White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the author of the controversial executive order, said the administration was simultaneously weighing several legal options after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday against reinstating the travel ban, which had been blocked temporarily by a federal judge in Washington state.
Miller said that officials are considering appealing with the 9th Circuit and having an emergency hearing "en banc," or before all judges on the court; seeking an emergency stay at the Supreme Court; taking the case to trial at the district level; or writing a new executive order for Trump to sign that would withstand legal scrutiny.
In unusually combative interviews on the Sunday morning television shows, Miller also refused to say whether Trump still has confidence in his national security adviser amid controversy over his communications with Russian officials. Miller also advanced false claims that widespread voter fraud undermined Trump's performance in November's election.
Miller insisted that Trump has the constitutional authority to ban the entry of certain foreigners, saying the actions represent "the very apex of presidential authority."
"I want to say something very clearly, and this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in Congress, like (Senate Democratic Leader Charles E.) Schumer, who have attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action: The president's powers here are beyond question," Miller said on Fox News.
Appearing also on ABC News, Miller said, "A district judge in Seattle cannot force the president of the United States to change our laws and our Constitution because of their own personal views. The president has the power ... to suspend the entry of aliens when it's in the national interest."
Miller said on CBS News that the judiciary was acting like "a supreme branch of government."
"One unelected judge in Seattle cannot make laws for the entire country," Miller told anchor John Dickerson. "I mean, this is just crazy, John. The idea that you're going to have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is beyond anything we've ever seen before."
Miller also suggested that the legal debate was not over the constitutionality of Trump's action, but rather over ideology.
"There is no constitutional right for a citizen in a foreign country, who has no status in America, to demand entry into our country," the adviser said on ABC. "Such a right cannot exist. Such a right will never exist. This is an ideological disagreement between those who believe we should have borders and should have controls and those who believe there should be no borders and no controls."
Miller's exchanges with the Sunday show hosts were testy on other subjects as well. He punted when ABC anchor George Stephanopolous asked him about The Washington Post's report that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn discussed the then-Obama administration's sanctions against Russia in conversations with that country's ambassador before Flynn was sworn in as White House national security adviser.
"I don't have any news to make you today on this point," Miller said, prompting Stephanopoulos to ask, "Then why are you coming in if you can't answer the questions being posed about the White House?"
On NBC, when anchor Chuck Todd asked Miller whether Trump still had confidence in Flynn, Miller said he did not know. Miller said his colleagues in the White House "did not give me anything to say."
"It's not for me to tell you what's in the president's mind," he told Todd. "That's a question for the president."
Miller also repeated the false claim that Trump underperformed in the general election because of "massive voter fraud." Miller provided no evidence to support his assertions in his ABC appearance - something Stephanopolous pointed out to viewers.
Miller repeated claims Trump made privately to senators this past week that he narrowly lost the general election in New Hampshire because thousands of Massachusetts residents were bused into New Hampshire to vote illegally there.
"I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who's worked in New Hampshire politics," Miller said. "It's very real. It's very serious."
There is no known evidence of this happening.
Miller went on to say that there is "enormous evidence" of people being registered to vote in more than one state, of "dead people voting" and noncitizens being registered to vote.
"George, it is a fact - and you will not deny it - that there are massive numbers of noncitizens in this country who are registered to vote," Miller said. "That is a scandal. We should stop the presses. And, as a country, we should be aghast about the fact that you have people who have no right to vote in this country registered to vote, canceling out the franchise of lawful citizens of this country."
At that, Stephanopolous intoned: "For the record, you have provided zero evidence that the president was the victim of massive voter fraud in New Hampshire. You provided zero evidence that the president's claim that he would have won the popular vote if 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants hadn't voted - zero evidence for either one of those claims."
Miller's combative appearances pleased his boss, who apparently was watching from Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump tweeted: "Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!"
|Advisor Stephen Miller waits for President Donald Trump before a meeting with lawmakers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 2, 2017. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)|
Donald Trump's adviser Stephen Miller challenged on unfounded New Hampshire voter fraud claim
One of Donald Trump's senior advisers used a Sunday television appearance to repeat an unfounded claim that "thousands" of people were driven to the state of New Hampshire to vote illegally in November's election.
The voter fraud allegation was first made by the President himself in a meeting with senators. Federal Electoral Commissioner Ellen Weintraub called it an "astonishing" claim that "cannot be ignored", and urged Mr Trump to provide evidence.
Senior adviser Stephen Miller did the rounds of Sunday politics programmes in the US and was praised by Mr Trump for his performance. During one, he asserted the New Hampshire claim and other fraud claims a number of times without giving evidence for them.
On ABC, he told presenter George Stephanopoulos: "I can tell you that this issue, of busing voters into New Hampshire, is widely known by anyone who's worked in New Hampshire politics, it's very real, it's very serious.
"This morning, on this show, is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence, but I can tell you this: voter fraud is a serious problem in this country.
"You have millions of people who are registered in two states, or who are dead who are registered to vote, and you have 14 per cent of non-citizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote."
Pressed by Mr Stephanopoulos on the basis for his claim, he said: "Go to New Hampshire, talk to anyone who's worked in politics there for a long time. Everybody's aware of the problem in New Hampshire."
Challenging Mr Miller a second time, Mr Stephanopoulos said: "I'm asking you as the White House senior policy adviser, the President made a statement saying he was the victim of voter fraud. Do you have any evidence?"
Mr Miller replied: "If this is an issue that interests you, then we can talk about it more in the future."
Mr Stephanopoulos said: "You have provided absolutely no evidence." Mr Miller, repeatedly glancing out of shot, said: "The White House has provided enormous evidence." He added there were "massive numbers" of non-citizens registered to vote.
"That's the story we should be talking about, and I'm prepared to go on any show, anywhere, any time and repeat it and say the President of the United States is correct 100 per cent."
President Trump later tweeted: "Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!"
Commissioner Weintraub, appointed by George W Bush in 2002, said: "President Trump has alleged an astonishing voter-fraud scheme that he claims denied him and former Senator Kelly Ayotte victory in the state of New Hampshire in the 2016 elections."
"As a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, I am acutely aware that our democracy rests on the faith of the American people in the integrity of their elections."
The details Mr Trump related would amount to thousands of criminal acts, she added.
Stephen Miller’s bushels of Pinocchios for false voter-fraud claims
White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller appeared on ABC’s “The Week” on Sunday, spouting a bunch of false talking points on alleged voter fraud. (He also repeated similar claims on other Sunday talk shows.) To his credit, host George Stephanopoulus repeatedly challenged Miller, noting that he had provided no evidence to support his claims. But Miller charged ahead, using the word “fact” three times in a vain effort to bolster his position.
Here’s a guide through the back and forth.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me move on, though, to the question of voter fraud as well. President Trump again this week suggested in a meeting with senators that thousands of illegal voters were bused from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and that’s what caused his defeat in the state of New Hampshire, also the defeat of Senator Kelly Ayotte.
That has provoked a response from a member of the Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub, who says, “I call upon the president to immediately share New Hampshire voter fraud evidence so that his allegations may be investigated promptly.”
Do you have that evidence?
Stephanopoulus is referring to a Feb. 10 Politico report of a closed-door meeting Trump held with senators to discuss the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court: “The president claimed that he and Ayotte both would have been victorious in the Granite State if not for the ‘thousands’ of people who were ‘brought in on buses’ from neighboring Massachusetts to ‘illegally’ vote in New Hampshire. According to one participant who described the meeting, ‘an uncomfortable silence’ momentarily overtook the room.”
Ayotte lost her Senate race by about 1,000 votes but did not challenge the results; Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in New Hampshire by nearly 3,000 votes.
MILLER: I have actually, having worked before on a campaign in New Hampshire, I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics. It’s very real. It’s very serious. This morning, on this show, is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence.
This is false. PolitiFact New Hampshire in November gave the state’s governor, Chris Sununu, a “Pants on Fire” for claiming that voters were bused in — and Sununu quickly retreated from his comment. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said voter fraud was not widespread problem, largely because the law requires voters to show a valid identification at the polls. If an ID is lacking, the voter’s photo is taken, they have to sign an affidavit affirming their identify and then state officials follow up.
Sununu later said he did not mean to imply that “I see buses coming over,” saying it was more of a figure of speech. “Sununu said he was referring to an incident over Portsmouth state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark allowing Democratic staffers to live at her house in the 2008 and 2012 elections,” PolitiFact reported. “Those staffers voted in New Hampshire elections using Fuller Clark’s address, which is not illegal, as they were living in the state at least 3 months before the election, the Attorney General later ruled.”
We sent the White House the PolitiFact article and asked the White House for additional evidence. We will update if we receive a response.
MILLER: But I can tell you this, voter fraud is a serious problem in this country. You have millions of people who are registered in two states or who are dead who are registered to vote. And you have 14 percent of noncitizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote, which is an astonishing statistic.
Ugh. Miller has again resorted to bogus claims that we have repeatedly debunked.
A 2012 Pew Center on the States study found problems with inaccurate voter registrations, people who registered in more than one state (which could happen if the voter moves and registers in the new state without telling the former state) and deceased voters whose information was still on the voter rolls. But the primary author of the Pew report tweeted in response to Trump’s staff’s claim that he “can confirm that report made no findings re: voter fraud.”
As to the 14 percent figure — stemming from research by Old Dominion University professors, using data from 2008 and 2010 — that also has been misrepresented by Trump and his staff. They have ignored updates and challenges to the research. The researchers have also warned that “it is impossible to tell for certain whether the noncitizens who responded to the survey were representative of the broader population of noncitizens.”
One of the researchers, Jesse Richman, wrote about the Trump staff’s use of his research. The results “suggest that almost all elections in the US are not determined by noncitizen participation, with occasional and very rare potential exceptions,” he said, noting that “there has been a tendency to misread our results as proof of massive voter fraud, which we don’t think they are.”
In other words, the researcher whom Miller is citing says his research does not show what Miller claims.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You can’t make a — hold on a second. You just claimed again that there was illegal voting in New Hampshire, people bused in from the state of Massachusetts. Do you have any evidence to back that up?
MILLER: I’m saying anybody — George, go to New Hampshire. Talk to anybody who has worked in politics there for a long time. Everybody is aware of the problem in New Hampshire with respect to —
STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m asking you as the White House senior — hold on a second. I’m asking you as the White House senior policy adviser. The president made a statement, saying he was the victim of voter fraud, people are being bused from —
MILLER: And the president — the president — the president was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any evidence?
MILLER: If this is an issue that interests you, then we can talk about it more in the future. And we now have — our governance is beginning to get stood up. But we have a Department of Justice and we have more officials.
An issue of voter fraud is something we’re going to be looking at very seriously and very hard.
But the reality is, is that we know for a fact, you have massive numbers of noncitizens registered to vote in this country. Nobody disputes that.
False. As shown above, this is disputed even by the researcher whose work is being cited by Miller: “There has been a tendency to misread our results as proof of massive voter fraud, which we don’t think they are.”
MILLER: And many, many highly qualified people, like Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, have looked deeply into this issue and have confirmed it to be true and have put together evidence.
And I suggest you invite Kris Kobach onto your show and he can walk you through some of the evidence of voter fraud in greater detail.
Miller mentioned Kobach, but the latter’s efforts at proving voter fraud have been mocked in Kansas.
In a scathing editorial titled “Kris Kobach is a big fraud on Kansas voter fraud,” the Kansas City Star accused the “publicity-seeking” Kansas secretary of state of throwing out “wild claims” and wasting taxpayer funds as part of “loathsome attacks on U.S. immigration policy.”
State Rep. John Carmichael, a Democrat, has introduced a bill to strip Kobach of his prosecutorial power because he has “dramatically overstated the frequency of voter fraud during his tenure as Kansas’ secretary of state,” the Wichita Eagle reported in January. “Carmichael noted that Kobach has not brought a single case against a noncitizen for voting illegally. All of the cases he has brought concern U.S. citizens accused of voting in more than one state.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just for the record, you have provided absolutely no evidence. The president’s made a statement.
MILLER: The White House has provided enormous evidence with respect to voter fraud, with respect to people being registered in more than one state, dead people voting, noncitizens being registered to vote. George, it is a fact and you will not deny it, that there are massive numbers of noncitizens in this country who are registered to vote. That is a scandal.
As noted, the “enormous evidence” has been repeatedly debunked.
MILLER: We should stop the presses. And, as a country, we should be aghast about the fact that you have people who have no right to vote in this country registered to vote, canceling out the franchise of lawful citizens of this country.
That’s the story we should be talking about. And I’m prepared to go on any show, anywhere, anytime, and repeat it and say the president of the United States is correct 100 percent.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you just repeated, though, you just made those declarations. But, for the record, you have provided zero evidence that the president was the victim of massive voter fraud in New Hampshire. You provided zero evidence that the president’s claim that he would have won the general — the popular vote — if 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants hadn’t voted, zero evidence for either one of those claims.
The Pinocchio Test
Stephanopoulos is right. The White House continues to provide zero evidence to back up its claims of voter fraud. Officials instead retreat to the same bogus talking points that have been repeatedly shown to be false.
It’s pretty ridiculous to cite research in a way that even the researcher says is inappropriate, and yet Miller keeps saying 14 percent of noncitizens are registered to vote. The Republican governor of New Hampshire has admitted that he was wrong to say buses of illegal voters voted in the election, and yet Miller shamelessly suggests that is the case. Miller cites a supposed expert on voter fraud, Kobach, who has been mocked for failing to prove his own claims of voter fraud. Miller also repeats a claim about people being registered to vote in two states, even though that is not an example of voter fraud.
Miller earns Four Pinocchios — over and over again.