News Wrap: Trump to possibly offer new order on immigration

JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump now says that he may sign, in his words, a brand-new order on immigration as early as Monday or Tuesday. But he also says he still figures to win the court battle over his initial attempt to bar travelers from seven mostly Muslim nations.

The federal court of appeals in the Ninth Circuit upheld a freeze on that ban in a Thursday ruling.

John Yang reports that all of this unfolded as the prime minister of Japan visited the White House.

JOHN YANG: President Trump made clear today he’s ready for the court fight about his immigration order to be over, but he’s not waiting for the final ruling.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It shouldn’t have taken this much time, because safety is a primary reason. One of the reasons I’m standing here today is the security of our country. So we will be doing something very rapidly, having to do with additional security for our country. You will be seeing that some time next week. In addition, we will continue to go through the court process, and ultimately I have no doubt that we will win that particular case.

JOHN YANG: Mr. Trump gave no details of just what that additional security will be, but said the dangers are clear, though he wouldn’t give specifics about them either.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: While I have been president, which is just for a very short period of time, I have learned tremendous things that you could only learn, frankly, if you were in a certain position, namely president. And there are tremendous threats to our country. We will not allow that to happen, I can tell you that right now. We will not allow that to happen.

JOHN YANG: This morning, the president took to Twitter to call the appeals court decision not to reinstate his travel ban disgraceful. Three judges, two of them nominated by Democrats, one by a Republican, upheld a restraining order put in place by a federal judge in Seattle one week ago today.

The appeals court said the government didn’t provide adequate due process to affected travelers, and provided no evidence that anyone from the seven countries in the order has been responsible for U.S. terror attacks. The judges also concluded the administration is unlikely to prevail in a trial on the merits of the case.

Within minutes of the decision, the president told reporters it was political and tweeted, “See you in court.”

Washington state’s attorney general, who filed the suit, said, bring it on.

BOB FERGUSON, Washington State Attorney General: We have seen the president in court twice. And we’re two for two. That’s number one. And, in my view, the future of the Constitution is at stake.

JOHN YANG: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that the president should see the writing on the wall and abandon the order. Hillary Clinton tweeted simply “3-0,” a reference to the unanimous decision.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he asked Mr. Trump in a phone call to lift the travel ban for Iraqis. Some have worked as translators for the U.S. military and their lives might be in danger if they stay in Iraq.

For now, with the ban on hold, refugees and others from all of the seven affected nations are free to enter the United States. And in addition to the appeals court ruling, the administration faces dozens of other legal challenges from around the country.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang at the White House.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Late today, there was word that the Trump administration may be leaning against appealing the restraining order to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the White House chief of staff said that it may still be possible.

In the day’s other news: Ohio Governor John Kasich delayed eight executions in the face of a court fight over the state’s lethal injection process. A federal judge found that process unconstitutional, but the state is appealing. The governor’s decision pushes back the executions to May, or later.

From Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, an apparent gesture to President Trump. He has told Yahoo News the U.S. is welcome to send troops to Syria to battle those that he called terrorists. But he also said in the interview that his permission is contingent on Washington respecting his government’s sovereignty.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, President of Syria: If you want to start genuinely as the United States, to do so, it must be through the Syrian government. We are here, we are the Syrians, we own this country as Syrians, nobody else. Nobody would understand it like us. So you cannot defeat the terrorism without cooperation with the people and the government of any country.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Assad said he shares the priority that President Trump places on fighting terrorism, but he rejected the idea of establishing safe zones for refugees inside Syria.

In Australia, temperatures soared to 117 degrees in and around Sydney today, as an extreme heat wave grips the country. Major industrial energy users shut down in order to help prevent blackouts. Beaches were packed with people looking for relief, while zoo animals cooled off with a hose-down and frozen treats. Forecasters expect Saturday could be the hottest February day ever recorded in Australia.

Back in this country, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced protesters in her first visit to a public school since a bruising confirmation fight. Several dozen people tried to block her from entering a school in Washington. She said later that she respects peaceful protest, but — quote — “will not be deterred” from doing her job. DeVos has drawn fire for her support of alternatives to public schools.

Wall Street finished this Friday on a high note. Mining and energy stocks led the way, as prices for oil and copper jumped. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 97 points to close at 20269. The Nasdaq rose almost 19, and the S&P 500 added eight. For the week, all three indexes gained about 1 percent.