Will the White House appeal a court ruling against President Trump's executive order barring travel from seven Muslim countries to the United States or won't it?
The White House sent conflicting signals on Friday evening, with chief of staff Reince Priebus saying the administration was still considering an appeal to the Supreme Court after a lower court soundly rejected its request to reinstate the order.
Priebus's statement came roughly an hour after a White House official said it was not planning to challenge the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the ban.
And Trump himself has said a new order on security could come next week.
Priebus told The Washington Post that "every single court option is on the table, including an appeal of the Ninth Circuit decision on the TRO to the Supreme Court.
Trump faced a setback Thursday before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, which denied an emergency request to reinstate his executive order temporarily banning people from seven mainly Muslim nations and refugees from entering the U.S.
The temporary restraining order, issued by District Judge James Robart, keeps the executive order on hold while a lawsuit brought by Washington and Minnesota makes its way through the court system.
The San Francisco court's decision raised serious doubts about whether the administration could be successful in lifting the suspension, leaving some observers wondering if it would be wiser for the White House to proceed with a new order.
Yet that also would have been a surprise, given Trump's dislike of giving up a fight.
Trump at a Friday afternoon joint news conference with Japan's prime minister pledged he would move ahead with that legal fight and predicted he would ultimately prevail, even as he signaled some new anounncement on security would be coming next week..
“In addition, we will continue to go through the court process and ultimately, I have no doubt we will win that particular case,” he said Friday.
While his travel ban is held up in court, Trump said he is considering ordering his staff to draft a new executive order that will have an easier time clearing legal hurdles.
“We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
He indicated that no final decision has been made to write a new order or make tweaks to the existing one.
“It very well could be,” when asked if he will issue a new order. “We need speed for reasons of security, so it very well could be."
Trump said he would likely wait until next week to respond with action. “Perhaps Monday or Tuesday," he said.
The president indicated any new action would stick by his core principle that refugees and travelers from countries considered terror threats should be subject to “extreme vetting.”
- Updated at 6:40 p.m.