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Pool report #4
Michael Schmidt • The New York Times
January 28, 2017: 03:45 PM


Here are highlights from the background briefing we received from a senior administration official:

-The official said that Trump advisers had been in contact for many weeks with key State Department and Department of Homeland Security officials about Friday's executive order.

"Everyone who needed to know was informed," the official said.

"This White House conveys its deepest appreciation to everyone involved in the implementation of this order, and that's been formally conveyed to the managers of both State and Homeland Security," the official said.

-The official tried to push back on the notion that Friday's executive order was a Muslim ban and listed off several predominantly Muslim countries that the order does not apply to. The official said that the United States still took in more foreigners than any other country in the history of civilization and said that the number of people impacted by Friday's executive order was relatively small.

"We're dealing with a relatively small universe of people," the official said.

"It's important to keep in mind that no person living or residing overseas has a right to entry to the US," the official said.

- The official said green card holders from one of the seven affected countries who are currently outside the United States will need a case by case waiver to return to the United States, according to the official. Those green card holders in the United States will have to meet with a consular officer before leaving the country, the official said.

-The official said that the administration is still working to define what "in transit" means for the purposes of the hardship exemption for refugees who have been approved to enter the United States but are currently in a third country.

-The official said that the White House is aware of reports that Iran plans reciprocal steps in response to Friday's executive order, adding that if those measures are indeed reciprocal, it means that the Iranians will review each individual on a case by case basis.

-The official would not say whether the three actions that the president could take this afternoon -- five year lobbying ban, reorganization of NSC and call on Pentagon to come up with plan in 30 days to defeat ISIS -- would be executive orders, executive actions or memorandums.

-This afternoon, POTUS is scheduled to speak with President François Hollande of France and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, the official said.



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