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News Wrap: Trump visits CENTCOM, defends travel ban

In our news wrap Monday, President Trump spoke about "radical Islamic" terror attacks on his first visit to U.S. Central Command, where he also criticized the press. On Twitter, he attacked the judge who halted key provisions of his travel ban. Also, in a showdown over nominee Betsy DeVos, Senate Democrats said they planned to hold the Senate floor overnight until tomorrow's confirmation vote.

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    A federal appeals court in California is the focus tonight in the legal war over banning travelers from seven mostly Muslim nations. The flow resumed over the weekend, and today the president again defended his order.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.


    Today, a continued current of arrivals like this one at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, families previously denied entry under President Trump's travel order now met with applause, some due to the weekend's court orders, others like brothers Tareq and Ammar Aziz from Yemen because they are green card holders who had to reschedule after confusion over their status.

  • TAREQ AZIZ, Green Card Holder:

    I just wanted to thank all of the people who support us, who were with us. They made me feel like there's a family here, that we have a family. And that's what I love about America.


    All this following Friday's ruling by federal Judge James Robart in Seattle that halted several key provisions, at least temporarily.

    That ruling drew a tweetstorm of criticism from the president. "If something happens," Mr. Trump wrote, "blame him and the court system."

    He had more to say today at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.


    We need strong programs, so that people that love us and want to love our country and will end up loving our country are allowed in, not people that want to destroy us and destroy our country.



    It was his first visit to U.S. Central Command, the military wing overseeing the Middle East. As he spoke about radical Islamic terror attacks, Mr. Trump's sharpest criticism was about the media.


    It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported, and in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.


    We asked the White House for specific examples of unreported terror attacks and didn't receive a response.

    Meantime, Vice President Pence defended the president's words about the Seattle judge over the weekend on ABC.

    MIKE PENCE, Vice President of the United States: And the president is determined to use the authority that he has under the Constitution and under the law.


    The legal battle has moved fast. The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court over the weekend to reconsider Judge Robart's action, saying it harms the public by thwarting enforcement, and second-guesses the president's national security judgment.

    But the attorneys general of Washington State and Minnesota who pushed for the original halt to the order responded back strongly. "Unfreezing it," they told the appeals court, "would unleash chaos, and would, once again, separate families and strand university students and faculty."

    Major tech firms, including Uber, Apple and Google, filed their own briefs against the travel ban, saying it will hurt their work forces and the economy. And former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright also filed briefs, saying the ban will harm counterterrorism partnerships with other nations.

    Late today, President Trump returned to Washington, as the appeals court mulled its decision.

    And staff here at the White House just confirmed to me what many people are thinking, that this whole fight over the travel ban could end up at the U.S. Supreme Court — John.


    Lisa, we heard President Trump talking about this court case involving his immigration order. What are the officials at the White House saying?


    I just came back from talking to Assistant Press Secretary Michael Short.

    He stressed two things. One, this is temporary, that the administration is working on more permanent actions that may not be executive orders, but may be just new forms of vetting. Second, he talked about a real fear that the White House has. He even used these words.

    He said: "I would hate to be explaining a terror attack that could have been prevented by our actions."

    However, at the same time, John, we now have word that 16 Democratic state attorneys general feel the opposite. They feel the real threat is from this order. And they have filed supportive briefs to those attorneys generals who are fighting it.


    And, Lisa, I understand you have gotten a little later word from the White House about this claim of reported terrorist attacks?


    That's right.

    On the plane back from Florida, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters who were there that what the president was talking about was under-reporting of terror plots.

    We pressed that here at the White House a bit more. And I was told that the White House is coming up with a list.

    Of course, the president himself didn't use the word under-reported. He said not even being reported.

    We're waiting to see what list they come up with. We haven't seen that list yet.


    Lisa Desjardins on the White House North Lawn.

    In the day's other news: The Senate went into an around-the-clock session in a showdown over Betsy DeVos, President Trump's nominee to be education secretary.

    She's a wealthy Republican donor and champion of alternatives to public schools. The Democrats said today they will hold the Senate floor until tomorrow's confirmation vote.

  • SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., Minority Leader:

    She is the least qualified nomination in a historically unqualified Cabinet. On conflicts of interest, she ranks among the worst. On philosophy of education, her views are extreme.

  • SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky., Majority Leader:

    I have every confidence that Ms. DeVos will lead the Department of Education in such a way that will put our students' interests first while also strengthening the educational opportunities available to all of America's children.


    Tomorrow's Senate roll call could come down to a tie. That would leave Vice President Pence to cast the deciding vote, something no other vice president has ever done in a Cabinet confirmation.

    Senior Republicans are brushing aside President Trump's latest remarks on Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a FOX News interview that aired Sunday, he dismissed Bill O'Reilly's characterization of Putin as a killer. The president said: "There are a lot of killers." And he asked, "Our country's so innocent?"

    Today, Texas Congressman Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, rejected the comparison. He said: "Are we the same as Putin's Russia? The answer is no."

    In Afghanistan, bad weather and snow-blocked roads are hampering rescue efforts after avalanches killed at least 119 people over the weekend. Nearly 90 more were hurt. Workers are trying to reach remote villages in the northern part of the country, where nearly 200 homes have been destroyed. Officials say some places were buried under more than six feet of snow.

    The one-time presidential front-runner in France insisted tonight he will not drop out of the race despite an embezzlement scandal. Conservative Francois Fillon has plunged in the polls, opening the door to far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who echoes President Trump's populism. This evening, Fillon defended himself against claims that he put relatives in high-paying government jobs with no real duties.

  • FRANCOIS FILLON, French Presidential Candidate (through interpreter):

    What was acceptable yesterday isn't anymore today. By working with my wife and my children, I favored this collaboration of trust which today creates distrust. It was a mistake.


    The first round of voting in the French election will be in April. Ahead of the balloting, Facebook and Google are teaming up with French news organizations to tackle fake news. The companies say they will provide tools to 17 French newsrooms to help them identify and debunk false stories. Facebook was criticized for not preventing false information from being republished during the American presidential election.

    Wall Street opened the week on a quiet note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 19 points to close at 20052. The Nasdaq fell three points, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly five.

    And Boston is getting ready for a blowout celebration after New England's dramatic overtime win over Atlanta in the Super Bowl. The Patriots returned home this afternoon after coming from 25 points behind last night to win 34-28. It's their fifth NFL title. The city holds a parade tomorrow. We will take a closer look at a game for the ages later in the program.

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