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Trump Administration
  Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace  FOX News  February 12, 2017 11:02am-11:17am PST

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to keep america safe. joining me now live from the white house is the president's senior policy adviser, steven miller, who was a key player in writing the original travel ban. steven, let's start with the breaking news. what's the white house reaction to that north korean ballistic missile test, and are you -- is the white house going to put that regime on notice as you did with iran? >> last night what you saw was the president of the united states sending a powerful and unmistakeable signal to north korea and to the entire world as he stood shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister of japan and declared our steadfast and unwavering support for that alliance. and the meaning of that symbolism will be lost on no one. chris: but you say it's an unmistakeable message. other than the fact that we're standing with japan, what's the message? >> the message is, is that we are going to reinforce and strengthen our vital alliances in the pacific region as part of
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our strategy to deter and prevent the increasing hostility that we've seen in recent years from the north korean regime. more broadly as you know, we're inheriting a situation around the world today that is deeply troubling. the situation in north korea, the situation in iraq, the situation in syria, the situation in yemen. and this president is committed to a fundamental rebuilding of the armed forces of the united states that will, again, send a signal to the world that america's strength will not be tested. chris: let's turn to this week's big controversy over the travel ban. is the trump administration -- and you as a key player in it -- are you at this moment rewriting the president's executive order limiting the visitors and the refugees can come into this country, and will that be released this week? >> right now we are considering and pursuing all options. those options include seeking an emergency stay at the supreme court, continuing the appeal with the panel, having an
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emergency hearing en banc or going to the trial court in the district level and a trial on the merits. they also include, as you have mentioned, the possibility of new executive actions designed to prevent terrorist infiltration of our country. but i want to say something very clearly, and this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in congress like senator schumer who have attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action. the president's powers here are beyond question. the president has the authority under the ina section 8usc1182f to suspend the entry of aliens into this country, and he has article ii foreign powers to also engage in conducting border control and immigration control into this country. those powers are substantial. they represent the very apex of presidential authority. and so we are contemplating new and additional actions to insure that our immigration system does not become a vehicle for admitting people into our country who are hostile to this nation and its values.
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chris: i want to follow up on that, steven. you, that's an argument you've been making this week, that the courts have no place interfering with the president's constitutional powers over immigration. but i want to take you back to what the ninth circuit court of appeals said in its ruling upholding the stay of the president's executive travel ban. here, first of all, is what you had to say this week. >> an unelected judge does not have the right to remake the immigration laws and policies for the entire united states of america. chris: but the ninth circuit court disagreed. although courts owe considerable deference to the president's policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action. steven, the three judges say you're flat wrong. >> no, the three judges made a broad, overreaching statement about the ability to check the executive power and did not even address what i was talking about
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which was ina212f8usc1182f, the power of the president to -- chris: but they say the courts have a long history -- >> no, the ninth circuit has a long history of being overturned and has a long history of overreaching. we don't have judicial supremacy in this country. we have three co-equal branches of government. the ninth circuit cannot confer onto a yemeni national living in yemen with no status in our country a right to enter with our country. such a right to exist be, chris, that would mean every time we deny a visa to a foreign national, they could sue in an american court for damages for lost benefits in terms of welfare and employment. that would be ludicrous. 80 million people visit this country every year through airports, land ports and and seaports. of course the president has the authority to impose be moderate, necessary and sensible restrictions including putting in place new vetting procedures to protect this country.
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that power was delegated to him explicitly by congress and adheres to him under his article ii powers under the u.s. constitution. this is a judicial usurpation of power, it is a violation of judges' proper role in litigating disputes. we will fight it, and we will make sure that we take actions to keep from happening in the future what's happened in the past. we've had hundreds of individuals enter this country through our immigration system on visas who have gone on to do enormous harm to this country from 9/11 through san bernardino, through the boston bombing, in chattanooga, and on and on and on it goes. chris: all right. i want to pick up on that and your criticism of the judges, because after judge robart's initial order, president trump tweeted this, i want to put it on the screen. just cannot be believe a judge would put our country in such peril. if something happens, blame him and court system. people pouring in. bad.
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but now, steven, that judge is getting death threats. so the question is, if something happens to him, should we blame president trump? >> this is one of the most ludicrous things that the media does where when any crazy person in this country issues a death threat, that they then blame a politician or a mix official. that is -- or a public official. that is reckless and irresponsible and should never be done, the reality is -- chris: but some people would say that personally attacking a judge is reckless and irresponsible. in fact, your own supreme court nominee, judge gorsuch, called it disheartening and demoralizing. >> statements that you can't criticize a judge demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of what it means to have separate and equal branches. of course one branch can criticize another branch of government. it's ludicrous to say that congress can criticize the president and the president can criticize congress and judges can criticize the president, but the president can't criticize judges.
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chris: so neil gore -- neil gorsuch was wrong? >> i have my opinions, and judge gorsuch had his comments misinterpreted by senator blumenthal who, as we all know be, has profound credibility issues. chris: wait, wait. first of all, on the question of his saying that he found these remarks disheartening and demoralizing, it wasn't -- >> that's different than saying -- chris: wait a minute -- >> that's different than saying you can't criticize a judge. i don't think judge gorsuch would say you can't criticize -- chris: no, he said these comments were disheartening and demoralizing. he said it not only to senator blumenthal, he said it to ben sass, a republican. >> kelly ayotte put out a statement, that is not what she said he said. what we do know is senator blumenthal -- we all know his vietnam scandal, how much he has a credibility problem. it's a serious problem. that's what should be the focus of this conversation, the degree to which that senator has a serious credibility issue.
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but not to get off track here because we're going all over the place. let's be very clear and straight forward in saying the following: the united states of america has a terrorism problem. we have had hundreds of cases of foreign nationals entering our country from other countries and plotting, attempting or even carrying out terrorist attacks. we spend countless dollars a year, and we have thousands of federal officers and investigators who do nothing but run around the country trying the stop terrorist attacks for no other reason than because we make the mistake of letting people in who harbor hatred for this country. our immigration system should not be a vehicle for admitting people who have anything but love in their hearts for this nation and this constitution. chris: i want to ask you, steven, about how this was all rolled out because you and steve bannon were, reportedly, the prime movers behind the rollout of this executive order before it had been fully vetted by everyone, all the key players in the administration or congressional leaders. and, of course, now it has been
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blocked in several courts. do you and bannon take responsibility for all the problems with this rollout? >> first of all -- [laughter] people are giving way too much credit to me and steve bannon. steve bannon has no role whatsoever in drafting executive orders. this executive order was drafted by congressional experts and lawyers, career experts on immigration. it was approved and vetted through the homeland security council, the national security council, the department of justice office of legal counsel, key people at departments and and agencies were realize into the executive -- chris: you agree it hasn't gone smoothly. >> well, here's where you're wrong, chris, and i hate to say this, because i think you're fabulous. [laughter] but we issued three executive orders on immigration that have profoundly improved the security posture of this country. on border security, interior security and national security. most of those provisions remain in full, total and complete effect. aspects of the national security
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order have been wrongly enjoined in an unprecedented step by the ninth circuit and the district judge to extend rights to citizens of other countries who don't live in our country. but even parts of that executive order still remain in full effect, including the process that begins to set in place the new extreme vetting mechanisms, including the lowering of the refugee ceiling and then the other policies. but something is going to come out of this which will be very good. in the end, the powers of the president of the united states will be reaffirmed, and the whole world will see clearly and unmistakably -- and it's a message i want the world to hear today -- that this country will protect its borders, it will protect its people, and it will insure we have an immigration system that promotes wage growth, that promotes employment opportunities for our people and that, importantly, promotes compassion for working class citizens who want to live in safe, secure, upwardly mobile communities. chris: let many ask you about
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protecting the border, because there has been ramped-up immigration this week. hundreds of people in the country illegally and some with criminal records besides the fact that a they came in illegally have been detained. the president tweeted this morning: the crackdown on illegal immigrants is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. gang members, drug dealers be and others are being removed. now, the immigration officials said this was, had been in the works for some period of time. the president seems to indicate that this is happening at his order. which is it? >> right now as a result of the president's order greatly expanded and more vigorous immigration enforcement activities are taking place. it is true that operation cross-check is something that happens every year. but this year we've taken new and greater steps to remove criminal aliens from our communities. i had a phone call yesterday with someone from dhs who talked about an immigration enforcement activity at 4:00 in the morning where a gang member was removed, a wife beater, somebody who was
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a threat to public safety with a long arrest record. but because they didn't have the right kinds of quiks, they weren't -- convictions, they weren't considered a priority by the previous administration. because of rump's actions, innocent people -- because of trump's actions, innocent people are being kept out of harm's way. we spend too little time thinking about the effects of open borders. chris: steven? >> who have to deal with the scourge of cartel violence -- chris: steven? i -- >> that we're now removing from this country. chris: all right. i get your point. we're way over time. i have one more question to ask yo i -- you, and i want to ask you about the personal attacks that president trump engaged in week. he dismissed the so-called judge who had stayed his order, judge robart in seattle s and he sad to say this about the appeals court. >> i listened to a bunch of stuff last night on television
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that was disgraceful. chris: when democratic senator richard blumenthal said the president's nominee judge gorsuch found the attacks disheartening, here's how president trump responded. >> he's comments were misrepresented, and what you should do is ask senator blumenthal about his vietnam record that didn't exist after years of saying that it did. chris: and when senator mccain raised questions about the yemen raid, the president tweeted this, i want to put it on the screen. senator mccain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. only emboldens the enemy. he's been losing so long, he doesn't know how to win anymore. look, i take your point that you're not a punching bag here and that the president and and the white house, they take incoming, they should be able to fire back. but does this kind of personal attack help the president in building the kind of coalitions he's going to need for the bold
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agenda that all of you want? >> thank you, chris. it's an important question, and i'm glad to have the chance to answer it. chris: just briefly, sir. [laughter] >> our position is that we are the ally of millions of hard or working, forgotten men and women all across this country, and president trump is their champion. that's our coalition. our coalition is millions and millions and millions of decent, patriotic citizens who just want a pay raise, who just want a good school, who just want a safe community. and donald trump will never apologize for looking out for their interests and and being their champion -- chris: but does he need to insult john mccane in the process? >> he needs to protect the integrity and protect the honor and decency of our armed services. chief special operator william ryan owens did not die for a failure. he died as a hero. he died in defense of his country. he died in defense of our values in a successful mission that yielded valuable intention.
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the bottom line, chris, is that the president of the united states won 306 electoral votes by being a champion for people when haven't had a voice in washington; democrats, republicans, independents, people of all incomes and races. and he will continue to be their champion, and he will continue to be their voice. chris: all right. steven, thank you. thanks for your time today. thanks, we enjoy hearing your voice. and, of course, we'll be tracking what the president announces this week on the issue