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up next, I`ll talk to one of the men responsible for
drafting President Trump`s travel ban. White House senior adviser Stephen
Miller joins me after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We are here to defend the
constitution of the United States. We are here to defend our moral
foundation. We are here to live our values to fight for our values, today
and tomorrow and for as long as it takes to restore the basic decency and
vision of this country. This is who we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking just moments ago from the
Supreme Court where Congressional Democrats are rallying. They are steaming
mad at President Trump and are demanding repeal President Trump`s
controversial travel ban. Now the ban also drawing a tough response from
some on the right, Republican heavyweight releasing statements – Senator
McCain and Graham saying, “President Trump`s executive order was not
Senator Lamar Alexander saying, “This vetting proposal itself needed more
vetting.” Senate foreign relations chairman, Senator Bob Corker saying,
“The administration should immediately make appropriate revisions, and
Senators Marco Rubio and Tim Scott saying they are uneasy with that an have
questions and concerns.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to President
Trump and the major architect of the travel ban is here. Stephen, only fair
that you get to respond to all of this. Everything has been said about it,
that it`s unconstitutional, immoral, so how about it? How do you respond to
all of this?
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don`t really
know where to begin. Let`s start with what Senator Warren said about the
constitution. What she`s doing is attacking and undermining the
constitution of the United States and jeopardizing the rights and liberties
of all American citizens.
The reality is that there is no such thing and could never be for a foreign
national living in a foreign country to have a constitutional right to
demand entry into the United States. And with that entry, the right to all
of the taxpayer benefits and all of the other benefits that come with being
a member of American society.
If such a right existed as you well know, Greta, that would mean that
anyone of the 7 billion people on the face of this Earth, who were denied a
visa in a foreign country could then sue the American taxpayer and demand
all the money in losses if they would have gotten – have they gotten the
visa. So no such rights exist. And every time we suggest it does, we weaken
the rights of those living here lawfully today.
VAN SUSTEREN: I suspect that some would say that if you don`t let people,
like return to the country and a green card and the basis of religion
because they`re Muslim, I think that might be the constitutional right that
she`s talking about, the discriminations based on religion.
MILLER: Well, but there is no religious test and there is no religious
preclusion or exclusion in the executive order. The executive order takes a
list of seven countries, the Obama administration identified as having
insufficient information to conduct safe vetting. And the Obama
administration placed the first round of travel restrictions on those
countries. We then used that as the basis for this executive action, while
over the course of the next 90 days, we put in place the measures we need
to protect the American people.
Greta, 80 million people visit this country every year, through our
airports, our seaports and our land ports. The idea that we can`t impose
even modest restrictions for the sake of national security defies common
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that it was unrolled in a clumsy manner because
what I`m hearing, obviously I`ve seen the protest, but hear that for
instance, that Secretary Kelly at DHS was not part of the whole process
developing and obviously he`s, you know, over at Homeland Security that he
heard about it while he`s on a plane. Do you have any sort of regrets or
thoughts in terms of how this was rolled out? Who vetted it? Whether
Congress was brought into it? Anything at all?
MILLER: No. And I would go so far as to say that almost everything that`s
been said about the implementation by those criticizing it is false and in
some cases, the criticism even virtues on the hysterical. The reality is
that the men and women of Customs and Border Protection as well as the
careers at the State Department have done an exemplary job implementing
You may have heard the staff before but in the first 24 hours after it was
issued, 325,000 people were processed through our airports and 109 were
detained. That is a remarkable amount of efficiency and I applaud the work
of the frontline agents for such a smooth implementation process.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did President Trump talk at all to President Obama and what
do you think about President Obama making a statement?
MILLER: Well, I don`t want to criticize President Obama and make a lot of
news. He`s had his eight years in office. We`re beginning the Trump
administration now and I think that the reality is that the most
constructive thing for this country to do and the most constructive thing
for observers to do is to work cooperatively together to establish new and
safe vetting mechanisms so we don`t continue to have terrorists attacks
like San Bernardino or worst still, end in a situation where as a permanent
feature of American life.
And Greta, if we don`t act strongly today, I guarantee you sadly and
unfortunately that that is what will happen down the road tomorrow.
VAN SUSTEREN: What efforts are going to be made to sort of put the lid on
MILLER: Well, look, people can have whatever emotional response they want
to. The emotion that I feel primarily is the emotion for the Americans who
have been permanently separated forever from the people they love because
we fail to use proper vetting and because we fail to use proper enforcement
for many, many years.
And so lawful Americans as well as well as lawful immigrants, as well as
visitors to out country, have been killed because we didn`t do what we
needed to do in the past to enforce our laws and enforce tough vetting. And
so my heart goes out to people who`ve been inconvenienced, but my heart
also goes out in a deep way, to people who will never ever, ever again see
the people they love because the government in the past didn`t do its job
to enforce our laws and protect our people.
VAN SUSTEREN: Stephen, we`re just getting from the Department of Justice,
Sally Yates, who is the acting attorney general Senator Sessions having no
yet been confirmed. She`s a hold over obviously from the President Obama
administration. She says as the acting attorney general, that she will not
defend this executive order.
MILLER: Yes, I am aware of that and I think that`s a further demonstration
of how politicized our legal system has become. As you well know, the
Immigration and Nationality Act vest in the power of the president. The
ability to exclude any class of would-be visitors or immigrants to our
country based on our national security of interest.
The president has that authority. It`s been delegated by Congress, and the
executive branch is able to make those determinations and moreover, the
federal government itself has, as I said before, the absolute right to
control entry into United States. So it`s sad that our politics have become
so politicized that you have people refusing to enforce our laws.
Sadder yet still that you have a situation where the previous
administration – I don`t want to bring up the past – lifted, removed,
eliminated the whole sections of immigration law and it wasn`t even
considered by many in the media and many in the administration to be a
matter of controversy.
Now you have us using and utilizing and enforcing our laws, and you have
the same people who were silent then, now engaging in misguided political
protests including apparently individuals at some of the highest level of
government service from the prior administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: What is extreme vetting?
MILLER: Extreme vetting is rigorous, thorough, deliberate, consistent, and
across the board. It means quite simply that we as a country will ask
whatever questions need to be asked and conduct whatever research needs to
be researched to ensure that those coming to our country love our country,
love our people, support our constitution, contribute positively to the
American life and enhanced the well being of the nation.
Immigration properly exercised is a benefit to this country. Improperly
exercised, poorly vetted, it can harm the country and cause suffering for
innocent people. We want the former and we will do everything we can
responsibly within the law to prevent the latter.
VAN SUSTEREN: Will that include, I know it`s unclear trying to compare the
different orders, will there be extreme vetting for refugees? Will there be
a place in United States for refugees?
MILLER: Well, as you know, the United States has admitted millions of
refugees in past decades. And the United States has pretty much have the
most generous policy in the world in general towards the admission of
migrants and particularly migrants who are in poor or difficult
The United States will continue to have a refugee program but that program
will be vastly more rigorous. We`ve had about 44 refugees become or become
implicated in terrorists activities that we can find since 9/11. And as
we`ve seen in the case of Orlando, which is not a refugee case, but just to
illustrate the horror of terrorism, one individual can cause enormous
heartache, suffering, and death.
Imagine at what could happen if a large number of individuals successfully
exploited immigration system and how many people that could hurt. We saw in
9/11 what could occur in a worst case scenario and even further horrors
could be unleashed if we`re not smart in preventing the threats of
tomorrow, in preventing the next Nice attack, in preventing the next Paris
attack, the next Belgium attack.
And again, doing everything we can responsibly, reasonably and within the
existing laws, to ensure that terrorism, and then task (ph) innocent people
and enclaves of radicalization do not become a permanent future of our
lives here in the United States of America, as that is a just, right,
reasonable, proper and overdue course of action. And the nation will be
better off for it immeasurably.
VAN SUSTEREN: Stephen, thank you for joining us. I wanted to make sure
that we had both sides tonight because we`ve had extensive coverage of
this. I want to make sure that we heard the Democratic view point as well
as the White House and I think we`ve achieved that. Thank you very much for
MILLER: Thank you so much.
VAN SUSTEREN: We`re going to take a break. We`ll be right back.
VAN SUSTEREN: Breaking news, the acting attorney general Sally Yates says
the Justice Department under her watch will not defend President Trump`s
refugee (ph) executive order in court. Let`s bring back our political
panel. Karen Tumulty, Caitlyn Huey-Burns and Tim Carney.
Caitlyn, first to you. In her statement, she does admit that the Office of
Legal Counsel went through the order from the White House and that she
claims that the review is rather narrow whether or not – whether the
proposed order is lawful on its face and property drafted, but she thinks
that her job is a little bit broader. So, that she says she`s not going to
defend it. But tomorrow is the judiciary committee voting on Senator
Sessions so, have it.
CAITLYN HUEY-BURNS, POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right. I think
that`s a really important backdrop to all of this. The Trump administration
went through with this executive order not only not consulting key cabinet
official but also without the back up of his attorney general –
VAN SUSTEREN: But she had the – but had the Office of Legal Counsel which
job is to review executive orders for form and legality before they are
issued even in the words of the acting Attorney General.
HUEY-BURNS: Well, I think this really does speak to the broader kind of
messaging failures or oversight of the administration. Not having Sessions
in there to back up the Trump administration was a concern particularly on
this order. We`re supposed to be hearing from the White House tonight.
The White House pool is reporting that there will be some kind of statement
on this order. But Donald Trump does not have his team in place and that
will really affect some of the messaging and administrative things involved
in this kind of order.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tim (INAUDIBLE) very, very slowly so the new attorney
general will have a chance for it to weigh in on this, but the things that
proceed in court so far – emergency proceedings, temporary restraining
orders but the court will slow things down very quickly. So, I assume that
this would be in Sessions lap?
TIM CARNEY: Well, but also what you didn`t see in any of the court rulings
and what you didn`t see in Yates announcement, that she won`t enforce this,
was any actual argument that this is illegal. At the “Examiner,” our
editorial page said that this was a bad policy, but if you read the
immigration and Nationalization Act, it gives the president pretty broad
authority to do this and all of this, you know, Elizabeth Warren and Yates
saying this illegal order, they haven`t made any legal argument at all and
Yates practically doesn`t make an argument for how she has authority to
disobey what the law is.
VAN SUSTEREN: And with that you get the last word. Thank you viewers for
CARNEY: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: See you tomorrow tonight right here at 6:00 p.m. eastern. If
you can`t watch live, set your DVR and follow me on twitter @Greta and go
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