LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – Donald Trump would have the power to temporarily ban Muslims from America if he is elected president, a Constitutional scholar said.

According to USC Law Professor Edwin Smith, Trump could do so only with the support from Congress. “If the president gets Congress to go along with it, then it’s legitimate,” he said.

The Republican presidential hopeful sparked an outcry after proposing to keep foreign Muslims from coming to America in order to protect the country from Islamic terror attacks in the wake of last Wednesday’s massacre at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on!” Trump declared Monday.

Smith said the president has great latitude, even if Congress does not approve, if he or she declares a state of war in which the action is necessary to protect the American people.

“That was exactly the argument that Franklin Roosevelt bought in imprisoning the Japanese,” Smith explained. “From a perverse thought experiment, if I were to be the lawyer for President Trump, that’s the argument that I would make.”

But the professor said even if Congress and a President Trump tried to exclude all foreign Muslims, Constitutional lawyers could still challenge that policy before the Supreme Court. Smith acknowledged it is tough to predict which side would prevail in the courts.

Meanwhile, Trump is not backing down from his latest controversy, even though his plan has sharply divided Americans and sparked outrage from fellow Republicans, who are calling on him to drop out of the race for the White House. CBS2/KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reports.

Trump announced Tuesday that he plans to visit Jordan at the end of December. The majority of the Mideast kingdom’s population is Muslim. He will also visit Israel.

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