President Trump is “pursuing all options” in response to an appeals court decision against his extreme vetting order, according to a top White House aide who accused federal judges Sunday of snatching powers away from the executive branch.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld a restraining order against Mr. Trump’s decision to temporarily halt the American refugee program and to block most travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations — Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Yemen — until stronger vetting could be implemented.
During a round of Sunday talk show appearances, White House policy adviser Stephen Miller said the 9th Circuit has a long history of overreaching and having its rulings overturned.
“The president’s powers here are beyond question,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”
“We don’t have judicial supremacy in this country,” Mr. Miller said. “We have three co-equal branches of government.”
The president is considering another executive order on immigration as early as Monday, saying it’s an urgent matter of national security, although Mr. Miller refused to lock the president into one option.
He said Mr. Trump also could seek an emergency stay before the Supreme Court, a review by a fuller slate of judges on the 9th Circuit or a trial on the merits at the district court level.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Mr. Trump would be better off junking the whole effort.
“Its genesis is so bad and terrible he ought to just throw it in the trash can,” Mr. Schumer told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
He said the policy is “un-American,” will hurt the U.S. economically and spur would-be terrorists to carry out “lone wolf” attacks.
Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, said Mr. Trump was within his rights to impose the ban but that it might not achieve its goal.
“I have been clear that I don’t think that it is a good idea. I think that the message that it sends to our allies abroad and the countries that we need to work with is not a good one,” Mr. Flake told “Face the Nation.”
“But I do think it is constitutional,” he said. “I hope that we will pause and reflect and see where we need to go from here.”
Mr. Miller said the president is fully within his rights to impose “moderate, necessary and sensible” restrictions on who enters the country.
“This is not a decision based upon national origins. It’s a decision based upon security conditions in those countries,” Mr. Miller told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Syria is a disaster zone. Libya is in ruins. Yemen has a massive resurgent terrorism movement. These are decisions based upon the ability of those countries to cooperate with our intelligence services.”
Mr. Trump, who is known to keep tabs on his aides’ TV performances, said he was pleased with Mr. Miller’s defense.
“Congratulations Stephen Miller — on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
Mr. Trump has used his online account to lash out at judges who have opposed his order, suggesting they would be responsible for any terrorist attacks that occur while his extreme vetting program is on ice.
Mr. Trump said 72 percent of refugees admitted into the U.S. during the “court breakdown” since Feb. 3 are from the seven countries on his ban list.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said the U.S. should target its anti-terrorism efforts more closely. For instance, it could focus on people who might self-radicalize instead of freezing out refugees or imposing a blanket ban on specific nations, which he said gives Islamist terrorist groups another recruiting tool.
“We really need to have a smart policy,” he told “Fox News Sunday,” “and we already have extreme vetting for refugees particularly.”