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Donald Trump Shifts on Muslim Ban, Calls for ‘Extreme Vetting’

Donald Trump is once again shifting the parameters of his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, calling Sunday for "extreme vetting" of persons from "territories" with a history of terror — though not explicitly abandoning his previous across-the-board ban.

Image: Donald Trump Gives Speech On Presidential Election In New York
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during an event at Trump SoHo Hotel, June 22, 2016 in New York City. Trump's remarks focused on criticisms of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

In an interview with "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday, Trump zeroed in on people from suspicious "territories" as those who will receive deep scrutiny when trying to enter the United States. He did not directly repudiate his previous call for an outright ban.

"Call it whatever you want," Trump told CBS when asked if he was changing his previously released policy.

"Change territories, but there are territories and terror states and terror nations that we're not going to allow the people to come into our country," he said.

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Trump continued: "We're going to have a thing called 'extreme vetting.' And if people want to come in, there's going to be extreme vetting. We're going to have extreme vetting. They're going to come in and we're going to know where they came from and who they are."

Syrian refugees, however, appear to still be on Trump's list of those people not allowed into the country. The presumptive Republican nominee, who heads to the convention this week for his official coronation, remained consistent on his calls to "not let people in from Syria that nobody knows who they are." This ban appears more country-based than religious-based.

Trump's initial proposal for a ban came in December of 2015. He called for a temporary yet "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." The 2015 policy proposed a blanket ban on Muslims based on what Trump called "hatred" of the West he said was innate in Islam.

How Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric hurts his campaign 5:33

The language around the ban later shifted when Trump traveled to Scotland, spurring questions when he told a reporter it wouldn't "bother" him to allow a Scottish or British Muslim to come into the United States in light of his proposed ban. When asked moments later by The Daily Mail to further clarify those remarks, Trump responded: "I don't want people coming in — I don't want people coming in from certain countries. I don't want people coming in from the terror countries. You have terror countries! I don't want them, unless they're very, very strongly vetted."

Asked at the time which countries constitute the "terror countries," Trump said, "they're pretty well decided. All you have to do is look!"

He echoed this sentiment in a phone call with NBC News one day later. When asked by NBC's Hallie Jackson which "terror nations" Trump would focus on, he did not give much by way of criteria for designating these countries. "Terror nations," Trump repeated. "Look it up. They have a list of terror nations."

This is the first time Trump himself has articulated the pivot and specification of the ban that many advisors have attempted to spin for him. Still, the businessman has not disavowed his prior plan for a blanket ban or stated that it's being abandoned in the wake of a new policy that focuses on specific territories.