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Trump adviser says travel ban decision ‘slap in face’ to opponents

The sun flares in the camera lens as it rises behind the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, Sunday, June 25, 2017. The court is expected to decide within days if the Trump administration can enforce it's travel ban. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

LISTEN: Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the President

PHOENIX — A top adviser to President Donald Trump said a Supreme Court decision to reinstate part of the president’s travel ban was a victory over those trying to use the legal system for political gain.

“We see the 9-0 decision with zero dissensions as a slap in the face to those that would use the courts with a political agenda to undermine the security of U.S. citizens,” Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.

Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts.

However, Gorka did not say when the travel ban would go into effect. He said officials at both the departments of state and homeland security were reviewing the court’s decision and its ramifications.

But he said the White House viewed the decision as a victory.

“This is a complete and utter vindication of the president,” Gorka said.

The court decided to reinstate part of the travel ban on Monday. The court said the ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could be enforced as long as they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The Trump administration said the 90-day ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from those countries.

That review should be complete before Oct. 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.

A 120-day ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a limited basis.

Three of the court’s conservative justices said they would have let the complete bans take effect.

Two federal appeals courts had blocked the travel policy, which Trump announced a week after he took office in January and revised in March after setbacks in court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the ban was “rooted in religious animus” toward Muslims and pointed to Trump’s campaign promise to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country as well as tweets and remarks he has made since becoming president.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel policy does not comply with federal immigration law, including a prohibition on nationality-based discrimination.

That court also put a hold on separate aspects of the policy that would keep all refugees out of the United States for 120 days and cut by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000, the cap on refugees in the current government spending year that ends Sept. 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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