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Donald Trump's policy adviser says 'all options' are open for travel ban

'The judiciary is not supreme' senior policy adviser insists in whirlwind of TV appearances

Rachel Roberts
Sunday 12 February 2017 23:37 GMT
Steohen Miller did the rounds of US news network shows to say Mr Trump is not willing to bow down to the judiciary on his controversial travel ban
Steohen Miller did the rounds of US news network shows to say Mr Trump is not willing to bow down to the judiciary on his controversial travel ban (ABC)

Donald Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller appeared on four major US news shows in the space of a few hours to confirm the President will continue to fight the courts over his controversial travel ban.

“We are considering and pursuing all options,” said Mr Miller, who played a key role in the initial drafting of the ban.

Speaking to Fox News he said those options include seeking an emergency stay at the Supreme Court to suspend the block on the ban, continuing the appeal with the panel, having an emergency hearing or going to the trial court at district level as well as drafting a fresh order.

The ban caused chaos and howls of protest when Mr Trump signed his executive order temporarily barring access to the US from citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, but has been halted by the courts following several legal challenges.

One possibility the Court of Appeal suggested is that the order be redrafted so that it does not risk violating the US constitution, which forbids discrimination on the grounds of religion.

Mr Miller, who previously worked for Tea Party founder Michele Bachman and then for Mr Trump’s new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, said the President is not willing to bow down to the courts over his "extreme vetting" policy.

“The point I want to make to your listeners is that we have equal branches of Government in his country,' Mr Miller told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

“The judiciary is not supreme.

“A district judge in Seattle cannot force the president of the United States to change their laws and our Constitution because of their own personal views,” he said in a reference to Judge James Robart, who suspended the ban after it was challenged in the state of Washington.

Mr Trump appealed this ruling, but the San Francisco based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did not block Mr Robart’s ruling and the ban remains on hold.

The President called this a “political decision” and told judges he would “see (them) in court”, suggesting he was prepared to take the case to the Supreme Court – although it is thought likely by legal experts that he would lose.

“What the judges did both at the 9th and district level was to take power for themselves that belonged squarely in the hands of the President of the United States,” Mr Miller told Chuck Todd on NBC News.

He later told Face the Nation on CBS: “Our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

Fox News host Chris Wallace told Mr Miller that Mr Robart is now receiving death threats because of his intervention, and suggested Mr Trump might bear some responsibility because of his strongly-worded criticism of the judge.

Mr Miller replied: “This is one of the most ludicrous things that the media does, where when any crazy person in the country issues a death threat, that they can blame a politician or a public official.

“Of course one branch of government can criticise another.”

Mr Trump has hinted there will be a fresh order drafted, telling a press conference with the Japanese Prime Minister: “We are going to do whatever’s necessary to keep our country safe.

“We had a decision which we think we’ll be very successful with. It shouldn’t have taken this much time….so we’ll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country. You’ll be seeing that sometime next week.”

The President was apparently pleased with his aide for representing him across the networks, tweeting out: “Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!”

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