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With Muslim Ban 2.0 in Court, Trump Campaign Website Scrubs Call for Ban

Statement calling for "total and complete shutdown on Muslims" entering U.S. removed from Trump campaign website Monday afternoon

President Donald Trump's various immigration bans have been the subject of multiple protests. (Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/cc)

This story may be updated.

Minutes after a reporter asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer why President Donald Trump's campaign website still broadcast his call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," that page went blank, according to reports on Monday afternoon.

Trump's call for a Muslim ban figures prominently in arguments against his second executive order blocking entry to the United States for people from six majority-Muslim countries. Opponents like Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)'s Immigrants' Rights Project, say statements like that one "made absolutely clear that [Trump] wanted to target Muslims."

Lawyers for both sides argued their cases "en banc" on Monday afternoon, before a panel of all active and eligible judges of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Judges in Maryland and Hawaii had previously halted implementation of the order, specifically citing Trump's past statements while he was on the campaign trail. Monday's hearing is over the Maryland ruling; the Trump administration's challenge to the Hawaii decision will be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle next Monday.

"In the Maryland case," the Los Angeles Times wrote in March, "U.S. District Judge Theodore ​Chuang's decision quoted Trump's campaign vows to suspend Muslim immigration as evidence that 'the national security purpose is not the primary purpose of the travel ban'." Judge Derrick K. Watson, in Hawaii, quoted Trump's "total and complete shutdown" press release in his decision, saying there was "nothing 'veiled'" about it.

Meanwhile, Fourth Circuit judges also brought up Trump's campaign statements on Monday, according to reports from the hearing:

Advocacy groups were expected to hold a press conference following the hearing.

The courtroom in Richmond, Virginia wasn't the only place where Trump's Muslim Ban 2.0 was litigated on Monday. Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both of Texas, also grilled former acting Attorney General Sally Yates about her refusal to defend the order.

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