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Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 10:14

In court, Trump camp argues for travel ban

By Reuters

In court, Trump camp argues for travel ban

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump's administration asked a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday to rule a federal judge was wrong to suspend a temporary travel ban the president imposed on people from seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees .

"Congress has expressly authorized the president to suspend entry of categories of aliens," attorney August Flentje, special counsel for the U.S. Justice Department, said under intense questioning from a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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The court said at the end of the session that it would issue a ruling as soon as possible

"That's what the president did here," Flentje said at the start of a more than hour-long oral argument conducted by telephone and broadcast live online. He said the president's Jan. 27 executive order was valid under the U.S. Constitution.

The court said at the end of the session that it would issue a ruling as soon as possible. Beforehand, the court said it would likely rule this week but not on Tuesday. The matter is ultimately likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Trump's order barred travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, except refugees from Syria, whom he would ban indefinitely.

Trump, who took office on Jan. 20, has defended the measure , the most divisive act of his young presidency, as necessary for national security.

A federal judge in Seattle, responding to a challenge by Washington state, suspended the order last Friday.

Individuals, states and civil rights groups challenging the ban said Trump's administration had offered no evidence it answered a threat. Opponents also assailed the ban as discriminatory against Muslims.

The states of Minnesota and Washington brought the case against the Trump administration.

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