President Trump Assails Justice Dep’t Court Strategy on Travel Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) -
President Donald Trump shields his eyes looking to the audience as he speaks during the Ford’s Theater Annual Gala at the Ford’s Theater in Washington, Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump lashed out at his own Justice Department Monday for seeking the Supreme Court’s backing for a “watered down, politically correct version” of the travel ban he signed in March.

In a series of early morning tweets, Trump urged the Justice Department to ask for an “expedited hearing” at the high court and seek a “much tougher version” of the order temporarily blocking entry to the U.S. from a half-dozen majority Muslim countries. He called the courts, which have blocked two versions of the travel ban, “slow and political.”

The president criticized the legal strategy in the wake of the vehicle and knife attack in London that left seven people dead and dozens injured. The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last week, the Justice Department formally asked the Supreme Court to let a ban on visitors from six mostly Muslim countries and refugees from around the world to be put in place. The high court also is being asked to uphold the constitutionality of the Trump travel policy, which lower courts have blocked because it shows anti-Muslim prejudice.

The directive that would go before the Supreme Court is a narrower version of the executive order the president signed during his first week in office. The second order removed Iraq from the list of banned countries. An indefinite halt to entry from Syrian refugees was replaced by a temporary pause.

President Trump said Sunday night he would do whatever is necessary to protect the United States from a “vile enemy” that he said has waged war on innocents for too long. “This bloodshed must end, this bloodshed will end,” he vowed.

President Trump was commenting at the conclusion of a fundraiser for Ford’s Theater, scene of one of the most famous acts of bloodshed in American history: the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

“America sends our thoughts and prayers and our deepest sympathies to the victims of this evil slaughter and we renew our resolve, stronger than ever before, to protect the United States and its allies from a vile enemy that has waged war on innocent life, and it’s gone on too long,” President Trump said in an appearance at a Ford’s Theater event.

“As president, I will do what is necessary to prevent this threat from spreading to our shores and work every single day to protect the safety and security of our country, our communities and our people,” he said.

Trump said he had spoken with British Prime Minister Theresa May to express America’s “unwavering support” and offer U.S. assistance as the British government works to protect its citizens and bring the guilty to justice.

The Trump administration last week formally asked the Supreme Court, the highest court in the U.S., to allow a proposed travel ban on visitors from six mostly Muslim countries and refugees from around the world to take effect, arguing that restricting immigration by refugees and visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen is necessary to protect U.S. national security. A date for the court to hear arguments in the case was not immediately set.

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” President Trump tweeted Saturday after the attack.