The Ninth District court's ruling against President Donald Trump's travel ban doesn't mean the president lost his bid and the case is over, but it does show that "nobody is above the law and the Constitution," Sen. Angus King said Friday.
"I think what really stuck in the craw of the court is that the president's counsel said it's not reviewable, the courts can't have any role," the Maine Independent senator told CNN's "New Day" program. "There's a long road on this. This is a temporary restraining order. If there are no further appeals, it will go back to the district court in Washington where there will be a hearing and evidence and briefs next week."
As the decision was handed down, Trump tweeted "we'll see you in court," and King said the future court proceedings could occur in one of three places.
"They could request an all-judge ruling from the Ninth Circuit, or they could try to take an appeal to the Supreme Court," King said. "That would be tough because they need five votes to even get there, or they could go ahead and litigate the case in the district court in the state of Washington."
King also commented about Trump's slams on Judge James Robart, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, who put the first hold on the executive order. Trump, through Twitter, called Robart a "so-called" judge and said he'd be to blame if an attack occurred.
Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch reportedly said he found the words "disheartening and demoralizing" during a meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. The Trump administration and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte have said Gorsuch wasn't specifically talking about Trump's tweets, King said "couldn't agree more" about Trump's tweets.
"You can disagree with a court's decision," King said. "That's why they invented law reviews . . . when you criticize the institution itself, the so-called judge, he's not a so-called judge. He's a federal judge, nominated by a president of the United States, approved by the United States Senate."
King said the incident reminded him of the time when Trump put the words intelligence community in quotes when complaining about reports that had been leaked.
"That is delegitimizing one of the coequal branches of our government," King said of Trump's tweets on the judge. "It's really offensive and particularly offensive to somebody like Judge Gorsuch, who spent his whole life in the courtroom. We've got to respect the institutions. If you delegitimize all your opponents, that ultimately is very destructive."
King also commented on news reports that National Security Agency Director Michael Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office.
"I think we have to continue to look into it," King said. "I'm on the Intelligence Committee, and we're going to be conducting the congressional investigation into the Russian hacking . . . as far as where this issue goes with Michael Flynn, I don't see it as necessarily something that's a crime or anything, but it does go to questions of credibility and judgment."
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