Justice Dept attorney urged court not to weigh Trump comments in sanctuary city case

A Justice Department attorney urged a federal judge to not consider President Trump's public statements in the case surrounding Trump's blocked executive order to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney Thomas is one of the judges on the panel examining whether the order threatens millions of dollars in federal funding to two counties in California, The Associated Press reported.

Thomas asked how the court should consider public statements made by Trump and other officials in favor of withholding funds from all sanctuary cities.

U.S. Department of Justice attorney Chad Readler said that the judges in the case shouldn't focus on Trump's statements, but on the order itself, according to the AP.

"The order has to be judged by its terms and not by public statements," Readler said.

Readler argued the order only applies to funds from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and not other federal grants.

The appeals court is reviewing the ruling from a lower court that blocked Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities.

A federal judge had ruled in November that the order was "unconstitutional on its face" and put all federal funding at risk.