WASHINGTON -  A US court on Sunday denied the Justice Department's appeal to immediately reinstate President Donald Trump's order restricting refugees and travellers from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US.

"Appellants' request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied," the ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco said on Sunday.

The ruling came just hours after the Department filed an emergency motion to stay Judge James Robart of Seattle's order that halted the implementation of restrictions imposed by Trump's order nationwide.

It means that travellers from seven predominantly Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — as well as vetted refugees from all nations could, for now, continue to enter the United States while legal battles continue.

Those foreigners had been barred by an executive order signed by the President on Jan. 27.

The appeals court asked challengers of the ban to respond to the appeal, and for the Justice Department to file a counter-response by Monday afternoon.

The Justice Department argues that Trump's Jan. 27 order is a valid exercise of Trump's authority.

The brief states that the Federal court ruling "second-guesses the President's national security judgment."

It cites a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that said "the power to admit or exclude aliens is a sovereign prerogative."

The Justice Department argues that Trump order is a valid exercise of Trump's authority. It also argues that Washington State lacks legal standing in the case and that the Constitutional challenges it brought were without merit. It goes on to state that the Federal court improperly issued a nationwide injunction that blocked Trump's order.

Earlier Saturday night Trump was asked about an appeal while at a gala in Florida, and the President said: "We'll win. For the safety of our country, we'll win."

It wasn't immediately clear when a decision could be made on the request for a stay. Some 60,000 visas that had been cancelled were deemed valid after Robart issued his restraining order Friday.

Some visa holders rushed to take advantage of the reprieve and enter the US.

The Justice Department brief argues that the Seattle judge's order “immediately harms the public by thwarting enforcement of an executive order issued by the President, based on his national security judgment.”

“Trump's executive order caused chaos at airports, and among those reported detained or turned away included students, professors, and green card holders.” Critics have called it a "Muslim ban," which Trump has denied.

The president has said the order is necessary to protect Americans from terrorism.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump said that "the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!

"Trump's tweets drew a swift condemnation from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat."The President's attack on Judge James Robart, a Bush appointee who passed with 99 votes, shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn't always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution, making it more important that the Supreme Court serve as an independent check on the administration," Schumer said.

Trump has also come under considerable pressure from politicians and rights groups to rescind the Muslim ban.

The measure has created a global backlash with an increasing number of countries, including long-standing US allies, criticising the curbs as discriminatory and divisive.

A Democratic lawmaker suggested Saturday that Trump needs a mental check-up over his extreme measures."Last 24 hrs on Twitter, Donald Trump went on rant about 'death & destruction,' 'FAKE NEWS,' & 'evil.' Should he get mental health exam?" California Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted on Saturday.

TRUMP SAYS AMERICA

ISN'T SO INNOCENT

President Donald Trump has defended Russian President Vladimir Putin in a new interview, saying he respects the Russian leader.

"I do respect him ... I respect a lot of people but that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him," Trump said during an interview with Fox News aired on Saturday night.

"He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS – which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world – that's a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea."

Anchor Bill O'Reilly pressed Trump on his statement, saying, "But he's a killer though. Putin's a killer."

"There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?" Trump responded.

It's not the first time Trump has brushed aside the topic of Putin's alleged political killings.

In a 2015 interview on “Morning Joe,” Trump was pressed on the same issue and gave a similar answer.

“He kills journalists that don't agree with him,” the show's host, Joe Scarborough, pointed out. “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe,” Trump said.

Trump's relationship with Russia and Putin has been under close scrutiny for months. Russia's reported interference in the 2016 presidential election campaign dogged Trump throughout his election and transition, as intelligence agencies delivered increasingly urgent assessments of Russian efforts to hack emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee and advisers of Trump rival Hillary Clinton.

Saturday night's excerpts from the interview drew condemnation from some conservatives, including the Wall Street Journal’s deputy editorial page editor, who tweeted that “Trump puts US on moral par with Putin's Russia. Never in history has a president slandered his country like this.”