News Wrap: Trump order on immigrants challenged by lawsuits, protests, State Department memo

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A sign welcoming refugees lies on bench in the international arrivals area of Logan Airport after U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 30, 2017.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX2YWCR

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JUDY WOODRUFF: So, now we begin with the ongoing uproar over President Trump’s order on refugees and immigrants.

John Yang reports on this day’s events.

JOHN YANG: After a weekend of mass protests and chaos at airports, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insists it’s all an overreaction.

SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary: We have got to keep this in proportion, folks. This was 109 people being stopped out of 325 over a 24-hour period. And I know that everyone likes to get where they want to get to as quick as possible, and I think the government did a phenomenal job of making sure that we process people through.

JOHN YANG: In any event, Spicer said, it’s a small price to pay.

SEAN SPICER: We don’t know when that individual crosses into our border to do us harm. And so the idea of waiting when you don’t know could it be that night, could it be the next day, could it be the next week, and the president’s view is, I’m not going to wait.

JOHN YANG: President Trump sparked the uproar with the stroke of a pen, signing an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, effective immediately.

Across the country, there were protests on college campuses and at airports. A federal judge in New York blocked the ban for people who were either already in transit or had arrived in the United States.

In Seattle today, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a new lawsuit, and said he’s got the support of Amazon and Expedia.

BOB FERGUSON, Washington State Attorney General: In our view, the president is not adhering to the Constitution when it comes to his executive action. It’s my responsibility as attorney general to defend the rule of law, the uphold the Constitution on behalf of the people of this state.

JOHN YANG: State Department employees circulated a dissent channel memo. It warned the policy will not achieve its aim of making our country safer and that it runs counter to core American values.

Spicer said, if they oppose the policy, they could quit.

Federal judges intervened to protect foreign holders of green cards, legal permanent residents of the United States. Overnight, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly waived the travel ban for green card holders.

At breakfast with small business leaders today, President Trump said his immigration order was a success.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We actually had a very good day yesterday in terms of homeland security. And some day, we had to make the move, and we decided to make the move.

JOHN YANG: He blamed chaos at airports on a Delta Air Lines’ computer problem and on Democrats.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I noticed 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.

JOHN YANG: On Twitter, the president said he didn’t give advance notice of the order because he didn’t want to tip off would-be terrorists. He said: “If the ban were announced with a one-week notice, the bad would rush into our country during that week.”

A number of Republican senators, including Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and John McCain, criticized the order and the way it was rolled out.

Former President Obama weighed in with a statement today, saying he “fundamentally disagrees with targeting people based on religion.” He also seemed to encourage the protests, saying, “It’s exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump signed a new executive action today significantly cutting federal regulations.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There will be regulation. There will be control, but it will be a normalized control, where you can open your business and expand your business very easily. And that is what our country has been all about.

JOHN YANG: The order requires that, for every new regulation proposed, two regulations must be repealed. And it says the net economic cost of new regulations must be zero.

The president also announced that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from its next batch of F-35 Joint Strike fighter planes after he criticized the cost.

That Obama statement is not worthy. On his way out, aides suggested that the former president would give the new president what he said he was grateful to former President Bush for giving him, silence. But in his final press conference, he said he was tempted to speak out if he saw core American values being threatened. Turns out he didn’t wait very long — Miles.

MILES O’BRIEN: John, a couple of other interesting bits at the briefing.

The reorganization of the National Security Council, the permanent or principal seats, putting a political strategist in one of those, Steve Bannon, did Mr. Spicer address that?

JOHN YANG: Today, a lot of eyebrows being raised about that.

Spicer defended it, noted that Bannon had been a Naval officer, even though that was more than four decades ago. He also pointed out that David Axelrod, the political adviser to President Obama, occasionally sat in on some NSC meetings and said that by putting Bannon and giving him a seat permanently on the NSC, it was their bow to transparency.

MILES O’BRIEN: Speaking of seats, empty seat on the Supreme Court, big announcement on that. Tell us about it.

JOHN YANG: Tomorrow night in prime time, just like “The Apprentice,” he is going to announce it live on television.

You may remember he tweeted last week that the announcement would be coming on Thursday. Why the change? Spicer said because he wanted to — Miles.

MILES O’BRIEN: John Yang at the White House, thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And in the day’s other news: The president’s immigration order provoked a growing backlash overseas.

In Iraq, members of parliament voted to demand retaliation. Under the order, Iraqis are now banned from entering the U.S. And, in London, Britain’s foreign secretary said Mr. Trump’s planned state visit will go ahead, despite the immigration order.

BORIS JOHNSON, British Foreign Minister: I have said that it’s divisive, I have said that it’s wrong, and I have said that it stigmatizes people on grounds of their nationality. But what I will not do is disengage from conversations with our American friends and partners in such a way as to do material damage to the interests of U.K. citizens.

JUDY WOODRUFF: More than a million British citizens have petitioned against the Trump visit set for later this year.

MILES O’BRIEN: President Trump’s pick to be secretary of state survived a key procedural vote in the Senate tonight. Republicans resisted a Democratic push to delay action on Rex Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO. That clears the way for a confirmation vote this week.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In Yemen, security officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike killed two al-Qaida militants today. It came a day after U.S. commandos killed three alleged leaders of al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen. Thirty other people and one U.S. Navy SEAL died in the Sunday raid. It was the first U.S. combat death under President Trump.

MILES O’BRIEN: Police in Quebec City, Canada, are looking for a motive after a shooting at a mosque left six dead last night. A suspect is in custody. More than 50 people were in the mosque at the time of the attack. Officials say it was an act of terror, and they’re calling for unity.

PHILIPPE COUILLARD, Premier, Quebec: Normal in times of crisis that everyone will speak with the same voice of tolerance, integration and inclusion. The real challenge will be two weeks from now to continue saying this, to refuse any compromise towards intolerance or exclusion.

MILES O’BRIEN: Later in Parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke directly to the more than one million in Canada and he said to them, “We are with you.”

JUDY WOODRUFF: The Philippines’ national police forces will no longer take part in a sweeping anti-drug campaign in that country. The crackdown began in July, when President Rodrigo Duterte took office. Since then, about 7,000 people have been killed. But the national police chief said he’s calling a halt after rogue officers kidnapped and killed a South Korean businessman for money.

MILES O’BRIEN: The man accused of killing five people and wounding six at the Fort Lauderdale Airport pleaded not guilty today. Esteban Santiago appeared in federal court on 22 charges from the shooting this month. Authorities say he opened fire in the baggage claim area with a handgun he’d stowed in a checked bag. He’d flown in from Anchorage, Alaska.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street had a rough day as the president’s immigration order depressed airline stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 122 points to fall back below 20000. The Nasdaq fell 47, and the S&P 500 gave up 12.

MILES O’BRIEN: And doctors in Houston released former President George H.W. Bush from a Houston hospital today. He’d been there for two weeks with pneumonia. Mr. Bush is 92. His wife, Barbara, now 91, was released last week from the same hospital. She was treated for bronchitis.

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