left right Iranian citizen and U.S green card holder Cyrus Khosravi (L) greets his brother, Hamidreza Khosravi (C), and niece, Dena Khosravi (R), 2, after they were detained for additional screening following their arrival to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to visit Cyrus, during a pause in U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban in SeaTac, Washington, U.S. February 6, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder 1/4 left right Beth Kohn protests outside the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse in San Francisco, California February 7, 2017, while the Court hears arguments regarding President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries. REUTERS/Noah Berger 2/4 left right Shanez Tabarsi (R) is greeted by her daughter Negin after traveling to the U.S. from Iran following a federal court's temporary stay of U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 6, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder 3/4 left right The James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building, home of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is pictured in San Francisco, California February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Noah Berger 4/4 By Ayesha Rascoe and Steve Holland | ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE/WASHINGTON
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE/WASHINGTON President Donald Trump said late on Friday aboard Air Force One that he is considering issuing a new travel ban executive order, while White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the administration could still escalate a legal dispute over Trump's original travel ban order to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a step that triggered the most serious legal confrontation yet for the new Republican administration, Trump two weeks ago issued an executive order banning entry into the United States by refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, triggering nationwide protests and legal challenges.
A federal judge in Seattle last week issued a temporary restraining order putting the travel ban on hold. That suspension was upheld by an appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday, raising questions about Trump's next step.
In a surprise visit with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Florida from Washington, Trump said he was considering "a brand new order" that could be issued as soon as Monday or Tuesday if he decides to move in that direction.
After a White House official said the administration was not planning to escalate the legal dispute to the Supreme Court, Priebus told reporters late on Friday such a move was still possible.
"Every single court option is on the table, including an appeal of the Ninth Circuit decision on the TRO (temporary restraining order) to the Supreme Court, including fighting out this case on the merits," Priebus said.
"And, in addition to that, we're pursuing executive orders right now that we expect to be enacted soon that will further protect Americans from terrorism."
Trump's order, which he called a national security measure meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants, barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, except refugees from Syria, who are banned indefinitely.
Trump could rewrite the order to explicitly exclude green card holders, or permanent residents, said a congressional aide familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. Doing that could alleviate some concerns with the original order expressed by judges in the 9th Circuit court where it is being tested.
On Air Force One, Trump said regarding the 9th Circuit court fight: "We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily … We need speed for reasons of security."
An official familiar with Trump's plans said if the order is rewritten, among those involved would likely be White House aide Stephen Miller, who was involved in drafting the original order, as well as officials of the National Security Council, Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security.
Independently of the Trump administration, an unidentified judge on the 9th Circuit requested that the court’s 25 full time judges vote on whether the temporary block of Trump’s travel ban should be reheard before an 11 judge panel, known as en banc review, according to a court order. The 9th Circuit asked both sides to file briefs by Thursday.
(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball, Doina Chiacu and Julia Edwards Ainsley in Washington; Mica Rosenberg in New York; and Dan Levine in San Francisco; Writing by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Frances Kerry and Bill Rigby)