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Sessions defends comments on Hawaii judge who blocked travel ban

The Hill logo The Hill 4/21/2017 Max Greenwood

Video by MSNBC

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday defended his criticism of a Hawaii-based federal judge's injunction blocking President Trump's travel ban, saying that he wouldn't have wanted to phrase it any differently.

"I don't know that I said anything I'd want to phrase differently," Sessions said during an appearance on CNN. "No, we're going to defend the president's order. We believe it's constitutional. We believe there's specific statutory authority for everything in that order."

Sessions asserted that the president's executive order barring citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. was completely constitutional and permitted by law.

In an interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin that aired on Wednesday, Sessions expressed frustration with Hawaii-based Judge Derrick Watson's ruling blocking the order.

"I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power," Sessions said.

The comment quickly drew backlash, with critics accusing the attorney general of speaking as if Hawaii wasn't a U.S. state or somehow had less sway in the country's government.


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