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Washington Reaction To London Incident

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We'd like to go back now to the story from London. Authorities are now describing two events earlier tonight as terrorism. We heard earlier from our correspondent in London, but we want to get reaction from here in Washington, D.C., now from White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Scott, thanks so much for joining us.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you.

MARTIN: So I take it we've heard now from President Trump, and I take it that this came in his often-used method of communication, Twitter. What is he saying?

HORSLEY: Well, the president's most recent tweet on this subject is sort of characteristic of what we typically hear at a time like this. He said whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U.K., we will be there. We are with you. God bless. That's a sort of traditional expression of thoughts and prayers and support and sympathy and offers of investigative assistance, that sort of thing. Earlier, though, the president tweeted that we need the travel ban as an extra level of safety, the travel ban, of course, that his administration put in and it's - tried to put in its first week of office and which has been repeatedly rejected by the federal courts. Just a few days ago, the White House asked the Supreme Court to get involved and reinstate that travel ban. So the president is using this terror attack in London as a sort of exhibit, a Twitter exhibit, urging the courts to reinstate his controversial travel ban.

MARTIN: But just to clarify for people who may not be aware of that story, would the travel ban affect Europe?

HORSLEY: It would not affect Europe, and of course, we don't know the nationality or origin of any of the people that might be involved in these London terror attacks. It's - there have been a number of cases where terror attacks have been carried out by sort of homegrown extremists, and folks invoked that as a justification for the travel ban. The travel ban covers would-be visitors from six majority-Muslim countries. And again, it's been put on hold by courts both in Hawaii and in Virginia. And it's - we had an appellate court ruling just recently on the Virginia case, saying that the court was right to put the travel ban on hold. We're still waiting for the 9th Circuit to decide in the Hawaii case. But the White House and the Trump administration have asked the Supreme Court to sort of short circuit that process and to weigh in expeditiously to reinstate the travel ban.

MARTIN: Have we heard from any other White House officials, for example, the president's spokesman, Sean Spicer?

HORSLEY: Well, Sean Spicer has tweeted out that the president is getting updates on the situation in london, The London Bridge and Borough Market attacks, from his national security team. Oddly enough, the very first tweet from the president on this subject was not basing its information on anything from his National Security Council or the in-house team. Rather, he retweeted a Drudge Report, the headline of which was Fears Of New Terror Attack After Van - quote - "mows down 20 people" - unquote - On London Bridge. That's a less characteristic move for a president, to be retweeting a Drudge Report. Typically the White House would rely on information from American intelligence sources or law enforcement sources in responding to an attack like this.

MARTIN: That's NPR's White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Scott, thanks so much for speaking with us.

HORSLEY: It's good to be with you, Michel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.