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Trump Dismisses Arguments Against Travel Ban as 'Disgraceful' During Sheriffs Conference

by Erik Ortiz /  / Updated 
President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2017.Evan Vucci / AP

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President Donald Trump bashed the attorneys and the judges involved in deciding whether his travel-related executive order must be reinstated, calling the arguments "disgraceful" during a speech Wednesday.

Trump's attack comes after a three-judge panel from a San Francisco appeals court grilled Justice Department attorneys over his ban, which prohibits foreigners from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. During oral arguments Tuesday afternoon, the judges wanted to know whether there's any evidence backing up the Trump administration's claims that national security is at risk because of people from those countries.

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A decision on the fate of Trump's executive order, which remains temporarily suspended by a federal judge in Seattle, could come down this week. Critics have decried it as a "Muslim ban."

"I don’t want to call a court biased, but courts seem to be so political," Trump complained during a joint conference in Washington, D.C., of the Major County Sheriffs' Association and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

"I listened to a bunch of stuff last night that was disgraceful," he added. "It was disgraceful."

The president in an earlier tweet Wednesday already blamed "politics" in the event the judges don't rule in his favor.

Trump defended his executive order by reading a section from the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says the president "may by proclamation" suspend certain immigrants from entering the U.S. if it "would be detrimental to the [nation's] interests."

"A bad high school student would understand this," Trump told the conference room of law enforcement officials. "Anybody would understand this."

Another section of the law, however, does not allow people applying for a visa to be discriminated against based on "race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence" — which is at the heart of the argument against Trump's executive order. It bans immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The president on Wednesday didn't demur on other divisive issues that have marked the first two and a half weeks of his presidency, including how to tamp down violent crime in urban cities.

He again pointed to Chicago, where he has said he would "send in the feds" to address the high murder rate.

"In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone, and the rate so far this year has been even higher," he said.

The Chicago Tribune reported that 4,367 people were shot in the Midwest's largest city in 2016. Shootings were up slightly this January over January 2016, and total murders increased to 51 — one more than in the same period last year, according to Chicago police.

Trump, who touted himself as the "law and order" president, also slipped in his promise of building a wall along the southern border with Mexico to stall crime and illegal immigration.

"Believe me, the wall is getting designed right now," he said to applause. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, Trump is only kidding with the wall.' We will have a wall and it will be a great wall."

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