The Briefing Room: Trump's claim to end birthright citizenship draws criticism

House speaker Paul Ryan: Trump can't end birthright citizenship with an executive order.
22:16 | 10/31/18

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Transcript for The Briefing Room: Trump's claim to end birthright citizenship draws criticism
And yeah. Pay for the briefing room on this Wednesday at Devin Dwyer and Fort Myers Margaret Johnson Tucci are White House producer. And short valves are White House reporter or outside the Donald Trump for president rallied to make America great again here in Fort Myers president. Coming to town to rally with a Republican Ron Desantis he's running for governor. I guess Democrats can't reveal what we yesterday on the big vote here and ABC news live but the president. John making a hot out negate the wits. In this final stretch for the mr. yet he is campaigning like crazy we know that just starting from today he's doing a full campaign through Election Day. Multiple stops and Juarez he says is his second home himself if he does not do well here for Republicans not do well here. He will take this lost person in this state he's got the governor and on the ballot senator on the ballot he's really watching what is happening you're gonna see more than banks have the potential there are city get a little bit spooky on this Halloween down here in Florida. Who knows what's in store the president pulling surprises out of his pocket left or right by concluding that announcement died just yesterday. It seems like. Much longer but just yesterday that he's looking at an executive order did. Do overturned birthright citizenship. In this country. They get a lot of blowback from members of his own party here's what spokeswoman Sarah Sanders had to say about the legal justification. Behind it. They're a number of legal scholars that think that there certainly a lot of ground. They would add the big the big issue here that you have to look at is the reason we're in this position in the first place that's because Democrats in congress have failed to help. Fix our broken immigration system in the president is looking at all options. And he'll make a decision ultimately about what's best to secure our border and to maintain law and order and our country. And of course those legal scholars haven't come forward yet materialized a lot of Republicans concerned about this as well let's put up. The text of the fourteenth amendment if you're not familiar with that. Here's what the fourteenth amendment says. Says all persons born or naturalized in the subject. The jurisdiction thereof. Our citizens of the United States. On both sides of the IO both sides of the legal spectrum that seems pretty clear cut short but the president seems adamant. That someone somewhere has told them he has the power to do. What no president has done before. Back and be president here making a sort of you know actual case that these dollars these guys he can do it. Let's see if they actually come forward has eaten out. I think one of those things got and that seems to any sort of like I shiny object we now the president must you throw that that lets you actually tries to move forward with this. It's something that almost certainly will be put to a halt in the courts almost instantaneously. Self from right now want to keep you actually moves forward with this I think right now in the final week before the mid terms he's wanted to refocus the conversation to immigration. And this is a way something outrageous that he could throw out there that he tasted that. And his supporters seem to be love it love it in our colleague Alex Mallon was just out of the crowd behind us your talking to try voters. And he reported that those drawn supporters are very animated by the president's. Return to birthright citizenship southerly city ever talk about on the campaign trail they like it although one person told us here told Alex Mallon. That they would prefer congress actually address this problem or here's what speaker Paul Ryan the Republican had to say about the president's idea take a listen. Well you obviously cannot do that you cannot end birthright citizenship of an executive order we didn't. What you want Obama tried changing immigration laws the executive action and I think in this case the fourteenth amendment pretty clear. Now. Let's bring a political director Rick Klein Rick. Pretty extraordinary to see the pres the United States at odds with Paul Ryan in such a direct way he was treating this morning a Paul Ryan say he needs that. Get a legal lesson. Yeah I'm I look at this it's a different level seven wind this speaks at the larger I think concern is that Republican circles about the direction of the mid term races the fact that the present United States. And the house speaker are squabbling on Twitter not a good sign six days before the election. Second and I agree with the analysis is this has to be viewed as a political move more than a policy move the president. If he wanted to do this can do it right now it was certainly bring legal challenges and we have a big healthy debate about the constitutionality maybe -- to be constitutional. But he's not doing it now he is talking about doing it in the week before an election where he is playing up divisions over immigration as much as you possibly can. I gotta I got it. He certainly has captured falters let's go back to you you're over at the White House the president. I just took copies on its way down here to Florida what are you hearing there are about why the White House is bringing this issue up again now. The other they're not entirely saying why there are bringing it up now you heard Sarah Sanders this morning in that gap arguing that the president. Can in fact do this but look when you look at what Paul Ryan said as you guys were talking about most constitutional scholars. Would agree with Paula and that he says that the president doesn't have this power I just heard actually Marine One lands on the White House South Lawn in the marine usually stands outside. The west wing of the White House isn't standing out on his the president will be coming out of the residence which means he's closer to reporters reporters will likely shout. Questions at him. About this so let's see if he expands on or or takes any questions on that but you're right he was. Fighting back on Twitter this morning he says that Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the majority rather than. Giving his opinions on birthright citizenship. Don't go back to Rick Rick you know is so many of these promises over the past couple weeks by the president. Sort of seemingly more outlandish one after the other the 10% tax cut that was supposed to come this week. Of course congress hasn't even in session. Now this up pledge to use an executive order. Eight. Do you think voters are on to this that the president is exaggerating what are we seen in some of the polling out there is any of that being picked up on. It's Halloween so it's a treat for everyone that comes to the door the White House I suppose and we are seeing the president. Using every tool is disposals are trying to. Dole out different goodies to different constituent groups different groups of supporters look some of these issues poll very well inside his own Republican base but that isn't necessarily. How the election is being fought and I think that's an important piece of perspective. And I talk to a top Democratic Party official just today. Who made the point that this scattershot approach by president trump could be playing right into the democratic argument is they're out they're talking about health care. And jobs and taxes the economy things that that the matter to people at the C a president. All over the map quite literally in some of these different proposals that Democrats feel like they are steadiness in this time of money is after the shooting at Pittsburgh. After the attempted pipe bombs last week against a political figures they feel like that can play well. And of course it's not just health care taxes the environment but immigration is another hot topic. Birthright citizenship part of that but this situation at the caravans moving up through Mexico guys hundreds of miles away. Yet another exaggeration many people say about what. The actual urgency or not. Of this problem is right now remember that the president does know how to produce good television so the president sees that image sees the mile long caravan and knows it better than. It's gonna resonate with voters and how many times over the last couple weeks now we've been hearing on the coming towards us. Winning strategy pretty extraordinary to see even. Fox News though Jordan say on air number of their anchors that this is not a problem they are not coming to get you. You should not be afraid of the caravan. And yet. John's point he's love and the optics of sending active duty troops down to the border yeah it's pretty remarkable when you see even the president's favorite network start to criticize him and that's why. You're seeing here. I'm hiding the president really that critics are arguing that the president is the latest fighting the military here visit thank huge amount of taxpayer dollars to go to mobile lighting needs for safe. The border that's something that we just don't have that was never how much right got out of contact that week out I seven that this city short term deployment apparently different. 45 days and I art estimates these immigrants you are some hundreds of miles away may not even beat the border by the time up 45 data claiming it don't ever sell. What does that say that. And our Elizabeth McLaughlin pentagon reporter just caught up with the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. And asked him in. This deployment of 5000. Active duty US troops they'd political move here's what he had to say. There now more than double the number that are actually it mattered here is okay. Is this a political science asked its slash. The support that we provide to the secretary. For. Homeland Security. He is practical. Support based on the request from the commissioner. Of accustomed to border police and so we don't we don't do stunts in this department thank you. It is about to turn things where is this about. You've actually been injured when they arrived on the. We're there in support of the secretary of Homeland Security. Who needs additional. Military assistance we do this following stormed we do this. In support of the Department of Homeland Security. And it's as a different aspect but that we're doing. Our let's forget our pentagon reporter Louis Martinez shot on this one Louie. Jim Mattis always the consummate professionals toeing the party line here knock it out. Certainly crossed the president on this from but are you hearing anything privately over there at the Pentagon. About this decision on the president's part is there any sort of offset. There that that this seems to be thrust into the political fray the military. Then when I hear it context about what the president's decision has been how the Pentagon is carrying forth with it. Particularly Northern Command. Privately you do come across some skepticism from some officials when it when he asked and so is exactly why are we doing this. I'm some of them actually ask why isn't the National Guard doing this. I'm we just had a conversation with Dana White she's the chief spokesperson here at the Pentagon we asked what Kate what is the active duty able to do that the National Guard can't do. Om and she told us while there are certain capabilities that they bring to bear. Com and they are also able to move out faster. On the National Guard troops as we know aren't in control of the state governors and so sometimes it takes time to ramp up their movements the ramp up the lose the movement of equipment. On that they're gonna need for a particular mission and so that was the emphasis that she was saying that you kind of in emphasizing. That there is a need for the active duty to carry out this mission particularly on short notice. I we know that it's a 45 day mission is gonna scheduled in December 15. But it's in the roll out is being very quick particularly in the wake of the president's statements last week that he wanted to see. What he referred to as US military as opposed to the guard doing this. I'm so privately I think there is some individuals who say that they're just following orders here but that they kind of question particularly why. Why now particularly the timing I think that's a question and most of us have been asking but. You heard right there for secretary Mattis he says that depending on that in engaging stunts they are just providing the support that he HS has requested. Emily does goes before we let you go those 2100. I believe National Guard troops that have been their for months. What impact have they had I saw some reporting in that there has had only been a very very. Menem off ticket in arrests along the border with those troops down there that themselves further question as to what this actually will do. Re so let's not forget that the National Guard they are not actually involved in line forcing duties would they be newly paneling behind the scenes. On their freeing up those additional CBP officers it could be used four law enforcement duties in OT detained migrants has become across ports of entry. Between ports of entry. I still. It did they get results may not be tangible as those numbers and increased. But we knew known at the support they are providing is helping TVP. On in order to free up additional scheduling other officers on that how does that correlate Q an uptick maybe it doesn't. I'm but we do know that its support that CBP. Has been requesting for quite some time now. This new deployment of active duty forces slightly different because this is totally tank to the caravans are making their way north. The questions are is what can at what is it really that. The active duty forces can do to assist CBP it's a different kind of assist. What they're trying to do is. And try to elect three but CBP personally might be taken to some hard to reach areas that's why they're bringing in aviation Allen helicopters can transport large numbers. A TVP officers too hard to reach areas. They're awesome and he providing on his temporary housing for an additional flow. Most of officers and may be coming to the region so that's really what the emphasis he's here tactical logistical support. That may be needed if and when this caravan guys I've come close to board. Our Hillary Martinez over the Pentagon thank you so much slowly. Certainly immigration and the military all part of this mid terms story that we're following here at ABC news or six days away. Voters many voters already casting their ballots in many places. Record numbers turning out already this midterm election is already. In full swing some of this is already Bates let's go back to recliner political director Rick. Before we let you go give us the lay of the land right now as we head into the home stretch. Hobby. A big picture senate big picture house and out what's your big take away from president trump at this stage. What's your point Devin more than 24 million Americans Eveready voted and that number is growing literally by the hour Election Day is upon us where six days a out for the big event but we're already seeing. State after state shattering the record to they've had. For examples and I feel like it is all at the campaign. Is falling into of update of of a rhythm where that assumption is that Democrats are gonna take the house the assumption is that Republicans can't hold the senate I think presidential hitting the campaign trail tick to campaigned for those. In those red states places where he won two years ago where he still has a range of popularity. And that seems like it is going to set the terms for the next couple days. And by the way guys star power alert I won't just be present Sabah on the trail tomorrow Oprah in Georgia how about that. Without his pretty impressive Greco be amazing to see Oprah Winfrey on the trail Samara torch as she is not. Come out yet DeVon on anything it's really been just the president so far but for just set the star power certainly heating up these finals and a lot in. Heavy hitters we'll have to see how that Hollywood power plays and some of those swing states in fact let's go to a swing state now New Hampshire. In a swing district a very competitive district there Carol Shea-Porter the Democrat retiring. That's gonna Johnny were Hobart or political reporter he's up their tracking Johnny just heard from wrecked state of play. Give this guy your read on things are now on the ground there what are you see it up a New Hampshire. Yeah absolutely. I mean it quintessential swing district in a quintessential swing state I'm here in Rochester, New Hampshire and right behind me that's a rubber manufacturing plant and that's where the the democratic candidate in this district Chris pop us I was here talking about the economy talking about John training. And this is really kind of the battle ground where Democrats are going to try and win back the house this is a swing district that has gone back and forth between Democrats and Republicans almost every single election. For the last ten years and the Democrat Chris opposites are trying to break that streak I'm going to be or the Republican later. But again this is really kind of where the race is going to be one this is one of those seats that Democrats need to win if they're gonna net the 23 seats to retake the house on November 67. Certainly do Johnny and that they get is so much for that reporting. We're down here in Florida the where there are also a number of competitive house races so much attention on the governor's race of course the senate race. But were we spent some time today down in the Florida 26 district that's just South Miami the Florida Keys where Carlos cabello the Republican is any heated battle there to hang. Hang onto his seat. Facing a blue wave we caught up with him about his prospects and what the trump involvement in Florida could mean for him take a listen. Eligibility argument swing vote we want to elect a Democrat just because they're fed up. Republican and. So the antidote. Two. The difficult pol political times we're living is not more partisanship. Its last partisan. And every day for the last four years in Washington DC. I have worked on trying to bridge that partisan gap between Republicans and Democrats. Have established a good dialogue in the congress on issues like the environment. We forced to work on compromise legislation on immigration those are the types of steps that we need to take. It were going to improve the political situation in this country that's what I've been focusing on I think in every district. Members. Members of communities showed a lack. The best candidate no matter what party they come from. And took recorded. Hearing him. Well number lying is very far away from my district but either way I think we need fewer rallies. And more conversations in this country all of these rallies whether their trump rallies are Obama rallies are intended to fire up the political base of each party. And really that means a minority of Americans I think we need to focus on the majority of Americans moderate Republicans moderate Democrats and a lot of independents. That don't want to hear rallies. That don't want to hear stump speeches they want to know how the political system is going to answer to their concerns that they are fears. To their worries about the future. So I've never been a big rally person and battle plan on changing that this year. And Rick Klein it'll be interesting to see if her hallows message in it a wreck ever we've lost Rick Garrett at political art Johnny. And I said it. Today outer freestyle Jonny Burrell Vick who lives followed these races. And we have captured all there's as well but these days this moderate messaging down here by Republicans in swing districts. It hasn't been something we've seen it many competitive races across the country typically they've gone to the polls this election. But Johnny republic if we still have you what will that mean if Carlos develop components out we lost Johnny Eric I don't. I'm I. About an outline. The answer your question we have to ask it again I think that we're. We're all watching and see how different parts of the country are using the trump message to their benefit some places like received. Down in Arizona and these border state digging right on and on immigration others really trying to stage the more moderate side of the Republican Party. That's right and a big hearing at a watches those suburban district's right to seat. Whether those districts that some of which whimper time last time. Stick with him this time we Tina a lot of those districts sour on the president. I know depending on where you are if you've got these suburban or rural areas in your district your seem different candidates play this very different Michael. And what other race for watching we it would be remiss not to mention it has the president is gonna wait right into it when he gets here just a couple of hours. They heated race for governor of Florida to replace Rick Scott Andrew gill on the Democrat we caught up with him yesterday. He's challenging Republican Ron Desantis who the president is here to some power. I the president coming out very personal against standard on suggesting he's a stone cold Steve. Guilty before proven innocent. But here's render Gillen had to say about those attacks just yesterday here at ABC news life. Everything to be attacked by the press it's I think it's pretty pitiful that it president of the United States is engaged in this way. But I will tell you this much he's met his match I don't believe in backing down. Is certainly when it comes to sending a for the things we believe. And let's pretty well lit let's go back to character Paul there's captain the president by his own standard here it said. He didn't want to be declaring an app politicians morally defective and that in the political arena and yet he's been doing just that. Yeah that is not particularly. Surprising whether it that's on Twitter at a comments. That he's making to reporters but lucky he is it with less than a week let's see we have six days he's attending eleven at rallies he's really making himself central and a lot of the is campaigns with these candidates he's trying to drive home. This closing message that's rooted in positive economic numbers in addition to immigration scare tactics that we've been talking about that we all remember so well from twenty sixteenths over the course of these next six daisies eleven rallies that he has used to kid putting this campaign into over drive today in Florida as you've been talking about we're gonna continue. See here just that in addition to him continuing to college Democrats see on woolly mam that in. All right we'll watch him here tonight Catherine fathers thank you so much from the White House it's going to be a big rally worked for buyers. Florida president from tonight 7 eastern time you can watch it here at ABC news live all full coverage. Tomorrow morning or Good Morning America guys. You're going to be joining us we have special coverage next week for the election year and ABC news live. Let's start with the big vote for 30 hot eastern time on Tuesday to six continuing coverage their 2 AM anchored by my colleague Dan Harris. Both of you will be plane we'll see a very upbeat tune in until then. Let's get him on the briefing or 3:30 eastern on Devin Dwyer Johnson to keep heartfelt thanks for watching.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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