President Trump on Monday derided the revised travel ban as a “watered down” version of the first and criticized his own Justice Department’s handling of the case — potentially hurting the administration’s defense of the ban as the legal battle over it reaches a critical new stage.
Trump in a tweet called the new ban “politically correct,” ignoring the fact that he himself signed the executive order replacing the first ban with a revised version that targeted six, rather than seven, Muslim-majority countries and that blocked the issuance of new visas rather than revoking current ones.
Trump said the Justice Department should seek a “much tougher version” and made clear — despite his press secretary’s past remarks to the contrary — that the executive order is a “ban,” not a pause on some sources of immigration or an enhanced vetting system.
“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Trump wrote.
Next week, those suing are expected to file arguments on the matter with the Supreme Court, and Trump’s latest remarks will surely be part of their briefs. The administration appealed to the nation’s highest court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the freeze on the ban last month.
Neal Katyal, the lawyer who argued for the challengers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, wrote on Twitter, “Its kinda odd to have the defendant in HawaiivTrump acting as our co-counsel. We don’t need the help but will take it!” He also wrote that he was “waiting now for the inevitable cover-my-tweet posts from him that the Solicitor General will no doubt insist upon.”
Even George Conway, a prominent lawyer who recently took himself out of the running to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Division and who is the husband of top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, posted on Twitter that the remarks might hurt the legal case.
“These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad,” he wrote, using abbreviations for Office of Solicitor General and the Supreme Court.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was “not at all” concerned that his tweets might muddy the legal case, and his attention was instead on the substance of his executive order. She said she was not aware of any vetting of his tweets by lawyers or aides.Read More...
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