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Donald Trump’s White House Slams Judge’s “Outrageous Order” Halting Travel Ban, Or Not – Update

Deadline logo Deadline 2/4/2017 Dominic Patten
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UPDATED, 7:31 PM: Just hours after a federal judge in Seattle issued a nationwide temporary restraining order that stops the travel ban, the White House tonight responded – not once but twice.

While President Donald Trump has not addressed the matter of Twitter, as we all expect him to do sooner or later, the White House Press Office sent out a response to Judge James Robar action, calling it “an outrageous order” and vowing to fight back with all of the presidential powers. However, a mere seven minutes later, the White House sent out a second response that omitted the word “outrageous.”

Such a backpedal has become almost standard practice in the Trump administration, where incendiary comments often are followed by more conciliatory ones.

Here are the dueling releases sent out by the office of the White House Press Secretary, starting with the first from 10:09 PM ET:

“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate.  The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.

“As the law states, “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

And here is the tweaked version that went out at 10:16 PM:

“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.  The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.

“As the law states, “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

And while media outlets around the country breathlessly watched Trump’s Twitter account for a response, instead he randomly tweeted this two minutes before the Press Secretary’s first response:

PREVIOUSLY, 5:14 PM: A week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries to the U.S., a federal judge in Seattle has just issued a nationwide temporary restraining order kneecapping the White House. The ruling against the so-called travel ban, which elicited a backlash across the country that has included lawsuits and protests, puts the next move in the court of the Celebrity Apprentice host-turned-POTUS and how he reacts.

Judge James Robart’s TRO ruling just came down at the conclusion of a hearing in which Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson squared off against federal lawyers over the controversial executive order of January 27. “The Constitution prevailed today,” Ferguson said in a statement after the ruling. “No one is above the law — not even the president.”

Ferguson’s office had filed an amended complaint Wednesday in U.S. District Court to stop Trump’s order. The state of Minnesota had joined as a plaintiff in the action.

The Twitter-friendly President has not responded yet, but he put this up on Twitter a couple hours earlier:https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/827655062835052544

Hollywood has been vocal in its opposition to the ban, which put a 90-day halt on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the U.S. (it also froze the Syrian refugee program for 120 days, with an aim to eventually cut it in half). The most high-profile victim in the industry is Iran-born director Asghar Farhadi, an Oscar nominee for The Salesman. His status to attend the upcoming Academy Awards was uncertain after the executive order was signed; he later said he would not attend the ceremony anyway in protest.

Complicating things further for the administration, beyond anger, additional legal action and political backlash, there isn’t a lot Trump can do against the George W. Bush appointed Robart – unlike Acting Attorney Generals and Apprentice contestants, federal judges can’t be pink slipped by the President.

Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.

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