A US judge today imposed a nationwide hold on President Donald Trump's ban on travellers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, siding with two states that had challenged the executive order that has launched legal battles across the country.

US District Judge James Robart in Seattle ruled that Washington state and Minnesota had standing to challenge Trump's order, which government lawyers disputed, and said they showed their case was likely to succeed. About 60,000 people from the affected countries had their visas cancelled.

"The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury," Robart said.







"This TRO (temporary restraining order) is granted on a nationwide basis ..."

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It wasn't immediately clear what happens next for people who had waited years to receive visas to come to America.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer released a statement late Friday saying they "will file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate."

Soon after, the White House sent out a new statement that removed the word "outrageous." "The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," the statement said.

Trump's order last week sparked protests nationwide and confusion at airports as some travellers were detained. The White House has argued that it will make the country safer.

SEATTLE JUDGE OVERTURNS TRUMP'S ORDERS

Earlier, Judge Robart granted the nationwide temporary restraining order on President Trump's executive order made last week that temporarily barred entry to the United States to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

Robart ruled against government lawyers' claims that the states did not have the standing to challenge Trump's order and said they showed their case was likely to succeed.

"The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury," Robart said.

The ruling is the broadest to date against Trump's directive.

After the ruling Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson said people from the affected countries can now apply for entry to the U.S.

"Judge Robart's decision, effective immediately ... puts a halt to President Trump's unconstitutional and unlawful executive order," Ferguson said.

"The law is a powerful thing - it has the ability to hold everybody accountable to it, and that includes the president of the United States."

Legal battles are playing out across the US as opponents of Trump's travel ban take their fight to the courtroom.

Trump took to Twitter after the decision was made.


ARMY SECRETARY NOMINEE WITHDRAWS

An administration official says President Donald Trump's nominee for Army secretary, Vincent Viola, has withdrawn his name from consideration. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official isn't authorised to speak publicly.

The Military Times reported Friday that Viola withdrew because he is unable to separate himself from his business ties.

Viola is the founder of several businesses, including the electronic trading firm Virtu Financial. He also owns the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers and is a past chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Viola is a 1977 West Point graduate. He trained as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer and served in the 101st Airborne Division. In 2003, he founded and helped fund the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

VISAS REVOKED

AS many as 100,000 visas have been revoked since President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration and travel was signed on January 27, government lawyers revealed on Friday in a Virginia courtroom.

However, the State Department contradicted the 100,000 figure given by government lawyers, saying the number of visas cancelled was fewer than 60,000.

The number came in an answer to a question from the judge about how many people have been affected by the order, CNN reported.

Erez Reuveni, from the Office of Immigration Litigation at the Civil Division of the Justice Department, also said no returning legal permanent residents - those with Green Cards - had been turned away.

The judge extended a temporary restraining order against removing lawful permanent residents until next Friday.

TRUMP THANKS TURNBULL FOR 'TRUTH'

Meanwhile, Trump also attempted to smooth over a spat with Australia, thanking Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for saying that their phone conversation was not ended with an abrupt hang up.

During the US President's call with Turnbull on Saturday, Trump objected to an agreement over the US receiving refugees, sources said. Their exchange was leaked, including Trump apparently saying it was his "worst call by far".

Now, Trump has taken to Twitter to suggest that the whole incident was "fake news."


White House press secretary Sean Spicer slipped up in his news briefing, saying that Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon had met with the "prime minister", before being corrected by the media.

"I think chief of staff (Reince) Priebus and chief strategist (Steve) Bannon did meet with the prime minister yesterday, I think they had a very productive ..."

"The ambassador," the media corrected him.

"Thank you. I appreciate the correction," Spicer said, before calling Malcolm Turnbull, Trumble, like he did a day earlier.

"They did have a very productive and engaging meeting. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the people of Australia, for Prime Minister Trumble (sic) ... we are going to continue to work through this. We are going to honour the commitments that were made in same way meaning we are going to continue vet these people in accordance with the agreement that was made."

Trump had earlier tweeted his anger at what he called a "horrible" deal struck between Australia and the Obama administration under which the US would take about 1250 refugees held by Australia in offshore facilities.


The leaders of the two allies did not seem to agree on the outcome of the conversation. Trump's tweet suggested the agreement could be at risk while Turnbull said that, despite the bluntness of the discussion, the United States had committed to upholding the arrangement.

However, he has confirmed that the deal will go ahead but with "extreme vetting".

Joe Hockey who met with Priebus and Bannon to try and smooth things over tweeted about Australia's close ties with the US, saying there was a lot of support from the US.


TRUMP HITS IRAN WITH NEW SANCTIONS

Trump has also hit Iran with new sanctions, days after his administration put the regimen "on notice" for testing a second ballistic missile.

The sanctions will target 12 business and 13 individuals who support Iran's missile program.

The move is meant to signal a tougher, harsher approach to Iran - a country with which former President Barack Obama struck a nuclear deal.


"We've said all along we make buying decisions based on performance," said Nordstrom in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. "We've got thousands of brands- more than 2,000 offered on the site alone. Reviewing their merit and making edits is part of the regular rhythm of our business." Nordstrom said that each year the chain cuts about 10 per cent and refreshes its assortment with about the same amount.

"In this case, based on the brand's performance we've decided not to buy it for this season," Nordstrom added.

But Ivanka's camp has disputed the claims her line has been dropped.

"Nordstrom ordered both apparel and shoes for the spring, and followed through with the orders on the apparel," a spokesperson for Ivanka Trump's brand told Refinery29.

"They cancelled the shoe order, kept the apparel order and moved the apparel from online into stores. It's there."

Neiman Marcus couldn't be immediately reached for comment. Macy's and Dillard's are also among the retailers that carry the Ivanka brand but didn't immediately reply to AP's query.

The move by Nordstrom Inc. comes amid a social media campaign called "Grab Your Wallet," urging a boycott of stores that stock Ivanka Trump or Donald Trump products.

TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER ON FINANCIAL REFORMS

Trump also signed an executive order scaling back the sweeping 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory framework enacted under Barack Obama as a direct response to the financial crisis.

The reforms range from bank rules about speculating with customer funds and wind-down provisions for "too big to fail" institutions to consumer protections from predatory debt collection practices and forced arbitration.

CONWAY MAKES UP 'BOWLING GREENE MASSACRE'

Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway has cited a non-existent terror attack she called the "Bowling Green Massacre" to justify the Muslim travel ban.

Conway, who has used the term "alternative facts," told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that she had "brand new information."

"Two Iraqi citizens came here to this country, were radicalised and were the masterminds ­behind the Bowling Green massacre," she said.

She was probably thinking of two Iraqis who once lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and who had ties to 2011 attacks on US troops - in Iraq.

Conway later clarified that she meant to say "Bowling Green terrorists".

But her slip up didn't go unnoticed with Chelsea Clinton taking aim via Twitter sparking a war between the two women.

Conway fired back after Weekly Standard reporter Mark Hemingway reminded her of Hillary's false claim that as first lady, she had to dodge sniper fire on a 1996 trip to war-torn Bosnia.

Clinton made the claim in a 2008 speech, but it was quickly debunked when reporters unearthed video of her landing peacefully and greeting children on the tarmac.

But despite Conway's clarification over her Bowling Green comments that didn't stop people on social media having a laugh at her expense.

It came as Iran banned US wrestlers from participating in the Freestyle World Cup competition this month in response to Trump's executive order forbidding visas for Iranians, the official IRNA news agency reported.

IRNA quoted Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying a special committee reviewed the case of the US wrestling team and "Eventually the visit by the US freestyle wrestling team was opposed."

The decision marks the first action taken by Iran in response to Trump's executive order banning visas for seven Muslim countries. Earlier this week, Iran said it would take retaliatory action.

IVANKA'S CLOTHING LINE DROPPED

Retail store Nordstrom will stop selling Ivanka Trump clothing and accessories, creating some questions about the future of the brand elsewhere. The Seattle-based department store chain said the decision was based on the sales performance of the first daughter's brand. Neiman Marcus may be the next one to pull back on the label, as the branded jewellery is nowhere to be seen on the upscale retailer's website as of Friday.